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Caloric materials, which change temperature under pressure, offer a promising replacement for the powerful greenhouse gases inside air conditioners. Magnetic and electrical fields, or some combination of these forces, also sometimes do the trick.
Features & opinion
Sailors are coming back from the waters off Portugal with tales of orcas attacking their boats. Marine scientists are investigating what is driving behaviour that they initially found hard to even believe. A gang of three young males, covered in scars, is playing with the boats, say the researchers — which is not to say there’s no element of aggression. “The real truth is not either one of those things,” says whale neuroscientist Lori Marino. “They’re capable of cruelty, they’re capable of kindness, they’re capable of all kinds of things just like humans.”
When science writer Natalie Wolchover asked a dozen particle physicists what a particle is, they gave remarkably diverse descriptions. She investigates how conceptualizations such as a collapsed wave function and a quantum excitation of a field capture different facets of the truth, and how researchers are trying to find a more encompassing definition.
Light and noise pollution change the behaviour of birds — but do they ultimately affect reproductive success? Researchers looked at thousands of observations gathered by citizen-science volunteers in the NestWatch programme at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to find out. The Nature Podcast explores the results with co-author Clint Francis, along with lots of lovely bird calls. Plus, organized crime in fisheries and the latest coronavirus research.