Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
A broken cable has damaged the huge main dish at the iconic Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It’s not clear why the cable broke in the middle of Monday night, said a statement from the University of Central Florida, which manages the observatory. Arecibo has been weathering hurricanes and other challenges since 1963, and staff will focus on “restoring the facility to full operations as soon as possible,” says observatory director Francisco Cordova.
Features & opinion
Astrophysicist Katie Mack’s book explores all the ways the universe will come to its final conclusion. But not to worry — the end probably won’t be nigh for at least 200 billion years.
Australia is “navigating uncharted territory without a compass” when it comes to wildfires, argue pyrogeographer David Bowman and seven colleagues. Their analysis of 19 years of satellite data reveals that the engulfed area last season was much smaller than estimates compiled from government fire records. Yet the fires still eclipsed the worst-case scenarios designed to prepare agencies and communities. A national bush-fire agency would improve on the current patchwork of local monitoring and provide data to help the nation overcome politicized debate and build a resilient future.
For some scientists, the domination of English in science is so total that it can even be a challenge to discuss their field in their native tongue. “I’m having to actively teach myself how to talk about science in Spanish, which is very ironic,” says astronomer Rose Ferreira of her science-communication efforts on Instagram. “Science is like a completely different language.” Particle physicists Suyog Shrestha and Yangyang Cheng laud the benefits of a lingua franca when communicating with colleagues from over 80 countries at CERN. But they also share stories of being criticised or misjudged for their accents, and note that English can exclude people who don’t have access to the language.
Image of the week
Yes, you do need to see Taylor Swift as classic physics textbooks and Michelle Obama as chemistry elements or element compounds.(Joining previous Briefing favourites Lady Gaga as instrumental-noise glitches in LIGO data and Prince as common population-genetics visualizations.)Send your photos of celebrities dressed as western blots — or any other feedback — to email@example.com.Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature BriefingWith contributions by Nicky Phillips