Παρασκευή, 6 Ιουνίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


Newly discovered insect 'Supersonus' hits animal kingdom's highest-pitch love call

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 04:09 PM PDT

In the rainforests of South America, scientists have discovered a new genus and three new species of insect with the highest ultrasonic calling songs ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Katydids (or bushcrickets) are insects known for their acoustic communication, with the male producing sound by rubbing its wings together (stridulation) to attract distant females for mating.

Turbulent black holes: Fasten your seatbelts ... gravity is about to get bumpy!

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 12:57 PM PDT

Gravitational fields around black holes might eddy and swirl. Fasten your seatbelts -- gravity is about to get bumpy. Of course, if you're flying in the vicinity of a black hole, a bit of extra bumpiness is the least of your worries. But it's still surprising. The accepted wisdom among gravitational researchers has been that spacetime cannot become turbulent. New research though, shows that the accepted wisdom might be wrong.

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body have been discovered by researchers. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness.

Gene study shows how sheep first separated from goats

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of sheep to reveal how they became a distinct species from goats around four million years ago. The study is the first to pinpoint the genetic differences that make sheep different from other animals.

Sleep after learning strengthens connections between brain cells and enhances memory

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Researchers show for the first time that sleep after learning encourages the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information across synapses, the junctions at which brain cells meet.

Flowers' polarization patterns help bees find food

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Bees use their ability to 'see' polarized light when foraging for food, researchers have discovered. This is the first time bees have been found to use this ability for something other than navigation.

New EU reforms fail European wildlife, experts argue

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Despite political proclamation of increased environmental focus, experts argue that the European Union's recent agricultural reforms are far too weak to have any positive impact on the continent's shrinking farmland biodiversity, and call on member states to take action.

Transplanted fetal stem cells for Parkinson's show promise

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness, researchers report. The researchers looked at the brains of five patients who got fetal cell transplants over a period of 14 years and found that their dopamine transporters (DAT), proteins that pump the neurotransmitter dopamine, and mitochondria were still healthy at the time the patients died, in each case of causes other than Parkinson's.

New isotopic evidence supporting moon formation via Earth collision with planet-sized body

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A new series of measurements of oxygen isotopes provides increasing evidence that the moon formed from the collision of the Earth with another large, planet-sized astronomical body, around 4.5 billion years ago.

First 3-D pterosaur eggs found with their parents

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered the first three-dimensionally preserved pterosaur eggs in China. The eggs were found among dozens, if not hundreds, of pterosaur fossils, representing a new genus and species (Hamipterus tianshanensis). The discovery reveals that the pterosaurs -- flying reptiles with wingspans ranging from 25 cm to 12 m -- lived together in gregarious colonies.

A new way to make laser-like beams using 1,000 times less power

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient way to make a coherent laser-like beam.

What a 66-million-year old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:01 AM PDT

As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a researchers. During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology -- the regrowth of plants after a fire -- revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Making artificial vision look more natural

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

In laboratory tests, researchers have used electrical stimulation of retinal cells to produce the same patterns of activity that occur when the retina sees a moving object. Although more work remains, this is a step toward restoring natural, high-fidelity vision to blind people.

Chemical element bromine is essential to life in humans and other animals, researchers discover

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life. Now there is a 28th: bromine. In a new paper, researchers establish for the first time that bromine, among the 92 naturally-occurring chemical elements in the universe, is the 28th element essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.

Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines starts to click: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Biological systems produce an incredible array of self-assembling protein tools on a nanoscale, such as molecular motors, delivery capsules and injection devices. Inspired by sophisticated molecular machines naturally found in living things, scientists want to build their own with forms and functions customized to tackle modern day challenges. A new computational method, proven to accurately design protein nanomaterials that arrange themselves into a symmetrical, cage-like structure, may be an important step toward that goal.

Rhythmic brain activity used to track memories in progress

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 06:33 AM PDT

Using EEG electrodes attached to the scalps of 25 student subjects, researchers have tapped the rhythm of memories as they occur in near real time in the human brain. The new findings show that EEG measures of synchronized neural activity can precisely track the contents of memory at almost the speed of thought, the lead investigator said.

Looking for the best strategy? Ask a chimp

Posted: 05 Jun 2014 05:35 AM PDT

If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a new study which found that chimps consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

Habitat loss on breeding grounds cause of monarch decline, study finds

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Habitat loss on breeding grounds in the United States -- not on wintering grounds in Mexico -- is the main cause of recent and projected population declines of migratory monarch butterflies in eastern North America, according to new research. Milkweed is the only group of plants that monarch caterpillars feed upon before they develop into butterflies. Industrial farming contributed to a 21-per-cent decline in milkweed plants between 1995 and 2013, and much of this loss occurred in the central breeding region.

Air pollution linked to irregular heartbeat, lung blood clots

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:30 PM PDT

Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat -- a risk factor for stroke -- and blood clots in the lung, finds a large study. The evidence suggests that high levels of certain air pollutants are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, but exactly how this association works has not been clarified.

One and done: New antibiotic could provide single-dose option

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 05:20 PM PDT

In the battle against stubborn skin infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a new single-dose antibiotic is as effective as a twice-daily infusion given for up to 10 days, according to a large study.

60-year-old prediction of atomic behavior confirmed: New experimental path to superfast quantum computing

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:39 AM PDT

Researchers have used a super-cold cloud of atoms that behaves like a single atom to see a phenomenon predicted 60 years ago and witnessed only once since. The phenomenon takes place in the seemingly otherworldly realm of quantum physics and opens a new experimental path to potentially powerful quantum computing.

Risk of preterm birth: Short intervals between pregnancies result in decreased pregnancy length

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:39 AM PDT

Women who have short intervals between pregnancies of less than 18 months are more likely to see a decrease in the length of subsequent pregnancies, finds a new study. The study looked at 454,716 live births from women with two or more pregnancies over a six year period. The researchers looked at the influence of inadequate birth spacing on the duration of the subsequent pregnancy.

Tracking potato famine pathogen to its home may aid $6 billion global fight

Posted: 02 Jun 2014 12:58 PM PDT

The cause of potato late blight and the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s has been tracked to a pretty, alpine valley in central Mexico, which is ringed by mountains and now known to be the ancestral home of one of the most costly and deadly plant diseases in human history. The findings may aid in the search for genes resistant to the disease.

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