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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | February 06, 2018


Lithium -- it's not just for batteries: It can also reduce instabilities in fusion plasmas
Scientists have found that lithium powder can eliminate instabilities known as edge-localized modes (ELMs) when used to coat a tungsten plasma-facing component called the 'divertor.'
Starving liver cancer
Scientists at the University of Delaware and the University of Illinois at Chicago have found a new way to kill liver cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth.
New study sheds light on Moon's slow retreat from frozen Earth
A study led by University of Colorado Boulder researchers provides new insight into the Moon's excessive equatorial bulge, a feature that solidified in place over four billion years ago as the Moon gradually distanced itself from the Earth.
Twitter reveals how future-thinking Americans are and how that affects their decisions
The researchers tapped big data tools to conduct text analyses of nearly 40,000 Twitter users, and to run online experiments of behavior of people who provided their Twitter handles.
Satellite-based earthquake early warning system tested against Chilean great quakes
Researchers testing a satellite-based earthquake early warning system developed for the US West Coast found that the system performed well in a 'replay' of three large earthquakes that occurred in Chile between 2010 and 2015.
Vitamin A in cattle fodder is potentially protecting against cow's milk allergy
Infants can develop an allergy to cow's milk that usually subsides by adulthood but may increase risk for developing other allergic diseases.
The future of wireless communications is terahertz
Electrical and optical engineers in Australia have designed a novel platform that could tailor telecommunication and optical transmissions.
HKU scientist makes key discoveries in the search for life on Mars
Dr. Joseph Michalski and his colleagues have published papers recently that cast increased doubt on the idea of surface life evolving on Mars.
Sea floor uplift after last ice age causes methane release in the Arctic today
Present-day release of methane from an area of the Arctic Ocean is an effect of the uplift of the sea floor, rather than anthropogenic ocean warming, a new study in Nature Communications states.
Scientists make it possible to rank the risk of resistance genes
A new study published in Nature Communications will help to predict antibiotic resistance evolution and thus guide future drug development.
New algorithm decodes spine oncology treatment
Experts explain their approach to treating patients who are living longer with cancer that has spread to the spine, as the options for metastatic spine tumors increase.
A blueprint for future blood-nerve barrier and peripheral nerve disease research
Researchers have detailed, for the first time, the normal human transcriptome of the blood-nerve barrier.
Serious shortcomings in aging tests of new solar cell materials
Researchers at Aalto University have analysed 261 ageing tests conducted on perovskite and dye-sensitised solar cells.
Mouse study reveals what happens in the gut after too much fructose
Princeton University researchers report that in mice, fructose, a sugar found in fruit, is processed mainly in the small intestine, not in the liver as had previously been suspected.
Data-driven shale dialogue
Research published in the journal Science examines a dialogue about shale drilling between concerned citizens, watershed groups, government regulators and personnel from large energy companies by focusing on publicly available water quality data.
Smartly containing the cloud increases computing efficiency, says first-of-its-kind study
Virginia Tech researchers discovered ways to further improve computing efficiency using management tools for cloud-based light-weight virtual machine replacements called containers.
Evolutionary biology: Sponges can economize on oxygen use
Sponges lack a signaling pathway that responds to low intracellular oxygen levels in more complex animals.
Ozone at lower latitudes is not recovering, despite Antarctic ozone hole healing
The ozone layer -- which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation -- is recovering at the poles, but unexpected decreases in part of the atmosphere may be preventing recovery at lower latitudes.
The ozone layer continues to thin
The vital ozone layer has continued to deplete in recent years over the densely populated mid-latitudes and tropics, while it is recovering at the poles.
Penn researchers prove that precisely timed brain stimulation improves memory
The Restoring Active Memory program, led by Michael Kahana and Daniel Rizzuto at the University of Pennsylvania, is one step closer to its goal of creating a fully implantable neural monitoring and stimulation system.
Full-length serotonin receptor structure seen for first time
A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have used Nobel prize-winning microscope technology to see full length serotonin receptors for the first time.
A cyanine dye acid test that won't drown in water
Near-infrared cyanine dyes are go-to tools for studying the inner workings of cells and investigating the biochemistry of disease, including cancer.
China's need to turn milk green
Historically, China consumed little milk but increasing prosperity has lifted consumption more than 25 times over the past five decades, making the country the world's fourth largest milk producer after the EU, New Zealand and the US, and the trend is projected to continue.
Bilingualism could offset brain changes in Alzheimer's
After more than a decade of research, this much we know: it's good for your brain to know another language.
Viruses -- lots of them -- are falling from the sky
An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth's atmosphere -- and falling from it -- according to new research from scientists in Canada, Spain and the US.
Insecure workers less likely to have access to family friendly arrangements
New research shows that workers who fear they may lose their jobs are less likely to have access to family-friendly flexible working arrangements.
A hole in the heart increases post-surgical risk of stroke
New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that a common anatomic anomaly -- a hole between the upper chambers of the heart that fails to close after birth -- doubles the risk of stroke within 30 days of non-cardiac surgery.
Worm uploaded to a computer and trained to balance a pole
The tiny worm C. elegans is the only living being whose neural network has been analyzed completely.
Unknown language discovered in Southeast Asia
A previously unknown language has been found in the Malay Peninsula by linguists from Lund University in Sweden.
A new role for the 'pigments of life'
Chemically reconfiguring 'porphyrins' has opened new possibilities for their use in diverse applications in chemistry, biochemistry and energy science.
The dawn of gallium oxide microelectronics
Pushing semiconductor technology to its full potential requires smaller designs at higher energy density, and transparent conductive oxides are a key emerging material, offering the unlikely combination of conductivity and transparency over the visual spectrum.
Scientists can now measure activity of key cancer cell-survival protein
A recent study from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, has opened new options to further develop a potential cancer-fighting therapy, clearing an early hurdle in the lengthy drug-discovery process.
Optical ceramic meets metal-organic frameworks
As a special type of ceramics, optical ceramics are transparent and show great potentials as laser gain medium because they combine the high stability of crystals and the large size of glasses, fluids, and other noncrystalline materials.
Study sheds new light on antibiotics produced by ants
Ants, like humans, deal with disease. To deal with the bacteria that cause some of these diseases, some ants produce their own antibiotics.
Another piece to the puzzle in naked mole rats' long, cancer-free life
Cellular senescence is an evolutionary adaptation that prevents damaged cells from dividing out of control and developing into cancer.
Gonorrhea in China shows waning susceptibility to WHO-recommended antibiotics
Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains resistant to azithromycin and/or with decreased susceptibility to ceftriaxone are common in China, according to a prevalence study published this week in PLOS Medicine.
Is hydrogen the fuel of the future?
As the race to find energy sources to replace our dwindling fossil fuel supplies continues apace, hydrogen is likely to play a crucial role in the future.
Love actually: Computer model may decode Facebook emoticons
While the trusty 'like' button is still the most popular way to signal approval for Facebook posts, a computer model may help users and businesses navigate the increasingly complicated way people are expressing how they feel on social media, according to Penn State researchers.
Can over-the-counter pain meds influence thoughts and emotions?
Over-the-counter pain medicine such as Ibuprofen and acetaminophen may influence how people process information, experience hurt feelings, and react to emotionally evocative images, according to recent studies.
White cheeks are more titillating
Male blue tits with white cheeks are healthier and more likely to mate with higher quality partners than their counterparts with duller cheek feathers.
UNC researchers identify patterns of HIV risk among people who inject drugs in Vietnam
In an effort to combat HIV infections among men who inject drugs in Vietnam, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted the first study to explore how this population mixes together.
Researchers take terahertz data links around the bend
A new study shows terahertz data links are possible even without direct line-of-sight between transmitter and receiver, a promising finding for future ultra-high-capacity terahertz data networks.
Sleepless in Latin America: Blind cavefish, extreme environments and insomnia
A study led by researchers from Florida Atlantic University has found that differences in the production of the neuropeptide Hypocretin, previously implicated in human narcolepsy, may explain variation in sleep between animal species, or even between individual people.
New fuel standards will decrease childhood asthma cases
New study in Nature Communications quantifies health benefits of new standard for shipping fuel, finding it will result in a 3.6 percent reduction of childhood asthma globally.
Sequential model chips away at mysteries of aircraft
Ice accumulation on aircraft wings is a common contributing factor to airplane accidents.
UC San Diego-Harvard group reports shift in awareness from chopra well-being program
A new study by Paul J. Mills, PhD and colleagues has shown that an intensive 6-day Ayurveda-based mind-body program led to a significant and sustained increase in self-awareness, with related mental and physical health benefits.
Production of solar fuels inches closer with discovery by Caltech scientists
Researchers in the lab of Caltech's Harry Gray have discovered how a catalyst splits water using solar power, opening the door to economically viable solar-fuel production.
Pores with a memory
Whether for separation processes, photovoltaics, catalysis, or electronics, porous polymer membranes are needed in many fields.
Guidelines extended to improve the use of feedback from patients in clinical trials
Researchers have recommended changes to international guidelines used in the development of clinical trials in an effort to gain information about the impact of the treatment on participating patients and their quality of life.
Ethical leadership can have negative consequences, Baylor University researchers say
A new Baylor University study published in the Journal of Business Ethics reveals that ethical leadership compounded by job-hindrance stress and supervisor-induced stress can lead to employee deviance and turnover.
New compound may stop bacteria from causing sickness
A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry is the first to describe a signaling pathway that affects communication -- a process called quorum sensing -- between Streptococcus bacteria cells.
Liquid crystal molecules form nano rings
At DESY's X-ray source PETRA III, scientists have investigated an intriguing form of self-assembly in liquid crystals: When the liquid crystals are filled into cylindrical nanopores and heated, their molecules form ordered rings as they cool -- a condition that otherwise does not naturally occur in the material.
Here's what happened when black politicians held power
New research provides the strongest evidence to date that the race of a political officeholder can have a significant effect on policy -- at least historically.
How exercise training promotes a sound mind in a sound body
A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that the same mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of exercise training on the brain also help to counteract fat and to strengthen the immune system.
Venus flytraps don't eat the insects that pollinate them
While most people are familiar with Venus flytraps and their snapping jaws, there is still a lot that scientists don't know about the biology of these carnivorous plants.
Studying outdoors is better
Being taught science subjects outdoors increases student motivation. A study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Mainz therefore suggests offering more outdoor instruction at the lower secondary level.
New CRISPR method efficiently corrects DMD defect in heart tissue
Scientists have developed a CRISPR gene-editing technique that can potentially correct a majority of the 3,000 mutations that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) by making a single cut at strategic points along the patient's DNA, according to a study from UT Southwestern Medical Center.
NREL scientists demonstrate remarkable stability in perovskite solar cells
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created an environmentally stable, high-efficiency perovskite solar cell, bringing the emerging technology a step closer to commercial deployment.
Sea ice algae blooms in the dark
Researchers from Aarhus University have measured a new world record: Small ice algae on the underside of the Arctic sea ice live and grow at a light level corresponding to only 0.02 percent of the light at the surface of the ice.
There are more mammal species than we thought
A recent study published in the Journal of Mammalogy, at Oxford University Press, highlights that over 1,000 new species of mammals have been described globally during the last dozen years, a finding that contradicts the notion that our mammalian relatives are well known.
Symptoms of alcoholism make taking medication to treat the disease more difficult
Symptoms of alcoholism make it more difficult for some people to regularly take the prescription drug naltrexone, which could help treat their disease, a researcher at Oregon State University has found.
Farmed seafood and livestock stack up differently using alternate feed efficiency measure
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future found that, contrary to widely held assumptions, farmed fish and shrimp convert protein and calories in feed to edible seafood at rates similar to livestock (i.e., cattle, pigs, and chickens)
Active genetics technology opens new horizons
Employing CRISPR/Cas9 advancements, UC San Diego researchers are using new active genetics technology to reveal new fundamental mechanisms that control gene activity.
Study of first-graders shows fetal alcohol spectrum disorders prevalent in US communities
A study of more than 6,000 first-graders across four US communities has found that a significant number of the children have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with conservative rates ranging from 1 to 5 percent in community samples.
'Virus-cracking' molecules advance fight against hepatitis B
Indiana University researchers have found that certain molecules -- currently under clinical trial -- are able to 'crack' the protective shell of the hepatitis B virus, suggesting it may be possible to attack the virus after its already taken hold in the body.
Big data methods learn the fitness landscape of the HIV Envelope protein
Data scientists from the HKUST and their collaborators from MIT have employed a computational approach to estimate the fitness landscape of gp160, the polyprotein that comprises HIV's spike.
Magnetic brain stimulation alters negative emotion perception
A new study published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports that processing of negative emotion can be strengthened or weakened by tuning the excitability of the right frontal part of the brain.
Portland State study points to connection between religion and risk
Research co-authored by Portland State University finance professor Jing Zhao found that the religious beliefs of the population in counties where hedge funds are headquartered influence the riskiness of hedge fund managers' portfolios.
Risks in using electronic management systems at universities
New electronic management systems provide educational support, help establish effective monitoring of students' achievements both online and offline, can receive and analyze reports on student performance, and track academic progress.
Advances open new frequency range for wireless communications
The 'internet of things,' which make everything from your toaster to your front door accessible online, has driven an explosion in data traffic and taken up huge amounts of bandwidth.
Children affected by prenatal drinking more numerous than previously estimated
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found a significant number of children across four regions in the United States were determined to have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
The recipe for life
UCSB researchers find that the amino acid arginine may have played a more important role in the chemical origins of life
Shoals of sticklebacks differ in their collective personalities
Research from the University of Cambridge has revealed that, among schooling fish, groups can have different collective personalities, with some shoals sticking closer together, being better coordinated, and showing clearer leadership than others.
Matchmaking for liver cancer care
Computer scientists from the University of Delaware and Georgetown University have developed a new system to rapidly determine which cancer drugs are likely to work best given genetic markers for a patent -- the first publicly available system of its kind.
Cockroach ancient geographic and genomic history traced back to last supercontinent
Armed with a vast amount of genomic information, a team of researchers led by Dr.
New method enables high-resolution measurements of magnetism
In a new article, published in Nature Materials, researchers from Beijing, Uppsala and Jülich have made significant progress allowing very high resolution magnetic measurements.
Searching for targeted treatments for inflammatory diseases
Inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis have been linked to faults in a critical immune pathway that enables inflammation to continue unchecked.
Antibiotic-resistant plasmids flourish in hospital plumbing
To better understand how antibiotic-resistant organisms spread in hospitals, investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., recently collected samples from pipes beneath the hospital's intensive care unit and from outside manholes draining hospital wastewater.
VCU scientists seek to perfect calculations for comparing cervical cancer radiation doses
Research from VCU Massey Cancer Center has found that one of the standard practices for comparing cervical cancer radiation therapy treatments may be misleading, and the use of an alternative mathematical formula could be used to more effectively predict and potentially improve outcomes for patients.
Ebola virus exploits host enzyme for efficient entry to target cells
Researchers have identified a key process that enables the Ebola virus to infect host cells, providing a novel target for developing antiviral drugs.
HINODE captures record breaking solar magnetic field
Astronomers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) using the HINODE spacecraft observed the strongest magnetic field ever directly measured on the surface of the Sun.
Study on cause of Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Flint led by CSU researchers
An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in 2014-15 in Flint, Michigan, was likely caused by a change in the city's drinking water supply, according to a study led by Colorado State University researchers.
Child aids paleontologists in discovery of new ancient fish species
The fossil, called Candelarhynchus padillai, is approximately 90 million years old, and has no modern relatives, explained Oksana Vernygora, PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences and lead author on the study.
Small errors, fatal consequences
In Germany, every year more than 100,000 cases of illness are statistically recorded whose pathogen can be transferred via food.
Bayesian model selection shows extremely polarized behavior when the models are wrong
Scientists from University College London (UCL) and the Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS, AMSS), have reported progress in understanding problems associated with Bayesian model selection.
A new radiation detector made from graphene
Graphene is a remarkable material: light, strong, transparent and electrically conductive.
Simple molecule could prevent, alleviate pre-diabetes
Restoring levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ), a key molecule in energy production in cells, could overcome insulin resistance or pre-diabetes -- a precursor to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Workbench for virus design
ETH's Zurich researchers have developed a technology platform that allows them to systematically modify and customise bacteriophages.
Iberian Peninsula rodents migrated due to climate change twelve million years ago
Changes in Southwestern Europe's climate which happened between 12 and 5 million years ago had a drastic impact over the rodent communities.
Rate of children affected by drinking during pregnancy may be higher than previously estimated
Children whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy can have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and the frequency of these disorders, which can cause developmental disabilities, may be higher than previously estimated.
Using shark scales to design better drones, planes, and wind turbines
A team of evolutionary biologists and engineers at Harvard University have demonstrated a new structure inspired by shark skin that could improve the aerodynamic performance of planes, wind turbines, drones, and cars.
You might be paying too much for ads on Google, Bing
New research out of Binghamton University, State University of New York suggests that instead of just spending to get that top spot, advertisers should be considering other factors as well to ensure they are getting the best results from their sponsored search advertising campaigns.
Relationship factors affect decisions about contraceptive use among young adults
The dynamics of a couple's relationship, including the exclusivity of the partnership, the level of commitment to the partnership and participation in sexual decision-making with their partner, impact young adults' decisions related to contraceptive use, new research shows.
Type-2 diabetes: Insulin held up in traffic
In a new study, researchers from the universities of Uppsala and Lund show why insulin secretion is not working properly in patients suffering from type-2 diabetes.
Chemtrails vs. contrails (video)
It's easy to look at the white trail behind a jet aircraft and imagine all manner of chemicals raining down from above.
Dementia care improved by just one hour of social interaction each week
The new research assessed the WHELD program to upskill key care home staff to deliver person-centered care.
Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths
Several studies have shown an association between legalizing medical marijuana and lower death rates from opioids.
New technique boosts eyewitness recall
New research from a memory expert at James Cook University in Australia shows there may be a simple way to help eyewitnesses of crimes remember more about what they have seen.
Untimely immune cell clocks may contribute to obesity and diabetes in shift workers
About 15 million Americans don't have a typical nine-to-five workday, and many of these -- nurses, firefighters and flight attendants, among many other professions -- may see their schedule change drastically one week to the next.
Scientists discover off-switch for 'molecular machine' active in many diseases
A discovery by Queensland scientists could be the key to stopping damage caused by uncontrolled inflammation in a range of common diseases including liver disease, Alzheimer's and gout.
Unusual lung structures may raise risk of pulmonary disease
The internal anatomy of our lungs is surprisingly variable, and some of those variations are associated with a greater risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a new study led by researchers at McGill University and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center has found.
40-year controversy in solid-state physics resolved
An international team at BESSY II headed by Prof. Oliver Rader has shown that the puzzling properties of samarium hexaboride do not stem from the material being a topological insulator, as it had been proposed to be.
Immune system dysfunction may occur early in Alzheimer's disease
An association between inflammation biomarkers in both blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and markers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) associated pathology, has been found by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus working with the University of Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center.
Study shines new light on how Salmonella 'die' at low temperatures
The most economical way to kill bacteria that cause common food-borne illnesses -- mostly caused by Salmonella enterica -- is heat, but, the mechanisms that kill Salmonella at lower temperatures were not fully understood until now, according to a team of researchers.
Clocking electrons racing faster than light in glass
Living life in the fast lane can be tremendously exciting, giving us the 'time of our lives' but how long does it really last?
Emerald ash borer: How cities and towns can prepare for invasion
In Pennsylvania, where emerald ash borer has been present since 2007, municipalities have found successful ash-management plans under guidance of the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and they offer a model for other regions to follow.
September 2017 earthquakes highlight successes of Mexico's early warning system
Mexico's earthquake early warning system gave Mexico City's residents almost two minutes of warning prior to the arrival of strong seismic waves from the Sept.
No volcanic winter in East Africa from ancient Toba eruption
The Toba supereruption on the island of Sumatra about 74,000 years ago did not cause a six-year-long 'volcanic winter' in East Africa and thereby cause the human population in the region to plummet, according to new research based on an analysis of ancient plant remains from lake cores.
Rainforest collapse 307 million years ago impacted the evolution of early land vertebrates
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have discovered that the mass extinction seen in plant species caused by the onset of a drier climate 307 million years ago led to extinctions of some groups of tetrapods, the first vertebrates to live on land, but allowed others to expand across the globe.
Sick bees eat healthier
James Cook University scientists in Queensland, Australia have shown that sick bees try to look after themselves by eating healthy food.

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#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.