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Newswise: SciNews



Newswise: Latest Science News, updated hourly. Newswise specializes in delivering the knowledge-based news behind tomorrow's headlines from the world's leading research institutions directly to journalists and to the public.



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Brain Size of Human Ancestors Evolved Gradually Over 3 Million Years

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:05:00 EST

(image) Modern humans have brains that are more than three times larger than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. Scientists don't agree on when and how this dramatic increase took place, but new analysis of 94 hominin fossils shows that average brain size increased gradually and consistently over the past three million years.(image)



CENIC Recognizes Technology Projects to Combat California Wildfires

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:15:41 EST

(image) Two University of California San Diego projects, along with a complementary University of Nevada, Reno project, have been selected as recipients of the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Experimental Applications in recognition of work advancing IT and telecommunications technologies to help minimize potential damage caused by wildfires.(image)



Benson Hill Biosystems Receives Patent for Novel CRISPR Technology

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:05:54 EST

(image) Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company, has been granted a patent for its portfolio of genome editing nucleases. Benson Hill empowers companies across the agri-food value chain with a fully enabling genome editing system to tap natural genetic diversity as a source of differentiation in product development.(image)



Tracking Traffic in the Divided World of a Nerve Cell

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:00:06 EST

(image) Axonal and dendritic proteins embedded in the membrane at either end - called transmembrane proteins - are built in the same cellular factory and travel on the same cellular highway. But for the cell to function property, they must be delivered to the correct domain. So how does the cell regulate that voyage?(image)






Squeezing Into the Best Shape

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:00:35 EST

(image) Gel uses nanoparticles for on-demand control of droplet shapes, of interest for energy storage and catalysis.(image)



As Climate Changes, So Could the Genes of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:45:50 EST

(image) Researchers from the University of Notre Dame warn climate change can not only influence the geographic distribution of a species in response to changing conditions -- it could also affect the evolutionary trajectories of interbreeding species.(image)



Beluga Whales Dive Deeper, Longer to Find Food in Arctic

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:45:06 EST

(image) Beluga whales that spend summers feeding in the Arctic are diving deeper and longer to find food than in earlier years, when sea ice covered more of the ocean for longer periods, according to a new analysis led by University of Washington researchers.(image)



Forcing the Hand of Elusive Electrons

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:05:46 EST

(image) Current generated when light hits a material reveals electrons behaving like an elusive particle.(image)



MEMS Chips Get Metatlenses

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:05:27 EST

(image) Lens technologies have advanced across all scales, from digital cameras and high bandwidth in fiber optics to the LIGO lab instruments. Now, a new lens technology that could be produced using standard computer-chip technology is emerging and could replace the bulky layers and complex geometries of traditional curved lenses. Researchers at Harvard and Argonne National Laboratory have developed a device that integrates mid-infrared spectrum metalenses onto MEMS. They report their work in this week's APL Photonics.(image)



Single Atoms in Nano-Cages

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:05:57 EST

(image) Tiny cages can trap and release inert argon gas atoms, allowing their further study and providing a new way to capture rare gases.(image)



Nationwide Storm Brings Wet Weather to the Northeast

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:05:44 EST

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"Brain on a Chip" Reveals How the Brain Folds

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:05:14 EST

(image) Weizmann Institute scientists bring together physics and biology to create a new model of brain development.(image)



Why Polymer Solar Cells Deserve Their Place in the Sun

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:00:00 EST

Organic polymer solar cells show potential to provide solar power to remote microwatt sensors, wearable technology and the Wi-Fi-connected appliances constituting the "internet of things." While PSCs cannot match the durability or efficiency of inorganic solar cells, the potential to mass-produce nontoxic, disposable solar panels using roll-to-roll production makes them attractive for additional applications. In this week's Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers review the latest advances and remaining challenges in PSC technology.(image)



Researchers Invent Tiny, Light-Powered Wires to Modulate Brain's Electrical Signals

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:05:32 EST

(image) A new University of Chicago study shows how tiny, light-powered wires could be fashioned out of silicon to manipulate electrical signaling between neurons. Published Feb. 19 in Nature Nanotechnology, the study offers a new avenue to shed light on--and perhaps someday treat--brain disorders.(image)



URI Study Aims to Find Carcinogen Damage Before Cancer Develops

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:05:18 EST

The five-year, $2.1 million study will examine mutational spectra of environmental toxins.(image)



NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to Reveal Secrets of the Red Planet

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:00:32 EST

(image) Mars rovers and orbiters have found signs that Mars once hosted liquid water on its surface. Much of that water escaped over time. How much water was lost, and how does the water that's left move from ice to atmosphere to soil? During its first year of operations, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will seek answers. Webb also will study mysterious methane plumes that hint at possible geological or even biological activity.(image)



Portable Biosensor Warns of Heart Attack and Stroke

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:00:57 EST

(image) A team of researchers has developed a low-cost, portable medical sensor package that has the potential to alert users of medical issues ranging from severe heart conditions to cancer, according to a study published in the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology.(image)



Unwavering Juggler with Three Extra Electrons

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:05:53 EST

(image) Simulations discovered the first molecule with three extra electrons and extraordinary stability.(image)



National Strawberry Day Brings Attention to UF/IFAS Varieties

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:05:42 EST

(image) Vance Whitaker toils day and night to develop the tastiest, best-looking, aromatic strawberries a consumer would want. Yummy enough for a nutritious snack or to help flavor a cake or pie just in time for National Strawberry Day on Feb. 27.(image)



A True Fish Story: Biologist Kingsley on Evolutionary Patterns We Share with Creatures of the Sea, Feb. 23 at NYU

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:00:15 EST

New York University will host David Kingsley, an evolutionary biologist at Stanford University, for "Fishing for the Secrets of Vertebrate Evolution," its annual Darwin Lecture, on Friday, Feb. 23.(image)



Using a Laser to Wirelessly Charge a Smartphone Safely Across a Room

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:00:06 EST

(image) Engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser.(image)



'Lipid Asymmetry' Plays Key Role in Activating Immune Cells

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:00:00 EST

(image) A cell's membrane is composed of a bilayer of lipids, and the inside-facing layer is made of different lipids than the outside-facing layer. Because different lipids create membranes with different physical properties, researchers wondered whether different lipid compositions in the bilayer could also lead to different physical properties. They will present their work exploring this "lipid asymmetry" during the 62nd Biophysical Society Meeting, held Feb. 17-21.(image)



Fancy A Jellyfish Chip?

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:00:00 EST

(image) Mathias P. Clausen, a Danish researcher, became intrigued by jellyfish when he bit into the marine delicacy and experienced an unexpected crunch; he decided he wanted to "understand the transformation from soft gel to this crunchy thing." Clausen and other scientists combined their expertise in biophysics and biochemistry to gain a better understanding of how food preparation affects jellyfish from the inside out. They will present their work during the 62nd Biophysical Society, held Feb. 17-21.(image)



Gut Reactions to Improve Probiotics

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 07:05:45 EST

(image) Researchers at Stanford University are studying how bacteria living in the gut respond to common changes within their habitat, working with mice. They change the gut environment within the mice, and then measure which bacterial species survive the change and how the gut environment itself has changed. They also study the physiological response of the bacteria -- if they grow faster or slower, or produce different proteins. The work was presented during the Biophysical Society Meeting, held Feb. 17-21.(image)