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After two decades in a funding deep freeze, research into gun violence in the United States is starting to blossom. Spurred by advocacy that followed some high-profile school shootings, lawmakers authorized a huge boost in federal funding for the study of gun violence as a public-health issue. Suicide prevention, studies of domestic violence and gun safety for families are among the projects benefiting from the cash. What’s still missing: research into big, expensive, basic questions, such as the efficacy of violence-prevention techniques and the value of guns for household protection.
The DNA floating in air can reveal the presence of nearby animals. Two independent groups of researchers sampled the air at zoos in England and Denmark — the best place to find a wide variety of well-catalogued species. They identified DNA from zoo animals, other local creatures (such as hedgehogs) and even the meat being served as food. Many questions remain about how well the method could pinpoint animals’ locations and how to best avoid contamination.
Features & opinion
Starting a family at a key career stage comes at a cost to birthing parents — and many end up leaving the profession as a result. A global survey revealed that more than one-third (34%) of mothers in full-time science careers had left those positions after their first child. In the United States, where family-leave policies are often sparse or absent, that proportion is as high as 43%. The largely hidden nature of the barriers faced by scientist mothers causes many to assume that they can persevere through hard work alone, says Isabel Torres, who co-founded the group Mothers in Science. “Then, when a mom chooses to leave work or to work part-time, it looks like a personal decision.”
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Ready to go green in your lab? A webcast from Nature Careers on Thursday, 5 August, will get you started. Experts will share tips, advice and resources for dealing with waste, unrecyclable materials, always-on equipment and environmentally dangerous chemicals.
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