Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
This microscope image shows a neural stem cell — the largest, brightest cell, towards the right — from a Drosophila fruit fly. The cell’s progeny trail to the left in a cluster resembling a bunch of grapes. Fluorescent markers have been embedded in the cells’ membranes so researchers can see how they divide. Such high-resolution imaging has captured the cells’ mechanical motions as they make neurons in the developing brain. “We discovered that stem cells have more in common with real machines on a factory floor than previously appreciated, in that they undergo a mechanical cycle when producing each neuron,” says biochemist Ken Prehoda.
See more of the month’s sharpest science shots, selected by Nature’s photo team.
Nature | Leisurely scroll
Reference: Cell Reports paper
A flood that killed at least 200 people and damaged two hydroelectric power plants in February was caused by a massive avalanche of rock and glacier ice. Researchers used satellite images, eyewitness accounts and computer models to discover that an unusually fluid mix of water and material crumbled from the steep face of a mountain called Ronti Peak, dropping several kilometres at speeds of up to 60 metres per second. A 500-metre scar on the face of Ronti Peak, captured by satellite, shows the scale of the landslide.
ScienceNews | 6 min read
Reference: Science paper
Features & opinion
The beautifully, horrifyingly temperamental ocean speaks to its careless progeny in the latest short story for Nature’s Futures series.
Nature | 6 min read
Andrew Robinson and Sara Abdulla’s pick of the top five science books to read this week includes how to manage the ‘dataome’, medical misogyny, and the problem with palm oil.
Nature | 3 min read
Working out where to place the billions of components that a modern computer chip needs can take human designers months and, despite decades of research, has defied automation. Now, Google researchers have developed a machine-learning algorithm that does the job in a fraction of the time and is already helping to design their next generation of artifical-intelligence processors.
Nature Podcast | 26 min listen
Go deeper with computer scientist Andrew Kahng in the Nature News & Views article.
Subscribe to the Nature Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.
Reference: Nature paper