Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
Researchers have discovered “by complete accident” a way to control the nucleus of a single atom using only electric fields. Theorists predicted in 1958 that an oscillating electric field could flip a nucleus, but it had never been observed. The finding hints that it might be possible to use standard silicon microchips as the quantum bits, or qubits, in a quantum computer without messing around with difficult-to-constrain magnetic fields.
The number of new domestically acquired cases of COVID-19 reported today by China. The country also reported 20 new cases imported from abroad. (AFP)
Features & opinion
As geopolitical tensions rise in nuclear-armed states, scientists are modelling the global impact of nuclear war. It’s the most comprehensive effort yet to understand how a nuclear conflict would affect the entire Earth system — from the initial firestorm and the spread of its smoke, to the impact on oceans, the atmosphere and wildlife.
A barrage of fake responses to her online questionnaire prompted quantitative psychologist Melissa Simone to learn how to quash survey-ruining bots. Her tips for protecting your own survey includes using unique, personalized links and including ‘honeypot’ questions that only bots can see.
Image of the week
Researchers weave a yarn out of human extracellular matrix (ECM), the supportive network that normally surrounds cells in a living tissue. Scientists extracted ECM from lab-grown human cells and used it to make strands of tough yarn that can be knitted or woven into ‘human textiles’ that could someday be used for medical textiles. (Acta Biomaterialia paper)
See more of the month’s best science images, selected by Nature’s photo team. (Nicolas L'Heureux)
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has kicked off a campaign to share #SongsOfComfort on Twitter with performances including Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3 dedicated to healthcare workers. If pop is more your thing, here’s a BBC round-up of online ad-hoc concerts from bands including Christine and the Queens.
Tell me your favourite working-from-home tunes — and any other feedback on this newsletter —at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are not so comfortably ensconced, or you are facing difficulties, you have my very best wishes.
Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing