The ‘surprise flower’ pollinated by lizards

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A Drakensberg crag lizard noshes on nectar from the ‘surprise flowers’ of Guthriea capensis in a terrarium. Ruth Cozien & & Steve Johnson

Late one night, while downloading information from cam traps over beers, scientists in South Africa saw a Drakensberg crag lizard ( Pseudocordylus subviridis) checking out a Guthriea capensis flower, typically called ‘the surprise flower’. Over the next couple of days, they recorded more video of thelizards sticking their snouts deep into the flowers for nectar The researchers had actually found the 2nd recognized plant to utilize reptiles as its main pollinator, and the very first to do so in Africa. “A great deal of science is a slog. However minutes like this make it all rewarding,” states plant researcher Sandy-Lynn Steenhuisen.

The Guardian | 7 min read

Referral: Ecology paper

Machine-learning systems are cracking in tohelp archaeologists to pinpoint possible finds and thwart illegal trade in artefacts Amongst their jobs are trawling satellite images for the circular stone burial places left by ancient Scythians throughout the large Eurasian steppes, categorizing numerous Roman pottery pieces and browsing the Web for illegal sales of human bones.

The New York Times | 7 min read

Characteristics & & viewpoint

As COVID-19 limitations continue to overthrow prepare for information collection, researchers stuck at house are discovering ingenious methods to adjust their research study concerns. 7 junior scientists share how they modified their field-based research projects during the pandemic and provide their guidance. “Although COVID-19 has actually been a huge blow to scientists and scholastic work, it’s triggered me to establish various techniques and to believe more broadly about my research study,” states microbiologist Alexander Kwarteng.

Nature | 13 min read

Researchers at the Borexino solar neutrino experiment, situated underground at the Gran Sasso National Lab in Italy, have actually blasted past a turning point in neutrino physics. They have detected, for the first time, neutrinos produced by one of the two types of fusion that power the Sun— the carbon– nitrogen– oxygen (CNO) cycle. (The other is the proton– proton ( pp) chain.) Produced deep in the core, neutrinos released by the CNO cycle are the only direct probe of the deep interior of the Sun. Physicists invested twenty years refining the experiment, which needed to be meticulously cleansed to get rid of any natural radiation that might hinder its measurements, representative Marco Pallavicini informs the Nature Podcast “The core of Borexino is most likely the least radioactive piece of matter on earth– perhaps in deep space in fact,” he states.

Nature Podcast | 35 min listen

Go much deeper with expert analysis from physicist Gabriel Orebi Gann in the Nature News & Views article.

Referral: Nature paper

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Books & & culture

Pictures of sundowns are currently a human fixation– ‘sundown’ is the single most typical tag on the photo-sharing site Flickr, keeps in mind author Lauren Ring on her motivation for the latest short story for Nature’s Futures series. What would be the worth of such images in an underground future in which we never ever see the Sun genuine? Triggered by her experience of lockdown, Ring explores our capability to discover charm and hope in a challenging present.

Nature | 5 min read

Andrew Robinson’s choice of the top five science books to read this week consists of book-burning through the ages, the Arctic laid bare, and industrialism under analysis.

Nature | 3 min read

Where I work

Luke Bisby stands in his lab at University of Edinburgh.

Luke Bisby is a structural engineer and fire-safety scientist at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Credit: Kieran Dodds for Nature

Structural engineer and fire-safety scientist Luke Bisby supports a ‘fire sword’– a stainless-steel pipeline with holes to vent lp gas. It enables his group towield fire in a controlled way to study the properties of engineered-timber buildings “Eventually, we’re studying fire to avoid catastrophe,” states Bisby. “That picture of a kid holding a stick in a campfire up until it captures, pulling it out up until it stops burning and after that plunging it in once again? That’s essentially the concern we’re studying in wood structures: just how much heat is excessive?” (Nature | 3 min read)

Quote of the day

Physicist Roger Penrose assesses his twistor theory, which has yet to capture on in the physics neighborhood. (The TLS)

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