Nature Podcast

8/3/2022

Massive Facebook study reveals a key to social mobility

00:47 The economic benefits of social connectionsBy looking at data gathered from billions of Facebook friendships, researchers have shown that having more connections with people from higher income groups could increase future incomes by 20%. They also show how such connections can be formed, and how schools and other institutions could help to improve peoples’ opportunities in the future.Research Article: Chetty et al.Research Article: Chetty et al.News and Views: The social connections that shape economic prospectsLink to the data11:06 Research HighlightsHow balloons could help measure quakes on Venus, and the parasitic fungus that tricks flies into mating with fly corpses.Research Highlight: Balloon flotilla detects an earthquake from high in the skyResearch Highlight: The fungus that entices male flies to mate with female corpses13:40 Reviving pig organs hours after deathWhen someone dies, tissues start to irreversibly degrade, but recently this irreversibility has been brought into question by studies showing that some organs can be partially revived several hours after death. Now, working in pigs, researchers have shown it is possible to revive the functions of several organs at once. This could pave the way for improved organ transplantation, but ethicists advise caution.Research Article: Andrijevic et al.News and Views: Improved organ recovery after oxygen deprivationNews: Pig organs partially revived in dead animals — researchers are stunnedSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
7/27/2022

How humans adapted to digest lactose — after thousands of years of milk drinking

00:45 Working out how the ability to digest milk spreadHumans have been drinking milk for thousands of years, but it seems that they were doing so long before the ability to digest it became prevalent. Then around 2000 years ago, this ability became common in Europe, presenting a mystery to researchers – why then? Now by analyzing health data, ancient DNA, and fats residues from thousands of ancient pots, scientists have worked out what caused this trait to suddenly spread throughout Europe.Research Article: Evershed et al.News and Views: The mystery of early milk consumption in Europe08:56 Research HighlightsHow genes stolen from outside the animal kingdom have altered insects’ abilities, and a dormant black hole beyond the Milky Way gives insights into these objects' origins.Research Highlight: Genes purloined from across the tree of life give insects a boostResearch Highlight: A quiet black hole whispers its origin story11:21 Assessing the addiction potential for therapeutic ketamineKetamine has shown great promise as a fast-acting antidepressant, but there have been concerns about the risks of addiction relating to this therapeutic use. Now, a team have looked in mice to see whether ketamine causes the behavioural and neuronal changes characteristic of addictive substances. They find that ketamine likely has a low addiction risk, which could inform future prescribing decisions in humans.Research article: Simmler et al.News and Views: A short burst of reward curbs the addictiveness of ketamine17:51 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, a report shows a significant decline in Australia’s environment and ecosystems, and how adding a gene greatly increases rice yield.The Conversation: This is Australia’s most important report on the environment’s deteriorating health. We present its grim findingsNature News: Supercharged biotech rice yields 40% more grainSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
7/20/2022

How researchers have pinpointed the origin of 'warm-blooded' mammals

00:46 When did mammals start to regulate their temperature?The evolution of ‘warm bloodedness’ allowed mammals to live in a more diverse range of habitats, but working out when this occurred has been difficult. To try and pin down a date, researchers have studied the fossilised remains of ancient mammals' inner ears, which suggest that this key evolutionary leap appeared around 230 million years ago.Research Article: Araujo et al.News and Views: Evolution of thermoregulation as told by ear07:14 Research HighlightsA new surgical glue that’s both strong and easy to remove, and southern fin whales return to Antarctica after being hunted to near extinction.Research Highlight: This adhesive bandage sticks strongly — even to hairy skinResearch Highlight: A feeding frenzy of 150 whales marks a species’ comeback09:47 Structure of an enzyme reveals how its so efficientHydrogen dependent CO2 reductase is an enzyme that can convert CO2 from the air into formic acid that can be used as fuel. It also does this extremely efficiently, but nobody has been quite sure how. Now researchers have an idea based on a detailed structural analysis.Research Article: Dietrich et al.17:51 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the findings of some big biodiversity reports, and how woodpeckers don’t end up with headaches from their pecking.Nature News: More than dollars: mega-review finds 50 ways to value natureNature News: Major wildlife report struggles to tally humanity’s exploitation of speciesScience: Contrary to popular belief, woodpeckers don’t protect their brains when headbanging treesSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
7/13/2022

Ancient mud reveals the longest record of climate from the tropics

00:46 A long-term record of climate in the tropicsTo understand the history of the Earth’s climate, researchers often rely on things like ice cores, which contain layered frozen insights of thousands of years of history. However, in the tropics long-term records like these have been absent. Now researchers have uncovered a sediment core in Peru which reveals around 700,000 years of climatic history.Research Article: Rodbell et al.News and Views: Sediment study finds the pulse of tropical glaciers09:40 Research HighlightsThe biological ‘helmets’ that protect shrimp from themselves, and why the colour of wine bottles matters.Research Highlight: ‘Helmets’ shield shrimp from their own supersonic shock wavesResearch Highlight: Why white wine in plain-glass bottles loses its bouquet12:38 The James Webb Space Telescope reveals its first imagesAfter more than two decades of development, the James Webb Space Telescope has broadcast its first images in spectacular detail. We discuss how we got here, what’s next and what these images mean for science.News: Stunning new Webb images: baby stars, colliding galaxies and hot exoplanets21:33 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, we discuss a crystal made out of starfish embryos.Video: How starfish embryos become living crystalsSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
7/6/2022

Higgs boson turns ten: the mysteries physicists are still trying to solve

00:46 Happy birthday, Higgs boson - looking back at a momentous milestone for physicsTen years ago this week, scientists announced that they’d found evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle first theorised to exist nearly sixty years earlier.To celebrate this anniversary, we reminisce about what the discovery meant at the time, and what questions are left to be answered about this mysterious particle.Nature News: Happy birthday, Higgs boson! What we do and don’t know about the particleNature Editorial: Particle physics isn’t going to die — even if the LHC finds no new particles11:09 Research HighlightsClever clothes that can cool or warm the wearer, and finding hidden DNA from the endangered red wolf.Research Highlight: ‘Smart’ clothing flexes to provide relief from the heatResearch Highlight: ‘Ghost’ DNA from the world’s rarest wolves lingers in coyotes13:27 Supporting scientists who stutterStuttering is a speech condition that affects around 70 million people worldwide, which can make things like speaking in public, or even one-on-one incredibly daunting. We hear the experiences of one researcher of stuttering, who also has a stutter, as they explain the best way to offer support to others.Careers Feature: The conference challenges faced by scientists who stutter22:10 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, we discuss how having similar smells could spark a friendship, and how viruses can alter our odour to make humans more attractive to mosquitos.New Scientist: You're more likely to become friends with someone who smells like youNature News: How some viruses make people smell extra-tasty to mosquitoesSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.