Τετάρτη, 4 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News


Most colorful view of universe

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 12:10 PM PDT

Astronomers have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe — among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. This study, which includes ultraviolet light, provides the missing link in star formation.

Close-up of coral bleaching event

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 10:58 AM PDT

Ecologists have shed light on exactly what happens to coral during periods of excessively high water temperatures. Their study documents a coral bleaching event in the Caribbean in minute detail and sheds light on how it changed a coral's community of algae -- a change that could have long-term consequences for coral health, as bleaching is predicted to occur more frequently in the future.

Climate change at the movies

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 10:58 AM PDT

New research suggests that purportedly entertaining films that feature global warming and climate change can affect public understanding. But films are often bound up in problematic and limiting identity politics, which commonly reiterate racial, gender and sexual stereotypes positioning as they do white men as being the decision makers and the voice of authority.

Preservation of wine without sulphite addition

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 10:57 AM PDT

A good glass of wine is a byword for quality of life – not just for connoisseurs. In order to avoid wine spoilage, wineries mostly add sulphur dioxide during the winemaking process. However, the sulphites that dissolve in wine can cause allergic reactions – including asthma. Within the EU they must therefore be declared as an ingredient on the label and the limits for sulphites in wine have been reduced. Sulphites unfold their preservative action in two ways.

Ancient reefs preserved tropical marine biodiversity

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 10:57 AM PDT

Habitat refugia in which coral reefs have remained stable over time played a key role in preserving tropical marine fish biodiversity, a study highlights. Researchers have shown that the current distribution of tropical marine biodiversity is mainly due to the persistence of such refugia during glacial periods in the Quaternary. This imprint left by history thus has a greater impact on tropical fish biodiversity than contemporary environmental factors such as water temperature and reef area.

Prototype electrolyte sensor to provide immediate read-outs: Painless wearable microneedle device may reduce trips to doctors' offices

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:43 AM PDT

A prototype handheld sensor expected to detect and replenish elecrolytes may aid athletes (runners), soldiers on long missions, and ordinary citizens trying to minimize doctor visits and resultant lab charges. Runners, athletes in other strenuous sports and soldiers on long missions also might prefer immediate knowledge of their electrolytic states as an aid to improved performance. Electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and other salts are key in carrying nerve impulses that tell the heart and other muscles when to contract or relax.

Brain signals link physical fitness to better language skills in kids

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:43 AM PDT

Children who are physically fit have faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses during reading than their less-fit peers, researchers report. These differences correspond with better language skills in the children who are more fit, and occur whether they're reading straightforward sentences or sentences that contain errors of grammar or syntax.

Carbon-capture breakthrough

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:43 AM PDT

Scientists invent a porous material to capture carbon dioxide at natural gas wellheads. The recyclable material absorbs 82 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide and releases it as gas when the wellhead pressure is relieved.

Just add water: 3-D silicon shapes fold themselves when wetted by microscopic droplets

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:41 AM PDT

Researchers have taken the precise art of origami down to the microscopic scale. Using only a drop of water, the scientists have folded flat sheets of silicon nitride into cubes, pyramids, half soccer-ball-shaped bowls and long triangular structures that resemble Toblerone chocolate bars – an omnium-gatherum of geometric objects, which are almost too tiny to see with the naked eye.

Vanishing da Vinci: Nondestructive way to determine state of degradation of ancient works of art

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 08:41 AM PDT

Leonardo da Vinci's iconic self-portrait, drawn in the 16th century, is vanishing as the work of art 'yellows' with age. By studying chromophores, the yellowing agents that form within cellulose during the oxidation process, a group of researchers has developed a nondestructive way to determine the state of degradation of ancient documents and works of art.

Lasers, night-vision technology help improve imaging of hidden lymphatic system

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 07:35 AM PDT

Detecting lymphedema early, before swelling occurs, would lead to better outcomes for patients, but the major barrier preventing early diagnosis is the lack of high-resolution imaging techniques that can resolve these tiny vessels. Recently, a team of researchers has developed a new technology that can non-invasively image the human lymphatic system. A fluorescent dye and commercially-available laser diode and military-grade night vision devices are used to visualize the lymphatic capillaries.

In utero exposure to antidepressants may influence autism risk

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:25 AM PDT

A new study adds evidence that using common antidepressant medications during pregnancy may contribute to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders in children, although this risk is still very small.

Spiders know the meaning of web music

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:25 AM PDT

Spider silk transmits vibrations across a wide range of frequencies so that, when plucked like a guitar string, its sound carries information about prey, mates, and even the structural integrity of a web. The discovery was made when researchers fired bullets and lasers at spider silk to study how it vibrates.

Children with autism have elevated levels of steroid hormones in the womb

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:24 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered that children who later develop autism are exposed to elevated levels of steroid hormones (for example testosterone, progesterone and cortisol) in the womb. The finding may help explain why autism is more common in males than females, but should not be used to screen for the condition.

Bacterium causing US catfish deaths has Asian roots

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:24 AM PDT

A bacterium causing an epidemic among catfish farms in the southeastern United States is closely related to organisms found in diseased grass carp in China. The study suggests that the virulent US fish epidemic emerged from an Asian source.

Proteins 'ring like bells': Quantum mechanics and biochemical reactions

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:24 AM PDT

As far back as 1948, Erwin Schrödinger -- the inventor of modern quantum mechanics -- published the book 'What is life?' In it, he suggested that quantum mechanics and coherent ringing might be at the basis of all biochemical reactions. At the time, this idea never found wide acceptance because it was generally assumed that vibrations in protein molecules would be too rapidly damped. Now, scientists have shown that he may have been on the right track after all.

New ichthyosaur graveyard found

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:22 AM PDT

Geoscientists have documented the discovery of forty-six ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaurs (marine reptiles). These specimens were discovered in the vicinity of the Tyndall Glacier in the Torres del Paine National Park of southern Chile. Among them are numerous articulated and virtually complete skeletons of adults, pregnant females, and juveniles. Preservation is excellent and occasionally includes soft tissue and embryos.

Immunotherapy may be an option in challenging breast cancer

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Immunotherapy has been identified as a possible treatment option for patients with the difficult-to-treat triple negative breast cancer mutation. Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that evades the immune system because it lacks expression of genes for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2. This limits treatment options.

Increased mucins pinned to worsening cystic fibrosis symptoms

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 05:44 PM PDT

The first quantitative evidence that mucins – the protein framework of mucus – are significantly increased in cystic fibrosis patients, and play a major role in failing lung function, has been presented by researchers. The research shows that a three-fold increase of mucins dramatically increases the water-draining power of the mucus layer. This hinders mucus clearance in the CF lung, resulting in infection, inflammation, and ultimately lung failure.

Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval: Rate may be ten times faster

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 02:03 PM PDT

Scientists estimate that surface ocean acidity increased by about 100 percent during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in a few thousand years or more, and stayed that way for the next 70,000 years. Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification caused the crisis -- similar to today, as humanmade CO2 combines with seawater to change its chemistry. Now, for the first time, scientists have quantified the extent of surface acidification from those ancient days, and the news is not good: the oceans are on track to acidify at least as much as they did then, only at a much faster rate.

Decomposing logs show local factors undervalued in climate change predictions

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 01:27 PM PDT

In a long-term analysis conducted across several sites in the eastern United States, a team of researchers found that local factors -- from levels of fungal colonization to the specific physical locations of the wood -- play a far greater role than climate in wood decomposition rates and the subsequent impacts on regional carbon cycling. Because decomposition of organic matter strongly influences the storage of carbon, or its release into the atmosphere, it is a major factor in potential changes to the climate.

Nearly one in eight American children are maltreated before age 18

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 01:26 PM PDT

By the time they reach age 18, about 12 percent of American children experience a confirmed case of maltreatment in the form of neglect, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, according to a new study. "Maltreatment is on the scale of other major public health concerns that affect child health and well-being," one researcher said. "Because child maltreatment is also a risk factor for poor mental and physical health outcomes throughout life, the results of this study provide valuable epidemiologic information."

Young women fare worse than young men after heart attack

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 01:26 PM PDT

Women age 55 and younger may fare worse than their male counterparts after having a heart attack. Women's poorer health outcomes may be due to a range of socio-demographic, clinical and biological causes, such as undetected chest pain, problems with access to care and increase in work/life responsibilities impacting their health.

Solving the puzzle of ice age climates: Southern Ocean and explanation for 'Last Glacial Maximum'

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 01:00 PM PDT

The paleoclimate record for the last ice age -- a time 21,000 years ago called the "Last Glacial Maximum" (LGM) -- tells of a cold Earth whose northern continents were covered by vast ice sheets. Chemical traces from plankton fossils in deep-sea sediments reveal rearranged ocean water masses, as well as extended sea ice coverage off Antarctica. Air bubbles in ice cores show that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was far below levels seen before the Industrial Revolution.

Security: Computer scientists develop tool to make the Internet of Things safer

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Computer scientists have developed a tool that allows hardware designers and system builders to test security -- a first for the field. There is a big push to create the so-called Internet of Things, where all devices are connected and communicate with one another. As a result, embedded systems -- small computer systems built around microcontrollers -- are becoming more common. But they remain vulnerable to security breaches. Some examples of devices that may be hackable: medical devices, cars, cell phones and smart grid technology.

Like some happiness with that? Fast food cues hurt ability to savor experience

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Want to be able to smell the roses? You might consider buying into a neighborhood where there are more sit-down restaurants than fast-food outlets, suggests a new article. The article looks at how exposure to fast food can push us to be more impatient and that this can undermine our ability to smell the proverbial roses.

Which look bigger, packages of complicated shape or packages of simple shape?

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:59 PM PDT

Which look bigger, packages of complicated shape or packages of simple shape? Some prior research shows that complex packages appear larger than simple packages of equal volume, while other research has shown the opposite -- that simple packages look bigger than the more complex. Researchers believe they have resolved this dilemma.

Microbes engineered for direct conversion of biomass to fuel

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

The promise of affordable transportation fuels from biomass -- a sustainable, carbon neutral route to American energy independence -- has been left perpetually on hold by the economics of the conversion process. Researchers have overcome this hurdle allowing the direct conversion of switchgrass to fuel. The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the direct conversion of biomass to biofuel without pre-treatment, using the engineered bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii.

Hurricanes with female names more deadly than male-named storms

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

In the coming Atlantic hurricane season, watch out for hurricanes with benign-sounding names like Dolly, Fay or Hanna. According to a new article, hurricanes with feminine names are likely to cause significantly more deaths than hurricanes with masculine names, apparently because storms with feminine names are perceived as less threatening.

Electrical response of metals to extreme pressures predicted

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

New research makes it possible to predict how subjecting metals to severe pressure can lower their electrical resistance, a finding that could have applications in computer chips and other materials that could benefit from specific electrical resistance.

Anti-diabetic drug slows aging and lengthens lifespan, animal study suggests

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:07 PM PDT

Researchers have provided new evidence that metformin, the world's most widely used anti-diabetic drug, slows aging and increases lifespan. Scientists teased out the mechanism behind metformin's age-slowing effects: the drug causes an increase in the number of toxic oxygen molecules released in the cell and this, surprisingly, increases cell robustness and longevity in the long term.

Scientists probe solar wind with Cray Blue Waters supercomputer

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 10:21 AM PDT

Talk about a mathematics hot rod -- how does 13 quadrillion calculations per second grab you? A scalable computer code was used to run complex equations on a blisteringly fast supercomputer, resulting in advances in understanding solar wind and the heliosphere.

MRI-guided laser procedure provides alternative to epilepsy surgery

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 10:21 AM PDT

For patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) that can't be controlled by medications, a minimally invasive laser procedure performed under MRI guidance provides a safe and effective alternative to surgery, suggests a study. The researchers report their experience with MRI-guided SLAH in 13 adult patients with epilepsy mapped to a part of the brain called the mesial temporal lobe. The patients, median age 24 years, had "intractable" seizures despite treatment with antiepileptic drugs.

Evening blue light exposure linked to increased hunger

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 08:59 AM PDT

A new study suggests that blue-enriched light exposure immediately before and during the evening meal may increase hunger and alter metabolism. Results show that blue-enriched light exposure, compared with dim light exposure, was associated with an increase in hunger that began 15 minutes after light onset and was still present almost two hours after the meal. Blue light exposure also decreased sleepiness and resulted in higher measures of insulin resistance.

Neuron tells stem cells to grow new neurons: First piece of new brain-repair circuit identified

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 07:20 AM PDT

Researchers have found a new type of neuron in the adult brain that is capable of telling stem cells to make more new neurons. Though the experiments are in their early stages, the finding opens the tantalizing possibility that the brain may be able to repair itself from within.

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