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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.



 



Facebook losing teens to Instagram-Snapchat: forecast

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:33:20 EDT

Facebook use in the US will slow as teens and young adults opt for smartphone image-sharing services Instagram and Snapchat, according to an eMarketer forecast released on Tuesday.



Self-powered paper-based 'SPEDs' may lead to new medical-diagnostic tools

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:30:22 EDT

A new medical-diagnostic device made out of paper detects biomarkers and identifies diseases by performing electrochemical analyses - powered only by the user's touch - and reads out the color-coded test results, making it easy for non-experts to understand.



It goes to 11: Florida lab sets new magnet strength record

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 13:59:38 EDT

Florida's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is reclaiming its status as home to the world's strongest magnet.



Study finds that gravity, 'mechanical loading' are key to cartilage development

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 13:16:32 EDT

Mechanical loading, or forces that stimulate cellular growth for development, is required for creating cartilage that is then turned to bone; however, little is known about cartilage development in the absence of gravity or mechanical loads. Now, in a study led by the University of Missouri, bioengineers have determined that microgravity may inhibit cartilage formation. Findings reveal that fracture healing for astronauts in space, as well as patients on bed rest here on Earth, could be compromised in the absence of mechanical loading.



Hormonal tug-of-war helps plant roots navigate their journey through the soil

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 13:13:09 EDT

A sophisticated mechanism that allows plant roots to quickly respond to changes in soil conditions has been identified by an international research team.



Newest solar cells underperform in cloudy countries

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:58:50 EDT

To determine how efficient new solar cells convert sunlight into electricity, small sample cells are tested under ideal conditions. However, the reported efficiency is not very representative of the actual annual yield when the cells are placed onto a rooftop and exposed to the Dutch weather. In an article published in ACS Energy Letters on August 22, 2017, AMOLF researchers present a model that predicts how the next generation of solar cells will perform under realistic conditions.



New approach makes lightest automotive metal more economic, useful

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:55:20 EDT

Magnesium—the lightest of all structural metals—has a lot going for it in the quest to make ever lighter cars and trucks that go farther on a tank of fuel or battery charge.



No microbes? No problem for caterpillars

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:53:59 EDT

The microbiome seems ubiquitous: humans and many other species rely on billions of tiny organisms in their guts to aid in digestion, metabolism and other functions. Now, scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder are questioning the idea that the microbiome is universal among animals.



Study links fish stress hormones to whether they take the bait

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:30:04 EDT

Take a fish out of water and its stress hormones will go up. Adrenaline and noradrenaline, the "fight or flight" hormones, peak first, followed more gradually by cortisol. A new study finds that largemouth bass whose cortisol levels rise most after a brief bout of stress are inherently harder to catch by angling.



Researchers devise microreactor to study formation of methane hydrate

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:30:02 EDT

Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering are using a novel means of studying how methane and water form methane hydrate that allows them to examine discrete steps in the process faster and more efficiently.



Accelerating the mobile web: 'Vroom' software could double its speed

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:20:02 EDT

Despite that most web traffic today comes from smartphones and tablets, the mobile web remains inconveniently slow. Even on fast 4G networks, a page takes 14 seconds to load on average—an eternity in today's connected world.



Getting hold of quantum dot biosensors

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:10:03 EDT

Quantum dots (QDs) have found so many applications in recent years, they can now be purchased with a variety of composite structures and configurations. Some are available suspended in a biologically friendly fluid, making them well poised to serve as biomarkers for single-molecule tagging and tracking. But suppose you wanted to trap and move one of these single nanoparticle tags the same way other biologists might grab tissue samples with a tweezer?



Verizon tweaks prices, cuts video quality on unlimited plans

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:04:58 EDT

Verizon is raising the price of its unlimited plan while introducing a slightly cheaper, more limited version as wireless carriers battle each other for customers.



How humans and their gut microbes may respond to plant hormones

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:00:07 EDT

A bowl of salad contains more than vitamins and minerals. Plant matter also includes remnants of the hormones plants produce to control how they grow, age, and manage water intake. Recently, scientists have reported that our gut microbes and cells may respond to these hormones and even produce similar molecules of their own. In an opinion article published August 22 in the journal Trends in Plant Science, researchers in France explore how plant hormones may influence human health.



A silent search for dark matter

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:59:28 EDT

Results from its first run indicate that XENON1T is the most sensitive dark matter detector on Earth. The sensitivity of the detector—an underground sentinel awaiting a collision that would confirm a hypothesis—stems from both its size and its "silence." Shielded by rock and water, and purified with a sophisticated system, the detector demonstrated a new record low radioactivity level, many orders of magnitude below surrounding material on Earth.



Bond dissociation energies for transition metal silicides accurately determined

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:23:25 EDT

Transition metal silicides, a distinct class of semiconducting materials that contain silicon, demonstrate superior oxidation resistance, high temperature stability and low corrosion rates, which make them promising for a variety of future developments in electronic devices. Despite their relevance to modern technology, however, fundamental aspects of the chemical bonding between their transition metal atoms and silicon remain poorly understood. One of the most important, but poorly known, properties is the strength of these chemical bonds—the thermochemical bond dissociation energy.



Orange is the new green: How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:05:17 EDT

In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest.



Professor calls for federal guarantee of quality education for kids

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:50:02 EDT

American children, no matter where they live or what school they attend, deserve to be guaranteed a quality education, much as we guarantee a safety net for seniors, argued Professor Marta Tienda of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Without a federal guarantee to restore the "educational social contract," she wrote, the United States will never close educational achievement gaps or restore its schools to their former international preeminence.



What's the annual value of trees? $500 million per megacity, study says

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:48:04 EDT

In the megacities that are home to nearly 10 percent of the world's 7.5 billion people, trees provide each city with more than $500 million each year in services that make urban environments cleaner, more affordable and more pleasant places to live.



How do international development projects affect property values?

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:40:04 EDT

When looking to buy a home or other property in the U.S., location is typically at the top of the list—many buyers value properties with access to amenities like schools, parks, and an easy commute. But is that value shared by home buyers in developing countries? University of Illinois economist Hope Michelson looked at property transactions in Kenya near what she assumed would be a highly desirable location and found the real estate mantra, "location, location, location," wasn't necessarily the guiding principle there.



Sales newbies, don't fret—just go above and beyond

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 10:30:37 EDT

Good news for novice salespeople worried about becoming successful: Expressing your gratitude to customers by going above and beyond your job description may be as effective as developing long-term relationships with them, indicates a first-of-its-kind study.



Research team uses computation and experiment to understand how novel material properties form

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:59:14 EDT

Since the dawn of Enlightenment-era chemistry and physics, scientists have tried to document materials' properties different conditions. These investigations spawned the field of materials science and have helped humanity create aircraft and spacecraft, revolutionize healthcare, and build industrial processes to create products from adhesives and cosmetics to jet fuel and fertilizers.



Schools need to encourage broader participation in science learning outside of the classroom

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:57:49 EDT

Schools are failing to offer sufficient opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to engage in science-based learning outside of the classroom, and should be doing more to open up participation, according to new research published in the International Journal of Science Education.



Iran in talks to unblock Twitter, says new minister

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:40:02 EDT

Iran's new communications minister said Tuesday that negotiations were underway with Twitter to unblock the service, which has been banned for years despite being used even by the country's supreme leader.



Officials: Do not eat fish caught in Shenango River

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:36:46 EDT

State officials are warning people not to eat fish caught in a stretch of a western Pennsylvania river after tests found extremely high levels of a potentially dangerous chemical.



Rare white koala born at Australian zoo

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:35:05 EDT

A koala at an Australian zoo has given birth to a rare white joey, staff announced Tuesday.



Personifying places can boost travel intentions

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:33:38 EDT

People who see animals as people and assign human traits to non-human objects are more likely to travel to destinations that are presented as being human-like, according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research.



Religious affiliation impacts language use on Facebook

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:32:32 EDT

Are you more likely to use words like "happy" and "family" in your social media posts? Or do you use emotional and cognitive words like "angry" and "thinking?" The words you use may be a clue to your religious affiliation. A study of 12,815 U.S. and U.K. Facebook users finds use of positive emotion and social words is associated with religious affiliation whereas use of negative emotion and cognitive processes is more common for those who are not religious than those who are religious.



Why tiger snakes are on a winner

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:31:29 EDT

Australian tiger snakes have "hit the jackpot" because prey cannot evolve resistance to their venom.



Unconventional quantum systems may lead to novel optical devices

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:30:03 EDT

(Phys.org)—Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an optical system based on an unconventional class of quantum mechanical systems that could lead to the development of new quantum optical devices. The system is called a "PT-symmetric quantum walk," since it consists of single photons that occupy a superposition of states, called quantum walks, that obey parity-time (PT) symmetry—the property in which a system's coordinates in space and time can have their signs reversed without inherently changing the system.