Σάββατο, 31 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News


Precipitation satellite passes check-out, starts mission

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:05 PM PDT

The new Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory satellite is now in the hands of the engineers who will fly the spacecraft and ensure the steady flow of data on rain and snow for the life of the mission. The official handover to the Earth Science Mission Operations team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center marked the end of a successful check-out period.

Atomic structure of essential circadian clock protein complex determined

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:33 AM PDT

For the first time, the molecular structure of a protein complex that plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythm has been identified by a team of researchers. "Our circadian clock controls many important physiological functions," explained one resesarcher. If the natural rhythm is disrupted, as for example in the case of people on shift work, the likelihood of developing metabolic disorders, diabetes, or cancer is significantly increased.

Researchers see stem cells take key step toward development: A first

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:33 AM PDT

The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells to take the first step to specialization for the first time in a laboratory. Researchers demonstrated that not only is it possible for mouse embryonic stem cells to form three distinct germ layers in the lab, but also that it requires correct timing, chemical factors and mechanical environment.

Green tea could reduce pancreatic cancer risk: Study explains how

Posted: 30 May 2014 10:32 AM PDT

A new study explains how green tea changed the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells, opening a new area in cancer-fighting research. Green tea and its extracts have been widely touted as potential treatments for cancer, as well as several other diseases. But scientists have struggled to explain how the green tea and its extracts may work to reduce the risk of cancer or to slow the growth of cancer cells.

First real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion in an organic solar cell

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Scientists have reported the first real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion process in an organic solar cell. Researchers show that the quantum-mechanical, wavelike nature of electrons and their coupling to the nuclei is of fundamental importance for the charge transfer in an organic photovoltaic device.

Eating prunes can help weight loss, study shows

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Eating prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss, research shows. Consumption of dried fruit is not readily recommended during weight loss despite evidence it enhances feelings of fullness. However, a study of 100 overweight and obese low fiber consumers tested whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet helped or hindered weight control over a 12-week period. The results were promising.

Australia's deadly eruptions were reason for the first mass extinction

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

Ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life. Scientists used radioactive dating techniques to precisely measure the age of the eruptions of the Kalkarindji volcanic province.

New 3-D representation of Richard III's spine shows 'spiral nature' of his scoliosis

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Shakespeare may have characterized Richard III as a hunchback, but now everyone can explore the true shape of one of history's most famous spinal columns. A polymer reconstruction was photographed from 19 different points, and the pictures were then stitched together digitally to create the interactive 3-D model.

New global maps of livestock distribution

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

New global maps of livestock distribution have been established by an international team of researchers. This study should help to measure the socio-economic, public health and environmental impacts of livestock and poultry, worldwide. The evaluation of multiple socio-economic, environmental and public health around the livestock sector requires accurate accessible and comprehensive spatial data on the distribution and abundance of livestock.

One cell's meat is another cell's poison: How the loss of a cell protein favors cancer cells while harming healthy cells

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:24 AM PDT

As a new therapeutic approach, Janus kinases are currently in the limelight of cancer research. The focus of interest is the protein JAK2. By inhibiting this protein one tries to cure chronic bone marrow diseases, such as myelofibrosis and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Ecosystem services: Looking forward to mid-century

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

As population grows, society needs more -- more energy, more food, more paper, more housing, more of nearly everything. Meeting those needs can lead to changes in how land is used. Native grasslands, forests and wetlands may be converted into croplands, tree plantations, residential areas and commercial developments. Those conversions can, in turn, diminish the health of natural ecosystems and their ability to provide an array of valuable services, such as clean air and water, wildlife and opportunities for recreation, to name a few.

Powerful tool combs family genomes to find shared variations causing disease

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

A powerful tool called pVAAST that combines linkage analysis with case control association has been developed to help researchers and clinicians identify disease-causing mutations in families faster and more precisely than ever before. The researchers describe cases in which pVAAST (the pedigree Variant Annotation, Analysis and Search Tool) identified mutations in two families with separate diseases and a de novo or new variation in a 12-year-old who was the only one in his family to suffer from a mysterious and life threatening intestinal problem.

Glow-in-the-dark tool lets scientists find diseased bats

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions -- ultraviolet, or UV, light. Millions of bats have died from this rapidly spreading disease and this new method allows for accurate detection of the disease without killing any more bats.

Smells like deceit: A record number of species use the same odor to exploit each other

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Ecologists discover a fascinating story of hijacked signals, deceit, stowaways, and eavesdropping in the natural world. It involves the citrus tree, an infectious plant disease called huánglóngbìng, a sap-sucking plant louse, and a predatory wasp -- all communicating with each other through a single odor.

New coronavirus inhibitor exhibits antiviral activity by blocking viral hijacking of host

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, coronaviruses have been on the watch list for emerging pathogens, and the ongoing outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) confirmed that they represent a serious threat. No specific drugs exist against coronaviruses so far, but a new article introduces a new inhibitor of coronaviruses and implicates a specific process in the life cycle of these viruses that it blocks.

Improved identification of war wound infections promises more successful treatment

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

War wounds that heal successfully frequently contain different microbial species from those that heal poorly, according to a paper. These and other findings have important implications for improving wound healing, says the first author. The investigators examined 124 wound samples from 61 wounds in 44 patients injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. They used a microbial detection microarray that contains DNA probes capable of detecting any microorganisms that have previously been sequenced.

There's more than one way to silence a cricket: Co-evolution of crickets who lost their chirp

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:24 AM PDT

For most of us, crickets are probably most recognizable by the distinctive chirping sounds males make with their wings to lure females. But some crickets living on the islands of Hawaii have effectively lost their instruments and don't make their music anymore. Now researchers report that crickets living on different islands quieted their wings in different ways at almost the same time.

New technologies making it easier to protect threatened species

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Online databases, smart phone apps, crowd sourcing and new hardware devices are making it easier to collect data on species. When combined with data on land-use change and the species observations of millions of amateur citizen scientists, technology is increasingly allowing scientists and policymakers to more closely monitor the planet's biodiversity and threats to it.

When eradicating invasive species threatens endangered species recovery

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Efforts to eradicate invasive species increasingly occur side by side with programs focused on recovery of endangered ones. But what should resource managers do when the eradication of an invasive species threatens an endangered species? In a new study, scientists examine that conundrum now taking place in the San Francisco Bay.

Hoosier cavefish: New species from caves of southern Indiana has an anus right behind its head

Posted: 29 May 2014 08:20 AM PDT

A new eyeless cavefish is described from Indiana and named after the Indiana Hoosiers. It is the first new cavefish species described from the US in 40 years. Notably, it has an anus right behind its head, and the females brood their young in their gill chamber.

Climate change now a mainstream part of city planning: Global survey

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Cities are planning for climate change, research shows, but are still searching for links to economic growth. The report underscores the extent to which city leaders recognize climate change as a major challenge -- even as they are trying to figure out how their responses can create jobs, growth, and cost savings in areas ranging from cities' transportation networks to their distribution of businesses.

Mountaineering and mountain medicine

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Hundreds of millions of people all over the world travel to, work in or live in mountainous regions. The stress caused by high altitudes causes many health problems as their body seems to be incapable of adapting to such conditions. About 15% of the population living in the South American Andes suffer from chronic altitude sickness with severe effects on their everyday lives.

Diesel bus alternative: Electric school buses that power grid could save school districts millions

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Electric school buses that feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars — and reduce children's exposure to diesel fumes — based on recent research. A new study examines the cost-effectiveness of electric school buses that discharge their batteries into the electrical grid when not in use and get paid for the service. The technology, called vehicle-to-grid (V2G), was pioneered at UD and is being tested with electric cars in a pilot project.

A more Earth-friendly way to make bright white cotton fabrics

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:54 AM PDT

With a growing number of consumers demanding more Earth-friendly practices from the fashion world, scientists are developing new ways to produce textiles that could help meet rising expectations. One such method can dramatically reduce the amount of energy it takes to bleach cotton while improving the quality of the popular material.

Sneaky bacteria change key protein's shape to escape detection

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Every once in a while in the US, bacterial meningitis seems to crop up out of nowhere, claiming a young life. Part of the disease's danger is the ability of the bacteria to evade the body's immune system, but scientists are now figuring out how the pathogen hides in plain sight.

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News


A first for NASA's IRIS: Observing a gigantic eruption of solar material

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:06 PM PDT

A coronal mass ejection, or CME, surged off the side of the sun on May 9, 2014, and NASA's newest solar observatory caught it in extraordinary detail. This was the first CME observed by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, which launched in June 2013 to peer into the lowest levels of the sun's atmosphere with better resolution than ever before.

Precipitation satellite passes check-out, starts mission

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:05 PM PDT

The new Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory satellite is now in the hands of the engineers who will fly the spacecraft and ensure the steady flow of data on rain and snow for the life of the mission. The official handover to the Earth Science Mission Operations team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center marked the end of a successful check-out period.

3-D bioprinting builds a better blood vessel

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:05 PM PDT

The tangled highway of blood vessels that twists and turns inside our bodies, delivering essential nutrients and disposing of hazardous waste to keep our organs working properly has been a conundrum for scientists trying to make artificial vessels from scratch. Now a team has made headway in fabricating blood vessels using a three-dimensional bioprinting technique.

First real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion in an organic solar cell

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:44 AM PDT

Scientists have reported the first real-time movies of the light-to-current conversion process in an organic solar cell. Researchers show that the quantum-mechanical, wavelike nature of electrons and their coupling to the nuclei is of fundamental importance for the charge transfer in an organic photovoltaic device.

New printable robots could self-assemble when heated

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:44 AM PDT

New algorithms and electronic components could enable printable robots that self-assemble when heated. Printable robots — those that can be assembled from parts produced by 3-D printers — have long been a topic of research in Computer Science labs at MIT. Now researchers introduce a new wrinkle on the idea: bakable robots.

Knowledge or entertainment: Which would you pay for?

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:17 AM PDT

From firewalls to metered access, news organizations have invented many ways to make readers pay for their content online. But the vital question of which readers are more willing to pay than others has been largely neglected – until now.

Quantum mechanisms of organic devices for alternative solar panels are revealed

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:17 AM PDT

Silicon panel-based technology requires a very costly, contaminating manufacturing process, while organic photovoltaic devices have been positioned as one of the most attractive alternatives as a source of solar energy. This is the first time the quantum mechanisms that trigger the photovoltaic function of these devices have been deciphered.

X-ray pulses on demand from electron storage rings

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:27 AM PDT

Physicists recently devised a new method to pick single X-ray pulses out of the pulse trains usually emitted from synchrotron radiation facilities. The technique is very useful to support studies of electronic properties of quantum materials and superconductors and paves the way for future synchrotron facilities with variable pulse lengths.

Security and privacy? Now they can go hand in hand

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

Online identification and authentication keeps transactions secure on the Internet, however this has also implications for your privacy. Disclosing more personal information than needed online when, say, you log in to your bank website may simplify the bank's security at the cost of your privacy. Now, thanks to new research there is a new approach that keeps systems secure and protects your identity.

Aircraft wings that change their shape in flight can help to protect the environment

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:26 AM PDT

A top priority for any airline is to conserve as much fuel as possible – and this helps to protect the environment. A new project aims to reduce kerosene consumption by six percent, and integrating flexible landing devices into aircraft wings is one step towards that target.

Researchers design a new structure that absorbs all sound

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:24 AM PDT

A new step toward the perfect acoustic absorber. Researchers have designed and experimentally evaluated in the laboratory a new structure made of conventional porous materials –- used in the construction industry -- that permit the complete absorption of sound at a wide range of frequencies.

Appeal of well-being apps often short-lived

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:24 AM PDT

Online and mobile apps for stress management and healthy eating reach a large number of users, but their appeal tends to be short-lived. Apps can contribute to improved well-being and provide support for behavioral changes as long as they are simple, attractive and easy to integrate into everyday life. However, the societal impact of the apps may remain small unless real-world implementation, maintenance and dissemination are planned from the very beginning of the development process.

Positive activities administered online help in pain management

Posted: 30 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Positive activities, such as increasing supportive emotions, can reduce body discomfort in adults with mild to moderate chronic pain, according to research. The authors concluded that teaching very simple, evidence-based, positive activities administered online can lead to lasting reductions in bodily pain. Further, the study demonstrates that positive activities administered over the internet offer practical pain management strategies at very low cost with high sustainability.

Glow-in-the-dark tool lets scientists find diseased bats

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions -- ultraviolet, or UV, light. Millions of bats have died from this rapidly spreading disease and this new method allows for accurate detection of the disease without killing any more bats.

Two GOES-R instruments complete spacecraft integration

Posted: 29 May 2014 03:27 PM PDT

Two of the six instruments that will fly on NOAA's first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - R satellite have completed integration with the spacecraft. The Solar Ultraviolet Imager and Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors were installed on the sun-pointing platform.

Caught by a hair: Quick, new identification of hair may help crime fighters

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:25 AM PDT

Crime fighters could have a new tool at their disposal. Researchers have developed a cutting-edge technique to identify human hair. Their test is quicker than DNA analysis techniques currently used by law enforcement. Early sample testing produced a 100 percent success rate. Blood samples are often used to identify gender and ethnicity, but blood can deteriorate quickly and can easily be contaminated. Hair, on the other hand, is very stable. Elements in hair originate from sweat secretions that alter with diet, ethnicity, gender, the environment and working conditions.

New technologies making it easier to protect threatened species

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Online databases, smart phone apps, crowd sourcing and new hardware devices are making it easier to collect data on species. When combined with data on land-use change and the species observations of millions of amateur citizen scientists, technology is increasingly allowing scientists and policymakers to more closely monitor the planet's biodiversity and threats to it.

Cooperation learned through practice, according to a mathematical model

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:23 AM PDT

When we must choose between cooperating with others or betraying them, we are more likely to cooperate if they have acted like this with us or if we ourselves have behaved altruistically. We do so because learning reinforces what has gone well for us and not because we imitate successful people. These are the conclusions highlighted in a study based on the prisoner's dilemma, a popular model for studying conflict.

Toward smarter underwater drones

Posted: 29 May 2014 11:20 AM PDT

With better brains, underwater drones would spend less time searching and more time finding their target, including airliners lost at the bottom of the ocean. If one scientist has her way, the next generation of autonomous underwater vehicles will have a much better chance of getting it right.

Think fast, robot: Algorithm that harnesses data from new sensor could make autonomous robots more nimble

Posted: 29 May 2014 08:20 AM PDT

One of the reasons we don't yet have self-driving cars and mini-helicopters delivering online purchases is that autonomous vehicles tend not to perform well under pressure. A system that can flawlessly parallel park at 5 mph may have trouble avoiding obstacles at 35 mph. Part of the problem is the time it takes to produce and interpret camera data. An autonomous vehicle using a standard camera to monitor its surroundings might take about a fifth of a second to update its location. That's good enough for normal operating conditions but not nearly fast enough to handle the unexpected.

Climate change now a mainstream part of city planning: Global survey

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Cities are planning for climate change, research shows, but are still searching for links to economic growth. The report underscores the extent to which city leaders recognize climate change as a major challenge -- even as they are trying to figure out how their responses can create jobs, growth, and cost savings in areas ranging from cities' transportation networks to their distribution of businesses.

Diesel bus alternative: Electric school buses that power grid could save school districts millions

Posted: 29 May 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Electric school buses that feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars — and reduce children's exposure to diesel fumes — based on recent research. A new study examines the cost-effectiveness of electric school buses that discharge their batteries into the electrical grid when not in use and get paid for the service. The technology, called vehicle-to-grid (V2G), was pioneered at UD and is being tested with electric cars in a pilot project.

A more Earth-friendly way to make bright white cotton fabrics

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:54 AM PDT

With a growing number of consumers demanding more Earth-friendly practices from the fashion world, scientists are developing new ways to produce textiles that could help meet rising expectations. One such method can dramatically reduce the amount of energy it takes to bleach cotton while improving the quality of the popular material.

Ultraviolet cleaning reduces hospital superbugs by 20 percent: Study

Posted: 28 May 2014 07:33 AM PDT

Healthcare-associated vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (CD), and other multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) were decreased among patients after adding ultraviolet environmental disinfection (UVD) to the cleaning regimen, according to a study.

Can software suffer? The complicated ethics of brain emulation

Posted: 27 May 2014 06:49 PM PDT

Scientists may be years away from successfully emulating a human or animal brain for research purposes, but the significant -- and perhaps unexpected -- ethical challenges such work presents have been outlined in a thought-provoking article.