- Solar system has a new most-distant member
- Million suns shed light on fossilized plant
- Brain differences in college-aged occasional drug users
- Sensing gravity with acid: Scientists discover role for protons in neurotransmission
- Simple, like a neutron star: How neutron stars are like (and unlike) black holes
- Strange materials cropping up in condensed matter laboratories
- DNA from fossils reveal origin of Norwegian lemmings
- Gene silencing instructions acquired through 'molecular memory' tags on chromatin
Posted: 26 Mar 2014 12:37 PM PDT
The Solar System has a new most-distant member, bringing its outer frontier into focus. New work reports the discovery of a distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113, which was found beyond the known edge of the Solar System. This is likely one of thousands of distant objects that are thought to form the so-called inner Oort cloud. The work indicates the potential presence of an enormous planet, not yet seen, but possibly influencing the orbit of inner Oort cloud objects.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:04 PM PDT
Scientists have used one of the brightest lights in the Universe to expose the biochemical structure of a 50 million-year-old fossil plant to stunning visual effect. The team of palaeontologists, geochemists and physicists investigated the chemistry of exceptionally preserved fossil leaves from the Eocene-aged 'Green River Formation' of the western United States by bombarding the fossils with X-rays brighter than a million suns produced by synchrotron particle accelerators.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 04:07 PM PDT
Impaired neuronal activity has been found in the parts of the brain associated with anticipatory functioning among occasional 18- to 24-year-old users of stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs such as Adderall. The brain differences, detected using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are believed to represent an internal hard wiring that may make some people more prone to drug addiction later in life.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 12:42 PM PDT
While probing how organisms sense gravity and acceleration, scientists uncovered evidence that acid (proton concentration) plays a key role in communication between neurons. Scientists discovered that sensory cells in the inner ear continuously transmit information on orientation of the head relative to gravity and low-frequency motion to the brain using protons as the key means of synaptic signal transmission.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:44 AM PDT
For astrophysicists neutron stars are extremely complex astronomical objects. Research has demonstrated that in certain respects these stars can instead be described very simply and that they show similarities with black holes.
Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:42 AM PDT
Physicists are using surprising ideas and mathematical tools originating in string theory to guide research into strange materials that are cropping up in condensed matter laboratories. There are a handful of systems that cannot be described by considering electrons (or any other kind of quasi-particle) moving around.
Posted: 24 Mar 2014 06:02 AM PDT
A new ancient DNA study shows that the Norwegian lemming has a unique history. In contrast to other mammals in Fennoscandia, the Norwegian lemming may have survived the last Ice Age in the far north, sealed off from the rest of the world by gigantic ice sheets.
Posted: 20 Mar 2014 10:11 AM PDT
One of the mysteries of modern genetics has been solved: how acquired traits can be passed between generations in a process called epigenetic inheritance. The new work finds that cells don't know to silence some genes based on information hardwired into their DNA sequences, but recognize heritable chemical marks that are added to the genes. These chemical tags serve as a form of molecular memory, allowing cells to recognize the genes and remember to silence them again in each new generation.
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