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A condolence message and candles for the victims of a stampede during a Jewish ultra-Orthodox mass pilgrimage to Mount Meron, projected on a wall of Jerusalem’s Old City. Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

Lag BaOmer pilgrimage brings Orthodox Jews closer to eternity – I experienced this spiritual bonding in years before the tragedy

The Lag BaOmer pilgrimage, in which 45 people died recently, takes place each year to what is believed to be the gravesite of the second-century Talmudic sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson on the International Space Station with a view many more are likely to see soon. NASA/Tracy Caldwell Dyson/WIkimediaCommons

Space tourism is here – 20 years after the first stellar tourist, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to send civilians to space

The first space tourist left Earth 20 years ago aboard a Russian rocket. Now, private companies like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin are offering trips to the stars for those who can pay.
The US has agreed to ‘free the vaccine’, but will it work? Allison Bailey / Alamy Stock Photo

US-backed vaccine patent waiver: pros and cons explained

It's not clear whether the TRIPS agreement is what's getting in the way of vaccine supply, and waiving intellectual property rights may stifle future innovation.
A rally at the Alabama Statehouse on March 30, 2021, to draw attention to and protest anti-transgender legislation introduced in Alabama. Julie Bennett/Getty Images

Anti-transgender bills are latest version of conservatives’ longtime strategy to rally their base

A civil rights scholar looks at the large number of anti-transgender policies being debated and passed in state capitols. They are a staple issue for conservatives who want to rally their base.
Today the shoreline of Lake Malawi is open, not forested the way it was before ancient humans started modifying the landscape. Jessica Thompson

Early humans used fire to permanently change the landscape tens of thousands of years ago in Stone Age Africa

Combining evidence from archaeology, geochronology and paleoenvironmental science, researchers identified how ancient humans by Lake Malawi were the first to substantially modify their environment.
Sequencing the whole genome of patient virus samples lets scientists watch for new variants. Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

Where coronavirus variants emerge, surges follow – new research suggests how genomic surveillance can be an early warning system

By merging genomics with classical epidemiology, researchers are able to predict new disease outbreaks based on which viral variants are on the rise.

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