The media is buzzing with swine flu numbers. Latest government figures say that over 100,000 people in England came down with swine flu during the last week — that's almost twice the amount of the previous week, and up to five times higher than the seasonal flu figures recorded last winter. Twenty-six people in England have died of the disease.
But where do the numbers come from? Patients with swine flu symptoms are no longer tested in the lab or traced, so the published figures are estimates, rather than absolute numbers.
As part of our celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 we brought you the article Are the constants of nature really constant?, in which John D. Barrow tells us how it all depends on which constants you choose. In the podcast of this interview you can hear how changes in the constants that define our
Universe might have implications for extra dimensions, gravity, and climbing flies...
What would you like to know about your Universe — The fourth online poll
This poll is now closed. The most popular question was: "How does gravity work?" You can read the answer on Plus, or listen to the podcast. Thank you for taking part and don't forget to vote in the current
This is the fourth online poll in our series to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Choose your favourite question from the list on the right, and we'll put the one that proves most popular to world-leading astronomers and cosmologists, including Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and author and cosmologist John D. Barrow. The poll will
remain open for a month and the answer will be published in a Plus article and podcast soon after. If your most burning question is not on this list, then leave a comment on this blog and we'll endeavour to include it in a future poll — there will be three more polls dotted throughout the year.
Consumers, financial institutions, and most importantly regulators did not understand the risks being taken in the financial markets. That was one of the main causes of the current financial crisis according to the Government white paper, Reforming the financial markets, released last week. It is clear to all players in the financial market that they need to make more accurate assessments of
the risks they and others are taking. But will they be able to take the more scientific approach needed for a deeper understanding of financial risks, when they were so easily bewitched by unproven claims that you can turn financial lead into gold?