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Tag Archives: Nature.com

Neuroscience: Super memory skills gained

With the right training, people can improve their memory almost to the level of the world’s top-ranked memory athletes — and the effect can be seen in brain scans. Memory athletes worldwide compete to memorize hundreds of words or other information in minutes. Martin Dresler at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and his colleagues used functional magnetic ...

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Oceanography: Climate putting stress on oceans

Nearly all of the world’s oceans are already affected by climate change. Stephanie Henson at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, and her colleagues used climate models to analyse trends in sea-surface temperature, pH, oxygen levels and primary production (a measure of food availability for marine ecosystems) between 1860 and 2005, and to predict changes until 2100. They found ...

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How dare you call us diplomats

I never considered myself a diplomat, so it came as a surprise to be labelled as one last month by the Spanish government. Officially, Spanish emigrant scientists like me, forced to leave Spain because of the dire circumstances surrounding research at home, did not previously exist. We were told we were an ‘urban legend’. Now, I learn, not only am ...

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No time to chop funding for a pivotal climate programme

Richard Vevers/XL Catlin Seaview Survey/The Ocean Agency Coral reefs are threatened by warming oceans. The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) likes to think ahead. Even its fast-track initiative on near-term climate prediction talks in terms of decades — as does much of the science of climate change. To iron out seasonal variation and say something sensible about future events needs ...

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Cancer immunotherapy: Drug success factor found

The success of a cancer therapy that unleashes immune cells on tumours depends on the cells producing a protein called CD28. The molecule could serve as a biomarker for selecting individuals who are likely to respond to certain immunotherapies. Drugs that inhibit a protein called PD-1 can boost the proliferation of immune cells called T cells and their anti-cancer activity, ...

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Climate change: Warming poses risk to US farming

Agricultural productivity in the United States could return to pre-1980s levels by 2050 as a result of climate change. Farming in the United States, the world’s largest food producer, has grown steadily more efficient since the 1950s, thanks mainly to technological improvements. Xin-Zhong Liang at the University of Maryland in College Park and his colleagues studied the effects of regional ...

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Evolution: Ancient sea-star lenses found

Tiny lenses that could have allowed sea stars and brittle stars to respond to light may have evolved at least 57 million years earlier than previously thought. Some sea and brittle stars living today have an array of lenses on their skeletons that are thought to be sensitive to light. Przemysław Gorzelak at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, ...

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Materials: Bone-like steel stops cracks

Steel that mimics the structure of bone is resistant to cracking — a property that could be exploited to produce safer cars, aeroplanes and power plants. Getty Conventional sheet metals are prone to failure when exposed to repeated stress, because cracks, once formed, easily spread. Inspired by the fracture resistance of bone, Motomichi Koyama of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, ...

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Not just dwingey chimbles: dialects are alive and kicking

Stephen Finn/Alamy Stock Photo Dialect shows how English is a living language. If you’re shilpit, you’ll be able to shuck on your dead ronking kecks as far as your oxters. It could be war nor worse to be idle as Ludlum’s dog, but playing acky 1-2-3 would have you jiffling in your gansey. No, this isn’t an excerpt from an ...

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Announcement: Transparency upgrade for Nature journals

CERN/SPL Laser physics is being targeted for better reporting of experiments. In 2013, this journal and many of the Nature research journals announced initiatives aimed at “reducing our irreproducibility” (Nature 496, 398; 2013). These included a life-sciences checklist for authors and editors intended to improve the transparency of the statistical and methodological aspects of laboratory work, together with abolition of ...

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