Photo Exhibits: ‘Lights And Shadows’ In London (2021)

Magnificient adventures are captured in this selection of photographic firsts, some of the earliest images from each location, taken by world-renowned photographers including Gertrude Bell, Carleton Watkins, Isabella Bird, Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley.

The images all feature in the ongoing Lights and Shadows exhibition, organised by the Royal Geographical Society in London, and are taken from the society’s historic image collection, revealing something of the marked progress of photography between 1851 and 1962, as well as providing a useful reference for economic, environmental or climatic change that has happened since they were taken. Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/…

Covid-19: Why Omicron Concerns Scientists (WSJ)

The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.

Profile: Actress Candice Bergen On Turning 75

Born to Hollywood royalty, the actress and model Candice Bergen found her greatest talent in comedy, as the Oscar-nominated star of “Starting Over” and a five-time Emmy-winner for “Murphy Brown.” Candice Bergen talked with “Sunday Morning” anchor Jane Pauley about finding new wellsprings of confidence at age 75, as well as the privilege of being a doting grandmother.

Profile: 73-Year Old Billy Crystal On ‘Getting Older’

Seems that comedian Billy Crystal has always enjoyed playing old, like in 1987’s “The Princess Bride.” Actually getting old? Not so much. But it will be less of a stretch for the now-73-year-old to play an aging comic in the upcoming Broadway musical, “Mr. Saturday Night.” Correspondent Tracy Smith finds out how Crystal stays so youthful.

News Analysis: Venture Capital, China Silences Peng Shuai, Museum Fires

A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week: the venture-capital industry is being turbocharged, what the fate of star tennis-player Peng Shuai reveals about one-party rule in China (10’52) and, when a museum is on fire, how do you decide what to save? (19’09).

Views: Gudbrandsjuvet Ravine, West Norway (4K)

Gudbrandsjuvet is a 5 metres narrow and 20–25 metres high ravine through which the Valldøla River forces itself. The ravine is easily accessible from main road route 63 between Valldal and Trollstigen. The waters have formed a complex of deep potholes and intricate formations. The depth down from the surface of the water is about equal to the depth of ravine down to the river.

According to a story from the 1500’s, the ravine was named after a man called Gudbrand, who ran off with his new bride and saved himself from his angry pursuers by jumping over the ravine at its narrowest point. Gudbrand was declared an outlaw for his deeds, and lived the rest of his life in a stone hut in one of the side-valleys above Gudbrandsjuvet. The valley is still called Gudbrandsdalen to this day. One thing the story doesn’t mention is whether his bride followed him over the ravine…