Nature Podcast


Coronapod: 'A generational loss' - COVID's devastating impact on education

Despite the devastating loss of life caused by COVID-19, some researchers are arguing that the longest lasting impact of the pandemic will be on education. UN agencies calculate that more or less all school students on the planet - 1.6 billion - have faced an average of 4.5 months of school closures owing to the pandemic, the largest disruption to education in history. Teachers have been under immense pressure to keep their students happy and learning, but it is an uphill battle. In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss the research which might guide policymakers and teachers in their attempts to repair some of this damage, and ask how implementing an evidence-based system of education could have benefits beyond the pandemic.

News Feature: COVID derailed learning for 1.6 billion students. Here’s how schools can help them catch up

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Why low temperatures could help starve tumours of fuel

Cold exposure in mice activates brown fat to deny tumours glucose, and the future of extreme heatwaves. 00:45 How cold temperatures could starve tumoursA team of researchers have found that exposing mice to the cold could starve tumour cells of the blood glucose they need to thrive. They showed that the cold temperatures deprived the tumours of fuel by activating brown fat – a tissue that burns through glucose to keep body temperature up. The team also showed preliminary evidence of the effect occurring in one person with cancer, but say that more research is needed before this method can be considered for clinical use.Research article: Seki et al.08:59 Research HighlightsEvidence of the world’s southernmost human outpost from before the Industrial Revolution, and how jumping up and down lets canoes surf their own waves.Research Highlight: Bones and weapons show just how far south pre-industrial humans gotResearch Highlight: How jumping up and down in a canoe propels it forwards11:24 The future of extreme heatwavesClimate scientists have long warned that extreme heat and extreme heatwaves will become more frequent as a result of climate change. But across the world these events are happening faster, and more furiously, than expected, and researchers are scrambling to dissect recent heatwaves to better understand what the world might have in store.News Feature: Extreme heatwaves: surprising lessons from the record warmth

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.