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Preview: PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories



Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.



 



Researchers may have found first polluted river from before Bronze Age

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 06:00:23 EST

Industrial pollution may seem like a modern phenomenon, but in fact, an international team of researchers may have discovered what could be the world's first polluted river, contaminated approximately 7,000 years ago.



Buzz Aldrin gets visit from NASA after polar evacuation

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:02:00 EST

Buzz Aldrin had an unexpected bedside visit from NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman on Saturday as he continued to recover in a New Zealand hospital from his medical evacuation from the South Pole.



Panel urges better cybersecurity to President-elect Trump (Update)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:31:20 EST

A presidential commission on Friday made 16 urgent recommendations to improve the nation's cybersecurity, including creating a nutritional-type label to help consumers shop wisely and appointing a new international ambassador on the subject—weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.



Swiss firm acquires Mars One private project

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:15:04 EST

A British-Dutch project aiming to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2018 announced Friday that the shareholders of a Swiss financial services company have agreed a takeover bid.



US moves to block Chinese purchase of German tech firm Aixtron (Update)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:14:13 EST

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.



Thomas Edison's lab door key, lightbulbs up for auction

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:49:27 EST

Thomas Edison's door key to the 19th century lab in New Jersey where he invented the phonograph goes up for auction this weekend, along with lightbulbs he perfected.



New aspect of atom mimicry for nanotechnology applications

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:02 EST

In nanotechnology control is key. Control over the arrangements and distances between nanoparticles can allow tailored interaction strengths so that properties can be harnessed in devices such as plasmonic sensors. Now researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology use dendrimers that mimic the electron valency of atoms and link them into arrays using molecules that coordinate with the dendrimer as they would form a covalent electron pair in their valence shell - "electron pair mimicry".



Evaluation of scientific rigor in animal research

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:01 EST

The "reproducibility crisis" in biomedical research has led to questions about the scientific rigor in animal research, and thus the ethical justification of animal experiments. In research publishing in the Open Access journals PLOS Biology and PLOS ONE on December 2nd, 2016, researchers from the University of Bern have assessed scientific rigor in animal experimentation in Switzerland. The study, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), found widespread deficiencies in the reporting of experimental methodology.



Seafood consumption 15 times higher among Indigenous than non-Indigenous people

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:01 EST

Coastal Indigenous people eat on average 15 times more seafood per person than non-Indigenous people in the same country, according to new research from the University of British Columbia. The findings highlight the need to consider food sovereignty and cultural identity as part of fisheries policy and Indigenous human rights.



First US offshore wind farm to begin production within days

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:20:55 EST

There has been a hiccup at the nation's first offshore wind farm as it prepares to start delivering power.



What makes your voice yours? Researchers take steps to characterize and quantify voice quality

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:16:36 EST

What are the characteristics of the way you say, "hello," (or anything else for that matter) that makes you recognizable over the phone? Despite the increasing amount of literature on personal voice quality, very little is actually known about how to characterize the sound of an individual speaker.



FCC: AT&T, Verizon shouldn't exempt own apps from data caps

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:56:04 EST

U.S. regulators are calling out AT&T and Verizon for exempting their own video apps from data caps on customers' cellphones.



Teen eco activist spurs hope at children's peace prize award

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:53:40 EST

Award-winning teen environmental activist Kehkashan Basu said Friday ecologists should "not lose hope" in their battle to fight climate change, despite scepticism from world leaders including US President-elect Donald Trump.



NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:43:58 EST

Data from NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, spacecraft shows the sky over Antarctica is glowing electric blue due to the start of noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern Hemisphere - and an early one at that. Noctilucent clouds are Earth's highest clouds, sandwiched between Earth and space 50 miles above the ground in a layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere. Seeded by fine debris from disintegrating meteors, these clouds of ice crystals glow a bright, shocking blue when they reflect sunlight.



German Parliament chief to OK probe of WikiLeaks documents

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:15:57 EST

The speaker of the German Parliament is planning to approve a criminal investigation into the leak of confidential documents relating to U.S. intelligence activities in the country.



Open-source tools accelerate plant breeding in developing countries

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:15:47 EST

Crop breeders in developing countries can now access free tools to accelerate the breeding of improved crops varieties, thanks to a collaboration between the GOBII project at Cornell University and the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), and the James Hutton Institute in Scotland.



Researchers use genes as early warning system for harmful algae blooms

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:15:09 EST

In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have sequenced the genes of a harmful algae bloom, unveiling never-before-seen interactions between algae and bacteria that are thought to propagate their growth. The work also opens up the possibility of forecasting the appearance of a bloom and taking measures to prevent it - work that can save millions, even billions of dollars, in economic losses worldwide.



Environmental scientist's early warning indicators win the prize

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:53:46 EST

Promising environmental researcher David Seekell has been awarded a prestigious prize: the Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. He was awarded the prize for his dissertation at Umeå University that developed early warning indicators for environmental tipping points practically usable to government officials and landowners.



Oldest zoo gorilla set to have biopsy before 60th birthday

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:40:01 EST

The oldest known gorilla living in a zoo, a female named Colo, is slated to undergo a surgical biopsy sometime before her 60th birthday on Dec. 22.



Europe okays 1.4 bn euros for Mars rover, ISS (Update)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:37:40 EST

European ministers approved a 1.4-billion-euro ($1.5-billion) lifeline Friday for plans to place a life-seeking rover on Mars and maintain a presence on the International Space Station.



Biologists unlock 51.7-million-year-old genetic secret to landmark Darwin theory

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:35:48 EST

Scientists have identified the cluster of genes responsible for reproductive traits in the Primula flower, first noted as important by Charles Darwin more than 150 years ago.



China's pristine parks get more merit

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:33:52 EST

Research, published as How Pristine Are China's Parks? in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, found that the numerous smaller parks in the arable farming landscapes of the warmer, wetter south and east had been more heavily modified.



Student's award-winning graphene battery could slash electric-car charging times

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:30:33 EST

A student engineer from the University of Sussex has won a national car industry award for designing a new battery that could revolutionise electric vehicles.



Making better use of the crowd

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:30:02 EST

Over the last decade, computer scientists have harnessed crowds of Internet users to solve tasks that are notoriously difficult to crack with computers alone, such as determining whether an image contains a tree, rating the relevance of websites, and verifying phone numbers.



High-precision magnetic field sensing

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:29:38 EST

Scientists have developed a highly sensitive sensor to detect tiny changes in strong magnetic fields. The sensor may find widespread use in medicine and other areas.



Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:24:38 EST

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what you're looking at. Some photons reflect off, reaching your eyes. Others get absorbed. The main decider of which happens is the photon's energy – its colour.



'Chariot' on course to deliver healthier homes and lower energy bills

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:23:07 EST

Successful trials of Chariot, a unique new system that simultaneously records temperature, humidity and energy use in the home, have opened the way for low-income households to save money while reducing risks to their health.



As machine learning breakthroughs abound, researchers look to democratize benefits

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:21:30 EST

When Robert Schapire started studying theoretical machine learning in graduate school three decades ago, the field was so obscure that what is today a major international conference was just a tiny workshop, so small that even graduate students were routinely excluded.



Disney films shaping expectations about work and organisation in young girls, study says

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:21:12 EST

From Snow White washing the dishes to a bunny rabbit police officer in Zootopia, Disney's animated films have portrayed many memorable female characters in the workplace during the past 80 years.



Discovery of bismuth superconductivity at extremely low temperature jeopardizes theory

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:40:01 EST

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India has found that cooling a sample of bismuth to 0.00053 Kelvin caused the material to become a superconductor, putting at risk a decades-old theory regarding how superconductivity works. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their cooling and testing approach and why they believe what they found will require physicists to rethink theoretical work that describes the conditions under which a metal can become superconductive.