Today’s space picture is another contribution from the European Southern Observatory, or the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, to use its full name. This is the Helix planetary nebula, a giant shell of gas 700 light years given off by a star dying into a white dwarf.
Researchers have linked a genetic variation to a tendency to avoid gloom. As described in a study published today, people who carry longer versions of a serotonin-related gene are drawn to pleasing images, while paying less attention to negative ones.
On this week’s Nature Podcast – This week the Nature Podcast plunges into the ocean to find see-sawing temperatures and a fish fossil that sheds light on the origins of sex. We also explore the ethics of brain-machine interfaces and trace the ‘footsteps’ of migrating planets. Read more
Social aphids Nipponaphis monzeni show a remarkable dedication to the upkeep of their homes.
The animals force plants to grow ‘galls’ of tissue inside which they reside. When these galls are damaged soldier aphids rush to the breach and explode themselves, sealing the hole with a sticky mess of aphid goo and creating a protective scab.
Takema Fukatsu and colleagues at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, investigated what happens after the scab is formed.
Chinese newspaper Guangming Daily reports that China will implement a competitive bidding system for the construction of parts of its forthcoming Moon probe (via Reuters).
Ian Welsh was on a stingray tagging project in Thailand when he caught a big surprise (Daily Telegraph).
The Dvice website has the near-perfect answer for palaeontology fans in need of a sofa.
The ‘freaky flat-faced fish’ discovered last year near Indonesia has been confirmed as a new species. In a newly published paper Theodore Pietsch, Rachel Arnold, and David Hall admit the fish is “bizarre” and name it Histiophryne psychedelica.