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Tag Archives: Nature.com

Ancient-genome studies grapple with Africa’s past

Chris Johns/NGC Genome analysis of ancient people from Africa reveals a complicated migration history for the human species. Ignored for too long by researchers, ancient humans who lived in Africa thousands of years ago are finally having their genomes studied. Two projects released results this week on the genomes of around 20 individuals, which together reveal that the history of ...

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Massive database of 182,000 leaves is helping predict plants' family trees

Ross Hoddinott/NaturePhotoLibrary Climate can influence the shape of plant leaves, such as these from a maple tree. The story of a plant is etched in its leaves. A tree growing in a cold environment with plenty of water is more likely to have large leaves with many serrated teeth around the edges. But if the same species lives in a ...

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Why planetary scientists want better fake space dirt

NASA An Apollo 15 astronaut collects a soil sample on the Moon in 1971. James Carpenter just needed some fake Moon dirt. Carpenter, a lunar-exploration expert at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, works on a drill designed to hunt for buried ice on the Moon. His team recently ordered half a tonne of powdery material to ...

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Don’t pay prizes for published science

Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg via Getty Many universities in China and elsewhere hand out research cash on the basis of academic publications. With great fanfare, Sichuan Agricultural University held a ceremony two weeks ago to announce that it was awarding a 13.5-million yuan prize (US$2 million) to a group of its researchers, for a publication in the journal Cell. The announcement triggered ...

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White House’s dwindling science office leaves major research programmes in limbo

NEWS 11 July 2017 Pared-back staff struggles to continue cybersecurity, climate-change and science-education efforts without direction from the Trump administration. Sara Reardon About Sara Reardon Search for this author in: US President Donald Trump has not yet named a science adviser, although he is reportedly considering candidates. Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters US President Donald Trump has pledged to shrink the federal ...

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Kill the myth of the miracle machine

At the end of June, the Republican-led US Congress put forth budget plans that ignored many of President Trump’s proposed cuts to science agencies. Why is this? Aren’t these the same Republicans who, according to many scientists, science advocates and Democratic politicians, have long been waging a war on science? The reason is that free-market Republicans and academic scientists share ...

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Let’s talk about sex robots

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty The relationships people develop with humanoid robots need further research. Enabling robots to read human behaviour and to respond in appropriate ways is a burgeoning area of research. As is the study of how humans will react to these potentially clever, personalized and ever-available companions. But there is another aspect of human–robot relationships that is rarely mentioned, and ...

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Tricks to mute quantum noise aid hunt for gravitational waves

DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy The GEO600 gravitational-wave detector in Hanover, Germany, tests technologies that are deployed in larger gravitational-wave observatories such as LIGO. Gravitational-wave observatories have some of the most sensitive detectors on the planet, which allows them to spot the faint ripples in space-time that pass through Earth from the collisions of massive black holes billions of light years away. ...

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Proposed US public-health chief is a champion for women and children

Branden Camp/AP/REX/Shutterstock New CDC head Brenda Fitzgerald has a different attitude to women’s health from the White House. Scientists have reason to be concerned over the proposed head of the US public-health agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brenda Fitzgerald, an obstetrician and gynaecologist who currently leads the Georgia Department of Public Health, has no background in ...

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Panda diplomats, smuggled relics and a nuclear-weapons treaty

Conservation | Policy | Events | People | Research | Trend watch | Facilities CONSERVATION Panda diplomats arrive in Germany Chinese President Xi Jinping presented two giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) to the Berlin Zoo on 5 July, and opened a new panda enclosure at the facility. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was present at the ceremony ahead of the G20 ...

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