News A colony of ants have set up home in the International Space Station as part of an experiment to see how their behavior changes in an environment of low gravity

It's hoped the way they adapt their foraging behavior will help to develop smarter robots

Boiling Frogs, Southwark Playhouse, London

It was an inauspicious start when an audience member spilled a glass of red wine down the back of playwright Steven Bloomer before the curtain was even up on the opening night of his new play, Boiling Frogs.

Campaign funds and broomsticks haunt darling of the Tea Party

They wanted unorthodox, and Republican voters in Delaware surely got it in their newly anointed candidate for the US Senate, Christine O'Donnell.

Holy Warriors, By Jonathan Phillips

In a work "aimed squarely at the general reader", Phillips tells the story of the Crusades from 1095 to Bush's response after 9/11 that alienated moderate Islam. As Phillips reveals, earlier crusaders were better informed

Summer in the city: Norwich offers secret gardens, mercantile history and a wealth of architecture

With its riverside setting, unexpected nooks and mediaeval crannies, Norwich is a perfect destination for a summer visit.

Fringe Notes, 18/08/10

- It's a hard-fought category at this year's Fringe, but top prize for discomfort goes to HighTide's 'Lidless'. For the play about Guantanamo Bay audiences are shipped into a brightly lit white box and made to sit on tiny fold-out picnic stools around the edge. Great play, though.

DVD: Hotel, For retail & rental (Artificial Eye)

Austrian director Jessica Hausner's nerve-jangling psychological horror combines the darkness of countryman Michael Haneke, Tarkovsky-esque static shots and the supernatural suggestiveness of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Picnic concerts: Rock'n'roll and royalty don't mix

The trend for gigs on country estates makes Fiona Sturges nostalgic for the beer-soaked mosh pits of her teens

Editor-At-Large: Say 'fat', and stop the nation eating itself to death

If I call you fat, is it kind or cruel? A plain-speaking government health minister says describing the overweight as "obese" isn't direct enough to make them lose weight. According to Anne Milton, if a doctor uses the F-word, we're more likely to realise it's our responsibility to shed surplus poundage. She's expressing a personal view and not government policy, but this no-nonsense approach has found support in the medical profession. Obesity has become a meaningless word. It sounds as if you're suffering from a social disease, not a condition that's clogging up your arteries and hastening your date with a coffin. This modern blight isn't confined to the two-legged – a charity report claims half our dogs are obese and will suffer early deaths. We're killing our pets by overfeeding them, human-style.

Dordogne: Saddle up on the scenic route

Armed with a riding hat, Michael Kallenbach meanders through the rolling French countryside

DVD: Picnic at Hanging Rock (PG)

Peter Weir's 1975 masterpiece, adapted from Joan Lindsay's Victorian mystery novel, receives the Blu-ray treatment: a director's cut, a 120-minute-long making-of and an interview with Lindsay.

Brightest and best picnic accessories

Whether you’re planning to entertain the kids al fresco, attend a music festival or stroll along the sea shore, make hay while the sun shines and take inspiration from our pick of perfect picnicware.

Fig and almond biscuits

Serves 4

Picnic paradise: Skye Gyngell's al-fresco feast

Sunny days don't require too much blue-sky thinking: just pack up a picnic full of unfussy, easy-to-make food and head for the nearest shady tree. Skye Gyngell lays out her favourites for all to share...

Orange with orange flower water

Serves 4
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste