Life and Style

If you are reaching for your handkerchief it might be too late to stop the spread of flu, research suggests.

Great Works: Leda And The Swan (circa 1515) after Leonardo

Wilton House, Salisbury

Best of the west: Australia's largest state offers superb diving and the nation's finest wines

You look for omens on any sea voyage, and the cheeky young seal that was our escort to the sunken HMAS Swan's final resting place in Western Australia's Geographe Bay seemed to suggest a fine day's diving. Gambolling along the surface, flippers stretched towards the spring sunshine, he revelled in the calm seas and blue sky every bit as much as us. He came right alongside just as we reached the mooring buoys, fixed us with his big brown eyes and carefully preened his whiskers before sliding away into the depths.

Errors & Omissions: Once upon a time, people could distinguish fairy tale from reality

I hate to break this to you, but Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Pinocchio are fictional characters. Somebody made them up. When you watch a Disney film – indeed any film – the people on the screen are not really there. You are choosing to suspend disbelief in an illusion created by artifice.

Ain't life fadtastic? The A to Z of fads

From boob-tubes to Tamagotchi, human history is littered with ill-advised crazes. Rhodri Marsden looks back in wonder – and imagines what our future holds

Dom Joly: This cow row is causing a rift in my marriage

Stacey picks up the kids and sprints for the gate, while I dissolve into fits of giggles

Dinosaurs, the giraffes of their day

Ever since palaeontologists pieced together the many bones of lumbering sauropods they have argued about how these largest of dinosaurs would have held their immensely long necks.

The Wrestler (15)

Let's hear it for the fall guy

Ali Smith: Do you call that a Christmas present?

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a whole month whose daylight ended at roughly half past three. I looked out the window and watched it fall.

Swans stay in 'warm' Siberia

The late arrival in Britain of migratory birds from Russian region is being blamed on global warming, Ian Johnston reports

Ask Martha: Should I kick my flatmate out?

Got a social dilemma? Martha Arthur has the answer...

Album: Polar Bear, Polar Bear (Tin Angel)

A third album for Seb Rochford's jazz rats, and by far their best. Pete Wareham and Mark Lockheart are the frontal tenor sax lobes, but what makes this their most accomplished, coherent recorded work is the LP's unitary vibe: by the sound of it, the group now constitute a single brain, a listening one.

Swan, By Peter Young

When contemplating the serene splendour of the swan, one may be disagreeably surprised by its hissing reaction to friendly approach. The swan has fascinated humanity for aeons – a fascination provoked not by its mere loveliness, but by the contrast between its appearance of perfection and its somewhat perverse nature. Peter Young's study of the bird involves ornithology, but also covers poetry, science, philosophy, and even the movements of markets.

Bird flu tests on two more swans

Tests were continuing last night on birds found close to the reserve where three wild swans have tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Poultry curbs as bird flu is found in Dorset swans

Restrictions on the movement of poultry were in force last night after three mute swans tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

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Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
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Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness