Παρασκευή, 27 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News

ScienceDaily: Latest Science News


Bloodsucking mite threatens UK honeybees

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 02:27 PM PDT

Scientists have discovered how a bloodsucking parasite has transformed Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) into one of the biggest threats facing UK honeybees. Honeybees are a key pollinating insect, adding around $40B globally to crop value. Over recent years the spread of parasites and the viruses they transmit has resulted in high overwintering colony losses. New and emerging threats to insect pollinators are putting increasing pressure on the agricultural sector to meet the demands of a growing population.

Let there be light: Chemists develop magnetically responsive liquid crystals for writing tablets, billboards and more

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Chemists have constructed liquid crystals with optical properties that can be instantly and reversibly controlled by an external magnetic field. The research opens the door to display applications relying on the instantaneous and contactless nature of magnetic manipulation -- such as signage, posters, writing tablets, and billboards. Requiring no electrodes, the liquid crystals have applications in anti-counterfeit technology and optical communication devices for controlling the amplitude, phase, polarization, propagation direction of light.

Not much force: Researchers detect smallest force ever measured

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Researchers have detected the smallest force ever measured -- approximately 42 yoctonewtons -- using a unique optical trapping system that provides ultracold atoms. A yoctonewton is one septillionth of a newton.

Water-cleanup catalysts tackle biomass upgrading

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

A chemical engineer has spent a decade amassing evidence that palladium-gold nanoparticles are excellent catalysts for cleaning polluted water, but even he was surprised at how well the particles converted biodiesel waste into valuable chemicals.

U.S. should re-evaluate definition of skilled workers in immigration policy, experts say

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

New immigration research suggests that the United States should re-evaluate its definition of skilled workers to include informal skills of migrant workers.

Team develops a geothermometer for methane formation

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

A team of scientists has developed a new technique that can, for the first time, determine the temperature at which a natural methane sample formed. This determination can aid in figuring out how and where the gas formed.

Animals built reefs 550 million years ago, fossil study finds

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

It is a remarkable survivor of an ancient aquatic world -- now a new study sheds light on how one of Earth's oldest reefs was formed. Researchers have discovered that one of these reefs -- now located on dry land in Namibia -- was built almost 550 million years ago, by the first animals to have hard shells.

Ancient ocean currents may have changed pacing and intensity of ice ages: Slowing of currents may have flipped switch

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Researchers have found that the deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe stalled or even stopped about 950,000 years ago, possibly due to expanding ice cover in the north. The slowing currents increased carbon dioxide storage in the ocean, leaving less in the atmosphere, which kept temperatures cold and kicked the climate system into a new phase of colder but less frequent ice ages, they hypothesize.

The shocking truth about electric fish: Genomic basis for the convergent evolution of electric organs

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Scientists have found how the electric fish's jolt evolved. Biologists identified the regulatory molecules involved in the genetic and developmental pathways that electric fish have used to convert a simple muscle into an organ capable of generating a potent electrical field.

A simple solution for big data: New algorithm simplifies the categorization of data

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Categorizing and representing huge amounts of data -- we're talking about peta- or even exabytes of information -- synthetically is a challenge of the future. A research paper proposes an efficient procedure to face up to this challenge.

Little progress made in reducing health disparities for people with disabilities

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Mental distress in people with disabilities is associated with increased prevalence of chronic illness and reduced access to health care and preventive care services, finds a new study. "It's important to find out why there has been so little progress, since the prevention, detection, and treatment of secondary illnesses is critical for health maintenance, halting progression of disability, and helping people with disabilities to participate in life activities," says the lead author.

Fighting parasitic infection inadvertently unleashes dormant virus

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Signals from the immune system that help repel a common parasite inadvertently can cause a dormant viral infection to become active again, a new study shows. Further research is necessary to understand the clinical significance of the finding, but researchers said the study helps illustrate how complex interactions between infectious agents and the immune system have the potential to affect illness.

Foul exhaust fumes derail dinner for hungry moths

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers. Car and truck exhaust fumes that foul the air for humans also cause problems for pollinators.

The social psychology of nerve cells

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Cholinergic amacrine cells create a 'personal space' in much the same way that people distance themselves from one another in an elevator, researchers have discovered. In addition, the study shows that this feature is heritable and identifies a genetic contributor to it, pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1.

New species of small mammal: Round-eared elephant-shrew found in Namibia

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered a new species of round-eared sengi, or elephant-shrew, in the remote deserts of southwestern Africa. This is the third new species of sengi to be discovered in the wild in the past decade. It is also the smallest known member of the 19 sengis in the order Macroscelidea.

You can't teach speed: Sprinters break 10-year rule

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

Exceptional speed prior to formal training is a prerequisite for becoming a world-class sprinter, researchers have found. The authors noted that because speed is crucial for many sports, the new results imply that talent is important for many sports besides track and field. The authors also pointed out that their behavioral data complement many genetic and physiological studies indicating individual variation in athletic talent.

App focused on making obese adults less sedentary

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:22 AM PDT

More sedentary time, regardless of physical activity levels, is associated with greater risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease and mortality. However, a smartphone-based intervention can produce short-term reductions in sedentary behavior that may be effective in improving health.

Ask the crowd: Robots learn faster, better with online helpers

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 10:20 AM PDT

Sometimes it takes a village to teach a robot. Computer scientists have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks. Instead of learning from just one human, robots could one day query the larger online community, asking for instructions or input on the best way to set the table or water the garden.

Controlling body movement with light: Neuroscientists inhibit muscle contractions by shining light on spinal cord neurons

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

Neuroscientists report that they can inhibit muscle contractions by shining light on spinal cord neurons. The researchers studied mice in which a light-sensitive protein that promotes neural activity was inserted into a subset of spinal neurons. When the researchers shone blue light on the animals' spinal cords, their hind legs were completely but reversibly immobilized. The findings offer a new approach to studying the complex spinal circuits that coordinate movement and sensory processing, the researchers say.

Veterans who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual could benefit from informed mental health services, researcher says

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

In 2011, the United States Military repealed its 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that prevented gay and lesbian service members from disclosing their sexual orientation. Current estimates indicate that more than one million veterans identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Now, a researcher says these service members and veterans often are marginalized and may benefit from mental health professionals, including social workers, who are informed about the needs of individuals who identify as LGB.

Capturing carbon dioxide emissions needed to meet climate targets

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

Technologies that are discussed controversially today may be needed to keep the future risks and costs of climate change in check. Combining the production of energy from fossil fuels and biomass with capturing and storing the carbon dioxide they emit can be key to achieving current climate policy objectives such as limiting the rise of the global mean temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.

Blocking key enzyme minimizes stroke injury, research finds

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

A drug that blocks the action of the enzyme Cdk5 could substantially reduce brain damage if administered shortly after a stroke, research suggests. The development of a Cdk5 inhibitor as an acute neuroprotective therapy has the potential to reduce stroke injury, researchers report.

Packing hundreds of sensors into a single optical fiber for use in harsh environments

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:20 AM PDT

By fusing together the concepts of active fiber sensors and high-temperature fiber sensors, a team of researchers has created an all-optical high-temperature sensor for gas flow measurements that operates at record-setting temperatures above 800 degrees Celsius. It's expected to find industrial sensing applications in harsh environments, such as deep geothermal drill cores or space missions.

Lab monitoring tests not always ordered per recommendations

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Why does one physician in a walk-in practice order laboratory monitoring tests for patients more often than a colleague working down the hallway? Which factors influence the use of these important tests? Clues to these questions lie in the age and general health of the patient, and whether the doctor is a specialist or not, says the lead author of a study.

Genetics and environment work together to help people become accomplished musicians, study finds

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT

Mom or dad may have driven you to cello rehearsal all those years, but you can also thank your genes for pushing you to practice, according to new research. Genetics and environment work together to help people become accomplished musicians, finds the study of 850 sets of twins. It's another arrow in the quiver of the argument that both nature and nurture play a role in developing expertise.

Organic agriculture boosts biodiversity on farmlands

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

Organic farming fosters biodiversity. At least that's the theory. In practice, however, the number of habitats on the land plays an important role alongside the type and intensity of farming practices. These are the findings of an international study that looked at 10 regions in Europe and two in Africa. The study shows that even organic farms have to actively support biodiversity by, for example, conserving different habitats on their holdings.

Decoding characteristic food odors

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

How are we able to recognize foodstuffs like strawberries, coffee, barbecued meat or boiled potatoes by smell alone? Foodstuffs contain more than 10,000 different volatile substances. But only around 230 of these determine the odor of food. Narrowing it down further, between just three and 40 of these key odors are responsible for encoding the typical smell of an individual foodstuff. These compounds are then decoded by around 400 olfactory receptors in the nose.

Cheap and enviromentally friendly: Tofu ingredient could revolutionize solar panel manufacture

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

The chemical used to make tofu and bath salts could also replace a highly toxic and expensive substance used to make solar cells, a new study has revealed. Cadmium chloride is currently a key ingredient in solar cell technology used in millions of solar panels around the world. This soluble compound is highly toxic and expensive to produce, requiring elaborate safety measures to protect workers during manufacture and then specialist disposal when panels are no longer needed.

Traffic light labels can give false sense of security

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

The labeling of product attributes using a traffic light system influences consumers in their purchasing decisions. A study reveals for the first time that this applies not only to food, but also to financial products -- but not always in the way intended. Test subjects paid less attention to the uncertainty associated with the return on an investment when a traffic light label was added to the product information.

Brain circuits involved in stress-induced fevers identified

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:18 AM PDT

When we feel mentally stressed, we often also feel physiological changes, including an increase in body temperature. This increase in body temperature is known as psychological stress-induced hyperthermia. Stress for people in today's society can last a long time and cause a chronic increase in body temperature, a condition called psychogenic fever. Researchers now have identified a key neural circuit connection in the brain that's responsible for the development of psychological stress-induced hyperthermia.

LEGO bricks turned into scientific tool to study plant growth

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:17 AM PDT

Engineers are using LEGO bricks to build controlled environments to study how variations in climate and soil affect plant growth. They say LEGO bricks "are highly convenient and versatile building blocks" for the studies. While looking for a way to study plant and root growth that was simple, inexpensive and flexible -- something that allowed experiments to be reproduced all over the world, even in labs without the latest technologies or the infrastructure required for plant science or agronomy research -- researchers thought of LEGO bricks. And it worked.

Changing roles of physicians with MBAs

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:17 AM PDT

Physician graduates from the MBA program in heath care management at Penn's Wharton School report that their dual training had a positive effect on their individual careers and professional lives. Study respondents reported such benefits as career acceleration, professional flexibility, and credibility in multidisciplinary domains.

Physicists' findings improve quality of flexible, conductive, transparent glass

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:17 AM PDT

A new technique will improve the quality of flexible, conductive, transparent glass. Companies such as Sharp and LG already use a-IGZO in some high-end displays. It's also found in Apple's new iPad Air. But it has been difficult to maintain transparency and conductivity: In some samples, experts said, the material took on a brown or yellow tinge that would harm the display's performance. New research addresses the problem.

Chimps like listening to music with a different beat

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:16 AM PDT

While preferring silence to music from the West, chimpanzees apparently like to listen to the different rhythms of music from Africa and India, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers hone in on way to predict aggressiveness of oral cancer

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:16 AM PDT

Studying mouth cancer in mice, researchers have found a way to predict the aggressiveness of similar tumors in people, an early step toward a diagnostic test that could guide treatment, according to researchers. The investigators found a consistent pattern of gene expression associated with tumor spreading in mice. Analyzing genetic data from human oral cancer samples, they also found this gene signature in people with aggressive metastatic tumors.

NASA's OCO-2 will track our impact on airborne carbon

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:16 AM PDT

Although we know the concentration of carbon dioxide, much about the processes that govern the gas's atmospheric concentration remains a mystery. We still do not know precisely where all of the carbon dioxide comes from and where it is being stored when it leaves the air. That information is crucial for understanding the impact of human activities on climate and for evaluating options for mitigating or adapting to climate change. Scientists expect to get some answers soon to these and other compelling carbon questions, thanks to the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, a new Earth-orbiting NASA satellite scheduled to launch on July 1. OCO-2 will allow scientists to record detailed daily measurements of carbon dioxide -- around 100,000 measurements of the gas around the world every day.

Space-tested robot inspires medicine and manufacturing uses

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:13 AM PDT

Humans doing difficult, repetitive tasks or those who need assistance with movement may soon get a helping hand -- literally -- thanks to robotic technology developed to serve astronauts in space. Robonaut, a human-like robot designed by NASA and General Motors (GM), has been on the International Space Station since February 2011. Researchers have been testing the robot's ability to perform certain tasks to free up human crew time and energy.

New NASA images highlight U.S. air quality improvement

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 08:59 AM PDT

Anyone living in a major U.S. city for the past decade may have noticed a change in the air. The change is apparent in new NASA satellite images unveiled this week that demonstrate the reduction of air pollution across the country.

Managing specialized microbes to clean stubborn chemicals from environment

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:19 AM PDT

Unique groups of microorganisms capable of converting hazardous chlorinated chemicals like trichloroetheene into ethene, a benign end product of microbial biodegradation, have been examined by scientists. The studies explore the metabolic activities of a group of microbes known as Dehalococcoides and propose strategies to improve their effectiveness for environmental cleanup projects involving chlorinated chemicals.

Fruit flies help scientists uncover genes responsible for human communication

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Toddlers acquire communication skills by babbling until what they utter is rewarded; however, the genes involved in learning language skills are far from completely understood. Now, using a gene identified in fruit flies, scientists have discovered a crucial component of the origin of language in humans.

Virus infection supports organ acceptance

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Chronic hepatitis C virus infections are among the most common reasons for liver transplants. Because existing viruses also infect the new liver, the immune system is highly active there. Despite this, the new organ is not rejected, as scientists have now discovered. The long-term stimulation of the innate immune system by the virus actually increases the probability of tolerance.

Australia: Victoria's volcano count rises

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:18 AM PDT

Geologists have discovered three previously unrecorded volcanoes in volcanically active southeast Australia. The new research gives a detailed picture of an area of volcanic centers already known to geologists in the region.

Tuberculosis infection may be underestimated among people taking corticosteroid pills

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:17 AM PDT

Tuberculosis infection among people taking corticosteroid pills may be underestimated, new research suggests. Current guidelines for what constitutes a positive TB skin test among corticosteroid pill users may not be capturing all those who are infected, says one respirologist, who adds that although taking corticosteroid pills was a risk factor for turning latent TB into active TB, those patients were screened less often for TB than others. They were also less likely to be prescribed TB-fighting drugs prophylactically.

Continued use of low-dose aspirin may lower pancreatic cancer risk

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:17 AM PDT

The longer a person took low-dose aspirin, the lower his or her risk for developing pancreatic cancer, according to a study recently published. Men and women who took low-dose aspirin regularly had 48 percent reduction in their risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Protection against pancreatic cancer ranged from 39 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for six years or less, to 60 percent reduction in risk for those who took low-dose aspirin for more than 10 years.

Men, women use mental health services differently

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:16 AM PDT

Women with chronic physical illnesses are more likely to use mental health services than men with similar illnesses. Research shows that they also seek out mental health services six months earlier than those same men. "Chronic physical illness can lead to depression," said the lead author. "We want to better understand who will seek mental health services when diagnosed with a chronic physical illness so we can best help those who need care."

Teachers more likely to use ineffective instruction when teaching students with mathematics difficulties

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:15 AM PDT

First-grade teachers in the United States may need to change their instructional practices if they are to raise the mathematics achievement of students with mathematics difficulties (MD), according to new research. The study found that first-grade teachers in classrooms with higher percentages of students with MD were more likely to be using ineffective instructional practices with these students.

Who's got food ingredient fears?

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Researchers investigated who might be most prone to food fears, why, and what can be done to correct misperceptions. A phone survey of 1008 U.S. mothers revealed key findings about those who avoid specific ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), mono sodium glutamate (MSG), and others.

We speak as we feel, we feel as we speak

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

Ground-breaking experiments have been conduced to uncover the links between language and emotions. Researchers were able to demonstrate that the articulation of vowels systematically influences our feelings and vice versa. The authors concluded that it would seem that language users learn that the articulation of 'i' sounds is associated with positive feelings and thus make use of corresponding words to describe positive circumstances. The opposite applies to the use of 'o' sounds.

Sensitive to skin wetness? New fabric for sports clothing developed

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

A Loughborough University PhD student's award winning research into the body's sensitivity to skin wetness could influence the design of a major international retailer's sports clothing.

Did the Khazars convert to Judaism? New research says 'no'

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

Did the Khazars convert to Judaism? The view that some or all Khazars, a central Asian people, became Jews during the ninth or tenth century is widely accepted. But following an exhaustive analysis of the evidence, a researcher has concluded that such a conversion, "while a splendid story," never took place.

Public sector not more effective in attracting socially motivated workers than private sector

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

Research has found workers in the public sector are more likely to engage in socially motivated activities than their private sector counterparts. However, the findings also show this is only because public services employ more highly educated and skilled people -- characteristics that increase the likelihood of being socially engaged.

'Likes' provide humanitarian support

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

According to a Norwegian study, 'likes' on Facebook are providing a new type of humanitarian support and social responsibility. Scientists have been mapping the habits of more than 400 Facebook users recruited from Plan Norge's Facebook page. The aim was to identify their motives in 'liking' a particular humanitarian cause or organization on Facebook.

Resistance to antibiotics: New rapid diagnosis

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

A rapid diagnostic test for multi-resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics has just been developed by researchers. This new test allows the identification, in less than two hours, of multidrug-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii, an important hospital pathogen. The large-scale application of this test will mean better control of the spread of certain traits of antibiotic resistance.

Deeper insights into protein folding

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:57 AM PDT

A new theoretical foundation explaining the mechanism of protein folding and unfolding in water has been presented by researchers investigating the structure and dynamics of so-called Meso-Bio-Nano (MBN) systems. Their statistic mechanics model describes the thermodynamic properties of real proteins in an aqueous environment, using a minimal number of free physical parameters.

Oldest biodiversity found in Gabonese marine ecosystem

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:55 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered, in clay sediments from Gabon, fossils of the oldest multicellular organisms ever found. In total, more than 400 fossils dating back 2.1 billion years have been collected, including dozens of new types. The detailed analysis of these finds reveals a broad biodiversity composed of micro and macroscopic organisms of highly varied size and shape that evolved in a marine ecosystem.

Climate control for the burns unit

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

Individualized climate control for burns victims in hospitals might not only improve comfort for such patients, but improve working conditions for those taking care of them, research suggests. In addition, it could cut energy requirements by three quarters where cooling is needed and by up to a quarter where heating is used.

Mothers are more altruistic than fathers but only if they are acting alone

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

The assumption that mothers are more driven by altruism with regard to their children than fathers is more complex than once thought. The results add qualifications to an important evolutionary theory.

A versatile joystick for animation artists

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

Remember those molecule models made from sticks and balls you could assemble to study complex molecules back in school? Something similar has taken shape in the Interactive Geometry Lab at ETH Zurich. Scientists do not study molecules but ways to manipulate virtual shapes, like animated characters on a computer screen. Now they have developed an input device or "joystick" to move and pose virtual characters, made up – similar to the molecule models – of modular building blocks.

Janus capsules, miniature hollow structures, produced easily at low cost

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:46 AM PDT

Everything depends on how you look at them. Looking from one side you will see one face; and when looking from the opposite side – you will see a different one. So appear Janus capsules, miniature, hollow structures, in different fragments composed of different micro- and nanoparticles. Theoreticians were able to design models of such capsules, but a real challenge was to produce them. Now, Janus capsules can be produced easily and at low cost.

A breakthrough for organic reactions in water

Posted: 26 Jun 2014 06:29 AM PDT

Green-chemistry researchers have discovered a way to use water as a solvent in one of the reactions most widely used to synthesize chemical products and pharmaceuticals. The findings mark a potential milestone in efforts to develop organic reactions in water.

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