Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 16, 2015
Three nearly Earth-size planets found orbiting nearby star
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a star with three planets only slightly larger than Earth.

Brain recalls old memories via new pathways
People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder, often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness.

Study shows how planetary building blocks evolved from porous to hard objects
Thinking small has enabled an international team of scientists to gain new insight into the evolution of planetary building blocks in the early solar system.

Michigan autoworkers fare worse when it comes to the heart
A Michigan State University study is the first to indicate that the state's autoworkers are at a higher risk of heart disease compared to the US population overall.

Rare mutations do not explain 'missing heritability' in asthma
Rare genetic mutations have been thought to explain missing heritability, but it appears they are unlikely to play a major role.

Stanford geothermal workshop
Journalists are invited to attend the 40th anniversary of the Stanford Geothermal Workshop, one of the world's longest-running meetings on the topic of geothermal energy.

Antiquity of dairying on Emerald Isle revealed
New research from the University of Bristol, UK has revealed the antiquity of dairy farming in Ireland.

Solving an organic semiconductor mystery
Berkeley Lab researchers have uncovered the mysterious source of performance issues in organic semiconductors -- nanocrystallites cluttering domain interfaces!

Atmospheric rivers, cloud-creating aerosol particles, and California reservoirs
In the midst of the California rainy season, scientists are embarking on a field campaign designed to improve the understanding of the natural and human-caused phenomena that determine when and how the state gets its precipitation.

Picture this -- biosecurity seen from the inside
Scientists get an insider's view of plants under attack. They've developed a new biosensor that allows them to see, in real time, what happens when a plant's defence system swings into action.

Software that knows the risks
Planning algorithms evaluate the probability of success, suggest low-risk alternatives.

As Austin grows, so does its traffic woes
The Network Modeling Center is a group within The University of Texas at Austin's Center for Transportation Research that is working with city planners in Austin to address traffic issues in the city.

Heart arrhythmias detected in deep-diving marine mammals
A new study of dolphins and seals shows that despite their remarkable adaptations to aquatic life, exercising while holding their breath remains a physiological challenge for marine mammals.

Satellite telemetry tracks bearded vultures
The Pyrenees are home to continental Europe's only wild population of bearded vultures, a species classified as endangered in Spain.

UA-led HiRISE camera spots long-lost space probe on Mars
The long-lost Mars lander Beagle 2 has been discovered in images taken with the UA-led High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

NASA sees a smaller eye in a stronger Tropical Cyclone Bansi
Tropical Cyclone Bansi's eye was wide open as NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead on Jan.

New Jersey astrophysicist David Spergel wins 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize
The American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics announced today that Princeton University's David Spergel is a winner of the 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, one of the top prizes in the field which is awarded annually to outstanding mid-career scientists.

New 'triggered-release' mechanism could improve drug delivery
More efficient medical treatments could be developed thanks to a new method for triggering the rearrangement of chemical particles.

Aboriginal women address high rates of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in remote Australia
One in eight children born in 2002 or 2003 and living in remote Fitzroy Valley communities in Western Australia have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a landmark study reveals in today's issue of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Peat fire emissions may shed light on climate change
To study the climatic effects of aerosols from peat fires, Rajan Chakrabarty, Ph.D., at Washington University in St.

NASA spots newborn Tropical Storm Chedza making landfall
Tropical Storm Chedza rapidly intensified from a tropical low pressure area to a tropical storm during the morning hours on Jan.

Exploring the use of alcohol-interactive prescription medication among US drinkers
Approximately 71 percent of American adults drink alcohol. While alcohol interacts negatively with a number of commonly prescribed medications, little is known on a population level about the use of alcohol-interactive prescription medication among US drinkers.

How the Yellowhammer became a Kiwi -- from hero to villain in 15 years
Yellowhammers are small, colorful and apparently innocuous birds, but they were once considered to be enemies by farmers in New Zealand.

Finding farmland: New maps offer a clearer view of global agriculture
A new global cropland map combines multiple satellite data sources, reconciled using crowdsourced accuracy checks, to provide an improved record of total cropland extent as well as field size around the world.

Satellite sees heavy rain in Tropical Storm Mekkhala on its approach to Philippines
The Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM core satellite analyzed Tropical Storm Mekkhala and identified areas of heavy rainfall as the storm drew closer to the Philippines.

Performance-based funding in community colleges hinders success of at risk students
A new study from the University of Houston College of Education indicates that performance-based funding (PBF) for Texas community colleges could disproportionately penalize colleges that predominately serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

R&K Cyber Solutions licenses ORNL malware detection technology
Washington DC-based R&K Cyber Solutions LLC has licensed Hyperion, a cyber security technology from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory that can quickly recognize malicious software even if the specific program has not been previously identified as a threat.

UK-led Beagle 2 Lander found on Mars
The UK-led Beagle 2 Mars Lander, thought lost on Mars since 2003, has been found partially deployed on the surface of the planet, ending the mystery of what happened to the mission more than a decade ago.

Islamic fundamentalism is not a marginal phenomenon in Europe
Last week's attacks in Paris, committed in the name of a god, reopen a badly-healed scar in Europe.

Adolescents who sleep poorly and insufficiently may develop alcohol and drug problems
Sleep difficulties and insufficient sleep are common among American youth.

Galactic 'hailstorm' in the early universe
Astronomers have been able to peer back to the young Universe to determine how quasars -- powered by supermassive black holes with the mass of a billion suns -- form and shape the evolution of galaxies.

Mitigation-driven animal translocations are problematic
The use of animal translocations as a means to mitigate construction projects and other human developments is a widespread animal-management tool.

Dramatic decline in risk for heart attacks among HIV-positive Kaiser Permanente members
Previously reported increased risk of heart attacks among HIV-positive individuals has been largely reversed in recent years for Kaiser Permanente's California patients, according to a study published in the current online issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Genes and environment contribute to personal and peer drinking during adolescence and beyond
Alcohol use typically begins during adolescence, in social settings, and is influenced by peer drinking.

New genetic clues found in fragile X syndrome
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have gained new insight into fragile X syndrome -- the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability -- by studying the case of a person without the disorder, but with two of its classic symptoms.

Stem cells derived from amniotic tissues have immunosuppressive properties
Stem cells derived from human amnion hold promise for cell therapies because of ease of access, differentiation ability, and an absence of ethical issues.

2,500-year-old Pythagoras theorem helps to show when a patient has turned a corner
A medical researcher at the University of Warwick has found the 2,500 year-old Pythagoras theorem could be the most effective way to identify the point at which a patient's health begins to improve.

New trick found for how cells stay organized
Organization is key to an efficient workplace, and cells are no exception to this rule.

NASA, NOAA find 2014 warmest year in modern record
The year 2014 ranks as Earth's warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.

MD Anderson receives top Chinese science and technology award
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was presented the People's Republic of China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award at a ceremony held Jan.

How does a machine smell? Better than it did
Scientists have come up with a way of creating sensors which could allow machines to smell more accurately humans.

Is it possible to reset our biological clocks?
Imagine being able to easily get over all of the discomfort and problems of jet lag or night-shift work.

UT Arlington electrical engineering professor earns society's high honor
Weidong Zhou, a University of Texas at Arlington electrical engineering professor, has been elected a Fellow of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Global Virus Network to host Jan. 27 webinar for businesses on Chikungunya outbreak in the Americas
The Global Virus Network, a coalition of the world's leading medical virologists working together to prevent illness and death from viral disease, will host a webinar for business leaders on Tuesday, Jan.

Pre-sleep drinking disrupts sleep
For individuals who drink before sleeping, alcohol initially acts as a sedative -- marked by the delta frequency electroencephalogram (EEG) activity of Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) -- but is later associated with sleep disruption.

BPA exposure affects heart health of males and females differently in mouse models
Heart function and blood pressure in mice exposed to bisphenol A, BPA, from birth though young adulthood are affected differently in males and females, with females at greater risk of damage from stress, a study from a University of Cincinnati researcher has found.

Baltimore astrophysicist Marc Kamionkowski wins 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize
The American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics announced today that Johns Hopkins University's Marc Kamionkowski is a winner of the 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, one of the top prizes in the field which is awarded annually to outstanding mid-career scientists.

New evidence for anthropic theory that fundamental physics constants underlie life-enabling universe
For decades, physicists have been uncovering evidence that the fundamental physics parameters of this universe seem precisely tuned to allow the emergence of stars, galaxies, planets and carbon-based life. 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