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Daily briefing: Why physicists love the many-worlds theory

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Demonstrators protest gun violence in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016.

Protesters march after a fatal shooting by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016.Credit: William Widmer/New York Times/eyevine

Police shootings: what the numbers say

When police officers killed two unarmed black men — Michael Brown and Eric Garner — in 2014, it sparked a national reckoning over the use of deadly force by police in the United States and several ambitious projects to collect more data. Nature explores how social scientists and public-health researchers are mining the numbers to address pressing questions, such as whether the police are disproportionately quick to shoot black civilians and those from other minority groups.

Nature | 9 min read

The number of people shot and killed by police is vastly higher in the United States than in other wealthy nations.

Genealogical trees from whole genomes

Two new techniques bring us closer to the dream of inferring adaptation, migration and population history from whole genome sequences. Both methods involve estimating how long ago two people shared a common ancestor at a specific genetic location. And both work quickly and efficiently with the huge data sets being produced by projects such as the UK Biobank and the 1000 Genomes Consortium. Population geneticist Kelley Harris examines how these powerful methods “streamline the study of mutation, selection and genetic drift: the trifecta of forces that cause genetic variation to be created, maintained and destroyed”.

Nature Genetics News & Views | 6 min read


Abstract digital art with splitting and diverging strings symbolising the quantum 'many worlds' theory.

Originating in the 1950s, the many-worlds theory posits that parallel worlds constantly branch off from each other, moment by moment.Credit: Shutterstock

The many weirdnesses of many worlds

A new book by physicist Sean Carroll examines “one of the most bizarre yet fully logical ideas in human history”: the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Reviewer Robert Crease explores why physicists find the idea so attractive, despite its brain-bending implications.

Nature | 5 min read

Scrum in the science lab

Agile and Scrum project-management concepts have made their way from software development companies to science labs. Discover how concepts such as regular ‘stand-ups’ and the ‘minimum viable product’ can be applied in the lab environment, and learn where the system can fall down.

Nature | 9 min read

What you can do about sexism in academia

After political scientist Amy Erica Smith led two investigations into gender inequality for a recent Washington Post series, she discovered that some of her colleagues found her findings “more depressing than empowering”. She aims to overturn that feeling by sharing exactly what women and men can do to make a change, whether you’re a sleepless and overworked graduate student or at the top of your profession (and maybe still sleepless and overworked).

Mischiefs of Faction blog | 5 min read


“This is no time for hunches; it is time for evidence.”

It’s time for Australia to act on the scientific consensus to sustain the Great Barrier Reef, argues Ian Chubb, former Australian chief scientist and chair of the Reef Water Quality Independent Science Panel. (The Guardian)


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