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T cell under attack by HIV

HIV invades immune cells called T cells and uses them to replicate itself.Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/ NIH/NCI/Science Photo Library

Hunting out HIV's hiding places

HIV is a lurker. It hides in the bodies of those infected, even when blood tests show a person’s viral load to be low or undetectable. Exactly where the virus lies in wait has long been a mystery, but now powerful new techniques are giving scientists an unprecedented look at how HIV travels through the body, and turning up clues to HIV’s hiding places.

Nature | 4 min read

Unplugged oil spill has been leaking for 14 years

Millions of barrels of oil have been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico from an oil-production platform off the Louisiana coast since it sunk in 2004. Workers have only managed to plug about a third of the spill, meaning it could well become the worst offshore disaster in US history.

Washington Post | 10 min read

Mercury-mission spacecraft selfie

BepiColombo, an ambitious joint Japan–Europe mission to Mercury, has sent back its first images. The craft successfully launched over the weekend, starting its seven-year journey to the Solar System’s innermost planet. Its first photos were spacecraft selfies: pictures of BepiColombo’s extended solar wings and antennas, confirming they’d successfully deployed after launch.

ESA | 2 min read

More on the mission: All systems go for second-ever mission to enter Mercury’s orbit (Nature)

Trio of images as captured by the BepiColombo spacecraft, showing its deployed solar wing and antennas.

ESA/BepiColombo/MTM – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO


Ben Barres: neuroscience pioneer, gender champion

“An unstoppable force of nature, unfazed by headwinds, managing to will all of us onwards and upwards: this was Ben Barres.” In the posthumously published The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist, influential neurobiologist Barres is as open as he was in life.

Nature | 4 min read

So you want to be a cyborg?

Is biohacking entering the mainstream? Advocates estimate that worldwide there are about 100,000 cyborgs — people with chips inserted under their skin. The human-augmentation market could grow to US$2.3 billion by 2025, with biohackers implanting everything from earthquake sensors to sex toys.

Bloomberg Businessweek | 4 min read

Herschel, the very hungry sea lion

“It’s dangerous to blame the decline of one species on a single predator. We humans like to do it anyway.”

Hakai Magazine | 15 min read


"In order to relieve the tedium of freezing crystal after crystal in a freezing cold room, he would set up a small stereo system, and play Johnny Cash."

Nobel prizewinning biologist Venki Ramakrishnan on the work of then-graduate student Bil Clemons during the race to solve the structure of the ribosome. (BBC, Desert Island Discs)