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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.



 



Rethinking tourism and its contribution to conservation in New Zealand

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:50:01 EDT

New Zealand is one of 36 global hotspots for biodiversity. Its unique wildlife is a major draw card for tourists.



Fact checkers outperform historians when evaluating online information

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:40:02 EDT

How do expert researchers go about assessing the credibility of information on the internet? Not as skillfully as you might guess – and those who are most effective use a tactic that others tend to overlook, according to scholars at Stanford Graduate School of Education.



Strong social skills increasingly valuable to employers, study finds

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:30:02 EDT

Employers increasingly reward workers who have social and technical skills rather than technical skills alone, according to a new analysis by a Harvard education economist.



Under the sea ice, behold the ancient Arctic jellyfish

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:20:02 EDT

The doings of creatures under the Arctic sea ice are many, but they are rarely observed by humans; it's pretty hard to get under the ice to look. In recent years, marine biologist Andy Juhl and his colleagues have gotten around this problem by driving snowmobiles several miles from Point Barrow, Alaska, out onto the adjoining frozen Chukchi Sea, drilling holes in the four-foot-plus thick ice, and poking in a video camera attached to an small underwater vehicle.



Galileo in place for launch

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:20:02 EDT

Two more Galileo satellites have reached Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, joining the first pair of navigation satellites and the Ariane 5 rocket due to haul the quartet to orbit this December.



Reintroduced marsupials may pose new threat to ground–dwelling birds

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:10:17 EDT

Native marsupials reintroduced in south-western Australia are a threat to ground-dwelling birds, a University of Queensland study has found.



Chemists introduce novel method to separate isotopes

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:10:16 EDT

Separating different versions of elements—isotopes—is an excruciatingly difficult task: They differ by just one or two extra neutrons, an infinitesimal difference in mass. But University of Chicago researchers announced Oct. 23 that they've added an entirely new way to do so.



War on weeds takes toll on beneficial bacteria in the soil

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:10:01 EDT

As farmers battle in their above-ground war on weeds, they may inadvertently create underground casualties – unintentionally attacking the beneficial bacteria that help crops guard against enemy fungus, according to Cornell University research.



Lightning produces afterglow of gamma radiation

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:00:49 EDT

Lightning can produce X-rays and gamma radiation. In the past, researchers thought that this phenomenon only lasted for a very short time, about one ten-thousandth of a second. However, the ionizing radiation of lightning appears to emit much longer than presumed. An afterglow of gamma radiation arises, which lasts up to 10,000 times longer. This is demonstrated for the first time by computer simulations by researchers from Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam. Their article "TGF afterglows: a new radiation mechanism from thunderstorms" has been published in Geophysical Review Letters. This discovery can provide more insight into how lightning develops.



Legibility in writing systems emerges spontaneously, rather than evolving over time

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:00:04 EDT

The visual appearance of most scripts corresponds with the basic constraints of the human visual system, thus facilitating the perception and processing of letters. For example, cardinals (horizontal and vertical lines) are more numerous than oblique lines. But how did it happen? Has the legibility of writing systems gradually evolved through cultural transformation or cultural selection? Or do human cognitive preferences directly affect the shape of the characters?



Using CRISPR to make warmer, less fatty pigs

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:00:02 EDT

A team of researchers with members from several institutions in China and one in the U.K. has used the CRISPR-Cas 9 gene editing technique to cause test pigs to retain less bodyfat. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their gene editing experiment, their success rate and the condition of the genetically modified pigs that were born as part of the experiment.



Researchers use acoustic gravity waves to locate precise time and location that objects hit the sea surface

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:59:55 EDT

Scientists have developed a new method to locate the precise time and location that objects fall into the oceans. The method, developed by researchers from Cardiff University, uses underwater microphones, also known as hydrophones, to listen for underwater sound waves that are emitted when an object hits the sea surface.



Understanding how electrons turn to glass

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:54:56 EDT

Researchers at Tohoku University have gained new insight into the electronic processes that guide the transformation of liquids into a solid crystalline or glassy state.



Researchers study the pathobiology of antibiotic side reactions

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:54:20 EDT

You get an infection, you are given penicillin—and then you could get hemorrhagic diarrhea. This rare but extremely unpleasant side reaction can be related to the enterotoxin tilivalline produced by a regular intestinal bacterium. Austrian scientists have now scrutinized the toxin's biosynthetic pathway and presented the results in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Their findings give important insights in the pathobiology of antibiotic side reactions and unveil the multifunctionality of bacterial toxins.



GAO: Climate change already costing US billions in losses

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:10:02 EDT

A non-partisan federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades.



Elephant poaching in Africa falls but ivory seizures up: study

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 06:00:01 EDT

Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena".



Singapore to freeze number of cars on its roads

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:50:01 EDT

Singapore, one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a vehicle, has announced it will freeze the number of private cars on its roads from next year but vowed to expand public transport.



Gaza Bronze Age remains disappearing under concrete

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:40:01 EDT

Archaeologists and preservation activists in the Gaza Strip have managed to halt the destruction of a Bronze Age site for now, but the future of what remains may still be in jeopardy.



Trump on 'wrong side of history' on climate: Ban Ki-moon

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:30:27 EDT

US President Donald Trump is "standing on the wrong side of history" in withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, former UN chief Ban Ki-moon told AFP in London on Monday.



Global wine output hits 50-year low: OIV

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:30:02 EDT

Worldwide wine production tumbled 8.2 percent this year to hit a 50-year low due to climate fluctuations, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said Tuesday.



Novartis sees bright future for eye unit

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:29:16 EDT

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said Tuesday a strategic review of its eye care unit showed that Alcon can deliver strong growth, but that a possible spin-off or listing is at least two years away.



Forest fires contributed to record global tree cover loss

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:20:02 EDT

A sharp increase in forest fires stoked record losses in global forest cover equivalent to the area of New Zealand in 2016, a Global Forest Watch report said Monday.



New self-regulating nanoparticles could treat cancer

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:18:54 EDT

Scientists from the University of Surrey have developed 'intelligent' nanoparticles which heat up to a temperature high enough to kill cancerous cells - but which then self-regulate and lose heat before they get hot enough to harm healthy tissue.



How much water flows into agricultural irrigation?

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:08:14 EDT

Irrigation for agriculture is the largest use of fresh water around the globe, but precise records and maps of when and where water is applied by farmers are difficult to locate. Now a team of researchers has discovered how to track water used in agriculture.



Antibiotics from a 'molecular pencil sharpener'

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 05:07:00 EDT

Picture a brand-new, unsharpened pencil. The graphite at its core can't be used for writing until a pencil sharpener chews away its wooden tip.



Study points to inefficiencies in Dallas mass transit

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 04:56:47 EDT

Lack of access to good-paying jobs is one of the primary products of a largely inefficient Dallas transit system, according to a city of Dallas-commissioned study conducted by Shima Hamidi, director of The University of Texas at Arlington's Institute of Urban Studies, and her research team.



Single nanoparticle mapping paves the way for better nanotechnology

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 02:50:14 EDT

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the Technical University of Denmark have developed a method that makes it possible to map the individual responses of nanoparticles in different situations and contexts. The results pave the way for better nanomaterials and safer nanotechnology and were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.



A quantum spin liquid: Honeycomb lattice meets elusive standards of the Kitaev model

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 02:49:33 EDT

Researchers from Boston College and Harvard have created an elusive honeycomb-structured material capable of frustrating the magnetic properties within it in order to produce a chemical entity known as "spin liquid," long theorized as a gateway to the free-flowing properties of quantum computing, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.



Scientists write 'traps' for light with tiny ink droplets

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 19:00:04 EDT

A microscopic 'pen' that is able to write structures small enough to trap and harness light using a commercially available printing technique could be used for sensing, biotechnology, lasers, and studying the interaction between light and matter.



Nicaragua signs Paris climate agreement: official

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:11:17 EDT

Nicaragua signed the Paris climate agreement Monday, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two holdouts on the global climate pact.