Παρασκευή, 16 Μαΐου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


Caught in the act: Study probes evolution of California insect

Posted: 15 May 2014 01:38 PM PDT

A first-of-its-kind study this week suggests that the genomes of new species may evolve in a similar, repeatable fashion -- even in cases where populations are evolving in parallel at separate locations. Evolutionary biologists used a combination of ecological fieldwork and genomic assays to see how natural selection is playing out across the genome of a Southern California stick insect that is in the process of evolving into two unique species.

Emissions from forests influence very first stage of cloud formation

Posted: 15 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Clouds are the largest source of uncertainty in present climate models. Much of the uncertainty surrounding clouds' effect on climate stems from the complexity of cloud formation. New research sheds light on new particle formation -- the very first step of cloud formation. The findings closely match observations in the atmosphere and can help make climate prediction models more accurate.

Children of parents in technical jobs at higher risk for autism

Posted: 15 May 2014 12:41 PM PDT

Children of fathers who are in technical occupations are more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder, according to researchers. Fathers who worked in engineering were two times as likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Those who worked in finance were four times more likely and those who worked in health care occupations were six times more likely to have a child on the autism spectrum. There was no association with a mother's occupation.

Silly Putty material inspires better batteries: Silicon dioxide used to make lithium-ion batteries that last three times longer

Posted: 15 May 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Using a material found in Silly Putty and surgical tubing, a group of researchers have developed a new way to make lithium-ion batteries that will last three times longer between charges compared to the current industry standard.

Definitive evidence of how zeolites grow: Tracking crystal growth in real time

Posted: 15 May 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Researchers have found the first definitive evidence of how silicalite-1 zeolites grow, showing that growth is a concerted process involving both the attachment of nanoparticles and the addition of molecules. Both processes appear to happen simultaneously, said the lead author.

Quantum simulator gives clues about magnetism

Posted: 15 May 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Researchers optically trapped a cloud of gas a billion times colder than air in a very low-pressure vacuum, and found a lower speed limit to diffusion. Assembling the puzzles of quantum materials is, in some ways, like dipping a wire hanger into a vat of soapy water, says one of the researchers. Long before mathematical equations could explain the shapes and angles in the soap foams, mathematicians conjectured that soap films naturally found the geometry that minimized surface area, thus solving the problem of minimal surfaces. They could be created simply by blowing soap bubbles.

First 'heavy mouse' leads to first lab-grown tissue mapped from atomic life

Posted: 15 May 2014 11:28 AM PDT

The molecular 'fingerprint' for tissue taken from the first isotope-enriched mouse has huge potential for scientific breakthroughs, as well as improved medical implants. Earliest research based on the data has already revealed that a molecule thought to exist for repairing DNA may also in fact trigger bone formation.

Oldest most complete, genetically intact human skeleton in New World

Posted: 15 May 2014 11:27 AM PDT

In a paper released today in the journal Science, an international team of researchers and cave divers present the results of an expedition that discovered a near-complete early American human skeleton with an intact cranium and preserved DNA. The remains were found surrounded by a variety of extinct animals more than 40 meters (130 feet) below sea level in Hoyo Negro, a deep pit within the Sac Actun cave system on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

Giant telescope tackles orbit and size of exoplanet

Posted: 15 May 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Using one of the world's largest telescopes, astronomers have tracked the orbit of a planet at least four times the size of Jupiter. The scientists were able to identify the orbit of the exoplanet, Beta Pictoris b, which sits 63 light years from our solar system, by using the Gemini Planet Imager's (GPI) next-generation, high-contrast adaptive optics (AO) system. This approach is sometimes referred to as extreme AO.

Single episode of binge drinking can adversely affect health, according to new study

Posted: 15 May 2014 10:22 AM PDT

A single episode of binge drinking can have significant negative health effects resulting in bacteria leaking from the gut, leading to increased levels of endotoxins in the blood, clinical scientists have found. Greater gut permeability and increased endotoxin levels have been linked to many of the health issues related to chronic drinking, including alcoholic liver disease.

First test of pluripotent stem cell therapy in monkeys is successful

Posted: 15 May 2014 09:32 AM PDT

For the first time in an animal that is more closely related to humans, researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to make new bone from stem-cell-like induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) made from an individual animal's own skin cells. The study in monkeys also shows that there is some risk that those iPSCs could seed tumors, but that unfortunate outcome appears to be less likely than studies in immune-compromised mice would suggest.

How octopuses don't tie themselves in knots

Posted: 15 May 2014 09:32 AM PDT

An octopus's arms are covered in hundreds of suckers that will stick to just about anything, with one important exception. Those suckers generally won't grab onto the octopus itself; otherwise, the impressively flexible animals would quickly find themselves all tangled up. Researchers observed the behavior of amputated octopus arms, which remain very active for an hour after separation. Those observations showed that the arms never grabbed octopus skin, though they would grab a skinned octopus arm.

Mice with multiple sclerosis-like condition walk again after human stem cell treatment

Posted: 15 May 2014 09:32 AM PDT

Mice severely disabled by a condition similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) were able to walk less than two weeks following treatment with human neural stem cells. The finding uncovers potential new avenues for treating MS. When scientists transplanted human stem cells into MS mice, they predicted the cells would be rejected, much like rejection of an organ transplant. Expecting no benefit to the mice, they were surprised when the experiment yielded spectacular results.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is smaller than ever seen before

Posted: 15 May 2014 07:36 AM PDT

Recent Hubble observations confirm that Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a swirling storm feature larger than Earth, has shrunken to the smallest size astronomers have ever measured. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a churning anticyclonic storm.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way

Posted: 15 May 2014 06:09 AM PDT

Models using detailed topographic maps show that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun. Fast-moving Thwaites Glacier, which acts as a linchpin on the rest of the ice sheet, will likely disappear in a matter of centuries.

Stability lost as supernovae explode

Posted: 15 May 2014 06:08 AM PDT

Exploding supernovae are a phenomenon that is still not fully understood. The trouble is that the state of nuclear matter in stars cannot be reproduced on Earth. Scientists have now developed a new model of supernovae represented as dynamical systems subject to a loss of stability, just before they explode. Because similar stability losses also occur in dynamical systems in nature, this model could be used to predict natural catastrophes before they happen.

High-speed solar winds increase lightning strikes on Earth

Posted: 14 May 2014 05:57 PM PDT

Scientists have discovered new evidence to suggest that lightning on Earth is triggered not only by cosmic rays from space, but also by energetic particles from the sun. Researchers found a link between increased thunderstorm activity on Earth and streams of high-energy particles accelerated by the solar wind, offering compelling evidence that particles from space help trigger lightning bolts.

Male infertility: It's all about the (DNA) package

Posted: 13 May 2014 06:25 AM PDT

Infertility is generally thought of as a woman's problem. In fact, more than 3 million men across America also experience it. Today, researchers describe a key event during sperm development that is essential for male fertility. They explain how a protein controls DNA packaging to protect a man's genetic information.

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