PhysOrg (390)

Borrowing a leaf from biology to preserve threatened languages

One of the world's 7,000 languages vanishes every other week, and half - including scores of indigenous North American languages—might not survive the 21st century, experts say. To preserve as much linguistic diversity as possible in the face of this threat, McGill University scientists are ...

Fossil orphans reunited with their parents after half a billion years

Everyone wants to be with their family for Christmas, but spare a thought for a group of orphan fossils that have been separated from their parents since the dawn of animal evolution, over half a billion years ago.

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes

If the bristles of a brush abruptly collapsed into wads of noodles, the brush would, of course, become useless. When it's a micron-scale brush called a "polyelectrolyte brush," that collapse can put a promising experimental drug or lubricant out of commission.

Twitter makes 'tweetstorms' easier with 'threads'

Twitter said Tuesday said it would make it easier for users to build "tweetstorms" by linking together posts in "threads" to expound at length at the famously short-form messaging service.

Night-flyers or day-trippers? Study sheds light on when moths, butterflies are active

Butterflies fly during the day while moths travel at night - or so you might think. In reality, their behavior is much more complicated.

Ariane 5 rocket takes off with European GPS satellites

An Ariane 5 rocket took off from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana on Tuesday, taking with it four satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation project, Arianespace said.

Engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure

Researchers at Columbia Engineering, experts at manipulating matter at the nanoscale, have made an important breakthrough in physics and materials science, recently reported in Nature Nanotechnology. Working with colleagues from Princeton and Purdue Universities and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, ...

Hubble's celestial snow globe

It's beginning to look a lot like the holiday season in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of a blizzard of stars, which resembles a swirling snowstorm in a snow globe.

Does New Horizons' next target have a moon?

Scientists were already excited to learn this summer that New Horizons' next flyby target – a Kuiper Belt object a billion miles past Pluto – might be either peanut-shaped or even two objects orbiting one another. Now new data hints that 2014 MU69 might have company: a small moon.

Chandra reveals the elementary nature of Cassiopeia A

Where do most of the elements essential for life on Earth come from? The answer: inside the furnaces of stars and the explosions that mark the end of some stars' lives.

Court keeps ban on new mining claims around Grand Canyon

A U.S. appeals court has kept in place an Obama administration ban on new mining claims around the Grand Canyon.

Researchers develop new model to predict which universities student athletes will commit to

With revenue from college football at an unprecedented $3.4 billion annually, universities across the country invest tens of millions each year in recruitment efforts to attract high school athletes to play for their football teams. But with talented players typically receiving scholarship ...

Russian space agency blames satellite loss on programming error

Russia's space agency on Tuesday blamed a failed satellite launch from its new cosmodrome on a programming error, prompting an angry response from the deputy prime minister in charge of space.

Climate commitments at the 'One Planet Summit' in Paris

Moving away from using fossil fuels and leaning heavily on businesses to green up their act, the "One Planet Summit" in Paris on Tuesday set out a raft of wide-ranging commitments to turn the tables on climate change.

New research improves understanding of ancient landscapes

Geologists use zircon mineral grains to reconstruct what the Earth and its landscapes looked like in ancient times. These microscopic grains, commonly the width of a human hair, record detailed information on when and where they formed, making them a standard tool for studying how our planet has ...

Suomi NPP satellite provides copious information on California's fires

The Thomas fire, the fifth largest in California's history, continues to creep towards Montecito and Santa Barbara, and is currently 234,200 acres in size. That is about 4,200 acres larger than yesterday. Reports today are citing the fire at 20 percent containment per Inciweb.

Will people eat relish made from 'waste' ingredients? Study finds they may even prefer it

A new Drexel University study found strong potential for consumer acceptance of a new category of foods created from discarded ingredients.

Team develops novel method to produce renewable acrylonitrile

A new study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory establishes a novel catalytic method to produce renewable acrylonitrile using 3-hydroxypropionic acid , which can be biologically produced from sugars. This hybrid biological-catalytic process offers an alternative to the ...

Plant pathologists discover unusual evolutionary transition in common bacteria

It's the "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in a nursery setting.

New maps show shrinking wilderness being ignored at our peril

Maps of the world's most important wilderness areas are now freely available online following a University of Queensland and Wildlife Conservation Society-led study published today.

Suburban ponds are a septic buffet

A new study shows that human waste accounts for a high percentage of nutrients consumed by some animals and plants in suburban ponds.

NASA analyzes short-lived Bay of Bengal cyclone

NASA analyzed the rainfall generated by short-lived Tropical Cyclone 04B that formed and faded over a day in the Bay of Bengal.

Researcher collaborates with industry to create design tool for syntactic foams

With a foundation in aerospace and deep-sea applications, syntactic foams are emerging in the construction, infrastructure, wind energy, and sports equipment industries. Companies in the transportation sector are also employing these super-light, strong materials to build more efficient, less costly ...

Team develops cancer imaging aid from horse chestnuts

Research at The City College of New York shows that cancer imaging can be simplified by a photonic process utilizing molecules derived from horse chestnuts. The study with potential to better detect the presence of cancer is led by George John, professor in City College's Division of Science, in ...

Research finds a sweet spot for engineering better cellulose-degrading enzymes

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have gained new insights into how glycosylation—the natural attachment of sugars to proteins—affects a key cellulase enzyme. This work could be used to improve enzyme performance to better break down ...

Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin

Cell biologists traditionally use fluorescent dyes to label and visualize cells and the molecules within them under a microscope. With different super-resolution microscopy methods, they can even light up single molecules and their complex interactions with one another. However, the microscopy ...

Beta of Neurodata Without Borders software now available

Neuroscientists can now explore a beta version of the new Neurodata Without Borders: Neurophysiology software and offer input to developers before it is fully released next year.

How honey bee gut bacteria help to digest their pollen-rich diet

The honey bee gut is colonized by specialized bacteria that help digest components of the floral pollen diet and produce molecules that likely promote bee health. In a study publishing 12 December in the open access journal PLOS Biology, a group of researchers led by Philipp Engel at the University ...

As science becomes more international, scientific editorial boards lag behind

Across the world, countries are investing in science and technology, leading to the emergence of scientific hotspots outside of the traditional centers in the U.S. and Europe. However, a study publishing December 12 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by Johanna Espin, Emilio Bruna, and ...

With fossil fuel subsidies, humanity investing in 'own doom': UN chief

By subsidising fossil fuels, humanity was "investing in its own doom", UN chief Antonio Guterres said Tuesday at a Paris summit seeking to unlock funds for the global shift towards greener energy.

New insight into unique plant chemical could inform future drug development

Researchers have unearthed new insight into a plant compound that could be used to help develop improved herbicides and treatments for human disease.

Ancient penguin was as big as a Pittsburgh Penguin

Fossils from New Zealand have revealed a giant penguin that was as big as a grown man, roughly the size of the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Don't mix business with pleasure

In working life it's now almost expected that employees answer work-related emails after hours, or take their laptops with them on holiday. But the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life can affect people's sense of well-being and lead to exhaustion. This is according to Ariane Wepfer ...

African immigrants: How race and gender shape the American dream

Africans represent one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the United States, but women far outpace men for securing high-skilled jobs and earnings growth, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University sociologist.

Video: Why do some people hate cilantro?

Cilantro is a popular seasoning, adding flavor to tacos and noodle dishes across the globe. But to some people, it just tastes like soap.

Here's how to shut down the internet: Snip undersea fiber-optic cables

Hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable lay on the ocean floors, a crucial part of the global internet's backbone, and only rarely do ship anchors, undersea landslides or saboteurs disrupt them.

Faster, more accurate cancer detection using nanoparticles

Using light-emitting nanoparticles, Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists have invented a highly effective method to detect tiny tumors and track their spread, potentially leading to earlier cancer detection and more precise treatment.

Life's building blocks observed in spacelike environment

Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates. But a second possibility is that they originated in space, possibly within our solar system. A new ...

Dinosaur parasites trapped in 100-million-year-old amber tell blood-sucking story

Fossilised ticks discovered trapped and preserved in amber show that these parasites sucked the blood of feathered dinosaurs almost 100 million years ago, according to a new article published in Nature Communications today.

Read this before you give your kid his or her first smartphone

While it might not bring parents as much joy as a first step or first word, the right time to introduce kids to a smartphone is an important moment.

To fend off hackers, local governments get help from states

The city of Mill Creek, Wash., has only 55 full-time employees and just one of them—James Busch—is responsible for handling information technology and cybersecurity. He worries about the growing sophistication of hackers and cybercriminals and the city computer network's vulnerabilities.

'King tides' are rising, so groups span globe to monitor it

The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest "king tides," brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become the norm, with expected sea level rise.

SpaceX delivery delayed a day; First reused rocket for NASA

SpaceX has delayed its latest grocery run for the International Space Station for at least a day.

Warming, melting Arctic is 'new normal'

An increasingly warm Arctic, where temperatures rise twice as fast as the rest of the planet and ice melts at an alarming pace is the "new normal," warned a global scientific report Tuesday.

Researchers make solid ground toward better lithium-ion battery interfaces

Research at Sandia National Laboratories has identified a major obstacle to advancing solid-state lithium-ion battery performance in small electronics: the flow of lithium ions across battery interfaces.

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

Growing evidence shows that sensory cells which enable us to taste sweetness, bitterness and savoriness are not limited to the tongue. These so-called Trpm5-expressing chemosensory cells are also found in the respiratory system, digestive tract and other parts of the body.

Computer scientists develop a simple tool to tell if websites suffered a data breach

Computer scientists have built and successfully tested a tool designed to detect when websites are hacked by monitoring the activity of email accounts associated with them. The researchers were surprised to find that almost 1 percent of the websites they tested had suffered a data breach during ...

Battling white-nose syndrome in bats

Millions of bats in North America have been wiped out by the disease white-nose syndrome caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, and scientists worry that a catastrophic reduction in the bat population will have pervasive ecological repercussions. Now, a new study in mBio shines light on ...

Developing 3-D maps of ground conductivity for power-grid risk assessment

It's not often geology and national security wind up in the same sentence. Most people don't think about electrical power in connection to either the ground under their feet or solar flares overhead, but Dr. Adam Schultz of Oregon State University, and EarthScope Magnetotelluric Program Lead ...

Experiments show Neolithic Thames beater could be used to kill a person

—A team of researchers with the University of Edinburgh has found evidence that the "Thames Beater" was a weapon that could be used to kill another person—perhaps at times, with a single blow to the head. In their paper published in the journal Antiquity, the group describes experiments ...