Παρασκευή, 20 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Achilles' heel in antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered

Posted: 18 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

A breakthrough in the race to solve antibiotic resistance has been made by scientists. New research reveals an Achilles' heel in the defensive barrier that surrounds drug-resistant bacterial cells. The findings pave the way for a new wave of drugs that kill superbugs by bringing down their defensive walls rather than attacking the bacteria itself. It means that in future, bacteria may not develop drug-resistance at all.

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