Arts and Entertainment

Literary prescriptions for modern ailments

Wrong medicine

Petrov makes most of second best

Uefa Cup is a poor substitute, but Celtic see the benefit. Phil Gordon reports

Yearning for a simpler age

While some people struggle to keep up with the latest new technology, Julie Myerson prefers to stay in touch with the real world and just have a word processor that works.

MIRACLES AND MASSES

Business is booming at the pilgrimage site of Lourdes, with an unprecedented 7 million visitors expected in the coming year. John Lichfield travels to the town and asks what really draws people there: faith or superstition?

Mathematical Notes: Zero tolerance and Saracen magic

MATHEMATICIANS HAVE kept the secret to themselves for too long. Theirs is the most beautiful of the arts, and the most accessible, yet bad teaching has made it seem boring at best and more often frightening. How many of us still break out in a cold sweat at the mere sight of an equation?

Columns: A good idea from... Theophrastus

A FEW DAYS ago, I met a woman who told me, "I know someone just like you." "Really," I said (offended). "How do you mean, just like me?" "Well, you know, little hair, a bit gauche, into books. He even wears a big grey coat like yours in winter. It's uncanny." This kind of thing should make one happy. It should be lovely to hear that there is a near clone out there, a soulmate, someone to talk to and go clothes shopping with. But, in actuality, it can be quite horrible, given the strength of our desire to feel special, different, unique.

Leading article: Heavenly omens

SHOOTING STARS are one of the most spectacular sights in astronomy and, like most celestial events, they attract their own brand of superstition. When the Leonid meteors come crashing through our skies tonight they should, if the clouds part, produce more than a dozen streaks a minute. Spectacular yes, but not quite the show of 1833 when the Leonids caused thousands of shooting stars to fall like a heavenly fountain, leading many to believe that the Day of Judgement was at hand.

The Irritations of Modern Life 64. Weatherspeak

HELLO. IT'S been a lively few days at the annual party conferences. Next week sees much of that activity continuing, with the parties competing to dominate the agenda... hang on a minute. Stop everything. Cut. This sentence isn't going to work.

Letter: Measles kills

SUZANNE TIBURTIUS's GP (Letters, 5 September) may have a 100 per cent success record with his homeopathic measles vaccine, but this is solely due to the benefits of "herd immunisation", which results from the widespread use of the MMR vaccine. These benefits would also be seen with an injection of saline - the ultimate homeopathic vaccine.

The Eclipse: Iraq - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

IRAQI ASTRONOMERS were given unimpeded views of the last solar eclipse of the century yesterday as Western warplanes skirted their camp.

The Eclipse: India - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

MONSOON RAIN clouds blanketing most of India put paid to the hopes of many longing to see the eclipse as it moved across the country from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. But visible or not, many Indians laid preparations for the event that some believed would herald some form of disaster.

The Eclipse: Russia - World shares a strange ceremony of science, superstition and awe

VISITORS TO the Black Sea resort of Sochi - where the eclipse was 98 per cent - peered skywards through chunks of smoke-blackened broken glass or ordinary glasses with film negatives Sellotaped over them.
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'