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Tag Archives: Nature.com

US Republican idea for tax on carbon makes climate sense

Walter/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 A carbon tax would increase the cost of energy from power stations that run on coal. A group of senior US Republicans has proposed an entirely sensible climate policy: put a substantial and steadily rising tax on carbon, and then send the proceeds back to citizens to offset the economic pain of higher energy prices. It is ...

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Shout about the European Union’s success

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, I received a text message from a friend and colleague at the University of Oxford: “From one proud European to another; I feel sadness in every cell in my whole body on this nightmare day. I am shocked and devastated. But I hope science and friendships will find a way ...

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Transportation: Superconductors drive trains

The first test of a commercial electric train using superconducting cables suggests that the technology could help a typical urban rail network to save an average of 5% in energy. Most electric railways in urban centres suffer from voltage drops because of power losses as electricity is transmitted along the line. To reduce these losses, Masaru Tomita and his colleagues ...

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Materials: Hybrid film cools in the Sun

A material can cool surfaces by dissipating heat to outer space as infrared radiation, even when the Sun is at its peak. Similar materials developed previously worked only at night, or were not cost-effective enough to make on a large scale. Xiaobo Yin and Ronggui Yang at the University of Colorado Boulder and their colleagues made a film by embedding ...

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Ecology: Toxic build-up in deep-sea life

High levels of industrial pollution have been found in animals living in the deepest reaches of the Pacific Ocean. The production of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) — toxic, non-biodegradable pollutants — was phased out in the 1970s. Alan Jamieson, now at Newcastle University, UK, and his colleagues captured amphipods, a type of crustacean, at depths of ...

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Conservation: Penguins caught in ecological trap

Getty Endangered African penguins are at risk from overfishing and climate change, which have reduced stocks of prey fish in their juvenile feeding grounds. Richard Sherley and Stephen Votier at the University of Exeter, UK, and their colleagues used satellites to track 54 juvenile African penguins (Spheniscus demersus; pictured) over a three-year period as the birds migrated in search of ...

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Chemistry: Helium succumbs to pressure

Helium is a famously inert element, but researchers have made a stable compound from helium and sodium. Artem Oganov at Stony Brook University in New York and his colleagues used an algorithm to look for potentially stable helium compounds and predicted that Na2He could be made. They demonstrated this experimentally by subjecting thin pieces of sodium and helium gas to ...

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Steps to help Turkey build a future on research

Umit Bektas/Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo Police at Ankara University in Turkey broke up protests against the dismissal of academics. The temperatures in Istanbulare wintry, yet it is officially summer time. The Turkish government last year shifted the clocks to a permanent summer mode, aligning the country with Moscow time and forcing the majority of its citizens to live out of sync ...

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The dark side of social media

Some scientists peer into active volcanoes and try to read rocks. Others sift signals from space or analyse how animals behave. And then there are the cyber-ethnographers, who dedicate their careers to studying the way that people behave online. Some of these digital researchers must surely envy the ‘peaceful’ life of a volcanologist, for, as geologists like to say, one ...

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Microbiology: Gut bacteria boost bee immunity

iStock/Getty Gut microbes are important for digestion and immunity in humans — and may also be beneficial to bees. Waldan Kwong at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and his colleagues hand-reared larvae of the honeybee (Apis mellifera; pictured) in the laboratory. They allowed some bees to develop without gut bacteria, and inoculated others with bacteria found in nest-mates’ stomachs. ...

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