US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has said she is “honoured and humbled” to be President Trump’s pick for a place in the top court during a tense Senate confirmation hearing.
The 48-year-old conservative jurist vowed to judge legal cases impartially. But her selection so close to the 3 November presidential election has sparked a fierce political battle.
The panel’s Republican chairman has predicted a “contentious week” of questioning ahead. Judge Barrett’s approval would cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the nine-member court, altering the ideological balance of the court for potentially decades to come.
BBC Radio 4 ‘Inside Science’ talks about satellite navigation in the UK; the science of the World Wide Web and Neolithic genomics.
Is the UK losing its way when it comes to satellite navigation? There’s GPS from the US, but other countries and regions, including Russia, China, India and Japan, either have, or are building, satellite navigation systems of their own. The EU has Galileo, but with Brexit, Britain is no longer involved. The Government has announced that it’s just acquired a satellite technology company called OneWeb. It’s primary role is enhanced broadband, but there’s talk of adding in a navigation function to the constellation of satellites. But how feasible will that be?
In an era of cyber-crime, misinformation, disinformation, state-sponsored attacks on rival countries’ infrastructure, government-imposed internet shutdowns in places like Eritrea and Kashmir, the World Wide Web is an increasingly dark and troubled place. Making sense of how the internet has changed from the democratic, sharing, open platform it was designed to be, and predicting what’s next, are the web scientists. Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and a co-founder of the whole field of web science, is hosting an online, annual conference this week. The theme this year is ‘Making the web human-centric’.
Communal burial sites tend to suggest an egalitarian society, where everyone is considered equal. And this is what we expected the Neolithic societies that spread across Europe with the birth of agriculture around 6000 years ago would be. But DNA evidence from a single human, NG10, buried in 3200 B.C.E in the vast tomb of Newgrange, 25 miles north of Dublin, in Ireland, shows very strong inbreeding. Couple this with the fact the body was buried and not cremated and placed in a highly adorned chamber. Does this indicate an elite ruling class where marrying one’s close kin was the order of the day? Dr. Lara Cassidy, palaeogeneticist at Trinity College Dublin, decoded NG10’s DNA and she tells Adam Rutherford the story.
Presenter – Gareth Mitchell
Producers – Fiona Roberts and Beth Eastwood
With every sparkling joke, every well-meaning and innocent character, every farcical tussle with angry swans and pet Pekingese, every utopian description of a stroll around the grounds of a pal’s stately home or a flutter on the choir boys’ hundred yards handicap at a summer village fete, he wanted to whisk us far away from our worries.
If we’re talking about culture that makes people happy, we have to start with the works of PG Wodehouse. There are two reasons why. One reason is that making people happy was Wodehouse’s overriding ambition. The other reason is that he was better at it than any other writer in history.
The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P. G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals including Punch and the Globe. He married in 1914.
As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one time had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction.
At the age of ninty-three, in the New Year’s Honours List of 1975, he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die on St Valentine’s Day some forty-five days later.
Peter Sellers was one of the twentieth century’s most astonishing actors. His meteoric rise to fame – from his beginnings with Spike Milligan on BBC Radio’s The Goon Show in the 1950s to his multiple Oscar nominations and status as Stanley Kubrick’s favourite actor – is equalled only by the endless complexities of his personal life – the multiple marriages, the chronic health problems, the petulant fits of rage, the deep insecurity, the unwise career choices and the long decline in his later years.
This film explores the life of this peerless actor and comedian, featuring interviews with family, friends, colleagues and critics, many of whom have never spoken out before. The film charts Sellers’s formative years backstage as part of his parents’ itinerant music hall revue group, his wartime service in India and Burma and his journey to global superstardom, where tales of his life backstage with the likes of Sophia Loren, Orson Welles and Alec Guinness were often more unbelievable than the roles they were playing out before the cameras. This is the story of the man who could play any role, apart from one – himself.
With contributions from family members, including second wife Britt Ekland and his daughters Sarah and Victoria, as well as former friends and girlfriends such as Sinead Cusack, Nanette Newman and Janette Scott, the film explores the life of Sellers with candour and affection. Colleagues like director Joe McGrath and actor Simon Williams recall tales of Sellers’s extravagant behaviour onset, and famous fans like Michael Palin, Steve Coogan and Hanif Kureishi reveal why they hold Sellers in such high esteem.
This is a film about family and how Sellers’s mercurial temperament has affected the generation that followed. His two surviving children Sarah and Victoria recall the challenges of growing up alongside his tempestuous mood swings, while his grandson Will explores the troubled legacy his grandfather left behind.
From a BBC.com article by Jessica Brown (April 6, 2020):
“The major findings were that higher intake of spicy foods is related to a lower risk of mortality, particularly deaths due to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases,” says researcher Lu Qi, professor of nutrition at Harvard’s school of public health.
Many researchers believe the health benefits of spices actually come from what we eat them with. For example, there’s a tendency to use them to replace salt, says Lipi Roy. “Spices make food delicious and flavourful, and they can be a healthier alternative to salt,” she says.
Spices have been a part of our diets for thousands of years – it’s second nature to sprinkle our chips with pepper, sip on ginger tea and add chillies to our meals. But recently, some spices have been unofficially promoted from everyday culinary staples to all-healing superfoods.
New research suggests that face masks may offer more protection against coronavirus infection than previously thought. It suggests that coughs and sneezes may be projected much further than scientists had thought possible. The World Health Organisation is considering whether to update its guidance on face masks and the White House may recommend that Americans wear them. Meanwhile in the UK hospitality companies are turning their skills to help those in need. And for the second week in a row, applause has rung out from members of the public showing gratitude to NHS staff and other workers helping to keep the country going. Sophie Raworth presents BBC News at Ten coverage from Science Editor David Shukman and Social Affairs Correspondent Alison Holt.