Παρασκευή, 20 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


How does a soccer ball swerve? Smoothness of a ball's surface, in addition to playing technique, is a critical factor

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 06:06 PM PDT

It happens every four years: The World Cup begins and some of the world's most skilled players carefully line up free kicks, take aim -- and shoot way over the goal. The players are all trying to bend the ball into a top corner of the goal, often over a wall of defensive players and away from the reach of a lunging goalkeeper.

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.

Ovarian cancer treatment discovered by researchers

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

A new treatment for ovarian cancer can improve response rates (increase the rate of tumor shrinkage) and prolong the time until cancers recur, research shows. In addition, this breakthrough showed a trend in improving survival although these data are not yet mature. "This is an exciting new targeted medication in treating recurrent ovarian cancer. Recurrent ovarian cancer is almost always fatal and new treatments are desperately needed," said one researcher.

Oldest ever schistosomiasis egg found may be first proof of early human technology exacerbating disease burden

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

The discovery of a schistosomiasis parasite egg in a 6200-year-old grave at a prehistoric town by the Euphrates river in Syria may be the first evidence that agricultural irrigation systems in the Middle East contributed to disease burden, according to new research. Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by several species of flatworm parasites that live in the blood vessels of the bladder and intestines.

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 05:54 PM PDT

Taking food away from C. elegans triggers a state of arrested development: while the organism continues to wriggle about, foraging for food, its cells and organs are suspended in an ageless, quiescent state. When food becomes plentiful again, the worm develops as planned, but can live twice as long as normal.

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.

Microscope maps surfaces at resolutions below 100 nanometers: Microparticles get the whole picture

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Microscopes are conventionally used to image tiny features. However, their resolution is inherently limited by the wavelength of light. This limitation means that they can resolve only structures larger than a few hundred nanometers. Now scientists have demonstrated an alternative optical approach capable of mapping surfaces at resolutions below 100 nanometers.

Grid computing resources: Schedule algorithms based on game theory

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Grid computing is a powerful form of distributed computing wherein a network of loosely coupled and geographically separated computers, typically of different computational powers, work together to perform data-intensive calculations. The technology uses numerical simulations to help investigate a variety of challenging scientific problems, including the subatomic world revealed by particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.

Cracks emerge in the cloud: Security weakness of cloud storage services

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 11:59 AM PDT

As individual computer users increasingly access the Internet from different smartphones, tablets and laptops, many are choosing to use online cloud services to store and synchronize their digital content. Cloud storage allows consumers to retrieve their data from any location using any device and can provide critical backups in the case of hard disk failure. But while people are usually vigilant about enacting security measures on personal computers, they often neglect to consider how safe their files are in the cloud.

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.

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.

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.

Seeing the inner workings of brain made easier by new technique

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 09:53 AM PDT

Scientists have improved on their original technique for peering into the intact brain, making it more reliable and safer, researchers report. The results could help scientists unravel the inner connections of how thoughts, memories or diseases arise. When you look at the brain, what you see is the fatty outer covering of the nerve cells within, which blocks microscopes from taking images of the intricate connections between deep brain cells. The idea behind this study was to eliminate that fatty covering while keeping the brain intact, complete with all its intricate inner wiring.

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.

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.

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.

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