Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 26, 2015
Envy key motivator behind many Facebook posts, but site hurts mental well-being
A new study by Sauder School of Business Professor Izak Benbasat and his collaborators shows that envy is a key motivator behind Facebook posts and that contributes to a decrease in mental well-being among users.

Personally tailored diabetes care reduces mortality in women but not men
A follow-up study to assess the effects of personally tailored diabetes care in general practice has revealed that such care reduces mortality (both all-cause and diabetes-related), in women, but not men.

Study shows white matter damage caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis
Smoking high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King's College London and Sapienza University of Rome.

Town planners underestimate the importance of urban green spaces
The supply of high-density urban housing has increased, but people continue to choose to live in suburbs and commuter towns.

Sensor detects cable fire before it starts burning
Fires are frequently caused by smoldering cables. Novel sensors now help detect such smoldering fires at an early stage by analyzing the plastic vapors released by overheated insulating cables.

Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth, opposite of what was expected
Coccolithophores have been increasing in relative abundance in the North Atlantic over the last 45 years, as carbon input into ocean waters has increased.

Cognitive behavior therapy can help overcome fear of the dentist
Cognitive behavioral therapy could help many people with a dental phobia overcome their fear of visiting the dentist and enable them to receive dental treatment without the need to be sedated, according to a new study by King's College London.

Tapping particles of light
Weizmann Institute scientists single out individual photons.

Scientists spot jets from supermassive black hole snacking on a star
Scientists have discovered a hungry black hole swallowing a star at the centre of a nearby galaxy.

Nuclear waste storage sites in rock salt may be more vulnerable than previously thought
Research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that rock salt, used by Germany and the United States as a subsurface container for radioactive waste, might not be as impermeable as thought.

Revealing glacier flow with animated satellite images
Frank Paul, a glaciologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, has created animations from satellite images of the Karakoram mountain range in Asia to show how its glaciers flow and change.

AugerPrime looks for cosmic superaccelerators
The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, an international large-scale experiment to study cosmic rays, will be continued until 2025 and extended to 'AugerPrime'.

A 'bottom up' approach to managing climate change
In advance of next week's United Nations climate meeting in Paris, Allen Fawcett et al. highlight the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, in which various countries have put forward their commitments toward emissions reductions.

Good medicine left on the shelf?
A controversial new paper by James Cook University scientist claims many useful new treatments are being left on the shelf by medical researchers.

Improving health, 1 step at a time
It may be surprising, but Canadians who live in densely-populated areas where stores, banks, schools and other services are close by do not walk as much as they should.

Sperm 'see' it hot
Proteins better known as visual sensors play a role in the heat-seeking movement of sperm.

Rare disease is a lens on cancer
In children, lack of a protein causes a dangerous disease.

Genetic cause of cleft palates
Some children are born with cleft palates and, of those children, some have an asymmetrical face and a malformed ear.

European researchers find ways to keep plastic soup off Europe's marine menus
Researchers led by Dr. Heather Leslie of the Institute for Environmental Studies at VU University Amsterdam will present their research highlights on marine litter and a short documentary film entitled 'CleanSea' in EYE Amsterdam on Dec.

Researchers uncover essential interaction between malaria parasites and liver cells
Scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research recently uncovered a critical piece in the puzzle of how malaria parasites infect their host.

Fewer heart attacks with mind-body medicine
Mind-body medicine (MBM) is a holistic approach that has the potential to ward off more heart attacks than conventional prevention programs.

Graphene microphone outperforms traditional nickel and offers ultrasonic reach
Scientists have developed a graphene based microphone nearly 32 times more sensitive than microphones of standard nickel-based construction.

African wildlife: What it looked like 1000 years ago and why this is important
A team of local scientists have wound back the clock by 1000 years to reconstruct wildlife populations across Africa to help us better understand how they have shaped the world we live in.

Functional human liver cells grown in the lab
In new research appearing in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory.

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film
A research team led by engineers at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab has found a simple way to fix defects in atomically thin monolayer semiconductors.

How can I tell if she's lying?
For people who suffer from diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's,conditions such as Autism spectrum disorders, any form of non-literal speech such as sarcasm, teasing or 'white lies' can be very confusing.

Using sphere packing models to explain the structure of forests
Explaining the complex structure of tropical forests is one of the great challenges in ecology.

'Battle of the Sexes' -- How inhibition of male flower production lets female flowers emerge
In a study published in Science a Bar-Ilan University scientist has shown how the gene that codes for 'androecy' -- a state in which a plant produces male flowers only -- mediates the production of a key plant enzyme that determines whether an early-stage bud will develop into a flower that is wholly male or wholly female.

Top priorities named in hearing loss research
Experts have published a list of the most urgent priorities for researching a debilitating condition that affects more than 10 million people in the UK.

Scientists get first glimpse of black hole eating star, ejecting high-speed flare
An international team of astrophysicists has for the first time witnessed a star being swallowed by a black hole and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light

Whisper gallery modes in Silicon nanocones intensify luminescence
Silicon reveals new talents when reduced to nanoscopic dimensions. Silicon nanocones generate 200 times as much infrared luminescence as comparably sized nanocolumns when excited by visible light.

Insights into the 'dark zone'
Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin together with colleagues publish new findings on differentiation and malignant transformation of B lymphocytes.

Childhood asthma: Looking on the brighter side
The effect of a widespread genetic variant that increases the risk for childhood asthma can be neutralized.

New metric mapping top 10 European heat waves predicts strong increase in next 2 decades
Scientists have developed a new method to model heat wave magnitude that takes both the duration and the intensity of the heat wave into account.

Finding fake feedback
How can consumers, trust customer feedback posted at online shopping sites when hoping to make a purchasing decision?

Comparing therapies for a rare autoimmune disease
In the course of a study conducted throughout Germany, medical professionals have compared different treatment methods for Neuromyelitis optica, an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system.

Rapid plankton growth in ocean seen as sign of carbon dioxide loading
A microscopic marine alga is thriving in the North Atlantic to an extent that defies scientific predictions, suggesting swift environmental change as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the ocean.

Recent Western blood pressure guidelines may boost stroke risk in Asian patients
European and North American blood pressure guidelines, issued last year, may actually boost the stroke risk if used for Asian patients, particularly the elderly, suggests an expert opinion published online in the journal Heart Asia.

Recommended activity levels not achieved by obese children and those with liver disease
In a new study published today in the journal Nutrients, research from the University of Surrey and the Children's Liver Disease Foundation has found that both obese children and those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are not meeting the UK recommendations for a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Moonlighting molecules: Finding new uses for old enzymes
A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has led researchers to identify a potentially significant new application for a well-known human enzyme, which may have implications for treating respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Can Paris pledges avert severe climate change?
A study published in Science today shows that if the emission reductions pledges brought to Paris are implemented and followed by measures of equal or greater ambition, they have the potential to reduce the probability of the highest levels of warming, and increase the probability of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

DNA sequences in GMOs: Largest database now publicly available
The JRC has published a new database, JRC GMO-Amplicons, which contains more than 240 000 DNA sequences appearing in genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Molecular trigger for Cerebral Cavernous Malformation identified
Researchers in Italy, Germany and the United States have identified a regulatory protein crucial for the development of Cerebral Cavernous Malformation -- a severe and incurable disease mainly affecting the brain microvasculature.

Oxytocin increases social altruism
Nowadays, much emphasis is placed on sustainability. The degree to which people are willing to donate their own money for this depends on their level of oxytocin.

More than 1 in 4 older Indians on low and middling incomes have midriff bulge
More than one in four middle-aged Indians on low and middling incomes now has an unhealthy midriff bulge, with women most likely to carry a spare tire, reveal the results of a nationally representative survey, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Mobile phone data 'predicts' wealth and poverty in Rwanda
A person's history of phone communication can be used to infer aspects of his or her socioeconomic status, a new study suggests.

Prestigious medical training awards announced
The Medical Research Council has announced it will be funding 15 PhDs at the University of Warwick over the next three years.

Rice basket study rethinks roots of human culture
The study reveals that although teaching is useful, it is not essential for cultural progress because people can use reasoning and reverse engineering of existing items to work out how to make tools.

Don't forget plankton in climate change models, says study
Globally, phytoplankton absorb as much carbon dioxide as tropical rainforests and so understanding the way they respond to a warming climate is crucial.

Doping powers new thermoelectric material
In power production, nearly two-thirds of energy input from fossil fuels is lost as waste heat.

Stem cell study paves the way for patient therapies
Stem cells that have been specifically developed for use as clinical therapies are fit for use in patients, an independent study of their genetic makeup suggests.

International disparities in measuring energy sources
As countries around the world shift toward greater use of non-fossil fuels, the wide range of methods used to set targets for remaining fossil fuel emissions and to measure results and progress is highly disparate and needs to be standardized, authors of this Policy Forum emphasize.

Increases in certain algae could impact carbon cycle
Two new studies report dramatic changes in phytoplankton abundance and nature, changes that have important implications for storing excess carbon.

Microbiologists discover enigmatic comammox microbes
Nitrification plays a key role in Earth's natural nitrogen cycle and in agriculture.
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