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In the past 30 years, food allergies have become increasingly common in the United States. Changes to human genetics can’t explain the sudden rise. That is because it takes many generations for changes to spread that widely within a population. Perhaps the explanation lies in changes to our environment, particularly our internal environment. 

Shifting lifestyle practices over the last half-century – increasing antibiotic and antimicrobial use, surface sterilization, air filtration and changes to diet – have changed our internal environment and wiped out important bacteria with beneficial health effects.

Have your friends recently begun obsessively folding their t-shirts, or explaining how they have got rid of a book that no longer “brings them joy”? If so, they’ve probably been caught up in the new craze from lifestyle guru and “tidying consultant” Marie Kondo.

Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and her new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, describe the “KonMari” method. This is a series of simple ways of reorganizing your home to get rid of clutter and mess. According to the author, following her method will not only lead to a cleaner, more organized household, but also to a more positive and happy lifestyle overall.

Two things struck me while watching Andy Murray’s press conference from the Australian Open, in which he announced his intention to retire. He spoke about the pain he had lived with “over the past 20 months or so”, and how he had planned to continue until Wimbledon this summer but was no longer sure he could. Then there was a long pause, that lump in the throat, before he was able to utter the words “stop playing”.

As the new Congress begins, it will soon discuss the comprehensive reports to the U.S. Senate on the disinformation campaign of half-truths, outright fabrications and misleading posts made by agents of the Russian government on social media in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Gol-e-Zard Cave lies in the shadow of Mount Damavand, which at more than 5,000 metres dominates the landscape of northern Iran. In this cave, stalagmites and stalactites are growing slowly over millennia and preserve in them clues about past climate events. Changes in stalagmite chemistry from this cave have now linked the collapse of the Akkadian Empire to climate changes more than 4,000 years ago.