The new-look Shoreditchified EastEnders: script preview

A sneak preview of the new, more realistic EastEnders scripts, as seen by Tom Chivers.

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La Brana man: there’s a lot to learn from old blue eyes

The cave-man from 7,000 years ago is not so different from the city-dwellers of today Seven thousand years ago, in what is now north-west Spain, there lived a strange-looking man. Strange, at least, by modern standards: though dark-skinned and swarthy, with black or dark brown hair, he had jarringly blue eyes. La Brana 1, as this…

Hilary Mantel and the art of missing the point

Around this time last year, Hilary Mantel infuriated a certain kind of tabloid newspaper and a certain kind of tabloid-pandering prime minister by saying some things about the Duchess of Cambridge. Her long, subtle speech was clearly a comment on the media coverage of our young queen-to-be – that the real person is imprisoned in…

Is there such a thing as a ‘Muslim child’?

The Times reported at the weekend that the “Muslim birthrate” is significantly higher than the British average, and that “Almost a tenth of babies and toddlers in England and Wales are Muslim.” Richard Dawkins then wrote a letter to the newspaper, saying that “Babies and toddlers are too young to know what they think about…

Kew’s ‘codebreaker’ mourns his lily

Carlos Magdalena ‘has done things no one else can do’ but a thief has put at risk his work to save a tiny, rare plant. Tom Chivers reports In a little warm puddle in rural Rwanda, a tiny flower used to grow; a water lily, barely half an inch across. It was discovered in 1985…

Printing new lives: how 3D printing could change the developing world

Technology gets a bad rap, too often. Twitter is reducing our attention spans, computer games are making us violent, texting is ruining our ability to spell, Facebook is turning us all into sociopaths or something. Generally speaking, the people complaining about this are doing so by typing it into their fantastically useful multipurpose computing tools,…

UK weather: it’s just a storm, not global warming

Every time the weather does something, somewhere, we break out into the same argument, about what it means for the climate change debate. Cold weather in the US, hurricanes in the Philippines, droughts and heatwaves in Australia, and, of course, drenching storms in Britain: is it caused by (or does it disprove) anthropogenic climate change?…