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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 shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:00:34 EDT

With the advent of laser technology in the 1960s, materials scientists gained a new tool to both study and modify materials. Today, lasers allow researchers to manipulate materials on atomic and subatomic levels, leading to new materials and a host of other applications.



Uber diversity report says 36 percent of employees are women

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:58:44 EDT

Uber's first report on employee diversity shows low numbers for women, especially in technical positions.



Chinese tech company Tencent acquires 5 percent Tesla stake

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:58:24 EDT

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings has acquired a 5 percent stake in electric car maker Tesla Inc.



Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:56:42 EDT

Scientists from NJIT's Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research are providing some of the first detailed views of the mechanisms that may trigger solar flares, colossal releases of magnetic energy in the Sun's corona that dispatch energized particles capable of penetrating Earth's atmosphere within an hour and disrupting orbiting satellites and electronic communications on the ground.



How a young-looking lunar volcano hides its true age

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:56:17 EDT

While orbiting the Moon in 1971, the crew of Apollo 15 photographed a strange geological feature—a bumpy, D-shaped depression about two miles long and a mile wide—that has fascinated planetary scientists ever since. Some have suggested that the feature, known as Ina, is evidence of a volcanic eruption Moon within the past 100 million years—a billion years or so after most volcanic activity on the Moon is thought to have ceased.



Researcher weighs in on fairy circles of Namibia

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:55:27 EDT

A study conducted by researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis adds new insights into one of nature's great mysteries: the fairy circles of Namibia.



Fighting world hunger: Robotics aid in the study of corn and drought tolerance

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:54:19 EDT

Developing drought tolerant corn that makes efficient use of available water will be vital to sustain the estimated 9 billion global population by 2050. In March 2014, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the University of Missouri a $20 million grant as part of a multi-institutional consortium to study how corn maintains root growth during drought conditions. Using funding from the NSF, Mizzou engineers on a multidisciplinary team have developed a robotic system that is changing the way scientists study crops and plant composition.



Highway to health: Findings point way to more nutritious crops

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:53:25 EDT

Almost every calorie that we eat at one time went through the veins of a plant. If a plant's circulatory system could be rejiggered to make more nutrients available - through bigger seeds or sweeter tomatoes - the world's farmers could feed more people.



Study finds that elevating women's status lowers dependence on solid fuels

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:51:43 EDT

Globally, more people die each year of indoor air pollution than HIV, TB and malaria combined. So why is household air pollution such a neglected health issue and what needs to change in order to stop this "silent killer of women"?



A seismic mapping milestone

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:51:03 EDT

Because of Earth's layered composition, scientists have often compared the basic arrangement of its interior to that of an onion. There's the familiar thin crust of continents and ocean floors; the thick mantle of hot, semisolid rock; the molten metal outer core; and the solid iron inner core.



Can intergenerational cooperation defeat climate change?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:47:18 EDT

Older adults are powerful allies in addressing climate change, according to "Gray and Green Together: Climate Change in an Aging World," the latest edition of Public Policy & Aging Report (PP&AR) from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).



New method heats up ultrasonic approach to treating tumors

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:46:34 EDT

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a breakthrough therapeutic technique used to treat tumors. The principle of this noninvasive, targeted treatment is much like that of focusing sunlight through a lens, using an ultrasonic transducer like a convex lens to concentrate ultrasound into a small focal region. In an article appearing this week in the Journal of Applied Physics, a multi-institutional team of researchers in China have now designed a semi-enclosed, spherical cavity transducer for potential application in HIFU that can generate a steady, standing-wave field with a subwavelength-scale focal region and extremely high ultrasound intensity.



Night lights, big data: Tool shows relationship between night-time lights and socio-economic factors

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:46:02 EDT

When the Earth is dark, human activity sparkles across the globe. As seen from space, night-time lights tell a story about how we live, correlating to everything from electricity consumption and CO2 emissions, to gross domestic product, population and poverty.



Samsung's fire-prone Note 7 phone may return after recalls

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:06:55 EDT

Samsung's fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 phone might come back as refurbished or rental phones.



Desktop scanners can be hijacked to perpetrate cyberattacks

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:06:00 EDT

A typical office scanner can be infiltrated and a company's network compromised using different light sources, according to a new paper by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science.



It's not too late to conserve water resources in rapidly urbanizing areas

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:02:42 EDT

As climate change and population pressure both intensify in suburban areas northwest of Boston in the coming decades, a new study by watershed scientist Timothy Randhir of the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that threats to the area's watershed such as water shortages and poor quality can be met if managers begin to act now.



Fluorescent probe could light up cancer

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:50:23 EDT

A fluorescent probe developed by Michigan Tech chemist Haiying Liu illuminates the enzyme beta-galactosidase in a cell culture, which could help cancer surgeons.



European scientists, officials warn against US climate plan

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:47:32 EDT

Scientists, officials and environmental campaigners in Europe said Tuesday that the United States would be damaging its own interests if it rolls back the previous administration's efforts to curb climate change.



A molecular on/off switch for CRISPR

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:47:17 EDT

Picture bacteria and viruses locked in an arms race. For many bacteria, one line of defense against viral infection is a sophisticated RNA-guided "immune system" called CRISPR-Cas. At the center of this system is a surveillance complex that recognizes viral DNA and triggers its destruction. However, viruses can strike back and disable this surveillance complex using "anti-CRISPR" proteins, though no one has figured out exactly how these anti-CRISPRs work—until now.



Cornering endangered species

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:46:05 EDT

As certain species decline in number, the geographic areas they inhabit also shrink. Still, even with less space to occupy, these decreasing populations manage to remain locally abundant.



Hair spacing keeps honeybees clean during pollination: Researchers quantify the cleaning process

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:15:28 EDT

With honeybee colony health wavering and researchers trying to find technological ways of pollinating plants in the future, a new Georgia Tech study has looked at how the insects do their job and manage to stay clean.



Discovery of a new regulatory protein provides new tool for stem cell engineering

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:13:11 EDT

Bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have discovered a protein that regulates the switch of embryonic stem cells from the least developed "naïve" state to the more developed "primed" state. This discovery sheds light on stem cell development at a molecular level.



Forests fight global warming in ways more important than previously understood

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:07:01 EDT

Forests play a complex role in keeping the planet cool, one that goes far beyond the absorption of carbon dioxide, new research has found.



Parents who play Pokemon GO with kids: 'It wasn't really about the Pokemon'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:06:25 EDT

Parents who regularly play "Pokémon GO" with their children report a number of side benefits from playing the mobile device-based game, including increased exercise, more time spent outdoors and opportunities for family bonding, according to new University of Washington research.



Malaria parasites 'walk through walls' to infect humans

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:00:02 EDT

Researchers have identified proteins that enable deadly malaria parasites to 'walk through cell walls' - a superpower that was revealed using the Institute's first insectary to grow human malaria parasites.



How bacteria hunt other bacteria

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 12:00:01 EDT

A bacterial species that hunts other bacteria has attracted great interest as a potential living antibiotic, but exactly how this predator tracks down its prey has not been clear. A study published March 28 in Biophysical Journal sheds light on this question, revealing that the bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus (BV) homes in on its target by taking advantage of fluid forces generated by its own swimming movements and those of its prey. These hydrodynamic flow fields bring the bacteria in close proximity, giving BV a greater chance of successful attack.



What makes a cyberattack? Experts lobby to restrict the term

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:58:10 EDT

When U.S. senator John McCain told Ukrainian television that the allegedly Russian-backed breach of the Democratic National Committee's server was "an act of war," Michael Schmitt cringed.



Amazon tests grocery pickup service in Seattle

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:57:26 EDT

Amazon is testing a grocery pickup service in Seattle.



Impacts of school choice on segregation

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:56:57 EDT

Diversity in schools is important for students' experiences and outcomes in schools and beyond, reducing prejudices and ensuring the likelihood of living and working in integrated environments as adults. Penn State researchers are exploring how school choice is affecting racial composition and segregation in Pennsylvania schools.



New report finds EPA's controlled human exposure studies of air pollution are warranted

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:56:02 EDT

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carries out experiments in which volunteer participants agree to be intentionally exposed by inhalation to specific pollutants at restricted concentrations over short periods to obtain important information about the effects of outdoor air pollution on human health. A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds these studies are warranted and recommends that they continue under two conditions: when they provide additional knowledge that informs policy decisions and regulation of pollutants that cannot be obtained by other means, and when it is reasonably predictable that the risks for study participants will not exceed biomarker or physiologic responses that are of short duration and reversible.