Home South pole ice How music downloads spread like a catchy disease

How music downloads spread like a catchy disease

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Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, test a model of VIPER on simulated lunar terrain.Credit: NASA / GRC / Bridget Caswell

The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), scheduled for launch in 2023, will be the first spacecraft to land at the South Pole of the Moon. The region is scientifically very promising: its ice reserves have been preserved for billions of years and contain information on the origin and evolution of the solar system. But some researchers worry that the landing site is not guaranteed to have an abundance of frozen water. They recommend that NASA first launch a small satellite called the Lunar Trailblazer, which will map water on the Moon.

Nature | 6 minutes to read

Children and young people experience distress, anger and other negative emotions about climate change. A survey of 10,000 young people aged 16 to 25 in 10 countries found that nearly 60% are “very worried” or “extremely worried”, in part because governments are not doing enough to prevent a climate catastrophe. However, young people feel reassured when governments act.

Nature | 4 minutes to read

The song download patterns closely resemble the spread of an infectious disease across a population, according to a study that used infectious disease models to analyze how new songs became popular on the MixRadio streaming service. By far the most contagious genre was electronica, although rock and hip-hop also spread quickly through a sensitive population of fans. Of course, there could be people who are “immune” to genres like electronics, says disease modeler Thomas Rawson. “Ma nan, for example, is particularly resistant to the infection of trap and dubstep.”

The Guardian | 5 minutes to read

Reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society A paper

The spinning of the “helicopter” seeds inspired tiny electronic devices that float in the air. These circuit chips with wings drop slowly and can carry a multitude of electronic components, such as sensors and wireless communication antennas. They can be fabricated in large numbers and deposited from a height that allows high-resolution data collection over a large area.

Nature | 4 minutes to read

Features & Reviews

Aerial view of the city of Goma with Lake Kivu and the Nyiragongo volcano.

The people of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are flanked by the threatening Nyiragongo volcano and Lake Kivu.Credit: Guerchom Ndebo for Nature

Lake Kivu is a geological anomaly: the surface is cool and filled with fish, but the depths contain huge amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. The scenic lake, nestled between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, has the potential to release these gases explosively in a rare phenomenon known as the limnic eruption. This could fill the surrounding valley with suffocating and poisonous gas, potentially killing millions of people. Energy companies want to accelerate the extraction of methane from the lake to generate electricity. Scientists are scrambling to determine if this will make the lake safer – or potentially set off a time bomb.

Nature | 13 minutes to read

Without the ability to screen all inbound travelers for COVID-19, Greece has launched a system that uses a machine learning algorithm to determine who needs to be tested. Researchers found that it was more effective at identifying asymptomatic infected people than random testing or testing based on a traveler’s country of origin. But it also presents challenges, argues a Nature editorial – to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected to the need to independently verify its accuracy. It’s a reminder of why the pandemic treaty proposals must take into account rules and protocols on the proper use of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

Nature | 6 minutes to read

Read more: A pandemic treaty needs data access rules anyone can trust (Nature | 5 min read, from June)

Reference: Nature paper

Everyone is different, so your mentoring style should be unique for each person, explains chemist Jen Heemstra in the latest Nature Careers podcast. “My role is to be a bit like a sports coach. I want to help everyone be their best. And sometimes there are situations where as a mentor you have to have difficult conversations with your student. “It comes at an emotional cost not only for them, but for us, unless you are a sadist,” says sociologist Martin Gargiulo. But “you have to be there to help this person get to the level you want them to be.”

Nature careers podcast | 11 minutes of listening

Quote of the day

Barbara Kent was at summer camp in New Mexico during the world’s first atomic bomb explosion, called Trinity. A bill to extend compensation to those living downwind of the test was introduced in the US Senate on Wednesday. (National Geographic | 18 min read)