Science2.0

Voice For Radio? New Research Reveals It's In The Cords

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 2:19pm

New research from the University of Sydney Voice Research Laboratory has discovered unique vocal cord vibration patterns might be the secret behind a good radio voice.

The world-first study filmed the vocal folds of 16 male radio performers, including announcers, broadcasters, newsreaders and voice-over artists and found their vocal folds move and close faster than non-broadcasters.

Speech pathologists, Dr Cate Madill and Dr Samantha Warhurst from the Faculty of Health Sciences, said the research reveals radio performers close their vocal folds with greater speed and force than non-broadcasters. This may be because they have better control of the tension in their vocal folds while speaking.


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Constructal Law: Evolution Governed Science Of Airplanes

Science2.0 - July 24, 2014 - 7:30am

Why did the supersonic trans-Atlantic Concorde aircraft end up being a huge flop? It is commonly believed that European subsidies don't make for efficient airlines and the cost made it impossible to keep the aircraft maintained - but a new paper by a mechanical engineer says it was...evolution. 

Adrian Bejan, professor at Duke University, says that a physics paper he penned more than two decades ago helps explain the change in passenger airplanes from the small, propeller-driven DC-3s of yore to today's behemoth Boeing 787s. 


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Hybrid Nanowires And A Crystal Wedding In The Nanocosmos

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 6:00pm

Researchers have succeeded in embedding nearly perfect semiconductor crystals into a silicon nanowire. They say the new method of producing hybrid nanowires, very fast and multi-functional processing units, can be accommodated on a single chip in the future. 

Nano-optoelectronics are considered the cornerstone of future chip technology, but the research faces major challenges: on the one hand, electronic components must be accommodated into smaller and smaller spaces. On the other hand, what are known as compound semiconductors are to be embedded into conventional materials. In contrast to silicon, many of such semiconductors with extremely high electron mobility could improve performance of the most modern silicon-based CMOS technology.


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Ketamine, The Emergency Room Wonder Drug

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 5:30pm

Ketamine has been used by emergency departments for analgesia, sedation and amnesia for rapid, life-saving intubation in critically ill patients but decades-old studies suggested it raised intracranial pressure.

 A systematic review of 10 recent studies comparing ketamine to sufentanil, fentanyl and other pharmacological agents (vasopressors, neuromuscular blocking agents, sedatives) found no differences in intracranial and cerebral pressures of patients who had been treated with them.


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Climate Change And Soil Respiration

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 5:00pm

The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels.

This soil respiration and the enormous release of carbon is balanced by carbon coming into the soil system from falling leaves and other plant matter, as well as by the underground activities of plant roots. 

Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As a result, scientists have worried that global warming would accelerate the decomposition of carbon in the soil, and decrease the amount of carbon stored there. If true, this would release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it would accelerate global warming.


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Has Voyager 1 Really Left The Solar System?

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 4:04pm

Where does the solar system end and interstellar space begin? There are no 'Now Leaving...' signs so it's somewhat subjective. If you think the argument over Pluto was confusing, you'll be intrigued that the argument over the solar system takes that to a whole new level.

Two years ago, it was announced that wherever the boundary of the solar system was, Voyager 1 had passed it, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object. But some scientists insist it is still within the heliosphere – the region of space dominated by the Sun and its wind of energetic particles – and has not yet reached the 'space between the stars'. 


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An Easier Way To Create Photonic Crystals

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 4:00pm

Highly purified crystals that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. Producing these crystals often involves etching them with a precise beam of electrons and can be difficult and expensive.

Researchers at Princeton and Columbia universities have proposed a new method that could allow scientists to customize and grow these specialized materials, known as photonic crystals, with relative ease. 


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Valley Fever: The Increased Dangers Of Desert Dust

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 2:53pm

The rapid rise in valley fever cases in the arid southwest has become a serious health concern, as human habitation has pushed further into desert areas where the soil spores are widespread. Currently, Valley Fever affects an estimated 150,000 people a year, with most cases occurring in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The disease has no cure at present and is tricky to diagnose because it is similar to community-acquired pneumonias.


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How Children Categorize Living Things

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 2:46pm

How would a child respond to this question? Would his or her list be full of relatives, animals from movies and books, or perhaps neighborhood pets? Would the poppies blooming on the front steps make the list or the oak tree towering over the backyard?

How might the animals children name compare to those named by children raised in a different cultural or language background or in a community that offers more direct contact with the natural world?


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A New Factor Causing Mental Disease

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 10:31am
Astrocytes, the cells that make the background of the brain and support neurons, might be behind mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia, according to new research by a Portuguese team from the ICVS at the University of Minho.  The study, in this month Molecular Psychiatry, shows how a simple reduction of astrocytes in the prefrontal cortex (which is linked to cognition) can kill its neurons and lead to the cognitive deficits that characterise several mental diseases. -->

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Multi-Bit MRAM May Be Better Than Flash Memory

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 5:42am

Magnetic random access memory (MRAM) is intriguing because of demand for fast, low-cost, nonvolatile, low-consumption, secure memory devices.

MRAM relies on manipulating the magnetization of materials for data storage rather than electronic charges, boasts all of these advantages as an emerging technology, but so far it hasn't been able to match flash memory in terms of storage density.


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J1023 And A 'Transformer' Pulsar

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 5:06am

In June of 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed - the pulsar radio beacon vanished and the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the most powerful form of light.

A binary consists of two stars orbiting around their common center of mass. This system, known as AY Sextantis, is located about 4,400 light-years away in the constellation Sextans. It pairs a 1.7-millisecond pulsar named PSR J1023+0038 -- J1023 for short -- with a star containing about one-fifth the mass of the sun. The stars complete an orbit in only 4.8 hours, which places them so close together that the pulsar will gradually evaporate its companion.


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92 Percent Of People Eat What They Put On Their Plates

Science2.0 - July 23, 2014 - 12:00am

There is a lot of concern about food waste and it may be due to leftovers that never get used but it probably isn't the bulk of Americans - 92 percent of people eat everything. Obviously that can be bad for people in other ways if people put a lot on their plate.

"If you put it on your plate, it's going into your stomach," says Cornell University Professor of Marketing Brian Wansink Ph.D.


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With Asthma, Thinking They Might Smell Something Harmful Causes Inflammation

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 11:30pm

A new paper finds that asthmatics who believe that an odor is potentially have increased airway inflammation for at least 24 hours following exposure, which highlights the role that expectations and psychology can play in health-related outcomes.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lungs. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 25 million Americans have the disease, which can interfere with quality of life. The airways of asthmatics are sensitive to 'triggers' that further inflame and constrict the airways, making it difficult to breathe. There are many different types of triggers, including pollen, dust, irritating chemicals, and allergens. Strong emotions and stress also can act to trigger asthma symptoms.


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The Live Volcano Of Jeju Island

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 10:54pm

In Jeju, a place emerging as a world-famous vacation spot with natural tourism resources, a recent study revealed a volcanic eruption occurred on the island. The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) indicated that there are the traces that indicated that a recent volcanic eruption was evident 5,000 years ago.

That is the first time to actually find out the date when lava spewed out of a volcano 5,000 years ago in the inland part of the island as well as the one the whole peninsula.


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BICEP2 Data, CMB B-modes, Inflation, Alternative Cosmologies... (II)

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 8:29pm
It is now generally admitted that the BICEP2 Collaboration has not yet produced an evidence for the existence of primordial B-modes in the measured polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Contrary to the claim contained in the initial  (March 2014) version of their article arXiv:1403.3985v1 and to the strong media coverage that followed this announcement, the Physical Review Letters 112, 241101 version (June 2014) explicitly recognizes that the experimental and phenomenological situation is not so simple. -->

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Has Antarctic Sea Ice Expansion Been Overestimated? Has Arctic Sea Ice Retreat?

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 4:54pm

It sounds like it should be easy enough to know if ice is growing or retreating, but it really isn't.  Antarctic sea ice has been expanding, we are told, while Arctic sea ice is retreating, both at dramatic rates.

How accurate is satellite data? Processing errors can be a problem, but they are more heavily scrutinized whenever a study finds that sea ice anywhere is increasing. A paper in The Cryosphere tackles the satellite data problem, for the increase measured in Southern Hemisphere sea ice.


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Casimir Effect And Boosting The Force Of Empty Space

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 4:30pm

A vacuum - empty space - is not as empty as one might think. In fact, empty space is a bubbling soup of various virtual particles popping in and out of existence – a phenomenon called "vacuum fluctuations". Usually, such extremely short-lived particles remain completely unnoticed, but in certain cases vacuum forces can have a measurable effect.

A team of researchers have proposed a method of amplifying these forces by several orders of magnitude using a transmission line, channeling virtual photons.


"Borrowing" Energy, but just for a Little While


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African-American Homeownership Became More Risky In The 1990s

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 4:25pm

In the 1990s, it was claimed that minorities were less likely to get home mortgages 30 years after anti-discrimination laws were added to specify housing, so policies were instituted requiring justification when people were denied a home loan. As a result of widespread loan liberalization, everyone was able to get loans and there was a resulting mortgage loan crisis after the core of the system was revealed as flawed.


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Artificial Artificial Intelligence: Misidentification Of Humans As Machines Is Common In Turing Tests

Science2.0 - July 22, 2014 - 3:39pm
At various times, Alan Turing was hailed as a brilliant cryptologist, leading a team of code breakers at Bletchley Park which cracked the German Enigma machine cypher during World War II, and then later as a gay martyr. Now, due to popular media accounts of computers seeming 'human' over and over, he is known for The Turing Test and is getting a biopic, "The Imitation Game", starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role.

In a 1950, Turing propose The Turing Test, where he outlined a standard for a computer being considered human and proposed that the solution to artificial intelligence would be a program with the mind of a child and teach it to think.  So the goal of the test is not to determine if a machine is correct, but whether or not it is considered real.
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