Πέμπτη, 5 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Surprisingly strong magnetic fields can match black holes' pull: Long-neglected magnetic fields have an unexpected presence

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:38 AM PDT

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes' powerful gravitational pull.

Astronomers discover first Thorne-Zytkow object, a bizarre type of hybrid star

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 08:51 AM PDT

In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a 'theoretical' class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow. Thorne-Zytkow objects are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelguese in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.

Light from huge explosion 12 billion years ago reaches Earth

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star 12.1 billion years ago -- shortly after the Big Bang -- recently reached Earth and was observed by a robotic telescope. Known as a gamma-ray burst, these rare, high-energy explosions are the catastrophic collapse of a star at the end of its life. Astronomers can analyze the observational data to draw further conclusions about the structure of the early universe.

Human stem cells successfully transplanted, grown in pigs

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

A new line of genetically modified pigs will host transplanted cells without the risk of rejection, opening the door for future stem cell therapy research. One of the biggest challenges for medical researchers studying the effectiveness of stem cell therapies is that transplants or grafts of cells are often rejected by the hosts.

Quantum criticality observed in new class of materials

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Quantum criticality, the strange electronic state that may be intimately related to high-temperature superconductivity, is notoriously difficult to study, but the first findings of a 'quantum critical point' in a category of materials known as 'oxypnictides' could lead to a broader understanding of the quantum phenomenon.

Tree hugging helps koalas keep their cool

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Australia's koalas cope with extreme heat by resting against cooler tree trunks, new research has revealed. Researchers used a portable weather station and thermal imaging to uncover the koalas' cool plan. "Understanding the types of factors that can make some populations more resilient is important," one researcher said. Koalas also pant and lick their fur to cool down, but that can lead to dehydration.

Finding the lost art of Angkor Wat: Paintings hidden for 500 years

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Long-lost paintings have been discovered on the walls of Cambodia's ancient Angkor Wat temple. The ancient paintings date back almost 500 years and depict deities, animals, boats and the temple itself, giving historians a new understanding of life in a relatively unknown period of Cambodia's history.

Crows' memories are made of this: Scientists discover neurons allowing crows to remember short-term

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered neurons allowing crows to remember short-term, although their brains are different from ours. An important prerequisite for intelligence is a good short-term memory which can store and process the information needed for ongoing processes. This "working memory" is a kind of mental notepad -- without it, we could not follow a conversation, do mental arithmetic, or play any simple game.

Small-molecule drugs moved through blood-brain barrier in new study

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 07:53 AM PDT

A recently developed synthetic peptide carrier is a potential delivery vehicle for brain cancer chemotherapy drugs and other neurological medications, researchers have demonstrated in a mouse model. The blood-brain barrier is meant to protect the brain from numerous undesirable chemicals circulating in the body, but it also obstructs access for treatment of brain tumors and other conditions. Too often the only recourse is invasive, which often limits a drug's effectiveness or causes irreversible damage to an already damaged brain.

Black hole 'batteries' keep blazars going and going

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:41 AM PDT

Astronomers studying two classes of black-hole-powered galaxies have found evidence that they represent different sides of the same cosmic coin. By unraveling how these objects, called blazars, are distributed throughout the universe, the scientists suggest that apparently distinctive properties defining each class more likely reflect a change in the way the galaxies extract energy from their central black holes.

Humans, not climate, to blame for Ice Age-era disappearance of large mammals, study concludes

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:41 AM PDT

Was it humankind or climate change that caused the extinction of a considerable number of large mammals about the time of the last Ice Age? Researchers have carried out the first global analysis of the extinction of the large animals, and the conclusion is clear -- humans are to blame. The study unequivocally points to humans as the cause of the mass extinction of large animals all over the world during the course of the last 100,000 years.

Wing design proves key factor in determining migration success of Monarch butterflies

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:35 AM PDT

Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies make a spectacular journey from the eastern parts of North America to reach their overwintering grounds in Mexico. Researchers have long known that not all butterflies successfully reach their destination. Now scientists provide some crucial answers on what it takes for Monarchs to complete the trip. It turns out - it's all in the wings.

Astronomers discover two new worlds orbiting ancient star next door: One may be warm enough to have liquid water

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:40 PM PDT

Astronomers have discovered two new planets orbiting a very old star that is near to our own sun. One of these planets orbits the star at the right distance to allow liquid water to exist on its surface, a key ingredient to support life. Kapteyn's Star, named after the Dutch astronomer, Jacobus Kapteyn, who discovered it at the end of the 19th century, is the second fastest-moving star in the sky and belongs to the Galactic halo, an extended group of stars orbiting our Galaxy on very elliptical orbits. With a third of the mass of the Sun, this red-dwarf can be seen with an amateur telescope in the southern constellation of Pictor.

Could spiders be the key to saving our bees?

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 04:39 PM PDT

A novel bio-pesticide created using spider venom and a plant protein has been found to be safe for honeybees - despite being highly toxic to a number of key insect pests. New research has tested the insect-specific Hv1a/GNA fusion protein bio-pesticide -- a combination of a natural toxin from the venom of an Australian funnel web spider and snowdrop lectin.

Discovering a hidden source of solar surges

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Cutting-edge observations with the 1.6-meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory in California have taken research into the structure and activity of the Sun to new levels of understanding. The telescope at Big Bear is the most powerful ground-based instrument dedicated to studying the sun. A group of astronomers has analyzed the highest- resolution solar observations ever made.

First fully 2-D field effect transistors: 2-D transistors promise a faster electronics future

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 03:26 PM PDT

Researchers have unveiled the world's first fully two-dimensional field-effect transistor, using new device architecture that provides high electron mobility even under high voltages and scaled to a monolayer in thickness.

Researchers shut down SARS cloaking system; Findings could lead to SARS, MERS vaccines

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 01:22 PM PDT

A research team has figured out how to disable a part of the SARS virus responsible for hiding it from the immune system -- a critical step in developing a vaccine against the deadly disease. The findings also have potential applications in the creation of vaccines against other coronaviruses, including MERS.

Fatty liver disease prevented in mice

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 01:19 PM PDT

Studying mice, researchers have found a way to prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Blocking a path that delivers dietary fructose to the liver prevented mice from developing the condition, according to investigators.

Stopping the spread of breast cancer: New discovery may advance treatment

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:26 AM PDT

A new pathway that can stop breast cancer cells from spreading has been discovered by researchers. Working with human cancer cells and a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists identified a new protein that plays a key role in reprogramming cancer cells to migrate and invade other organs. When that protein is removed from cancer cells in mice, the ability of the cells to metastasize to the lung is dramatically decreased.

Liver cancer vaccine effective in mice

Posted: 03 Jun 2014 06:25 AM PDT

Tweaking a protein expressed by most liver cancer cells has enabled scientists to make a vaccine that is exceedingly effective at preventing the disease in mice. Liver cancer is among the fastest-growing and deadliest cancers in the United States with a 17 percent three-year survival rate. Vaccines help direct the immune system to attack invaders by showing it a representative substance, called an antigen, that the body will recognize as foreign, in this case, AFP for liver cancer.

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