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  • The Know Daily - Wednesday 13 March 2024

The Know Daily - Wednesday 13 March 2024

🔍 Why Googling symptoms could prove useful, vandalism at historic sites increases + Post Office scandal victims exonerated.

Read in 5m 16s Listening to Daphni 

🏰 Vandalism is increasing at historic sites across England

🔍 Why Googling symptoms could prove useful

📮 A new law clearing the names of sub-postmasters

A not-for-profit restaurant in Gloucestershire is offering diners a unique “pay as you can” system to ensure that anyone can enjoy a tasty meal, regardless of their financial situation. Over the past year, The Long Table in Stroud has served nearly 20,000 people at below-cost price - and often for free - rescuing around 3.4 tonnes of food otherwise “destined for the bin” at the same time. 

🏰 Vandalism at historic sites

Vandalism is on the rise at historic sites across England, according to a report published today.

What did the report find?
The report by Historic England and the National Police Chiefs' Council highlighted a “diverse” number of incidents, looking at the period between February 2020 and February 2023. These included the theft of stone slabs from a 200-year-old bridge in Yorkshire, graffiti on historic city walls in Chester and “high value burglaries” targeting cultural objects.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said such incidents "rob us all of our collective past".
What’s behind these incidents?
The report identified the cost of living crisis as a contributing factor. Thefts of historic materials such as lead from church roofs increased by 41% during Covid lockdowns, carried out by both “opportunistic offenders” and organised crime groups, reported BBC News.

According to the report, such incidents are likely to increase as inflation “continues to impact on the price of commodities”.

What does the report recommend?
Historic England has called on police forces to introduce “appropriate police systems” for tracking heritage crime. A spokesperson told The Guardian that the report’s findings would help them to develop “the new tactics and technologies” needed to prevent such incidents in the future.


In the 1800s, photographers encouraged their subjects to say the name of which dried fruit in order to get the best possible picture? (This is before the days of “say cheese”!).

A) Apricots
B) Dates
C) Prunes

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🔍 Symptom searching

Although we’re often told not to Google our symptoms, a new study has found that online search data could help identify ovarian cancer cases months before GP referrals.

What did the study find?
Researchers from Imperial College London looked at Google search data from 235 women over an 18-month period, and found that many of them were looking up symptoms such as weight loss and bladder problems as early as 360 days before being referred to a specialist for suspected cancer.

Using the data, researchers were also able to identify “different symptom patterns” between those who did and did not have cancer.

Why does this matter?
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the UK, noted The Independent - but there is currently no screening programme in place for early detection. As the paper explained, this led scientists to “think outside the box” and look to Google search data as a way to catch cases earlier. 

Study lead author Dr Jennifer Barcroft said the results showed the “enormous potential” of online search data to help in health and disease screening, particularly given the “widespread use” of the internet. Researchers hope that larger studies could confirm whether search engine data can be used to help speed up diagnosis of diseases such as ovarian cancer.

What’s the bigger picture?
Scientists worldwide are looking at how online search data could be used to monitor and detect illnesses. For example, a 2023 study by the University of Waterloo in Canada found that search engine queries and social media data were able to accurately predict where COVID-19 cases would spike.

📮 Convictions quashed: A new law will be introduced today to clear the names of hundreds of sub-postmasters wrongly convicted in the Post Office Horizon IT scandal.

🇬🇧 UK politics: Rishi Sunak has described comments allegedly made by a Conservative donor about MP Diane Abbott as “racist and wrong”, after politicians put pressure on the PM to intervene. 

🇺🇸 US politics: It’s official - Joe Biden and Donald Trump are set for a presidential rematch in November’s election. Reuters looks at why so many voters are “unenthusiastic” at the prospect.

👏 Startup representation: Following a campaign by female founders, the UK Treasury has reversed a rule change that would have seen fewer women able to angel invest in startups.

🕵️ Mystery monolith: A steel statue “shaped like a giant Toblerone” suddenly appeared on top of a Welsh hill this weekend. We don’t know how it got there - but there have been other similar sightings around the world…

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Recommended by Effie, who can’t think of anything more zen than looking out onto Dartmoor’s rolling hills from a spa bath…


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Trivia answer: C) Britain’s first portrait photographer reportedly asked his subjects to “say prunes” in order to make their mouths look “as small and refined as possible”. 

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