Volume 532 Number 7600


On a downer p.413

The United Nations has chosen to keep the war on drugs going — but it can’t win.

doi: 10.1038/532413b

Anticipating artificial intelligence p.413

Concerns over AI are not simply fear-mongering. Progress in the field will affect society profoundly, and it is important to make sure that the changes benefit everyone.

doi: 10.1038/532413a

Biden time p.414

The US vice-president’s cancer project is winning hearts and minds.

doi: 10.1038/532414a


News Features

The lasting legacy of Nepal’s quake p.428

A year after a devastating earthquake triggered killer avalanches and rock falls in Nepal, scientists are wiring up mountainsides to forecast hazards.

doi: 10.1038/532428a

News & Views

The rise of Rhizaria p.444

Large amoeba-like organisms known as Rhizaria have often been overlooked in studies of ocean biology and biogeochemistry. Underwater imaging and ecological network analyses are revealing their roles. See Article p.465 & Letter p.504

doi: 10.1038/nature17892

Cracks help membranes to stay hydrated p.445

Membranes have been prepared with a cracked coating that prevents them from drying out in low-humidity conditions — a boon for devices, such as fuel cells, that need hydrated membranes to function. See Letter p.480

doi: 10.1038/532445a

Getting the measure of a monster p.447

Scrutiny of fossils sometimes uncovers an unexpected phylogenetic relationship. New analyses of the enigmatic fossil Tullimonstrum from 300 million years ago reveal it to be a vertebrate. See Letters p.496 & p.500

doi: 10.1038/nature17885

Four neutrons together momentarily p.448

A system of four neutrons known as the tetraneutron is a hypothetical state in nuclear physics. The report of evidence for the fleeting existence of this state has implications for research into neutron stars.

doi: 10.1038/nature17884

Fault tolerance in the brain p.449

If stored information is erased from neural circuits in one brain hemisphere in mice, the lost data can be recovered from the other. This finding highlights a safeguarding mechanism at work in the brain. See Article p.459

doi: 10.1038/nature17886

Glitches in time p.450

A mathematical technique has now been developed that reveals the underlying dynamics of time-dependent data collected with extreme temporal uncertainty, without using additional, costly instrumentation. See Letter p.471

doi: 10.1038/532450a


Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex p.453

It has been proposed that language meaning is represented throughout the cerebral cortex in a distributed ‘semantic system’, but little is known about the details of this network; here, voxel-wise modelling of functional MRI data collected while subjects listened to natural stories is used to create a detailed atlas that maps representations of word meaning in the human brain.

doi: 10.1038/nature17637

Plankton networks driving carbon export in the oligotrophic ocean p.465

Plankton communities in the top 150 m of the nutrient-depleted, oligotrophic global ocean that are most associated with carbon export include unexpected taxa, such as Radiolaria, alveolate parasites, and Synechococcus and their phages, and point towards potential functional markers predicting a significant fraction of the variability in carbon export in these regions.

doi: 10.1038/nature16942


Dynamics from noisy data with extreme timing uncertainty p.471

A data-analytical approach that can extract the history and dynamics of complex systems from noisy snapshots on timescales much shorter than the uncertainty with which the data were recorded is described; the approach is demonstrated by extracting the dynamics on the few-femtosecond timescale from experimental data recorded with 300-femtosecond timing uncertainty.

doi: 10.1038/nature17627

Quantum phases from competing short- and long-range interactions in an optical lattice p.476

The simplest form of the Hubbard model includes only on-site interactions, but by placing an optical lattice filled with ultracold rubidium atoms into an optical cavity the Hubbard model is implemented with competing long- and short-range interactions; four phases emerge, namely, a superfluid phase, a Mott insulating phase, a supersolid phase and a charge density wave phase.

doi: 10.1038/nature17409

Nanocrack-regulated self-humidifying membranes p.480

Nanometre-scale cracks in a hydrophobic surface coating applied to hydrocarbon proton-exchange fuel-cell membranes work as tiny valves, delaying water desorption and maintaining ion conductivity in the membrane on dehumidification.

doi: 10.1038/nature17634

The pentadehydro-Diels–Alder reaction p.484

A modification to the classic Diels–Alder [4 + 2] cycloaddition reaction, termed the pentadehydro-Diels–Alder reaction, is reported; this reaction generates a highly reactive intermediate, an α,3-dehydrotoluene, that can be captured using various trapping agents to produce structurally diverse products.

doi: 10.1038/nature17429

Rapid cycling of reactive nitrogen in the marine boundary layer p.489

Aircraft measurements, laboratory photolysis experiments and modelling calculations reveal a mechanism for the recycling of nitric acid into nitrogen oxides; this enables observations to be reconciled with model studies, and suggests that particulate nitrate photolysis could be a substantial tropospheric nitrogen oxide source.

doi: 10.1038/nature17195

Bubble accumulation and its role in the evolution of magma reservoirs in the upper crust p.492

Here, the authors model the fluid dynamics that controls the transport of the magmatic volatile phase (MVP) in crystal-rich and crystal-poor magmas; they find that the MVP tends to migrate efficiently in crystal-rich parts of a magma reservoir but to accumulate in crystal-poor parts—possibly explaining why crystal-poor silicic magmas are particularly prone to erupting.

doi: 10.1038/nature17401

The ‘Tully monster’ is a vertebrate p.496

The Tully monster (Tullimonstrum), a problematic fossil from the 309–307-million-year-old Mazon Creek biota of Illinois, is shown to be not only a vertebrate but also akin to lampreys, increasing the morphological disparity of that group.

doi: 10.1038/nature16992

Crystal structure of the human σ1 receptor p.527

The X-ray crystal structures of the human σ1 receptor bound to two different ligands are reported, revealing the overall architecture, oligomerization state, and molecular basis for ligand recognition by this protein.

doi: 10.1038/nature17391