Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 19, 2014
Reflected smartphone transmissions enable gesture control
University of Washington engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that lets users 'train' their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone.

New cancer drug target involving lipid chemical messengers
More than half of human cancers have abnormally upregulated chemical signals related to lipid metabolism, yet how these signals are controlled during tumor formation is not fully understood.

Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers
Faster, smaller, greener computers, capable of processing information up to 1,000 times faster than currently available models, could be made possible by replacing silicon with materials that can switch back and forth between different electrical states.

Researchers discover new gene responsible for traits involved in diabetes
A collaborative research team led by Medical College of Wisconsin scientists has identified a new gene associated with fasting glucose and insulin levels in rats, mice and in humans.

NASA catches a weaker Edouard, headed toward Azores
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Atlantic Ocean and captured a picture of Tropical Storm Edouard as it continues to weaken.

NASA eyes Tropical Storm Fung-Wong move through Northwestern Pacific
Tropical Storm Fung-Wong continued to affect the Philippines while moving north through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Domestic violence likely more frequent for same-sex couples
Domestic violence occurs at least as frequently, and likely even more so, between same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex couples, according to a new review of research.

Long-distance communication from leaves to roots
Leguminous plants create symbiotic organs called nodules in their roots.

Neurons express 'gloss' using 3 perceptual parameters
Japanese researchers found that brain uses three perceptual parameters, the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object, as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses.

Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors
Research to be published this Friday shows that massive galaxies in the universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead 'snacking' on nearby galaxies.

University of Delaware receives $3.3 million NSF grant to diversify academic workforce
The University of Delaware has been awarded $3.3 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a program that will serve as a national model for diversifying and strengthening the academic workforce.

Research predicts possible 6,800 new Ebola cases this month
Arizona State University and Harvard University researchers also discovered through modelling analysis that the rate of rise in cases significantly increased in August in Liberia and Guinea, around the time that a mass quarantine was put in place, indicating that the mass quarantine efforts may have made the outbreak worse than it would have been otherwise.

Even without kids, couples eat frequent family meals
Couples and other adult family members living without minors in the house are just as likely as adults living with young children or adolescents to eat family meals at home on most days of the week, new research suggests.

Lymphatic fluid used for first time to detect bovine paratuberculosis
Paratuberculosis is a bovine disease affecting up to 19 percent of dairy farms in Austria.

NASA, NOAA satellites show Odile's remnant romp through southern US
Former Hurricane Odile may be a bad memory for Baja California, but the remnants have moved over New Mexico and Texas where they are expected to bring rainfall there.

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight
Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs -- a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile.

Milestone in chemical studies of superheavy elements
An international collaboration led by research groups from Mainz and Darmstadt, Germany, has achieved the synthesis of a new class of chemical compounds for superheavy elements at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Research in Japan.

Energy efficiency in buildings increases thanks to the HIFIVENT project
Tecnalia is coordinating the European HIFIVENT project, which is seeking to develop a new concept of ventilated facade that will improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Simple test can help detect Alzheimer's before dementia signs show: York U study
Faculty of Health Professor Lauren Sergio and Ph.D. candidate Kara Hawkins who led the study asked the participants to complete four increasingly demanding visual-spatial and cognitive-motor tasks, on dual screen laptop computers.

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution
New research published today in the journal Advanced Functional Materials suggests that graphene-treated nanowires could soon replace current touchscreen technology, significantly reducing production costs and allowing for more affordable, flexible displays.

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution
Crystals of membrane proteins and protein complexes often diffract to low resolution owing to their intrinsic molecular flexibility, heterogeneity or the mosaic spread of micro-domains.

Graphene sensor tracks down cancer biomarkers
An ultrasensitive biosensor made from the wonder material graphene has been used to detect molecules that indicate an increased risk of developing cancer.

NASA sees Tropical Storm playing polo with western Mexico
Tropical Storm Polo is riding along the coast of western Mexico like horses in the game of his namesake.

UChicago-Argonne National Lab team improves solar-cell efficiency
New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory.

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance
Rising temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns may get the lion's share of our climate change attention, but predators may want to give some thought to wind, according to a University of Wisconsin Madison zoologist's study, which is among the first to demonstrate the way 'global stilling' may alter predator-prey relationships.

Environmental pollutants make worms susceptible to cold
Some pollutants are more harmful in a cold climate than in a hot, because they affect the temperature sensitivity of certain organisms.

Breezy science, plant studies and more head to space station on SpaceX-4
Plant science, wind monitors, 3-D printers and more head to the space station on SpaceX-4.

Soft robotics 'toolkit' features everything a robot-maker needs
A new resource unveiled today by researchers from several Harvard University labs in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin provides both experienced and aspiring researchers with the intellectual raw materials needed to design, build, and operate robots made from soft, flexible materials.

For legume plants, a new route from shoot to root
A new study shows that legume plants regulate their symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria by using cytokinins -- signaling molecules -- that are transmitted through the plant structure from leaves into the roots to control the number of bacteria-holding nodules in the roots.

NRL, aerospace industry hosts 10th annual CanSat Student Challenge
Since 2004, the CanSat competition has become an annual event designed to foster student growth in multiple disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

GW researcher receives grant to study brain swelling following bleeding in the brain
Shahram Majidi, M.D., a second-year resident in the Department of Neurology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, received at $154,000 grant from the American Heart Association to study the presence of diffuse brain swelling and injury in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage.

OU biologist awarded NSF CAREER grant for research of the electric fish
A University of Oklahoma biology professor will study the unique bioelectric signaling system of the electric fish, an analysis that could eventually benefit people's health.

Fingertip sensor gives robot unprecedented dexterity
Researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port.

A better way to track emerging cell therapies using MRIs
In a paper published Sept. 17 in the online journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and elsewhere describe the first human tests of using a perfluorocarbon tracer in combination with non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging to track therapeutic immune cells injected into patients with colorectal cancer.

A two-generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children
Recent two generation approaches to reducing poverty that help children and their parents are receiving increasing attention.

Saint Louis University researcher to study new hepatitis C medication in children
After the success of a new drug treatment in adults with hepatitis C infection, a Saint Louis University pediatric researcher is testing the safety and efficacy of the medications in children.

Patients with advanced, incurable cancer denied palliative care
Many patients with advanced, incurable cancer do not receive any palliative care, reveals new research to be presented later this month at the ESMO 2014 Congress in Madrid, Spain, Sept.

Shrink-wrapping spacesuits
The MIT BioSuit is a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits.

Scientists discover an on-off switch for aging cells
Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered an on-and-off 'switch' in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging.

OU biologist awarded NSF grant to study spinal cord circuits controlling limb movements
A University of Oklahoma biology professor will study multifunctional and specialized spinal cord nerve cells that control leg movements with a National Science Foundation grant in the amount of $680,000 for the four-year project.

Mayo researchers reveal pathway that contributes to Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Jacksonville's campus of Mayo Clinic have discovered a defect in a key cell-signaling pathway they say contributes to both overproduction of toxic protein in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients as well as loss of communication between neurons -- both significant contributors to this type of dementia.
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