Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 28, 2013
Rim Fire update Aug. 28, 2013
The Rim fire spread deeper into Yosemite National Park on Tuesday with flames racing unimpeded to the east even as firefighters shored up defenses for communities on the western edges of the blaze.

Oldest solar twin identified
A team led by astronomers in Brazil has used ESO's Very Large Telescope to study the oldest solar twin known to date.

Wake up and smell the reef: Fish larvae sniff their way back home
A new study led by Claire Paris, professor at the University of Miami conducted at One Tree Island in the Great Barrier Reef has established that reef fish larvae can smell the presence of coral reefs from as far as several kilometers offshore, and use this odor to find home.

A major cause of age-related memory loss identified
A team of Columbia University Medical Center researchers, led by Nobel laureate Eric R.

Parasitic worm genome uncovers potential drug targets
Scientists find five new drug targets for a livestock worm that is a growing threat to global food production.

NIH scientists describe how anthrax toxins cause illness, death
Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, both part of the National Institutes of Health, have identified the cells in two distinct areas of the body that are simultaneously targeted for damage by anthrax toxins, eventually causing illness and sometimes death.

NASA's SDO mission untangles motion inside the sun
Using an instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, called the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager, or HMI, scientists have overturned previous notions of how the sun's writhing insides move from equator to pole and back again, a key part of understanding how the dynamo works.

We may all be Martians -- new research supports theory that life started on Mars
New evidence has emerged which supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.

Not the end of the world: Why Earth's greatest mass extinction was the making of modern mammals
The ancient closest relatives of mammals -- the cynodont therapsids -- not only survived the greatest mass extinction of all time, 252 million years ago, but thrived in the aftermath, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The science of collaboration
The future of biomedical innovation depends in part on a new trend for all players in biomedical innovation to work together for the common goal, say two MIT researchers.

LSU research responsible for naming 15 new species of Amazonian birds
An international team of researchers coordinated by ornithologist Bret Whitney of the LSU Museum of Natural Science, or LSUMNS, recently published 15 species of birds previously unknown to science.

Benefit of PET or PET/CT in oesophageal cancer is not proven
The importance of positron emission tomography in oesophageal cancer, alone or in combination with computed tomography, is unclear due to a lack of comparative studies.

Using a form of 'ice that burns' to make potable water from oil and gas production
In the midst of an intensifying global water crisis, scientists are reporting development of a more economical way to use one form of the

Forensic experts may be biased by the side that retains them
Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists are ethically bound to be impartial when performing evaluations or providing expert opinions in court.

Hidden shell middens reveal ancient human presence in Bolivian Amazon
Previously unknown archeological sites in forest islands reveal human presence in the western Amazon as early as 10,000 years ago, according to research published August 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Umberto Lombardo from the University of Bern, Switzerland and colleagues from other institutions.

Canada has strength in industrial R&D, says expert panel
A newly released report by the Council of Canadian Academies entitled, The State of Industrial IR&D in Canada, provides a thorough analysis of Canada's R&D strengths in industry and how these strengths are distributed regionally.

UK children less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
New research suggests that children are far less likely to be diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the UK than they are in the USA.

The North American Menopause Society recognizes contributions to the field of menopause
The North American Menopause Society is pleased to announce the recipients of the Society's 2013 awards.

UC Davis team 'spikes' stem cells to generate myelin
Stem cell technology has long offered the hope of regenerating tissue to repair broken or damaged neural tissue.

The 'woman who understood Newton'
In this month's edition of Physics World, Paula Findlen from Stanford University profiles Laura Bassi -- an emblematic and influential physicist from the 18th century who can be regarded as the first ever woman to forge a professional scientific career.

Princeton and USDA researchers produce new egg pasteurization method
Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the US Department of Agriculture have developed a novel technique and device for rapidly pasteurizing eggs in the shell without damaging the delicate egg white.

Researchers predict greener Greenland
In 2100, a warmer climate will allow growth of trees and bushes in large parts of that Greenland, which is currently ice-free.

Univ. of Maryland research could result in new approach to prevent diabetes-induced birth defects
A research team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has identified a cell signaling pathway which plays a significant role in causing developmental defects of the fetal spinal cord and brain in babies of women with diabetes.

Blocking molecular pathway reverses pulmonary hypertension in rats, Stanford study finds
Pulmonary hypertension, a deadly form of high blood pressure that develops in the lungs, may be caused by an inflammation-producing molecular pathway that damages the inner lining of blood vessels, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Migraine may permanently change brain structure
Migraines may have long-lasting effects on the brain's structure, according to a study published in the Aug.

Targeting mosquito breeding sites could boost malaria control efforts in Africa and Asia
A malaria control method that targets mosquito larvae and pupae as they mature in standing water could be an important supplementary measure in the fight against the disease, according to a new report led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

AC or DC? 2 newly described electric fish from the Amazon are wired differently
Two new species of weakly electric fishes from the Amazon with some unusual characteristics are described in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

East Antarctic Ice Sheet could be more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought
The world's largest ice sheet could be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than previously thought, according to new research from Durham University.

Remembering a famous debate 400 years ago and water's still-unsolved mysteries
For online and print audiences deep into lazy late-summer-day reading, yearning for diversions from everyday cares, how about a glimpse 400 years back in time at a famous clash between Galileo and an arch-enemy over why ice floats on water?

Wildfires projected to worsen with climate change
A Harvard team's study suggests wildfire seasons by 2050 will be about three weeks longer, up to twice as smoky, and will burn a wider area in the western states.

Pain relief technique cuts hospital stay by one-third for some surgical patients
Surgeons are working to reduce serious complications that have been known to occur with colorectal operations.

Magnetic charge crystals imaged in artificial spin ice
Direct visualization of magnetic charge crystallization in an artificial spin ice material, a first in the study of a relatively new class of frustrated artificial magnetic materials-by-design known as

GSA Today science: Biofilms, MISS, and stromatolites
In the Sept. issue of GSA Today, Nora Noffke of Old Dominion University and Stan Awramik of the University of California, Santa Barbara, describe the interaction of carpet-like communities of benthic microorganisms (biofilms) with sediment dynamics at the sediment-water interface to form distinctive sedimentary structures called microbialites.

Woodland salamanders indicators of forest ecosystem recovery
Woodland salamanders are a viable indicator of forest ecosystem recovery, according to researchers from the US Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station.

1 in 4 has alarmingly few intestinal bacteria
International ground-breaking research with participation of Danish investigators from University of Copenhagen shows that one in four Danes has serious problems with the trillion of bacteria living in their intestines.

New Cassini data from Titan indicate a rigid, weathered ice shell
An analysis of gravity and topography data from Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has revealed unexpected features of the moon's outer ice shell.

Space laser to prove increased broadband possible
When NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration begins operation aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission managed by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., it will attempt to show two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible, expanding the possibility of transmitting huge amounts of data.

ORNL-grown oxygen 'sponge' presents path to better catalysts, energy materials
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new oxygen

Autistic children can outgrow difficulty understanding visual cues and sounds
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown that high-functioning autism spectrum disorder children appear to outgrow a critical social communication disability.

Intestinal flora linked to health of obese people
The international consortium MetaHIT, including Jeroen Raes' research group (VIB/Vrije Universiteit Brussel), publishes that there is a link between richness of bacterial species in the intestines and the susceptibility for medical complications related to obesity.

Researchers develop model of 'near-optimal' genetic code
Researchers have created a model that may explain the complexities of the origins of life.

Researchers aim to use light -- not electric jolts -- to restore healthy heartbeats
When a beating heart slips into an irregular, rhythm, the treatment is electric current from a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Specialist nurses as good as doctors in managing rheumatoid arthritis patients
Patients attending clinical nurse specialist clinics do not get inferior treatment to that offered by consultant rheumatologists, the results of a major new clinical trial have revealed.

Biodiversity in Ontario's Great Lakes region may be greater than we thought
Genetic tests show big difference between threatened Muskoka-dwelling plant and its New York State cousin indicating that perceived global status may be misleading when assessing species at risk.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists identify ALS disease mechanism
Researchers have tied mutations in a gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders to the toxic buildup of certain proteins and related molecules in cells, including neurons.

Producing hydrogen from water with carbon/charcoal powder
In the latest advance in efforts to find an inexpensive way to make hydrogen from ordinary water -- one of the keys to the much-discussed

Study shows mindfulness training can help reduce teacher stress and burnout
Teachers who practice

WPI receives $1.94 million NIH award for research on cardiac regeneration
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year, $1.94 million R01 grant to a biomedical research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute working at the forefront of cell therapies for healing cardiac muscle damaged by heart attack or chronic disease.

Butterfly wings + carbon nanotubes = new 'nanobiocomposite' material
Leveraging the amazing natural properties of the Morpho butterfly's wings, scientists have developed a nanobiocomposite material that shows promise for wearable electronic devices, highly sensitive light sensors and sustainable batteries.

New studies in The Lancet reveal global impact of mental and substance disorders
Two major new studies from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, led by Professor Louisa Degenhardt, of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and Professor Harvey Whiteford, of the Queensland Centre for Medical Health Research at the University of Queensland in Australia, are today published in The Lancet.

Ultracold big bang experiment successfully simulates evolution of early universe
Physicists have reproduced a pattern resembling the cosmic microwave background radiation in a laboratory simulation of the big bang, using ultracold cesium atoms in a vacuum chamber at the University of Chicago.

Milky Way gas cloud causes multiple images of distant quasar
Multiple-imaging event will help astronomers learn new details about turbulent gas within our own Milky Way galaxy.

NASA tallies Tropical Storm Fernand's massive rainfall from space
When Tropical Storm Fernand formed near Mexico's Gulf coast earlier this week, TRMM gathered data on the storm.

GeneLAB research platform to expand life sciences research on station
NASA is expanding life science research on the space station with a new collection of investigations called geneLAB.

Brain inflammation linked to more severe Parkinson's symptoms
Reversing inflammation in the fluid surrounding the brain's cortex may provide a solution to the complex riddle of Parkinson's, according to researchers who have found a link between pro-inflammatory biomarkers and the severity of symptoms such as fatigue, depression and anxiety in patients with the chronic disease.

Waterloo mathematician solves 40-year-old problem
A team of mathematicians has solved a problem first posed more than 40 years ago that has confounded modern mathematicians, until now.

Molecular motors: Power much less than expected?
An innovative measurement method was used at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw for estimating power generated by motors of single molecule in size, comprising a few dozens of atoms only.

Fish larvae sniff reef odor to find their way home
Reef fish larvae are only millimeters-long when they hatch, but can smell the presence of coral reefs from several kilometers offshore, and use this odor to navigate home.

Researchers discover a potential cause of autism
Problems with a key group of enzymes called topoisomerases can have profound effects on the genetic machinery behind brain development and potentially lead to autism spectrum disorder, according to research announced today in the journal Nature.

Consuming alcohol before first pregnancy linked with increased risk of BBD & breast cancer
Drinking alcohol before first pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of benign breast disease and breast cancer, independent of drinking after first pregnancy, according to a new study published August 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

UT Arlington undergrad recognized for 'green chemistry'
John Gurak, a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington, is one of less than 40 scholars nationwide to be awarded the $50,000 EPA National Center for Environmental Research's two-year fellowship for undergraduate study this year.

School-age drinking increases breast cancer risk
Every daily drink a young woman takes increases her lifetime risk of breast cancer by 13 percent, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St.

New ASCB Kaluza Prize recognizes graduate student research
A competition for a $5,000 prize to encourage excellence in research by a graduate student member of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) was announced today by ASCB President Don Cleveland, Ph.D.

Combating concussions
There are millions of sports-related concussions each year, but many go undiagnosed because the fear of being benched often trumps the fear of permanent brain damage, and there is no objective test available to accurately diagnose concussions on the sidelines.

Does migraine affect income or income affect migraine?
Studies show that migraine is more common among people with lower incomes.

Petra Beli joins IMB, obtains Emmy Noether award to study cellular response to DNA damage
Dr. Petra Beli has been granted a prestigious EUR 1.5 million Emmy Noether Program award from the German Research Foundation to establish a research group at the Institute of Molecular Biology at Mainz University.

Kids' fast food ads emphasize giveaways more than food
Fast-food marketing aimed at children emphasizes giveaways and movie tie-ins much more frequently than ads targeted at adults, according to research published August 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by James Sargent and colleagues from the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth.

4 alcohol brands dominate popular music mentions
Four alcohol brands -- Patron tequila, Hennessy cognac, Grey Goose vodka, and Jack Daniel's whiskey -- accounted for more than half of alcohol brand mentions in the songs that mentioned alcohol use in Billboard's most popular song lists in 2009, 2010 and 2011, according to a new study from researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

MOND predicts dwarf galaxy feature prior to observations
MOND, a modified law of gravity, correctly predicted in advance of observations the velocity dispersion -- the average speed of stars within a galaxy relative to each other -- in 10 dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way's giant neighbor Andromeda. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to