Παρασκευή, 20 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


NASA's swift satellite tallies water production of Mars-bound comet

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

In late May, NASA's Swift satellite imaged comet Siding Spring, which will brush astonishingly close to Mars later this year. These optical and ultraviolet observations are the first to reveal how rapidly the comet is producing water and allow astronomers to better estimate its size.

Can we see the arrow of time? Algorithm can determine, with 80 percent accuracy, whether video is running forward or backward

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 02:26 PM PDT

Einstein's theory of relativity envisions time as a spatial dimension, like height, width, and depth. But unlike those other dimensions, time seems to permit motion in only one direction: forward. This directional asymmetry -- the "arrow of time" -- is something of a conundrum for theoretical physics.

Unexpected findings: Small asteroids can be flying rock clusters or even clouds of dust surrouding solid rocks

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:46 AM PDT

What seemed to be rock-solid assumptions about the nature of small asteroids may end in rubble or even a cloud of dust. New findings suggest small asteroids can be a flying cluster of rocks or a cloud of dust with a solid rock at its nucleus.

Android security weaknesses caused by performance design identified

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:46 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a weakness in one of Android's security features. The research identifies an Android performance feature that weakens a software protection called Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), leaving software components vulnerable to attacks that bypass the protection.

African American women with breast cancer less likely to have newer, recommended surgical procedure

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

African American women with early stage, invasive breast cancer were 12 percent less likely than Caucasian women with the same diagnosis to receive a minimally invasive technique, axillary sentinel lymph node biopsy, even as the procedure had become the standard of surgical practice, according to research.

New ultrastiff, ultralight material developed

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

What's the difference between the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument? Both structures soar to impressive heights, and each was the world's tallest building when completed. But the Washington Monument is a massive stone structure, while the Eiffel Tower achieves similar strength using a lattice of steel beams and struts that is mostly open air, gaining its strength from the geometric arrangement of those elements. Now engineers have devised a way to translate that airy, yet remarkably strong, structure down to the microscale -- designing a system that could be fabricated from a variety of materials, such as metals or polymers, and that may set new records for stiffness for a given weight. Nanostructured material, based on repeating units, has record stiffness at low density.

The genes tell crows to choose partners that look like themselves

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Crows like to select mates that look alike. In a large-scale genomic study a team of researchers found that this behavior might be rooted in their genetic make-up, revealing a likely common evolutionary path that allows for separating populations into novel species.

Skulls with mix of Neandertal and primitive traits illuminate human evolution

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:22 AM PDT

Researchers have analyzed the largest collection of ancient fossil hominin species ever recovered from a single excavation site, shedding light on the origin and evolution of Neandertals.

Drug shows promise for the first time against metastatic melanoma of the eye

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:21 AM PDT

For the first time, a therapy has been found that can delay progression of metastatic uveal melanoma, a rare and deadly form of melanoma of the eye. Results from a multicenter clinical trial show that a new drug called selumetinib increases progression-free survival, the length of time during and after treatment that a patient with metastases lives with the disease without it progressing.

Mechanism discovered for attaching an 'on' switch that helps cells accessorize proteins

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:20 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered how an important "on" switch is attached to the machinery that cells rely on to adapt thousands of proteins to meet changing conditions. The switch is a small protein called NEDD8. Problems with NEDD8 have been associated with several cancers, developmental disorders and infectivity of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.

Swiftly moving gas streamer eclipses supermassive black hole

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:20 AM PDT

An international team of astronomers has discovered unexpected behavior from the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy NGC 5548. Their findings may provide new insights into the interactions of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies.

Neurons get their neighbors to take out their trash

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Biologists have long considered cells to function like self-cleaning ovens, chewing up and recycling their own worn out parts as needed. But a new study shows that some nerve cells found in the eye pass off their old energy-producing factories to neighboring support cells to be 'eaten.' The find, which may bear on the roots of glaucoma, also has implications for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other diseases that involve a buildup of 'garbage' in brain cells.

Exploring how the nervous system develops

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:55 AM PDT

The circuitry of the central nervous system is immensely complex and, as a result, sometimes confounding. When scientists conduct research to unravel the inner workings at a cellular level, they are sometimes surprised by what they find. The findings give scientists an idea of how individual cell types are generated, how they differentiate and how they form appropriate connections with one another.

New mobile app provides faster, more accurate measurement of respiratory rate

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:55 AM PDT

A new mobile app can reliably measure respiratory rate in an average of 9.9 seconds. Currently, health care workers typically measure respiratory rate by counting a patient's breaths for 60 seconds using a stop watch.

Possibly primordial gravitational waves, but galactic dust not ruled out: Nuanced account of stunning patterns in the microwave sky

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Following a thorough peer-review process, the researchers who previously announced the detection of B-mode polarization in a patch of the microwave sky have published their findings. Their research provides some evidence that the signals they have found may be the result of gravitational waves from the earliest moments of the universe's existence and thus might constitute the first observation of phenomena from the rapid expansion of the universe known as the inflationary period.

One step to solar-cell efficiency: Chemical process may improve manufacturing

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:55 AM PDT

Scientists have created a one-step process for producing highly efficient materials that let the maximum amount of sunlight reach a solar cell. Scientists found a simple way to etch nanoscale spikes into silicon that allows more than 99 percent of sunlight to reach the cells' active elements, where it can be turned into electricity.

Haters spend more time ... hating?

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:54 AM PDT

We already know haters are predisposed to be that way. Now we see they also spend a lot of time at fewer activities than their non-hater counterparts. But in a twist of irony, that grumpy person at work may actually be pretty good at their job since they spend so much time on fewer activities, thereby giving them the opportunity to hone their skills in specific tasks.

New cocaine tracking system could lead to better drug enforcement

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:53 AM PDT

Law enforcement authorities need to better understand trafficking patterns of cocaine in the United States to address one of the world's largest illegal drug markets, according to a researcher whose new methodology might help. While cities in the north and northeast are destination cities for cocaine, the researcher found cities in the southern U.S. and along the west coast are source cities. In addition, cities in other regions, like Chicago and Atlanta, are major hubs for cocaine.

Synaptic levels of clathrin protein are important for neuronal plasticity

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:53 AM PDT

Asynaptic levels of the protein clathrin are a determinant factor for synaptic plasticity of neurons, researchers have shown. Neurons transmit information in a specialized contact points called synapses. These structures consist of two elements: the presynaptic one, information donor, and postsynaptic, which receives the information. New research is shedding light on the relationship between these.

Speeding up drug discovery: Bioengineers invent new method

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:52 AM PDT

The 500 or so kinase proteins are particularly important to drug discovery. Kinases are messenger/signaling proteins that regulate and orchestrate the actions of other proteins. Proper kinase activity maintains health. Irregular activity is linked to cancer and other diseases. Many drugs seek to either boost or suppress kinase activity. Bioengineers have invented a way to observe and report on the behavior of these signaling proteins as they work inside living cells.

NEMO closes in on neutrino mass

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:51 AM PDT

The NEMO (Neutrino Ettore Majorana Observatory) experiment, whose goal was to elucidate the nature of neutrinos and measure their mass, yielded very positive results. The observation, in seven different isotopes, of an extremely rare radioactive decay event, the so-called 'allowed' double-beta decay, helped improve our understanding of the atomic nucleus. In addition, the data collected during the search for the so-called 'forbidden' double-beta decay enabled the researchers to establish a range (0.3-0.9 eV) for the upper limit on the mass of the neutrino.

Humans have been changing Chinese environment for 3,000 years: Ancient levee system set stage for massive, dynasty-toppling floods

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:50 AM PDT

A widespread pattern of human-caused environmental degradation and related flood-mitigation efforts began changing the natural flow of China's Yellow River nearly 3,000 years ago, setting the stage for massive floods that toppled the Western Han Dynasty, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Testing biological treatment for pathogens that are killing honeybees and bats

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:50 AM PDT

A researcher is studying a new, biological treatment for bacterial and fungal pathogens that are killing honeybees and bats in record numbers. He is testing how effective Rhodococcus rhodochrous, a species of bacteria, is in fighting pathogens affecting honeybees and bats.

Horse care: Start mosquito protection methods now, veterinarians urge

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:49 AM PDT

Veterinarian advises to start mosquito prevention methods now in order to protect yourself and your horse from West Nile virus during the heavy infection season in mid to late summer.

Longer battery life, more memory in electronics? Rare materials perform at near-room temperature

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 08:14 AM PDT

New theoretical physics research reveals rare materials that possess both controllable magnetic and electric polarization properties at near-room temperatures.

Astronomers use Hubble to study bursts of star formation in the dwarf galaxies of the early Universe

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 06:59 AM PDT

They may only be little, but they pack a star-forming punch: new observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that starbursts in dwarf galaxies played a bigger role than expected in the early history of the universe.

Children consuming a Mediterranean diet are 15% less likely to be overweight, study finds

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 06:58 AM PDT

Children consuming a diet more in line with the rules of the Mediterranean one are 15% less likely to be overweight or obese than those children who do not.

Egyptologist unravels ancient mystery

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 06:58 AM PDT

It is one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of all times: the disappearance of a Persian army of 50,000 men in the Egyptian desert around 524 BC. A professor has now unearthed a cover-up affair and solved the riddle.

Two low-cost, car battery-sized space telescopes launched

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 06:19 AM PDT

Two nanosatellites were launched from Russia by a Canadian research and technology team. Costing a fraction of conventional space telescopes and similar in size and weight to a car battery, the satellites are two of six that will work together to shed light on the structures and life stories of some of the brightest stars in the sky, uncovering unique clues as to the origins of our own Sun and Earth.

Re-routing flights could reduce climate impact, research suggests

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 PM PDT

Aircraft can become more environmentally friendly by choosing flight paths that reduce the formation of their distinctive condensation trails, new research suggests.

'Smart glass' micro-iris for smartphone cameras

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 PM PDT

A small, low-powered camera component made from a 'smart glass' material has been created by a group of researchers in Germany with the hope of inspiring the next generation of smartphone cameras. The micro-iris is an electro-chemical equivalent to the bulky, mechanical blades that are usually found in cameras and has very low power consumption, making it an ideal component for a wide-range of camera-integrated consumer devices.

Winds of change for the shipping sector

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:06 PM PDT

Wind propulsion such as kites and Flettner rotors could offer a viable route to help cut carbon dioxide emissions in the shipping sector, according to researchers.

Evolution depends on rare chance events, 'molecular time travel' experiments show

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 07:05 PM PDT

Historians can only speculate on what might have been, but a team of evolutionary biologists studying ancient proteins has turned speculation into experiment. They resurrected an ancient ancestor of an important human protein as it existed hundreds of millions of years ago and then used biochemical methods to generate and characterize a huge number of alternative histories that could have ensued from that ancient starting point.

Quest for education creating graying ghost towns at top of the world

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Ethnic Tibetan communities in Nepal's highlands are rapidly shrinking as more parents send their children away for a better education and modern careers, a trend that threatens to create a region of graying ghost towns at the top of the world, according to a new study.

New manufacturing methods for 'soft' machines, robots

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Researchers have developed a technique that might be used to produce 'soft machines' made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in robotics, medical devices and consumer electronics. Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

Fish-eating spiders discovered in all parts of the world

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 03:46 PM PDT

Spiders are traditionally viewed as predators of insects. Zoologists from Switzerland and Australia have now published a study that shows: spiders all over the world also prey on fish.

Making smartphones smarter with see-through sensors: Pack more apps into new real estate, the display glass itself

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 01:51 PM PDT

Researchers have developed a new laser-writing technique that embeds smartphone display glass with layer-upon-layer of see-through sensors -- enabling applications like temperature sensors and biomedical monitors to be manufactured directly into the display. The work is the first laser-based light-guided system that is efficient enough for commercial use.

Crucial security problem in Google Play: Thousands of secret keys found in android apps

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 01:39 PM PDT

Researchers have discovered a crucial security problem in Google Play, the official Android app store. The study is the first to make a large-scale measurement of the huge marketplace, using PlayDrone, a tool they developed to circumvent Google security to successfully download Google Play apps and recover their sources.

Studying magma formation beneath Mount St. Helens

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 01:39 PM PDT

Scientists are embarking on a research expedition to improve volcanic eruption forecasting by learning more about how a deep-underground feeder system creates and supplies magma to Mount St. Helens. They hope the research will produce science that will lead to better understanding of eruptions, which in turn could lead to greater public safety.

Counterterrorism, ethics, and global health

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 12:38 PM PDT

The surge in murders of polio vaccination workers in Pakistan has made headlines this year, but little attention has been devoted to the ethical issues surrounding the global health impact of current counterterrorism policy and practice. A new essay reviews the range of harms to population health traceable to counterterrorism operations.

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