1) Press freedom is hanging by a thread in Egypt

The sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists for terrorism and false reporting, in a trial widely seen as politicized, has prompted global condemnation. The verdict is in keeping with the Egyptian military's erosion of basic freedoms in the year since the overthrow of the former president Mohamed Morsi, which was followed by the re-criminalisation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

2) Cosmic inflation may not be proven just yet

When it was revealed in March that physicists at Harvard had found solid evidence for "cosmic inflation", a theory which holds that the universe underwent a period of rapid expansion soon after it came into existence, the discovery was hailed as one of the most significant of recent years, and a nailed-on bet for a Nobel Prize.

However, after criticism from rival groups, it appears the Harvard team are not as confident in their discovery as previously thought. They published their findings in a peer-reviewed journal this week and, while the team still stand by their work, they write that they accept that there are some significant questions that remain outstanding.

3) In Malaysia, it is illegal for a Christian newspaper to use the word "Allah"

Since 2008, the Catholic Church in Malaysia has fought for the legal right of its newspaper, the Herald, to refer to the Christian god as "Allah" in the Malay language, after a court ruled that the word should be reserved only for Muslims referring to God within Islam. On Monday a 4-3 majority in the Court of Appeal backed a judicial ruling from last year which held that "the usage of the name 'Allah' isn't an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity".

While the Malaysian government has indicated that the ruling only applies to the Herald newspaper, the Church has said it will be seeking clarification on whether Christians can use the word in other contexts.

4) The First World War is still worth fighting over

He was only joking, of course, but a martial challenge from Lord Mills, former First Lord of the Admiralty, to the education secretary Michael Gove caught the eye during a debate on the First World War in the House of Lords this week. Mills is unhappy with the suggestion that left-wingers have been "unpatriotic" in their attitude to the conflict, and he offered to settle the issue with Gove "inside or outside a boxing ring". The challenge came amid what was actually a fascinating and moving debate on the war, in which peers exchanged views on how the event should be commemorated.

5) Berlin may soon have a multi-faith church

A group of Christians, Muslims and Jews in Berlin have launched a crowdfunding initiative with the aim of raising €43.5 to build a multi-faith worship building, the "House of One", which would feature a church, a synagogue and a mosque all under one roof.

The project has already raised €18,700 (the aim is to reach the full target by 2016), but not everyone has been supportive. There have been reservations expressed by members of all three religious communities, and the choice of the controversial exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen as honorary chairman of the project has raised eyebrows.

6) You could eventually be taking trips into the high atmosphere

Arizona company World View Enterprises this week completed the first test flight of a balloon that it hopes could soon transport paying customers to an altitude of 20 miles - high enough to see the curve of the earth. The balloon uses similar technology to the one that carried Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner to a record-breaking 24 miles in 2012, and the company hopes it could be carrying tourists into the high atmosphere by 2016.

But if the thought of seeing the earth from that height takes your fancy, be warned – tickets are expected to cost $75,000 per person.

7) Vampire bats can't taste bitter flavours

Scientists studying taste receptors in animals have found evidence that the blood-only diet of vampire bats may affect their ability to sense bitter flavours. The ability to taste bitter flavours is thought to be essential to many animals, as it acts as a defence against consuming poisonous foods. However, biologists at China's Wuhan University found that vampire bats have low numbers of functioning bitter taste receptor genes, which may relate to the fact that their blood-only diet means they do not run the risk of ingesting poisonous food.

8) The home front is considered a key part of counterinsurgency strategy

While it is common knowledge that the "home front" was considered vital to the British war effort during the two world wars, what is perhaps less well known is that the morale of the British public has played a key role in the thinking of military strategists in fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade.

In a piece from the current issue of New Humanist, the sociologist Vron Ware discusses how the home front has been seen as integral to succeeding in recent conflicts, so much so that the former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks was once taken to Afghanistan to be shown the role journalists could play in supporting counterinsurgency strategy.

9) Ann Coulter really hates football

The US right-wing commentator Ann Coulter is well-known for her screeds against liberalism and godlessness in modern America, viewing them as engines of her nation's spiritual decline, but now she has a new enemy – soccer.

Ahead of Team USA's final World Cup group stage match against Germany, Coulter published a blog post railing against the not-so-beautiful game, arguing that "any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay". It is vital, writes Coulter, that Americans do not succumb to World Cup fever, and she offers a list of nine reasons why this is so, ranging from a dislike of 0-0 draws to the fact football is watched by the French who, incidentally, invented the metric system "during the brief intervals when they weren't committing mass murder by guillotine".