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Tens of thousands of scientists have released statements expressing support for the ongoing climate strikes by schoolchildren. Today is set to be the biggest moment yet for the grassroots movement inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, in which young people walk out of schools to demand that adults do more to combat climate change. The young protesters “have every right to be angry about the future that we shall bequeath to them, if proportionate and urgent action is not taken”, said the statement from 224 UK academics.
Children aren’t the only ones lobbying for action on climate change this week. Nearly 400 scientists have signed a letter calling for Australia to introduce tougher laws against land clearing, which has increased dramatically over the past decade. Land clearing has been linked to increases in the number of threatened species, and it also contributes to global warming, which raises the risk of bushfires and drought.
Scientists have been engineering liquid marbles for more than a decade by encasing droplets in ‘armour’ made of spherical particles. Now, scientists have swapped the armour spheres for hexagonal plates. The modified droplets self‐assemble into shapes such as cylinders, dumbbells and even letters, which could function as microscopic ball bearings, miniature vessels for chemical reactions, and various types of sensors.
FEATURES & OPINION
In 1918, as the First World War drew to an end, astronomer Arthur Eddington set out on a challenging mission: to prove Einstein’s new theory of general relativity by measuring stars’ gravity-shifted positions in the sky during a total eclipse. The experiment became a defining example of how science should be done. The Nature PastCast delves into the story behind one of the most influential papers ever published in Nature.
Prediabetes — a slight elevation in blood glucose — rarely leads to full-blown type 2 diabetes and started its life as a public-relations catchphrase, reports Science. Yet the category has spawned public-health programmes worth billions of dollars, and at least ten classes of drug. Now, physicians and researchers are questioning whether a sweeping diagnosis that encompasses one-quarter of the US population is doing more harm than good.
Speak up early when misunderstandings arise, says immunologist Jamie Sugrue, or risk their snowballing into something you never prepared for. Such as being asked to make bespoke chocolate for the invited speakers at the 25th International Hepatitis C conference.
BOOKS & ARTS
Barbara Kiser’s pick of the top five science books to read this week includes the wild side of discovery, a history of information warfare, and the immune system uncovered.