Τετάρτη, 2 Ιουλίου 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


Five-legged kangaroo? Telling the tale of a kangaroo's tail

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:33 PM PDT

Kangaroos may be nature's best hoppers. But when they are grazing on all fours, which is most of the time, their tail becomes a powerful fifth leg, says a new study. It turns out that kangaroo tails provide as much propulsive force as their front and hind legs combined as they eat their way across the landscape.

Nearly 80 percent of US deaths in first three decades of life are due to unintentional injury or violence

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 04:32 PM PDT

A new report on unintentional injury and violence in the United States has found that prevention strategies across society show a great deal of promise in preventing unintended deaths and injuries. In 2010 alone, the top three causes of death for those aged between one and 30 were unintentional injury, suicide, and homicide. Almost four fifths of deaths among people in this age group were due to injuries, with only one fifth due to chronic diseases and only 1% due to infectious diseases.

Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insects' chewing

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 03:38 PM PDT

Previous studies have suggested that plant growth can be influenced by sound and that plants respond to wind and touch. Now, researchers, in a collaboration that brings together audio and chemical analysis, have determined that plants respond to the sounds that caterpillars make when eating plants and that the plants respond with more defenses.

Solar panels light the way from carbon dioxide to fuel

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT

Researchers have devised an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid. The transformation from carbon dioxide and water to formic acid was powered by a commercial solar panel.

Behind a marine creature's bright green fluorescent glow

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT

Probing the mysterious glow of light produced naturally by animals, scientists have deciphered the structural components related to fluorescence brightness in the primitive sea creature known as amphioxus. The study carries implications for a variety of industries looking to maximize brightness of natural fluorescence, including applications in biotechnology such as adapting fluorescence for biomedical protein tracers and tracking gene expression in the human body.

Adults stop anti-rejection drugs after stem-cell transplant reverses sickle cell disease

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT

Half of patients in a trial have safely stopped immunosuppressant medication following a modified blood stem-cell transplant for severe sickle cell disease, according to a new study. The transplant done in the study reversed sickle cell disease in nearly all the patients.

Two Kuiper Belt objects found: Hubble to proceed with full search for New Horizons targets

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:55 AM PDT

Planetary scientists have successfully used the Hubble Space Telescope to find two Kuiper Belt objects for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. After the marathon probe zooms past Pluto in July 2015, it will travel across the Kuiper Belt -- a vast rim of primitive ice bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. If NASA approves, the probe could be redirected to fly to a Kuiper Belt object and photograph it up close.

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle. Engineers have demonstrated a class of walking 'bio-bots' powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function.

Tags reveal Chilean devil rays are among ocean's deepest divers

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Thought to dwell mostly near the ocean's surface, Chilean devil rays (Mobula tarapacana) are most often seen gliding through shallow, warm waters. But a new study reveals that these large and majestic creatures are actually among the deepest-diving ocean animals.

Separating finely mixed oil and water: Membrane can separate even highly mixed fine oil-spill residues

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Whenever there is a major spill of oil into water, the two tend to mix into a suspension of tiny droplets, called an emulsion, that is extremely hard to separate -- and that can cause severe damage to ecosystems. But researchers have discovered a new, inexpensive way of getting the two fluids apart again. Their newly developed membrane could be manufactured at industrial scale, and could process large quantities of the finely mixed materials back into pure oil and water.

Insect diet helped early humans build bigger brains: Quest for elusive bugs spurred primate tool use, problem-solving skills

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 11:01 AM PDT

Figuring out how to survive on a lean-season diet of hard-to-reach ants, slugs and other bugs may have spurred the development of bigger brains and higher-level cognitive functions in the ancestors of humans and other primates, suggests new research.

Key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers: Simpler organisms better suited for climate change

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 07:15 AM PDT

The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change, researchers have discovered this in a new meta-study. For the first time biologists studied the relationship between the complexity of life forms and the ultimate limits of their adaptation to a warmer climate.

Weave a cell phone into your shirt? Engineers envision an electronic switch just three atoms thick

Posted: 01 Jul 2014 06:20 AM PDT

Researchers believe they've discovered a crystal that can form a monolayer three atoms thick. Computer simulations show that this crystal, molybdenum ditelluride, can act like a switch: its crystal lattice can be mechanically pulled and pushed, back and forth, between two different atomic structures -- one that conducts electricity well, the other that does not. The team hopes experimental scientists will make this semiconductor crystal and use it to fashion flexible electronics.

Liver preservation extended for transplantation: Livers successfully stored for three days in animal studies

Posted: 29 Jun 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Researchers have developed a new supercooling technique to increase the amount of time human organs could remain viable outside the body. This study was conducted in rats, and if it succeeds in humans, it would enable a world-wide allocation of donor organs, saving more lives.

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