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Ancient crustaceans and a tardigrade have been discovered in a buried Antarctic lake that has just been explored for the first time. Subglacial Lake Mercer had lain undisturbed for thousands of years until researchers succeeded in melting a narrow portal through the ice on 26 December. Scientists thinks that the creatures inhabited the waters of nearby mountains sometime in the past, before the area was smothered in ice, and then were somehow carried into the lake.
British scientists are preparing for the ever more likely scenario that the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union on 29 March without any trade and migration agreements in place. Vital lab supplies could be in jeopardy as trade tariffs take effect at the border, EU funding would be cut off for UK-based research and uncertainty hangs over the heads of EU-citizen scientists who work in Britain (and vice versa).
A fever fights infection by helping immune cells to crawl along blood-vessel walls to attack invading microbes. Scientists found that a fever triggers immune cells to produce proteins that protect cells against the heat. The proteins also kick off a reaction that helps T cells migrate to infection sites.
FEATURES & OPINION
A huge analysis of the data on digital-technology use and adolescent well-being found a statistically significant negative association between the two. But the effects explained at most 0.4% of the variation in well-being — smaller than the negative association of wearing glasses. The digital revolution is without doubt changing modern life, argues a Nature editorial, and we need more and better data to work out what impact that is having.
In this week’s podcast, we explore how stretches of non-coding DNA, called introns, in genes could have an important function: helping cells to survive starvation. Also in the podcast this week, we hear how scientists are using a robot to simulate the gait of a creature that lived before the dinosaurs.
BOOKS & ARTS
In a new book, conservationist Alex Dehgan shares the trials, triumphs and occasional absurdity of building a conservation programme in extreme circumstances — including, on a few occasions, staring down the barrel of an AK-47 rifle.
Barbara Kiser’s pick of the top five science books to read this weekincludes the paradox of human nature, our obsession with the skies, and the realities of transplant surgery.
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK
Inspired by a Google initiative, data-driven business-development postdoc Carsten Lund Pedersen decided to put aside 20% of his time for personal passion projects on a regular basis. He explains how he carves out the time for curiosity-driven exploration.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
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