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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.



 



NASA spots short-lived Tropical Cyclone Alfred

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:56:43 EST

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of the Southern Pacific Ocean's newly formed tropical cyclone in the Gulf of Carpentaria. By the next day Alfred made landfall and weakened to a remnant low pressure area.



Researchers recalibrate shark population density using data they gathered during eight years of study on Palmyra atoll

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:56:30 EST

Many shark populations around the world are known to have declined over the past several decades, yet marine scientists lack important baseline information about what a healthy shark population looks like. A clearer picture is now coming into focus—thanks to a team of scientists who investigated the size of an unfished community of reef sharks.



Historic Manhattan cathedral activates eco-friendly power

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:19:37 EST

The historic St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan has activated a geothermal plant—part of a series of environmentally friendly upgrades.



Chemists reveal novel biocatalysts for bioactive alkaloid synthesis

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:18:20 EST

Alkaloids are natural nitrogen-containing compounds produced by plants and microbes. These molecules, such as morphine and quinine, are important human medicines. Alkaloids are typically polycyclic in nature. While the polycyclic characteristics are important for their bioactivities, these features impede their chemical syntheses in the laboratory and their applications as pharmaceuticals.



Engineers overcome a hurdle in growing a revolutionary optical metamaterial

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:53:51 EST

When John Crocker, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science was a graduate student, his advisor gathered together everyone in his lab to "throw down the gauntlet" on a new challenge in the field.



Science vs. the sea lamprey

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:52:39 EST

Of all the fishy predators in the Great Lakes, few are more destructive than the sea lamprey. There's something of a horror movie in their approach: jawless, they attach to prey such as salmon, whitefish or trout with a sucker mouth and drain the victim of its blood and lymph.



Colorado River flows will keep shrinking as climate warms

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:51:20 EST

Warming in the 21st century reduced Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet, about the amount of water used by 2 million people for one year, according to new research from the University of Arizona and Colorado State University.



New studies quantify the impacts of water use on diversity of fish and aquatic insects in NC streams

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:51:02 EST

The health of fish and aquatic insects could be significantly affected by withdrawals of fresh water from the rivers and streams across North Carolina according to a new scientific assessment.



NASA's SnowEx challenges the sensing techniques... 'until they break'

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:49:43 EST

A NASA-led team will kick off an ambitious airborne campaign to determine which combination of sensors would work best at collecting global snow-water measurements from space—critical for understanding and managing the world's freshwater resources. Scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland are providing technology to the mission.



Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:49:15 EST

New planetary formation models from Carnegie's Alan Boss indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn. His work is published by The Astrophysical Journal.



Radiocarbon dating and DNA show ancient Puebloan leadership in the maternal line

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:46:01 EST

Discovering who was a leader, or even if leaders existed, from the ruins of archaeological sites is difficult, but now a team of archaeologists and biological anthropologists, using a powerful combination of radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA, have shown that a matrilineal dynasty likely ruled Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico for more than 300 years.



Scientists combine the ultra-fast with the ultra-small to pioneer microscopy at terahertz frequencies

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:45:32 EST

For the first time ever, scientists have captured images of terahertz electron dynamics of a semiconductor surface on the atomic scale. The successful experiment indicates a bright future for the new and quickly growing sub-field called terahertz scanning tunneling microscopy (THz-STM), pioneered by the University of Alberta in Canada. THz-STM allows researchers to image electron behaviour at extremely fast timescales and explore how that behaviour changes between different atoms.



Model of CRISPR, phage co-evolution explains confusing experimental results

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:44:04 EST

A Rice University study suggests that researchers planning to use the CRISPR genome-editing system to produce designer gut bacteria may need to account for the dynamic evolution of the microbial immune system.



Prides, protection and parks: Africa's protected areas can support four times as many lions

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:43:22 EST

New York, NY-Africa's protected parks and reserves are capable of supporting three to four times as many wild lions if well funded and managed, according to a new report led by Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization.



Study details ringed structure of ORC in DNA replication

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:42:51 EST

An international collaboration of life scientists, including experts at Van Andel Research Institute, has described in exquisite detail the critical first steps of DNA replication, which allows cells to divide and most advanced life, including human, to propagate.



New data about two distant asteroids give a clue to the possible 'Planet Nine'

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:40:59 EST

The dynamical properties of these asteroids, observed spectroscopiccally for the first time using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, suggest a possible common origin and give a clue to the existence of a planet beyond Pluto, the so-called 'Planet Nine.'



Researchers document second case of 'Down syndrome' in chimps

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:38:30 EST

Japanese researchers have confirmed the second case known to science of a chimpanzee born with trisomy 22, a chromosomal defect similar to that of Down syndrome (or trisomy 21) in humans. The report on Kanako, a 24-year-old female chimp born into captivity, was led by Satoshi Hirata of Kyoto University in Japan, and appears in the journal Primates, published by Springer. The authors also describe their attempts to improve the quality of life of this chimpanzee, through providing and managing opportunities for normal social interaction. Such efforts are seen as key in caring for disabled chimpanzees in captivity.



Tune your radio: Galaxies sing when forming stars

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:37:31 EST

A team led from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has found the most precise way ever to measure the rate at which stars form in galaxies using their radio emission at 1-10 Gigahertz frequency range.



Scientists remove reliance on seasonality in new broccoli line, potentially doubling yield

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:35:34 EST

Scientists at the John Innes Centre are developing a new line of fast-growing sprouting broccoli that goes from seed to harvest in 8-10 weeks. It has the potential to deliver two full crops a season in-field or it can be grown all year round in protected conditions, which could help with continuity of supply, as growers would no longer be reliant on seasonal weather conditions.



New approach to measure fluid drag on the body during swimming

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:29:34 EST

A key factor to improve swimming performance is reducing resistance that water exerts on the moving body. This resistance, known as drag, is influenced by factors including the stroke rate, swimmer's size, and swimming speed. The range of factors, along with the motion of the swimmer, have made it difficult to measure drag accurately.



DOOMED is new online learning approach to robotics modeling

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:27:52 EST

Robotics researchers have developed a novel adaptive control approach based on online learning that allows for the correction of dynamics errors in real time using the data stream from the robot. The strategy is described in an article published in Big Data.



Scientists present the smallest member of the CRISPR-Cas9 family developed to date

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:17:08 EST

Scientists at the Center for Genome Engineering, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), in collaboration with KIM Eunji (ToolGen Inc.) and KIM Jeong Hun (Seoul National University) have engineered the smallest CRISPR-Cas9 to date, delivered it to the muscle cells and in the eyes of mice via adeno-associated viruses (AAV) and used it to modify a gene causing blindness. Published on Nature Communications, this CRISPR-Cas9 system, originated from Campylobacter jejuni (CjCas9), is expected to become a useful therapeutic tool against common and "undruggable" disease targets.



Cutting-edge cameras reveal the secret life of dolphins

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:15:07 EST

A world-first study testing new underwater cameras on wild dolphins has given researchers the best view yet into their hidden marine world.



Waste silicon sawdust recycled into anode for lithium-ion battery

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:14:30 EST

Researchers have created a high performance anode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) using waste silicon (Si) sawdust.



More black police won't result in fewer police-involved homicides of black citizens

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:13:55 EST

Hiring more black police officers is not a viable strategy for reducing police-involved homicides of black citizens in most cities, according to new Indiana University research that is the first in-depth study of this increasingly urgent public policy question.



Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:12:45 EST

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.



Researchers helping intelligence analysts make smart decisions

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:11:11 EST

Researchers at George Mason University are developing a tool combining intelligent computer software and high-level crowdsourcing that will allow intelligence analysts to give sound advice to decision makers in high-pressure situations.



Experiments call origin of Earth's iron into question

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:09:19 EST

New research from The University of Texas at Austin reveals that the Earth's unique iron composition isn't linked to the formation of the planet's core, calling into question a prevailing theory about the events that shaped our planet during its earliest years.



Understanding 'glass relaxation' and why it's important for next-generation displays

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:00:01 EST

Next-generation displays will feature increased resolution and performance, but getting there will require a shift to smaller individual pixel sizes and a tightening of the tolerance for glass relaxation. Display manufacturers can account for a certain level of relaxation in the glass, referring to the intermolecular rearrangement, if it's known and reproducible. But fluctuations in this relaxation behavior tend to introduce uncertainty into the manufacturing process, possibly leading to misalignment of pixels within displays.



Tiny nanoclusters could solve big problems for lithium-ion batteries

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:36:52 EST

As devices become smaller and more powerful, they require faster, smaller, more stable batteries. University of Illinois chemists have developed a superionic solid that could be the basis of next-generation lithium-ion batteries.