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Nature Podcast podcast

Nature Podcast

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and providing in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and providing in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.

 

#585

Coronapod: the COVID scientists facing violent threats

Hundreds of scientists have responded to a survey asking about harassment and abuse during the pandemic. The results paint a picture which is as concerning as it is shocking. In this episode ofCoronapodwe discuss the kinds of abuse scientists are facing, try to pick apart where it is comes from and ask what can be done about it? News Feature: [‘I hope you die’: how the COVID pandemic unleashed attacks on scientists] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02741-x) Careers feature: [Real-life stories of online harassment — and how scientists got through it] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07046-0) [Survey data table] (https://media.nature.com/original/magazine-assets/d41586-021-02741-x/19756934)  [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing?utm_source=coronapod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

18 Oct 2021

17 MINS

17:15

18 Oct 2021


#584

How electric acupuncture zaps inflammation in mice

The neurons behind acupuncture’s effect on inflammation, and how antibiotics affect gut bacteria. In this episode: 00:54 The neuronal basis for acupuncture’s effect on inflammation In mice, electroacupuncture has been shown to reduce inflammation, but only when certain points on the body are stimulated. Why this is has puzzled scientists, but now, researchers have identified the specific neurons that are involved. They hope that this knowledge could be used in future to help treat certain inflammatory-related diseases. Research article: [Liu et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04001-4?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News and Views: [Electroacupuncture activates neurons to switch off inflammation] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02714-0?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 07:28 Research Highlights The Aztec origins of an obsidian ‘spirit mirror’, and the damage done by a Soviet plutonium complex. Research Highlight: [A ‘spirit mirror’ used in Elizabeth I’s court had Aztec roots] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02701-5?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [Cold-war spy pictures reveal a Soviet nuclear ‘cloud generator’] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02756-4?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 10:18 Assessing antibiotics’ collateral damage. Antibiotics are known to cause damage to the communities of bacteria that live in our guts. To better understand why this happens, a team has mapped the effects that different antibiotics have on individual gut-bacteria species, which may offer new insights into preventing this collateral damage. Research article: [Maier et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03986-2?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 17:32 Briefing Chat We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the latest species to be declared extinct in the US, and a potential planet that orbits three stars. New York Times: [Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions] (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/28/climate/endangered-animals-extinct.html?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) New York Times: [This May Be the First Planet Found Orbiting 3 Stars at Once] (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/28/science/triple-sun-planet.html?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

13 Oct 2021

25 MINS

25:37

13 Oct 2021


#583

Coronapod: new data affirms the benefits of air filters and masks

New data suggests that inexpensive, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can effectively scrub SARS-CoV-2 particles from the air in hospital COVID wards. The result validates previous studies carried out in controlled conditions. Currently, HEPA filters are not routinely used in hospital settings, but researchers suggest they could could help mitigate the risk of tramission of airborne viruses. In addition a new study has demonstrated the effectiveness of mask wearing, with surgical masks proving more effective than those made of cloth. The trial, which involved 350,000 participants in Bangladesh, is the latest in a long line of studies demonstrating mask efficacy - but this is the first randomised control trial of its kind. We ask if this gold-standard trial will prove to be the final word on the effectiveness of masks. News: [Real-world data show that filters clean COVID-causing virus from air] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02669-2) News: [Face masks for COVID pass their largest test yet] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02457-y) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing?utm_source=coronapod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

10 Oct 2021

10 MINS

10:30

10 Oct 2021


#582

The AI that accurately predicts the chances of rain

AI weather forecasters, mapping the human brain and the 2021 science Nobel prizes. In this episode: 00:52 Improving the accuracy of weather forecasts with AI Short-term rain predictions are a significant challenge for meteorologists. Now, a team of researchers have come up with an artificial-intelligence based system that weather forecasters preferred to other prediction methods. Research article: [Ravuri et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03854-z?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 08:02 Research Highlights The vaping robot that could help explain why some e-cigarettes damage lungs, and the sea-slugs that steal chloroplasts to boost egg production. Research Highlight: [This robot vapes for science] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02679-0?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [Solar-powered slugs have a bright reproductive future] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02631-2?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 10:29 A map of the motor cortex A group of researchers are undertaking an enormous task: to make a cellular atlas of the entire brain. This week, they publish a suite of papers that has accomplished this feat for one part of the brain — the motor cortex. Research Article: [BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03950-0?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News and Views: [A census of cell types in the brain’s motor cortex] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02493-8?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Editorial: [Neuroscientists make strides towards deciphering the human brain] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02660-x?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 17:58 Nobel News Flora Graham from the Nature Briefing joins us to talk about the winners of this year’s science Nobels. News: [Medicine Nobel goes to scientists who discovered biology of senses] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01283-6?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News: [Climate modellers and theorist of complex systems share physics Nobel] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02703-3?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News: [‘Elegant’ catalysts that tell left from right scoop chemistry Nobel] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02704-2?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

06 Oct 2021

26 MINS

26:17

06 Oct 2021


#581

Starting up in science: behind the scenes

Starting up in science: behind the scenes In this bonus episode, the four Nature reporters behind Starting up in science discuss how the project came about, what it was like to follow two scientists for three years, and what the series has achieved. &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Sep 2021

23 MINS

23:40

29 Sep 2021


#580

Starting up in science: Episode 4

Episode 4 Ali interviews for a critical grant. While she is waiting for the result, the pandemic throws their labs into chaos. Then comes a personal crisis. [Read a written version of Starting up in science] (https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-021-02563-x/index.html?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Sep 2021

18 MINS

18:14

29 Sep 2021


#579

Starting up in science: Episode 3

Episode 3 As newly-minted principal investigators, Ali and Dan have grand plans for their research – but science is slow, especially when other demands loom large: hiring staff, mentoring and teaching students and, of course, the race to secure funding. [Read a written version of Starting up in science] (https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-021-02563-x/index.html?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Sep 2021

12 MINS

12:50

29 Sep 2021


#578

Starting up in science: Episode 2

Episode 2 Ali and Dan have landed positions as the heads of their very own labs. But how did they get to the starting line? Every scientist’s journey is different, and in this episode we hear Ali and Dan’s, which covers years, thousands of miles, and some very difficult decisions. [Read a written version of Starting up in science] (https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-021-02563-x/index.html?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes)  &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Sep 2021

12 MINS

12:42

29 Sep 2021


#577

Starting up in science: Episode 1

Every year, thousands of scientists struggle to launch their own labs. For three years, a reporting team from Nature documented the lives of married couple Alison Twelvetrees and Daniel Bose as they worked to get their fledgling research groups off the ground. Frustrations over funding, a global pandemic, and a personal trauma have made this journey anything but simple for Ali and Dan. Listen to their story in Starting up in science. Episode 1 What does it take to start up in science? Meet two biologists fighting the odds to build their careers and break new ground. But their first priority is getting grants – without them, their labs might not stay afloat. [Read a written version of Starting up in science] (https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-021-02563-x/index.html?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Sep 2021

10 MINS

10:45

29 Sep 2021


#576

Audio long-read: Can artificially altered clouds save the Great Barrier Reef?

Australian scientists are developing new technologies to help protect coral from climate change. Earlier this year, a team of researchers used a mist-machine to artificially brighten clouds in order to block sunlight above Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The project is the world’s first field trial of marine cloud brightening and is among a number of techniques and technologies being developed to save the country’s reefs from the worst effects of climate change. This is an audio version of our feature: [Can artificially altered clouds save the Great Barrier Reef?] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02290-3?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

27 Sep 2021

15 MINS

15:39

27 Sep 2021


#575

Coronapod: solving the COVID vaccine manufacturing problem

Less than 1% of those in low income countries are fully vaccinated, and that number only rises to 10% in low-middle income countries. Meanwhile more than half of the population in wealthier countries have received a double dose with several now rolling out third dosess. In this episode ofCoronapodwe look at the role of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Drug companies are facing increased pressure to partner with manufacturing firms in the global south but most are reluctant to relinquish control. We ask what needs to change to help address the global disparity in vaccine access. News: [The fight to manufacture COVID vaccines in lower-income countries] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02383-z) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

25 Sep 2021

20 MINS

20:30

25 Sep 2021


#574

The floating sensors inspired by seeds

How tiny seed-like sensors could monitor the environment, and the latest from the Nature Briefing. In this episode: 00:45 Spinning seeds inspire floating electronics Researchers have developed miniature electronic-chips with wings that fall like seeds, which could be a new way to monitor the environment. Research article: [Kim et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03847-y?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Video: [Seed-inspired spinners ride the wind and monitor the atmosphere] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02588-2?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 06:02 Research Highlights How humans can adjust to an energy-efficient walking pace almost without thinking, and the viral shell that excels at delivering genome-editing tools. Research Highlight: [Humans walk efficiently even with their heads in the clouds] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02515-5?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [A CRISPR fix for muscles hatches from a viral shell] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02508-4?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 08:34 Briefing Chat We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the mystery of the Sun’s super-hot corona, and the latest efforts to toilet-train cows. Physics World: [The enduring mystery of the solar corona] (https://physicsworld.com/a/the-enduring-mystery-of-the-solar-corona/?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) The Guardian: [Cows ‘potty-trained’ in experiment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions] (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/13/cows-potty-trained-in-experiment-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

22 Sep 2021

19 MINS

19:16

22 Sep 2021


#573

How to help feed the world with 'Blue Foods'

How aquatic foods could help tackle world hunger, and how Australian wildfires spurred phytoplankton growth in the Southern Ocean. In this episode: 00:45 The role of aquatic food in tackling hunger Ahead of the UN’s Food Systems Summit, Nature journals are publishing research from the Blue Food Assessment, looking at how aquatic foods could help feed the world's population in a healthy, sustainable and equitable way. We speak to Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, who tells us about the role of blue foods in future food systems. Immersive feature: [Blue Foods] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d42859-021-00055-6?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Nature's Blue Food collection] (https://www.nature.com/collections/fijabaiach?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 12:27 Research Highlights The ingestible capsule that injects drugs straight into stomach tissue, and a soft material that changes colour when twisted. Research Highlight: [An easily swallowed capsule injects drugs straight into the gut] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02443-4?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [Flowing crystals for quick camouflage] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02458-x?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 14:52 How Australian wildfires spurred phytoplankton blooms The devastating Australian wildfires of 2019-2020 released plumes of iron-rich aerosols that circled the globe, fertilizing oceans thousands of miles away. New research suggests that these aerosols ultimately triggered blooms of microscopic phytoplankton downwind of the fires, in the Southern Ocean. Research Article: [Tang et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03805-8?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

15 Sep 2021

22 MINS

22:24

15 Sep 2021


#572

The billion years missing from Earth’s history

A new theory to explain missing geological time, the end of leaded petrol, and the ancient humans of Arabia. In this episode: 00:29 Unpicking the Great Unconformity For more than 150 years, geologists have been aware of ‘missing’ layers of rock from the Earth’s geological record. Up to one billion years appear to have been erased in what’s known as the Great Unconformity. Many theories to explain this have been proposed, and now a new one suggests that the Great Unconformity may have in fact been a series of smaller events. BBC Future: [The strange race to track down a missing billion years] (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210901-the-strange-race-to-track-down-a-missing-billion-years?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 05:23 The era of leaded petrol is over In July, Algeria became the final country to ban the sale of leaded petrol, meaning that the fuel is unavailable to buy legally anywhere on Earth. However despite this milestone, the toxic effects of lead petrol pollution will linger for many years to come. Chemistry World: [Leaded petrol is finally phased out worldwide ] (https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/leaded-petrol-is-finally-phased-out-worldwide/4014291.article?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 08:26 The ancient humans who lived in a wetter Arabia While much of modern day Arabia is covered by deserts, new research suggests that hundreds of thousands of years ago conditions were much wetter for periods on the peninsula. These lusher periods may have made the area a key migratory crossroads forancient humans. Research Article: [Groucutt et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03863-y?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News and Views: [Traces of a series of human dispersals through Arabia] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02321-z?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing ) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

08 Sep 2021

13 MINS

13:32

08 Sep 2021


#571

Dead trees play an under-appreciated role in climate change

How insects help release carbon stored in forests, and the upcoming biodiversity summit COP 15. In this episode: 00:44 Fungi, insects, dead trees and the carbon cycle Across the world forests play a huge role in the carbon cycle, removing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But when those trees die, some of that carbon goes back into the air. A new project studies how fast dead wood breaks down in different conditions, and the important role played by insects. Research Article: [Seibold et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03740-8?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 09:37 Research Highlights Massive stars make bigger planets, and melting ice moves continents. Research Highlight: [Why gassy planets are bigger around more-massive stars] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02300-4?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [So much ice is melting that Earth’s crust is moving] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02285-0?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 12:04 The UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity After several delays, the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, is now slated to take place next year. Even communicating the issues surrounding biodiversity loss has been a challenge, and reaching the targets due to be set at the upcoming meeting will be an even bigger one. Editorial: [The scientific panel on biodiversity needs a bigger role] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02339-3?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 19:32 Briefing Chat We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, cannibal cane toads and a pterosaur fossil rescued from smugglers. Nature News: [Australia’s cane toads evolved as cannibals with frightening speed] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02317-9?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [A plundered pterosaur reveals the extinct flyer’s extreme headgear] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02283-2?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) National Geographic: [Stunning fossil seized in police raid reveals prehistoric flying reptile's secrets] (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/stunning-fossil-seized-in-police-raid-reveals-prehistoric-flying-reptiles-secrets?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

01 Sep 2021

29 MINS

29:53

01 Sep 2021


#570

Audio long-read: why sports concussions are worse for women

As women’s soccer, rugby and other sports gain in popularity a growing body of evidence suggests that female athletes are at a greater risk of traumatic brain injury than men - what's more they tend to fare worse after a concussion and take longer to recover. Now researchers are racing to get to the bottom of why and ask how treatment might need to change. This is an audio version of our feature: [Why sports concussions are worse for women] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02089-2) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

25 Aug 2021

13 MINS

13:55

25 Aug 2021


#569

Coronapod: How Delta is changing the game

Delta has quickly become the dominant COVID variant in many countries across the world, in this episode we ask why. Over the past few weeks, a slew of studies have started to shed more light on how the Delta variant differs from its cousins and even the mechanisms behind its rampant spread. We dig into studies on the epidemiology and molecular biology of Delta to ask some key questions surrounding its transmissibility, lethality and what all this might mean for vaccine roll outs. News: [The mutation that helps Delta spread like wildfire] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02275-2) News: [COVID vaccines protect against Delta, but their effectiveness wanes] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02261-8) News: [How do vaccinated people spread Delta? What the science says] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02187-1) News: [Delta coronavirus variant: scientists brace for impact] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01696-3) News: [Delta’s rise is fuelled by rampant spread from people who feel fine] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02259-2)  [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing?utm_source=coronapod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

21 Aug 2021

13 MINS

13:58

21 Aug 2021


#568

What’s the isiZulu for dinosaur? How science neglected African languages

A team is creating bespoke words for scientific terms in African languages, and the sustainability of the electric car boom. 00:46 Creating new words for scientific terms Many words that are common to science have never been written in some African languages, or speakers struggle to agree what the right term is. Now a new project aims to change that, by translating 180 research papers into six languages spoken by millions of people across the continent of Africa. News: [African languages to get more bespoke scientific terms] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02218-x?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 11:48 Research Highlights A rainbow of biodegradable inks derived from brown seaweed, and the enormous centipede that preys on baby birds. Research Highlight: [From drab to dazzling: seaweed yields sparkling coloured inks] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02186-2?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [The giant centipede that devours fluffy baby seabirds] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02183-5?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 13:58 How sustainable is the electric car boom? As electric cars become more ubiquitous, manufacturers will have to up the production of batteries needed to power them. But that begs the question - can they be mass produced in a sustainable way? News Feature: [Electric cars and batteries: how will the world produce enough?] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02222-1?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 24:06 Briefing chat We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, how a tusk-based ‘chemical GPS’ revealed details of a mammoth’s enormous journeys , and why the Perseverance rover’s first efforts to collect a Mars rock sample didn’t go according to plan. Nature: [Mammoth’s epic travels preserved in tusk] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02206-1?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Nature: [Why NASA’s Mars rover failed to collect its first rock core] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02208-z?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

18 Aug 2021

32 MINS

32:38

18 Aug 2021


#567

Coronapod: COVID boosters amidst global vaccine inequity

Several wealthy nations have announced plans to give third vaccine doses in a bid to help increase the protection of their most vulnerable citizens - but the science is not clear on whether this strategy will be effective or indeed necessary. Meanwhile with limited vaccine supplies - billions around the world still have no access to vaccines at all. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss the science of boosters, the stark reality of vaccine disparity and what this means for the future of the pandemic. News: [COVID boosters for wealthy nations spark outrage] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02109-1) News feature: [COVID vaccine boosters: the most important questions] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02158-6) Coronapod: [the inequality at the heart of the pandemic] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01190-w) Coronapod: [the biomarker that could change COVID vaccines] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01844-9)  [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing?utm_source=coronapod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

14 Aug 2021

18 MINS

18:34

14 Aug 2021


#566

The brain cells that help animals navigate in 3D

Researchers uncover how grid cells fire in a 3D space to help bats navigate, and a fabric that switches between being stiff and flexible. In this episode: 00:47 Mapping a bat’s navigation neurons in 3D Grid cells are neurons that regularly fire as an animal moves through space, creating a pattern of activity that aids navigation. But much of our understanding of how grid cells work has involved rats moving in a 2D plane. To figure out how the system works in a 3D space, researchers have mapped the brain activity of bats flying freely around a room. Research Article: [Ginosar et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03783-x?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 07:44 Research Highlights How a ‘toxin sponge’ may protect poison dart frogs from themselves, and the world’s oldest known coin foundry has been found. Research Highlight: [An absorbing tale: poison dart frogs might have a ‘toxin sponge’] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02104-6?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [Found: the world’s oldest known mint and its jumbo product] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02181-7?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 09:59 A flexible fabric that transforms from soft to rigid (and back again) Researchers have created a ‘tunable’ fabric, inspired by medieval chainmail, that when compressed changes from flexible to rigid. The stiffened structure can hold 30 times its own weight, and the team behind it suggest this material could be used to build temporary shelters or have medical applications. Research article: [Wang et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03698-7?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 16:33 Stark warning from the IPCC’s latest report This week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its long awaited report detailing compiling the latest climate science data. Nature’s Jeff Tollefson joins us to discuss the report and the warnings it contains for our warming world. News: [IPCC climate report: Earth is warmer than it’s been in 125,000 years] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02179-1?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

11 Aug 2021

25 MINS

25:58

11 Aug 2021


#565

Coronapod: Ivermectin, what the science says

Ivermectin is a cheap, widely available, anti-parasitic drug that has been proposed by many as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Dozens of trials have been started, but results have been far from clear, with inconsistent results further confused by high profile paper retractions. Nonetheless many countries have recommended the use of Ivermectin, despite WHO advice to the contrary. Now a group of researchers have found suspect data in another influential paper which claimed a Ivermectin caused a 90% reduction in fatality. The paper, published at the end of 2020, has since been withdrawn pending investigation. In this episode of Coronapod we ask what this might mean for Ivermectin, and what's next for the controversial drug. Correction:at 2:53 when discussing two discreditedstudies,we mistakenly say that the papers say"bothdrugs worked really well". In fact,thisretractedstudyfrom theLancetclaimed thatthe drug hydroxychloroquine caused harm. We apologise for any confusion.More information on the scandal surroundingthese papers can be foundhere. News: [Flawed ivermectin preprint highlights challenges of COVID drug studies] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02081-w) News: [Latin America’s embrace of an unproven COVID treatment is hindering drug trials] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02958-2) Coronapod: [The Surgisphere scandal that rocked coronavirus drug research] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01790-y)  [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing?utm_source=coronapod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

06 Aug 2021

12 MINS

12:41

06 Aug 2021


#564

Flood risk rises as people surge into vulnerable regions

Satellite imaging has shown population increases are 10x higher in flood prone areas than previously thought, and a new way to introduce fairness into a democratic process. In this episode: 00:47 Calculating how many people are at risk of floods. Researchers have used satellite imagery to estimate the number of people living in flood-prone regions. They suggest that the percentage of people exposed to floods has increased 10 times more than previously thought, and with climate change that number is only set to climb. Research Article: [Tellman et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03695-w?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News and Views: [The fraction of the global population at risk of floods is growing] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01974-0?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 09:41 Research Highlights People are happy to be selfish towards a crowd, but generous to an individual; and how wildfire smoke affects clouds’ brightness. Research Highlight: [‘Robber’ experiment tests generosity — with sobering results] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02120-6?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [Wildfire smoke creates brighter clouds — and weather changes] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02105-5?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 12:01 Making democracy fairer Citizens’ assemblies are small groups of people invited to come together to help inform and affect policy decisions. But deciding who is in these groups is a mathematical challenge — the process needs to be random, but still reflect social demographics. This week, researchers describe a new algorithm that could offer a solution. Research article: [Flanigan et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03788-6?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) News and Views: [A bridge across the democracy–expertise divide] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02006-7?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 20:04 Briefing Chat We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, how ships could spread a deadly coral disease, and research shows that female scientists are less likely to be cited in elite medical journals. The Guardian: [Deadly coral disease sweeping Caribbean linked to water from ships] (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/22/deadly-coral-disease-sweeping-caribbean-linked-to-wastewater-from-ships?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Nature News: [Fewer citations for female authors of medical research] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02102-8?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

04 Aug 2021

31 MINS

31:25

04 Aug 2021


#563

Has the world’s oldest known animal been discovered?

Researchers debate whether an ancient fossil is the oldest animal yet discovered, and a new way to eavesdrop on glaciers. In this episode: 01:04 Early sponge This week in Nature, a researcher claims to have found a fossil sponge from 890-million-years-ago. If confirmed, this would be more than 300-million-years older than the earliest uncontested animal fossils but not all palaeontologists are convinced. Research Article: [Turner] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03773-z?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 10:13 Research Highlights A caffeine buzz appears to improve bees’ memory, and reconstructing an Iron Age man’s final meal. Research Highlight: [A caffeine buzz gives bees flower power] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02072-x?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) Research Highlight: [The guts of a ‘bog body’ reveal sacrificed man’s final meal] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01984-y?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) 12:34 Eavesdropping on a glacier’s base We hear about one researcher’s unorthodox attempt to listen in to the seismic-whisper at the foot of a Greenland glacier – a method that might reveal more about conditions under these enormous blocks of ice. Research Article: [Podolskiy et al.] (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-24142-4?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

28 Jul 2021

23 MINS

23:11

28 Jul 2021


#562

Audio long-read: How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs

Archaeological evidence shows that ancient people ate carbs, long before domesticated crops. While the idea that early humans subsisted mainly on meat persists, archaeologists are increasingly understanding that ancient people have actually long been in love with carbs, even before the advent of agriculture. This is an audio version of our feature: [How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01681-w?utm_source=naturepod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

26 Jul 2021

23 MINS

23:59

26 Jul 2021


#561

Coronapod: the latest on COVID and sporting events

Early in 2021 the United Kingdom, along with several other countries, allowed mass gatherings as part of a series of controlled studies aimed at better understanding the role events could play in the pandemic. The goal was to inform policy - however early results have provided limited data on viral transmission. As the Olympic games kick off in Tokyo, we delve into the research, asking what the limitations have been, if more data will become available and whether policy makers are likely to take the findings into account in the future. News: [COVID and mass sport events: early studies yield limited insights] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02016-5) News: [Why England’s COVID ‘freedom day’ alarms researchers] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01938-4) Podcast: [Coronapod: does England's COVID strategy risk breeding deadly variants?] (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01977-x)  [Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.] (https://go.nature.com/get-the-nature-briefing?utm_source=coronapod&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_campaign=shownotes) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

24 Jul 2021

15 MINS

15:18

24 Jul 2021