Science2.0

Nanocryotron Adder: Superconducting Circuits Simplified

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 6:32pm

Computer chips with superconducting circuits would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips due to a lack of electrical resistance.

That means less heat, less deformation and less energy cost.

Superconducting chips also promise greater processing power. Superconducting circuits that use so-called Josephson junctions have been clocked at 770 gigahertz, or 500 times the speed of the chip in the iPhone 6.


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Giant Kangaroos Were More Likely To Walk Than Hop

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 5:01pm

Modern day kangaroos exhibit a hopping form of locomotion. Credit: Leo/Flickr, CC BY-SA

By Christine Janis, Brown University

Extinct giant kangaroos may have been built more for walking, rather than hopping like today’s kangaroos, especially when moving slowly.

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Group Sequencing Means High-Speed Evolution In The Lab

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 3:17pm

DNA analysis has become increasingly cost-effective since the human genome was first fully sequenced in the year 2001.

Sequencing a complete genome, however, still costs around $1,000 each so sequencing the genetic code of 100s of individuals would be expensive. For non-human studies, researchers very quickly hit the limit of financial feasibility.  


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Magic Magnetic Mirrors Reflect Light In Uncanny Ways

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 1:00pm

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the 1871 sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the title character finds a mirror that behaves in a surprising and unexpected way.
 
Now bizarre mirrors have become a reality.

In an Optica report, scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, a new class of mirror that works like no other
- it forgoes a familiar shiny metallic surface and instead reflects infrared light by using an unusual magnetic property of a non-metallic metamaterial.  


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Snobbery In The Academy Is Alive And Well And Doing Harm

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 12:30pm

If you've ever felt as though professors treat you with less than respect, you're probably not alone. Credit: Flickr, CC BY-SA

By Brian Martin, University of Wollongong and Majken Jul Sørensen, University of Wollongong

A female engineering student walked into her first lab class. One of the male students said, “The cookery class is in another room.”

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How Mitochondria Began - Parasitic Coevolution Gets A New Wrinkle

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 12:30pm

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of mitochondria, the energy factories in our cells – and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a University of Virginia study that used next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to decode the genomes of 18 bacteria that are close relatives of mitochondria.


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Ebola: Bats Get A Bad Rap When It Comes To Spreading Diseases

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 12:00pm

Credit: Diana Ranslam, CC BY-NC

By Alexandra Kamins, Colorado Hospital Association; Marcus Rowcliffe, Zoological Society of London, and Olivier Restif, University of Cambridge

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Telomere Length Links Soda To Cell Aging Associated In New Study

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 12:00pm

Soda consumption has been linked to obesity but a new study
in the American Journal of Public Health links it to disease independent from its role in fat.

The paper finds that telomeres, the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells, were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda. The length of telomeres within white blood cells — where it can most easily be measured — has previously been associated with human lifespan. Short telomeres also have been associated with the development of chronic diseases of aging, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer so the link is still circumstantial.


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From Galactic Pile-ups, Stars Are Born: A Crash Course In Clusters

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 3:15am

An artist's impression of a galactic protocluster forming in the early universe. Credit: European Southern Observatory, CC BY

By Nick Seymour, Curtin University

Clusters of galaxies have back-stories worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster: their existences are marked by violence, death and birth, arising after extragalactic pile-ups where groups of galaxies crashed into each other.

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The Physics Of Manicures Reveal A Public Health Warning

Science2.0 - October 17, 2014 - 1:11am

Do you like to keep your fingernails and toenails aesthetically pleasing? You could be putting yourself at risk of serious nail conditions, say researchers at the University of Nottingham who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails.

Writing in Physical Biology, they note that regular poor trimming can tip the fine balance of nails, causing residual stress to occur across the entire nail. That residual stress can promote a change in shape or curvature of the nail over time which, in turn, can lead to serious nail conditions.


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Brain Scans Show Who's Likely To Trust Strangers

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 11:30pm

Won't get fooled again. Credit: Tinfoil hat by Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

By Rebecca Slack, University of Sheffield

How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Is it based on their handshake, the way they look you in the eye, or perhaps their body language?

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Journey To The Center Of The Earth Finds Primordial Signatures From The Early Solar System

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 10:00pm

A study of Samoan volcano hotspots has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside the Earth.

Volcanic island chains such as Samoa can contain ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have survived for billions of years. To make their determination, the researchers utilized high-precision lead and helium isotope measurements to unravel the chemical composition and geometry of the deep mantle plume feeding Samoa's volcanoes. 

In most cases, volcanoes are located at the point where two tectonic plates meet, and are created when those plates collide or diverge. Hotspot volcanoes, however, are not located at plate boundaries but rather represent the anomalous melting in the interior of the plates.


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In DG Canum Venaticorum, A Mini Star Just Produced A Mega Flare

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 9:30pm
On April 23rd, 2014, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a red dwarf star - 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.

'Just produced' in the title is cosmologically speaking -  the "superflare" came from one of the stars in a close binary system known as DG Canum Venaticorum (DG CVn), which is 60 light-years away. Both stars are dim red dwarfs with masses and sizes about one-third of our sun's. They orbit each other at about three times Earth's average distance from the sun, which is too close for Swift to determine which star erupted. 
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Sperm Wars In The Fight For Promiscuity

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 8:39pm
It sounds a little trampy to humans but in nature, it's not unusual for a female to copulate with several males in quick succession. Chimpanzees are a well-known example.  

When that happens, sperm war breaks out.

"The sperm of the different males then compete within the female to fertilize the eggs," says   evolutionary biologist Steven Ramm from Bielefeld University. "Generally speaking, the best sperm wins. This may involve its speed or also be due to the amount of sperm transferred. It can also be useful for the seminal fluid to be viscous, meaning it sticks inside the female reproductive tract to try to keep other sperm at bay."

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Follow Your Oven On Twitter: A Common Interface For The Social Web Of Things?

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 8:14pm

A paper in the International Journal of Web-Based Communities suggests that the familiar interfaces of online social networking sites might be adapted to allow us to interact more efficiently with our networked devices such as cars, domestic appliances and gadgets.

The concept would also extend to the idea of those devices connecting with each other as necessary to improve efficiency of heating and lighting, make our home entertainment systems smarter and much more.


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Agriculture: Diversity Produces Greater Long-Term Yields Than Monocultures

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 7:00pm

80 years ago, America was going through The Dust Bowl and farmers got a lot of the blame. They didn't let land lay fallow, or used monocultures. Now we know it was the worst drought of the last 1,000 years, 7X larger than other comparable intensity droughts that struck North America since 1000 A.D. 75 percent of the country was affected, 27 states severely, and farming had very little to do with it.

But farmers have gotten a lot more scientific since then anyway. They know monocultures can be cultivated efficiently but they are not sustainable so crops are often rotated. Monocultures remain the principal crop form in some regions because it is believed that is the only way to get higher yields in plant production.


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Back To School, Teachers: Myths About The Brain Hold Back Education

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 6:30pm

Myths about the brain are common among teachers worldwide and are hampering teaching, according to new research which presented teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China with seven 'neuromyths' and then asked whether they believe them to be true.

Over 25% of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student's brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while 50% of those surveyed believe we only use  10% of our brains and that children are less attentive after sugary drinks and snacks.

Over 70% of teachers in all countries wrongly believe a student is either left-brained or right-brained, peaking at 91% in the UK.


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For Learning Anatomy, Cadavers Still Work Best

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 5:55pm

There's just no substitute for a dead body.

Computer teaching is all the rage and simulation can do many things, but when it comes to anatomy, students learn much better through the traditional use of human cadavers.

Cary Roseth, psychologist at Michigan State University, said the paper suggests cadaver-based instruction should continue in undergraduate human anatomy, a gateway course to medical school, nursing and other health and medical fields.


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