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Several rudimentary faces are carved into a large black slab of rock near the water’s edge.

Indigenous communities carved these faces between 1,000 and 2,000 years ago. Today, they usually remain submerged below the water of one of the Amazon river’s largest tributaries. (Suamy Beydoun/Reuters)

Ancient rock carvings revealed by drought

Faces, animals and other figures carved into stone up to 2,000 years ago have been exposed as water levels in Brazil’s Rio Negro have fallen to historic lows. Grooves carved into some rocks suggest that the site, which was once home to large Indigenous villages, was also used to produce tools. The petroglyphs had been spotted during a 2010 drought, but the one this year is even more severe.

The Guardian | 3 min read

Japanese research is no longer world class

Japan is not producing the same level of high-impact research as it was two decades ago despite having one of the world’s largest research communities. The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has concluded that the country’s share of top-cited articles has slipped from 6% to 2%. Some of the decline might be attributable to funding, which has not increased as much as in other countries. Scientists also have less time for actual research amid teaching and clinical duties, industry collaborations and community engagement work.

Nature | 5 min read

‘The priority is staying alive’

The Israel–Hamas war has rocked the scientific community. In Israel, many foreign researchers are leaving the country and academics have to report for military service. “Experiments have pretty much come to a halt,” says biomedical researcher Yuval Dor. “Everybody’s distracted … Everyone knows people who were hurt or killed or kidnapped.” In the Gaza Strip, air strikes have destroyed much of the Palestinian enclave’s limited scientific infrastructure, says mathematician Marwan Awartani. “The priority isn’t science — the priority is staying alive.”

Science | 5 min read

Features & opinion

Postdocs tire of putting life on hold

Postdocs in their thirties are less happy in their careers, overall, than are their peers in their twenties, a Nature survey of almost 4,000 postdocs has found. For many, their changing priorities place them on course for a head-on collision with their work’s long hours and low pay. Short-term contracts make it near-impossible to settle down, and force many to put off parenthood and other big decisions. “We feel that we are falling behind in life,” says postdoctoral neuroscience researcher Faredin Alejevski.

Nature | 11 min read

POSTDOC DISENCHANTMENT. Graphic compares how age impacts postdocs outlook.

Scientists in diaspora are a potent resource

Researchers leaving low- and middle-income countries is so common that the phenomenon has a name: brain drain. But scientists in diaspora are a powerful resource for their home countries, says molecular biologist Rana Dajani. Here are her lessons on how to turn this brain drain around, drawn from her extensive experience of working with émigré scientists:

• Create member-driven, bottom-up networks

• Involve young people

• Build networks of networks

Nature | 5 min read

The West must re-engage with China

Over the past decade, China has hugely expanded its research collaborations with poorer countries — and there are plans to deepen these links further. The United States and Western Europe should engage with this effort, to resolve economic, environmental and political crises, argues a Nature editorial. “China and its Western partners must take a more sophisticated approach to how they deal with one another amid rising geopolitical tensions.”

Nature | 6 min read

How to use Notion to organize research

The free software Notion can act as a ‘second brain’, says biomedical scientist Maya Gosztyla: it allows her to track projects, take notes, manage tasks, store information and plan events. Here, Gosztyla shares some tips on how to get the most out of it:

• Organize notes by tagging them with relevant information

• Keep track of papers using Notero, a plug-in that syncs with reference manager Zotero

• Use Gantt charts for long-term planning

• Create knowledge repositories to share lab tricks or organize supply orders

Nature | 6 min read

Quote of the day

“Students come up with wonderful ideas, and people don’t realize how wonderful they are.”

Computer scientist Manuel Blum, creator of the bot-detection system CAPTCHA, says that “students are here to teach me”. His unique mentoring style has guided generations of early-career scientists to push their research into bold directions. (MIT Technology Review | 14 min read)