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Rothschild's giraffes in the mist at dawn in Kenya

Rothschild’s giraffe populations are slowly recovering. Credit: Denis-Huot/NPL/SPL

Conservation pays off for whales, giraffes and gorillas

Mountain gorillas, a subspecies of giraffe, fin whales and western grey whales have all become less vulnerable to extinction, according to the influential International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The group gives credit to years of collaborative effort among governments, businesses and society to help species to recover. The animals are still very threatened: western grey whales, for example, have increased from roughly 120 animals in 2007 to around 175 today.

Nature | 4 min read

Australian scientists sweat over funding delay

A weeks-long delay in a major funding announcement in Australia is creating stress for researchers and leaving some wondering whether they will have jobs next year. The Australian Research Council hasn’t explained why its grants, which were expected in October, haven’t yet been announced. Some blame the introduction of a controversial ‘national interest’ test that requires grant applications to describe how projects will advance the country’s interests.

Nature | 3 min read

Chinese mega-collider that will dwarf the LHC

Physicists in China have published a milestone report outlining the blueprint for the world’s biggest particle smasher. If built, the 100-kilometre-circumference facility would dwarf the 27-kilometre Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and would cost around half the price. Physicist Wang Yifang, the mastermind behind the project, gives Nature an update on the ambitious plans.

Nature | 6 min read

Where millions barely move

One-quarter of US residents spend at least 8 hours a day sitting, and most of those do nowhere near enough leisure-time physical activity to counteract its ill effects. Of those who sat for more than 8 hours per day, more than 60% were physically active for less than 150 minutes per week, the minimum required to reap health benefits.

Nature Research Highlights | 1 min read

Reference: JAMA paper

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


Researchers found 467 ways in which human health, water, food, economy, infrastructure and security have been recently impacted by climate hazards such as warming, heatwaves, precipitation, drought, floods, fires, storms, sea-level rise and changes in natural land cover and ocean chemistry. (Nature Climate Change)


Why two heads are better than one

Cognitive scientists Uta Frith and Chris Frith take an entertaining journey through the science of decision-making, illustrated with examples from their own 50-year marriage. They explore why people tend make better decisions together than they do alone, why diversity helps and why arguments are not such a bad thing.

Aeon | 11 min read

A scientist rebels against extinction

After a career spent studying how people understand and respond to climate change, environmental psychologist Stuart Capstick came to feel he was trying to “put out a house fire with a water pistol”. He explains why he has set aside neutrality and joined the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ movement in the United Kingdom, which calls for mass civil disobedience to force the country to cut carbon emissions.

Personal blog | 4 min read

A mosaic of mutations in the brain

Our neurons seem to shuffle their DNA so that our brains are a mosaic of wildly different cell variations. These include thousands of previously unseen variants of the gene for the amyloid precursor protein (APP), the source of the plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, the brains of people with Alzheimer’s seem to have an even bigger menagerie of mutated APP genes. In this week’s Nature podcast, researchers tell how understanding the mechanism by which this all takes place could offer clues as to the cause of some types of Alzheimer’s.

Nature Podcast | 24 min listen

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Biosphere in Montreal

The Biosphere in Montreal, Canada — a geodesic dome designed by architect Buckminster Fuller.Credit: Tibor Bognar/Alamy

Dome sweet home

People have long fantasized about retreating under a dome, whether to explore other planets or create alternative environments on Earth. This survey of six such enclosures explores both works of the imagination and real ventures that pushed technology to its limits, reconsidering all of them in light of the ethical, social and political complexities of their times.

Nature | 6 min read

When we gave nature a name

Barely 50 years ago, many questions about sustainability and conservation were almost impossible to ask, because no one had fully conceptualized the intricate interconnections of nature that we now think of as ‘the environment’. That is the lesson in a new book that traces the concept’s emergence and development from 1948 to today.

Nature | 2 min read


Some 8 million parsecs (26 million light years) away, the spiral galaxy NGC 3521 shines blue and red as it swirls around in clouds of stray stars and dust. This image won photographer Steven Mohr first place in the galaxies category of this year’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. (Steven Mohr)


Rather than getting sucked into the vortex of consumerism known as Black Friday, why not enjoy NASA’s 6th annual Black Hole Friday: a celebration of all things so dense that not even light can escape.

Thanks for reading!

Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

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