Category: Travels

Molecular biology via epigenetics in space: the cosmonaut’s genes

After a year in space, the genes of U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly have changed, NASA reports. Dirk Schubeler explains why.

Suddenly seven percent different from his twin: US astronaut Scott Kelly Photo: dpa

site: Mr. Schubeler, after a year on the International Space Station, the genes of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly have changed by seven percent compared to those of his identical twin brother on Earth. Why does life in space change our genes?

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Commentary freedom of the press: shaken republic

In Germany, people like to debate their finer points. Erdogan’s terror against press freedom, however, shatters the cozy routine here as well.

They don’t want to keep quiet yet: A "coup against the opposition," headlines Cumhuriyet after the arrests Photo: dpa

In Germany, we like to talk about freedom of the press. It is discussed at symposia and in editorials. Whether it is not affected when authorities stonewall. Whether it is endangered when fewer and fewer researchers are confronted with more and more PR people. Whether it is not shaken, the freedom of the press, if a part of the public denies the credibility of the media across the board. Important questions. But in the end, we have no idea what freedom of the press really means.

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Refuge hotel: quarantine de luxe

The literary visit still ennobles any accommodation. A lush coffee table book about writers* and literature in the hotel.

A place of creativity and crash: The Chelsea Hotel in New York in a historical photograph Photo: getty images

Lockdown. Winter. Cold. Gray. And it’s all happening at home. The need of many writers to live and write in a hotel for a while has never been more self-explanatory. To escape from everyday life with its demands, its narrowness. To trade their impositions for a secure solitude, preferably in a luxury hotel, of course, if they can afford it. Quarantine de luxe: to think, to write, to be alone.

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Tourism minister on egypt: “egypt is not cairo”.

Hisham Sasou, Egypt’s tourism minister, wants to bring vacationers back to Egypt. Security has been restored, he says.

Hotels and beaches remain empty on the Red Sea. Picture: reuters

sonnsite: Mr. Sasou, since the Egyptian military deposed Mohammed Mursi on July 3, virtually no tourists have come to Egypt. Does this remind you of the tourism slump after the revolution in 2011?

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Column navigation aid: a visit to the butterfly lady

Costa Rica is often considered a paradise for conservation. But when you drive through the endless pineapple plantations, this image takes on deep cracks.

As far as the eye can see: pineapple plants Photo: imago/Xinhua

Not one tree," said the nice guide in the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, "is allowed to be cut down here." Only fallen wood may be used, he said; and he goes on to tell all sorts of other things about conservation while unsuccessfully trying to get the Austrian woman traveling alone in our group to go on a date. We are in Costa Rica, the favorite of many eco-tourists, with perfectly good reasons: About a quarter of the country’s land area is protected, the country meets its electricity needs almost entirely from renewable sources, and thanks to laws like the 1996 Ley Forestal, public natural forests may not be used for timber production in any form.

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Series: what’s next, germans (11): “we are assholes by birth”.

Milo Rau hosts the "World Parliament" in Berlin. A conversation about global justice and exploitative capitalism.

"In the cosmos of characters, there’s one more now: the refugee. I predict that one will still be there in twenty or fifty years. That’s not a fashion" – Milo Rau Photo: Anja Weber

Milo Rau is standing in the wings of his new play "Lenin" which premiered at the Berlin Schaubuhne in October. It is set in Lenin’s dacha outside Moscow. Rau had the country house built as a revolving stage. Now he pushes the button and Lenin’s deathbed turns around.

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Time off for commander-in-chief: kramp-karrenbauer sworn in

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was sworn in as defense minister in a special session of the Bundestag. Military spending is to increase.

Kramp-Karrenbauer during her first speech as defense minister Photo: dpa

The actual act was quickly completed. Punctually at 12 noon, Wolfgang Schauble opened the special session of the Bundestag on Wednesday. After a few whimsical words of welcome, the Bundestag president administered the one-and-a-half sentence oath of office to new Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at 12:03. Then followed a few nice farewell sentences to her predecessor Ursula von der Leyen. At 12:05 p.m., Schauble closed the agenda item. That was the end of the formalities of democracy.

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