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Robotics: A robot that flies like a bat

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Robotics: A robot that flies like a bat

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542140a

With articulated wings covered in a stretchy silicone, a 93-gram autonomous robot can mimic several of the complex aerial manoeuvres of bats.Bat wings contain more than 40 joints that allow for a variety of intricate moves through the air. Earlier bat-inspired robots have been

Categories: Literature

Genomics: Early farmers in Asia stayed local

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Genomics: Early farmers in Asia stayed local

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542140b

Many East Asians are closely related to people who lived in the same region nearly 8,000 years ago, suggesting that little human migration has occurred in the area since then.Agriculture emerged in East Asia more than 8,000 years ago, but it has not been

Categories: Literature

Astronomy: A leisurely way to visit the stars

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Astronomy: A leisurely way to visit the stars

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542140c

Plans to explore the nearest star system rely on light sails — reflective panels that are propelled by light. These craft travel so fast that they will have little time to explore their destination, but altering the way the sails are used could help.An

Categories: Literature

Evolution: Intrepid invaders adapt fast

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Evolution: Intrepid invaders adapt fast

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542140d

Rapid evolution of invasive animals could be allowing them to spread far and fast.Animals that are introduced into new habitats can invade and disrupt ecosystems. Brad Ochocki and Tom Miller at Rice University in Houston, Texas, studied how evolution can affect the distance and

Categories: Literature

Chemistry: The promise of 1D boron chains

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Chemistry: The promise of 1D boron chains

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542141a

One-dimensional boron is likely to have unusual properties that would make it useful for nanometre-scale electronics.Boron does not exist naturally in 1D form, but it may soon be possible to make it, thanks to recent developments in creating sophisticated structures from the element and

Categories: Literature

Biotechnology: Gene therapy restores hearing

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Biotechnology: Gene therapy restores hearing

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542141b

Delivering a functional gene to the ears of mice with a genetic hearing disorder allows them to detect sound.People with Usher syndrome type I have genetic mutations that cause deafness in childhood, progressive blindness and balance disorders. Gwenaëlle Géléoc at Boston Children's Hospital in

Categories: Literature

Ecology: Parrotfish loss drives reef decline

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Ecology: Parrotfish loss drives reef decline

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542141c

Fishing may have contributed to slowed Caribbean coral growth as far back as 1,000 years ago.Many Caribbean locations have seen coral declines and excessive algal growth in past decades, but reef fish such as parrotfish (pictured) can help by eating the algae.

Categories: Literature

Evolution: In selection, size isn't everything

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Evolution: In selection, size isn't everything

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542141d

The biology of snow voles seems to contradict scientists' assumption that natural selection favours big animal bodies over small ones. A study of the voles suggests that selection has favoured genetic changes that promote smaller body size.Larger snow voles (Chionomys nivalis; pictured

Categories: Literature

Mars’s frozen pole, Sweden’s climate plan and a stem-cell trial in Japan

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Mars’s frozen pole, Sweden’s climate plan and a stem-cell trial in Japan

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/542142a

The week in science: 3–9 February 2017.

Categories: Literature

LIGO’s underdog cousin ready to enhance gravitational-wave hunt

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

LIGO’s underdog cousin ready to enhance gravitational-wave hunt

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/542146a

Author: Davide Castelvecchi

It missed the historic discovery, but the Virgo lab in Italy is now primed to extend LIGO’s reach and precision.

Categories: Literature

Treaty to stop biopiracy threatens to delay flu vaccines

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Treaty to stop biopiracy threatens to delay flu vaccines

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/542148a

Author: Daniel Cressey

Industry and public-health experts concerned about ramifications of Nagoya Protocol.

Categories: Literature

Arctic 2.0: What happens after all the ice goes?

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Arctic 2.0: What happens after all the ice goes?

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/542152a

Author: Julia Rosen

Researchers look into the future of the far North for clues to save species and maybe even bring back sea ice.

Categories: Literature

Catch wave power in floating nets

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Catch wave power in floating nets

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542159a

Author: Zhong Lin Wang

Zhong Lin Wang proposes a radically different way to harvest renewable energy from the ocean using nanogenerator networks.

Categories: Literature

Sustainability: Growing pains

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Sustainability: Growing pains

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542162a

Author: Richard B. Norgaard

Richard B. Norgaard is troubled by the incrementalism of Jeffrey Sachs's modest new plan for the US economy.

Categories: Literature

Medical research: The vaccine chronicles

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Medical research: The vaccine chronicles

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542163a

Author: Ewen Callaway

Ewen Callaway extols a study on the creation of a cell line key to combating rubella.

Categories: Literature

Physics: A cosmos in the lab

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Physics: A cosmos in the lab

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542164a

Author: Andreas Albrecht

Andreas Albrecht ponders a study of the physicists who grapple with the origins of the Universe.

Categories: Literature

United States: Learn from Canada's dark age of science

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

United States: Learn from Canada's dark age of science

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542165a

Authors: Alana Westwood, Kathleen Walsh & Katie Gibbs

Canada has had its own dark ages of anti-science politics under the government of Stephen Harper (2006–15). We at Evidence for Democracy, who led the fight against that ideology, offer these lessons to US scientists in how to protect scientific integrity under US President Donald

Categories: Literature

Communication: Science censorship is a global issue

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Communication: Science censorship is a global issue

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542165b

Authors: Euan G. Ritchie, Don A. Driscoll & Martine Maron

President Donald Trump issued an order on 23 January to effectively gag US government scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture from communicating with the media and the public (see Nature542, 10–11; 10.1038/542010a2017). Regrettably,

Categories: Literature

Education: Restore evolution to Turkey's curriculum

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Education: Restore evolution to Turkey's curriculum

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542165c

Author: Cagatay Tavsanoglu

The Turkish government has announced its draft primary and secondary school curricula, which now contain no mention of evolution. Turkey's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society (see go.nature.com/2kgajpu) urges stakeholders, the Turkish public and the international scientific community to support reinstatement of evolution in the

Categories: Literature

Presentations: Keynote speakers must try harder

Nature - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 01:00

Presentations: Keynote speakers must try harder

Nature 542, 7640 (2017). doi:10.1038/542165d

Author: Judy Ford

We can all recall invited speakers who give inspiring and well-prepared presentations, taking their listeners on a journey that is informative, thought-provoking and often entertaining. However, too many keynote speakers deliver nothing arresting — witness the swathes of audiences whose electronic devices evidently exert a

Categories: Literature

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