Barometer

Which Covid vaccine is really the most effective?

27 February 2021 9:00 am

State of the art Graffiti on Edvard Munch’s first version of ‘The Scream’ was revealed to be the work of…

Do gender studies departments have a gender problem?

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Target practice The government hit its target of giving a first Covid vaccine to 15 million of the most vulnerable…

How often do tempers flare at parish meetings?

13 February 2021 9:00 am

Temper, temper A Zoom video of a disruptive parish council meeting in Handforth, Cheshire, went viral. It is not the…

What were the GameStop investors actually buying?

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Best before The government plans to introduce labels on domestic appliances informing consumers how long they are likely to last.…

Are we returning to ‘normalcy’ or ‘normality’?

30 January 2021 9:00 am

New normal Why have so many people started saying ‘normalcy’ rather than ‘normality’? — Normalcy has been traced back to…

Are there any mountains left unclimbed?

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Bad service Economic growth fell by 2.6% in November, the month of the second lockdown, compared with falls of 7.3%…

How close have protestors got to entering parliament?

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Parliamentary objections The US Capitol was raided by Donald Trump supporters trying to prevent the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election…

How quickly could we vaccinate the entire country?

9 January 2021 9:00 am

A ferry tale Gerry Marsden, who died aged 78, was credited with making the ferry across the River Mersey world-famous.…

Do divorces really increase after Christmas?

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Now and then Were households allowed to mix at Christmas during the plague? Samuel Pepys’s diary entry for 25 December…

Is any song more lucrative than ‘Happy Birthday’?

12 December 2020 9:00 am

Last orders The new tier restrictions have made life difficult for pubs. How many are closed? — According to the…

What are the best pandemic board games?

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Dangerous games Sage scientists advised against playing board games at Christmas. Some games to consider if you are feeling subversive:Pandemic…

Which countries are most sceptical about vaccines?

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Gloss over Should we be worried that the head of research into respiratory drugs at AstraZeneca is called Dr Pangalos,…

What does it mean to be ‘fit as a butcher’s dog’?

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Boris and the butcher’s dog Who first coined the phrase ‘as fit as a butcher’s dog’? It has been traced…

Open and shut case: how did lockdown affect shops?

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Shot in the arm Global stock markets reached a new high after pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced a vaccine it is…

Who came up with ‘lockdown’?

7 November 2020 9:00 am

The start of lockdown The earliest known use of ‘lockdown’ in its current sense was in a 1973 story in…

Where is there water in the solar system?

31 October 2020 9:00 am

The Moon under water Nasa scientists using spectrometers claim to have found good evidence of water on the surface of…

How many school teachers are male?

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Special Offa A regulation passed by the Welsh government to prevent people travelling from Covid hotspots in England has brought…

Mind the gap: how wide is the North-South divide?

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Red light, green light The three tiers of Covid restrictions have been described as a ‘traffic light’ system. — The…

What happens when a US president dies?

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Vice squad Donald Trump catching Covid-19 has concentrated minds on what happens if a US president dies in office. Normally,…

Who started America’s presidential debates?

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Word for word US presidential debates are often traced back to the first televised debate, between Richard Nixon and John…

Whose bright idea was the circuit-breaker?

26 September 2020 9:00 am

It’s electrifying! Who invented the circuit-breaker? Thomas Edison patented it in 1879, realising what damage could be caused to electrical…

Who will have more informants: the Stasi or Covid marshals?

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Information overload The government’s plan to put ‘Covid wardens’ on the streets to enforce the new rule against more than…

How important is coffee to Britain?

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Lyrical errors ‘Rule, Britannia!’ begins with the lines: ‘When Britain first, at heaven’s command/Arose from out the azure main.’ —…

Who first committed ‘cultural appropriation’?

5 September 2020 9:00 am

Culture clashes The pop star Adele was accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ for adopting a Jamaican hairstyle for the online Notting…

The BBC tradition of trying to remove patriotic songs from Last Night

29 August 2020 9:00 am

About Last Night It was suggested that the BBC might ‘decolonise’ the Last Night of the Proms by removing ‘Rule,…