Listen to the latest from the world of science, with Nick Petrić Howe and Shamini Bundell.

In this episode:

00:47 A metadevice for faster electronics

In the past, increasing the speeds of electronics required designing smaller components, but further reductions in size are being hampered by increasing resistance. To get around this, researchers have demonstrated a ‘metadevice’, which prevents resistance building up by concentrating the flow of signals into specific regions of the device. The hope is that this meta-method could be used to create even smaller electrical components in the future.

Research article: Nikoo & Matioli

06:27 Research Highlights

How waiting times for services are higher for people in the US with low incomes, and how your brain hears an alarm while you’re asleep.

Research Highlight: Who wastes more time waiting? Income plays a part

Research Highlight: Noise shatters deep sleep thanks to dedicated brain circuit

08:52 The research gaps in social media’s impact on teen mental health

In the last ten years, levels of social media use and reported levels of mental health issues among adolescents have both increased. There is much concern that these trends are linked, but hard evidence has been hard to come by. So how can scientists get a better understanding of what’s going on? In a Comment article for Nature, researchers argue that, rather than lumping ‘young people’ into one homogeneous group, future studies should consider where they are in terms of their development, as this could influence the potential impacts of social media use.

Comment: How social media affects teen mental health: a missing link

19:52 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, we discuss self-burying devices that can plant seeds in remote areas from the air, and scientists’ reactions to a talk by CRISPR-baby researcher He Jiankui.

Nature Video: This device corkscrews itself into the ground like a seed

Nature News: Disgraced CRISPR-baby scientist’s ‘publicity stunt’ frustrates researchers

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