Daily briefing: A giant cat was hiding among the Nazca lines

NATURE BRIEFING
A 37-metre-long figure of a cat has reappeared among the iconic Peruvian geoglyphs known as the Nazca lines. Plus, how China could be carbon neutral by 2060 and migraine headaches.

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Daily briefing: A giant cat was hiding among the Nazca lines Daily briefing: A giant cat was hiding among the Nazca lines

China will have to massively increase its solar and wind capacity to become carbon neutral by 2060.Credit: Li Zongxian/VCG/Getty

When Chinese President announced his country’s ambitious target to become carbon neutral before 2060, it came as a surprise even to many in China. It’s the country’s first long-term climate goal, and will require China to rein in CO2, and probably other greenhouse-gas emissions, to net zero. Several influential research groups that work closely with the government tell Naturehow China might get there via cleaner power, carbon-capture technologies and carbon offsetting.

Nature | 6 min read

The Chinese city of Jiaxing is offering Sinovac Biotech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine for about US$60 for two doses, as part of a national emergency inoculation programme. The city’s center for disease control and prevention said in a statement on WeChat that it would make the vaccine, called CoronaVac, available to the general public, prioritizing essential workers and other high-risk groups. The vaccine is in phase III trials in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, and interim results are expected in late November.

Reuters | 3 min read

A 37-metre-long figure of a cat has reappeared among the iconic geoglyphs known as the Nazca lines. The drawing, hidden from view on a steep slope, had almost faded into obscurity. “It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” said Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the lines. Isla says the cat predates the Nazca culture, which drew the larger figures that adorn the site.

The Guardian | 4 min read

Antarctica’s delicate and iconic ecosystem is in peril. Its western Antarctic Peninsula is among the fastest-warming places on Earth. Most of the region’s glaciers are receding, and its sea ice is shrinking. Heavy fishing is depleting a key food source, krill. And visiting tourists and scientists have put the region’s precious biodiversity at risk. Over the next two weeks, a group of governments will discuss a proposal to make the Antarctic Peninsula a marine protected area, which would ban fishing in some places and set catch limits for krill for many decades. “We urge them to act now,” say Carolyn Hogg and her colleagues.

Nature | 10 min read

As if grizzly bears weren’t enough, COVID-19 added another challenge to the fieldwork planning of conservation scientists Christie Sampson and Steven Vamosi. They found ways to ramp up collaborations with other groups to help collect samples and make outings safe under pandemic restrictions. They share some guidelines they developed to help form the most useful alliances.

Nature | 5 min read

Scientists are finding innovative ways to save coral reefs from extinction. One group in Australia supports coral gardening, in which fragments of living coral from healthy parts of the reef are glued or clipped on to dead coral skeletons and artificial reef structures. They also use ‘coral IVF’ to fertilize collected eggs and sperm, and keep the resulting embryos away from predators until they grow into baby corals. Researchers are even kick-starting recovery with artificial reef noise by using underwater loudspeakers to play the sounds of a healthy reef and attract fish populations back to degraded areas. Others want to intervene further by selectively introducing heat-tolerant coral varieties to regenerate reefs facing profound global changes.

The Guardian | 11 min read

Let the Financial Times step you through the emergence of the new coronavirus, its cruel path through South Korea and Italy and its current footholds the the United States, South America, India and Europe. Along the way, animated graphics tell of the impacts of different interventions, the challenges of gathering solid data and the many paradoxes and open questions.

Financial Times | 20 min read

Scientists get their heads around migraines

Daily briefing: A giant cat was hiding among the Nazca lines Daily briefing: A giant cat was hiding among the Nazca lines

Pain and other symptoms of migraines and cluster headaches can add up to a lifelong disability — one that the medical community has not done enough to address.

• A migraine attack comprises several phases, of which the headache is just one. Learn what’s going on with this visual guide to migraine headaches. (3 min read)

• A new generation of headache drugs that block a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) or its receptor is already having a big impact on migraine. These drugs have few side effects and work for many people for whom other treatments fail. Despite lingering uncertainty over exactly how CGRP-targeted drugs actually work, researchers are exploring their benefits for other types of debilitating headache post-traumatic headaches, and for children with migraine. (11 min read)

• Auras are widely viewed as a hallmark of migraine, but many mysteries remain about how they fit into the wider biology of the syndrome. More than 90% of auras affect vision, but symptoms can take various forms, including tingling or numbness around the body and an impaired ability to speak. Fascinating case studies illustrate the search for an understanding of this enigmatic phenomenon, including a man who made thousands of sketches of his evolving auras and another who could summon them by playing basketball. (11 min read)

• Young boys and girls are about equally likely to develop migraine. But at puberty, the prevalence in females rapidly escalates: adult women are two to three times more likely than men to have migraines. Sex differences in migraine prevalence have been recognized for centuries, but researchers are still just beginning to understand the factors that put women at greater risk — and oestrogen alone does not fully explain it. (8 min read)

Read the whole collection of articles, including a look at the unique demands of childhood migraines and research highlights from clinical trials and laboratory studies.

Nature Outlook: Headache is editorially independent and produced with the financial support of Lundbeck.

Quote of the day

Vaccinologist Paul Offit is one of a self-described ‘group of nerdy virologists’ that is expecting an unusually large audience for its US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel. (Politico)

On Friday, Leif Penguinson lounged on the stunning limestone rock formations of Tapiutan Island in the Philippines. Did you find the penguin? When you’re ready, here is the answer.

(Psst… have you heard? We’ve written a new short e-mail series about time management, mental health, publishing and other key skills for your scientific career. Sign up here for free — and please let us know what you think of it at briefing@nature.com.)

Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

With contributions by Smriti Mallapaty

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2020-10-20T05:08:15-05:00October 20th, 2020|Categories: China|Tags: , |
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