Category Archives: Nature

Testosterone boost doesn’t fuel risky behaviour in women

Women given testosterone for a month were no more likely than women not receiving the hormone to engage in risky financial decisions, according to researchers in Sweden. The findings could suggest that women are a safer pair of hands on the stock-market trading floor than men — or throw into doubt earlier findings about the effect of the hormone on men.

Read the rest of this news story on Nature News [html] or here [pdf]

More than a silver lining

A study looking at why clouds make the air near them glow more brightly suggests climate models may need to be revised.

Atmospheric scientists already account for the brighter air close to clouds, thanks to a 2007 study by Ilan Koren and his colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The team showed that cloud droplets, attached to dust and smoke particles, float in a halo kilometres wide around clouds, bouncing sunlight back out of the atmosphere. Seen from a satellite, that means air close to clouds looks brighter.

Read the rest of the story on Nature’s new site: [html]

Nature Internship 1: My first week

nature_cover_0904021I’m doing a reporting internship at Nature’s London office for the next few months. Because the frequency of individual stories will be higher than usual for me, I’ll be rounding up each week’s stories into one handy update.

In my first week, I’ve blogged about the EU emissions trading scheme, Earth Hour, 100 Hours of Astronomy, a Swedish house on the moon, a giant laser, written news items about the Abel prize for math, researchers who think they can cut down on the number of animal tests, and summarized a report of a newly discovered halo of stars in our galaxy [pdf].

Working in an office full-time has been as illuminating as I hoped it would be, so far. I’m soaking up all kinds of newsroom wisdom culture and have even learned how to operate a cafetière, which one of my editors assures me is the path to winning friends and influencing people.

Experimental design could reduce need for animal tests

Researchers could cut the use of animals in their experiments by changing the way they analyze their results, according to a study by scientists based in Germany and the United States.

In a typical animal experiment, researchers will try to standardize factors such as the animals’ genetic backgrounds and laboratory conditions to make it as easy as possible for other researchers to reproduce their results later. Now, a team led by Hanno Würbel at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany, has reanalyzed a study of mouse behaviour by taking such genetic and environmental variations into account, and they got fewer spurious results, or false positives, than the initial study.

Read the article at Nature News [html] or here [pdf]