Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 17, 2013
Canada's top water expert brings lessons on water resource management to AAAS
At the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, director Howard Wheater and his team use the Saskatchewan River Basin as a large-scale case study to generate the science underpinning the policies and practices governments, consumers and water users need to respond to rapid environmental change.

'Activating' RNA takes DNA on a loop through time and space
Long segments of RNA -- encoded in our DNA but not translated into protein -- are key to physically manipulating DNA in order to activate certain genes, say Wistar researchers.

Thirsty crops and hungry people: Symposium to examine realities of water security
Faced with an increasingly hungry world and limited supplies of water for food production, how do we ensure water security for future generations?

Fighting disease deep inside the brain
Mini, ultra-flexible electrodes could improve treatment of Parkinson's and other health issues.

Microbes team up to boost plants' stress tolerance
While most farmers consider viruses and fungi potential threats to their crops, these microbes can help wild plants adapt to extreme conditions, according to a Penn State virologist.

Evidence shows concussions require long-term follow-up for players
As the National Football League braces for lawsuits by 4000 former players alleging the league failed to protect them from the long-term consequences of concussions, game-changing research by a leading Canadian researcher shows damage to the brain can persist for decades after the original head trauma.

Dopants dramatically alter electronic structure of superconductor
Study demonstrates that doping dramatically alters the atomic-scale electronic structure of the parent of a high-temperature superconductor, with important consequences for the behavior of the current-carrying electrons.

ArcticNet recommends practical solutions to improve standard of living in Canada's north
Northern communities are in the midst of a period of intense and rapid change brought on by modernization, industrialization and the realities of climate change.

Diamond sheds light on basic building blocks of life
The UK's national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, is now the first and only place in Europe where pathogens requiring Containment Level 3 - including serious viruses such as those responsible for AIDS, Hepatitis and some types of flu - can be analyzed at atomic and molecular level using synchrotron light.

US science policy should focus on outcomes not efficiencies, says ASU professor
Given the huge investment and power of science and technology in the US it is surprising that more attention isn't paid to the policy decisions that drive the enterprise, said Daniel Sarewitz, co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University.

Ancient teeth bacteria record disease evolution
DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to the modern day.

Wiring the ocean
For most people, the sea is a deep, dark mystery.

Water on the Moon: It's been there all along
A new paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, by researchers at the University of Notre Dame, Jacobs Technology, and the University of Michigan, show that they have detected significant amounts of water in the samples of the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions.

Meeting: Project aims to predict yield potential to help global food security
Resolving the debate over how best to feed a growing global population requires basic information about current and potential yields at local levels around the world, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomist said.

Get your brain fit
We all know the importance of keeping healthy and are familiar with the refrains of

Organic electronics -- how to make contact between carbon compounds and metal
Organic electronics has already hit the market in smart-phone displays and holds great promise for future applications like flexible electroluminescent foils (a potential replacement for conventional light bulbs) or solar cells that convert sunlight to electricity.

Walking again after spinal injury
In the lab, rats with severe spinal cord injury are learning to walk -- and run -- again.

Rice University analysis links ozone levels, cardiac arrest
Researchers at Rice University, working with a massive data set unique to Houston, have found a direct correlation between out-of-hospital heart attacks and levels of air pollution and ozone.

Key to cleaner environment may be right beneath our feet
While many people recognize that clean water and air are signs of a healthy ecosystem, most do not realize that a critical part of the environment is right beneath their feet, according to a Penn State hydrologist.

Top predators also have sway over climate
University of British Columbia researchers have found that when the animals at the top of the food chain are removed, freshwater ecosystems emit a lot more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Modern alchemy, fusion energy and more from Princeton
A possible Higgs boson of cancer and steps to give natural biodiversity a fighting chance will be among the topics Princeton University researchers will discuss during the 2013 AAAS annual meeting.

New material interface improves functioning of non-silicon-based electronic devices
For the first time, researchers have designed a special material interface that has been shown to add to and to improve the functioning of non-silicon-based electronic devices, such as those used in certain kinds of random access memory.

A new way of looking at drug discovery
Garret FitzGerald from Penn, has long said the current drug-development system in the United States is in need of change,

Natural soil antibiotics offer alternative to farm chemicals
Several naturally occurring antibiotics can control disease and promote crop health, offering an alternative to chemicals currently used in farming.

The quest for a better bionic hand
New implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves, making for smarter prosthetics that feel and function more like the real thing.

ASU professor sees Rachel Carson's early careers as a model for today's science journalism crisis
One area of Rachel Carson's career that is often overlooked is her time as a government employee.

Briefing explores associations between air pollution and health outcomes
Health risks associated with high levels of air pollution may vary between neighborhoods across large urban populations.

Brown University scientists to discuss resilience of coastal communities at AAAS
Heather Leslie and Leila Sievanen are members of an interdisciplinary research team focused on human-environment interactions in coastal regions.

Media advisory: AAAS session addresses infrastructure design in a changing climate
As our climate changes, the way we engineer our cities must, too.

Food science expert: Genetically modified crops are overregulated
University of Illinois professor emeritus of the department of food science and nutrition Bruce Chassy will present a talk in which he argues genetically modified foods are safe for consumption and overregulated.

Synthetic molecule first electricity-making catalyst to use iron to split hydrogen gas
To make fuel cells more economical, engineers want a fast and efficient iron-based molecule that splits hydrogen gas to make electricity.

'Snooze button' on biological clocks improves cell adaptability
The circadian clocks that control and influence dozens of basic biological processes have an unexpected 'snooze button' that helps cells adapt to changes in their environment.

Forging a new periodic table using nanostructures
Northwestern University's Chad Mirkin has developed a new set of building blocks based on nanoparticles and DNA.

Arrhythmia culprit caught in action
Using powerful X-rays, University of British Columbia researchers have reconstructed a crime scene too small for any microscope to observe -- and caught the culprit of arrhythmia in action.

AAAS symposium to highlight potential of global nuclear test-ban monitoring system
Experts in the science behind detecting nuclear tests will be speaking at a symposium on Feb.

In the blink of an eye: X-ray imaging on the attosecond timescale
Berkeley Lab's Ali Belkacem has been using powerful laboratory-scale lasers to test whether multidimensional nonlinear x-ray spectroscopy on the attosecond timescale is practical for the light sources of the future -- and just what combination of beam characteristics is needed to define them.

UNL physicist discusses high-order harmonic generation at AAAS
The research could eventually open new applications in a wide range of fields including nanotechnology and life sciences.

Media advisory: AAAS session addresses city infrastructure design in a changing climate
As our climate changes, the way we engineer our cities must, too.
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