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Daily briefing: Why the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is seductive, but wrong

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Retired lab chimp Sandy lives at Chimp Haven

Since 2005, the US National Institutes of Health has moved 375 of its chimpanzees to a sanctuary in Louisiana.Credit: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty

NIH makes plans for frail research chimps

Some of the elderly or sick chimpanzees owned by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) might spend their retirement at research facilities instead of a federal sanctuary. The agency will develop guidelines to determine which of the chimps are well enough to move to the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Louisiana. In 2015, the NIH said it would move all its chimps to Chimp Haven, but the relocation process has been slowed by logistical problems, a lack of space and debate over the fate of animals who are frail or who will suffer if separated from their social groups.

Nature | 2 min read

Next Mars rover should dream big

NASA’s next Mars rover — which will be the first to gather rock samples meant to come back to Earth — should visit as many different places on the red planet as possible, say planetary scientists. That would probably include some combination of Jezero crater, which was once home to river deltas and a lake; Northeast Syrtis, which contains some of the most ancient rocks on Mars; and Midway, a compromise option located between those two.

Nature | 5 min read

‘Limits to growth’ warnings still true

More than 40 years after an influential group of researchers released an iconic report called ‘The Limits to Growth’, independent researchers who have updated the work say that its main conclusions are still valid. The 1972 report controversially predicted that economic and population growth would deplete the planet’s resources and cause economic collapse before 2070. Conclusions from the new report, which used more-sophisticated analytical tools, aren’t quite as drastic. But it warns that under the business-as-usual economic growth scenario, humanity will struggle to meet the United Nations’ sustainable-development goals by 2030.

Nature | 3 min read

Toothless whale fills evolution gap

Some ancient ancestors of giant baleen whales did not filter their food through plates of hair-like bristles like their modern kin. Neither did they have teeth. Instead, they might have used powerful suction to vacuum up their prey. A new fossil analysis is challenging the established theory of how this group, which includes humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), evolved their characteristic baleen plates. Scientists have generally thought that the ancestors of baleen whales had both teeth and baleen before the group lost its teeth completely.

Nature | 4 min read

Galactic gathering at the dawn of the Universe

A colossal cluster of young galaxies has been revealed as one of the biggest and oldest such groupings ever seen. Rarer still, it has been caught in the act of formation. The Universe was only one billion years old when the distant ‘protocluster’ was born.

Nature Research Highlights | 1 min read

Reference: Nature Astronomy paper

Get more of Nature’s Research Highlights: short picks from the latest papers.


Science without borders

If the goal of science is to improve people’s lives, researchers should look to the world’s poorer nations, according to a new Nature Outlook. The collection of articles explores the unrealized scientific potential of emerging economies, paths to success for African scientists and a call for early-career scientists to build a global science accord.

Nature | 7 related articles

Mo’ worlds, mo’ problems

The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is “the most extraordinary, alluring and thought-provoking” of the theory’s implications. But the idea that there is a nearly infinite number of universes, continually dividing into more every time a measurement is made, is incoherent, argues Philip Ball. In this adapted excerpt from his book Beyond Weird, he explores whether consciousness, change and choice make sense in the many worlds.

Quanta | 20 min read

Read Nature’s review of Beyond Weird by Philip Ball

A real-time atlas of mouse development

Researchers have invented a microscope with a built-in cell-culture system to image mouse embryos in real-time and unprecedented detail. The resulting dynamic atlas, covering 48 hours of growth, illuminates how the developing animals establish their basic body plans and begin to form organs. Also in this week’s podcast: Europa’s icy spines and our relationship with the Sun.

Nature Podcast | 24 min listen

Subscribe to the Nature Podcast on iTunes or Google Podcasts. or Google Podcasts.


The best books of the season

As the Earth sways once again on its axis, Nature explores the science books to grab in time to read in front of a roaring fire or on the beach (depending on your hemisphere). They include two chronicles on the ongoing battle to regulate the US food industry, and a pair of books that trace the birth and evolution of the nuclear age. We also explore blood in history, medicine and culture, how the Victorians engineered our dogs and the promises and pitfalls of imaging the brain.

If that whets your appetite, you can also enter to win all nine of the books featured for yourself.

Nature | Find all five book reviews here

Solar flair: the Sun on show

A new exhibition focusing on our relationship with the Sun is blazing with hot science and cultural riches, says reviewer Elizabeth Gibney. The show assembles an array of delightful artefacts and stories, climaxing in a breathtaking, wall-sized video of the Sun’s churning surface

Nature | 5 min read

Pick of the paperbacks

The highlights of this season’s paperback releases include the evolution of music, algorithmic culture and the cut and thrust of medicine.

Nature | 4 min read


Source: Viridian capital Advisors


Doing a PhD means embracing failure

Undergraduates should be taught that a doctoral degree isn’t for everyone — and that not doing one might be a better option, argues molecular biologist Irini Topalidou. It takes more than a solid undergraduate degree to succeed, and many PhD students struggle unless they have a heartfelt passion for research and a readiness to accept failure.

Nature | 4 min read

Strength in isolation

Deep local collaborations and research with regional character are powerful drivers in Western Australia, which contains one of the world’s most remote scientific communities. “We tend to think a little different from the folks on the east seaboard,” says liver researcher George Yeoh.

Nature | 11 min read


Great egrets and gulls fly around a pond

Credit: Mateusz Piesiak


Thanks to economist and physicist Arthur Turrell, who responded to Nature editor-in-chief Magdalena Skipper, writing in yesterday's Briefing about neuroscientists sharing their findings in Twitter threads. “This is fairly common already in economics,” he says, “and a useful way to get an idea about papers you might not read or know of otherwise.” Here’s an example from the Bank of England Research Twitter feed.

Thanks for reading!

Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

Nature Briefing

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