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New Study On The Crime Risk On London Underground

April 4, 2014 - 4:06pm

A UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield criminologist who has been working closely with authorities in London to cut crime on one of the world's busiest transport systems will appear before a House of Commons select committee to describe his findings. Dr Andrew Newton is also forming links with overseas experts so that their research can make public transport systems around the world safer places to travel.

By analysing crime patterns on the London Underground, which carries more than one billion passengers a year, Dr Newton is able to draw conclusions about the environment of stations and how they can help or hinder crime, such as pickpocketing. There are also important lessons to be learned about the policing of the Tube system and the areas that surround stations.


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Antioxidants Can Protect Against Omega 6 Damage -- Or Promote It

April 4, 2014 - 4:06pm

SAN DIEGO — Given omega 6 fatty acid's reputation for promoting cancer — at least in animal studies — researchers are examining the role that antioxidants play in blocking the harmful effects of this culprit, found in many cooking oils. After all, antioxidants are supposed to prevent DNA damage. But employing antioxidants could backfire, say researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In their study, being reported at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, researchers found that vitamin E actually increased specific damage linked to omega 6 fatty acids. The vitamin promoted the formation of an "adduct," a structure that links a chemical to DNA, and which may cause mutations.


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Watching For Black Hole Sgr A* To Gobble Up Gas Cloud G2

April 4, 2014 - 3:00pm

Right now a doomed gas cloud is edging ever closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. These black holes feed on gas and dust all the time, but astronomers rarely get to see mealtime in action.

Northwestern University's Daryl Haggard has been closely watching the little cloud, called G2, and the black hole, called Sgr A*, as part of a study that should eventually help solve one of the outstanding questions surrounding black holes: How exactly do they achieve such supermassive proportions?


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Bacteria Get New Badge As Planet's Detoxifier

April 4, 2014 - 2:37pm

Las Vegas - A study published recently in PLOS ONE authored by Dr. Henry Sun and his postdoctoral student Dr. Gaosen Zhang of Nevada based research institute DRI provides new evidence that Earth bacteria can do something that is quite unusual. Despite the fact that these bacteria are made of left-handed (L) amino acids, they are able to grow on right-handed (D) amino acids. This DRI study, funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the NASA Exobiology Program, takes a closer look at what these implications mean for studying organisms on Earth and beyond.


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Lactase Persistence: A Khoe Evolutionary Tale

April 4, 2014 - 2:03pm

In a new paper, researchers writing in Current Biology show how lactase persistence variants tell the story about the ancestry of the Khoe people in southern Africa and that their pastoralist practices were probably brought to southern Africa by a small group of migrants from eastern Africa.


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The Most Precise Mass Measurement: CMS On Top

April 4, 2014 - 12:11pm
The mass of the top quark is a very important parameter of the standard model: using its value together with other no less fundamental ones (the W boson mass, the Higgs mass, and many parameters describing the properties of Z bosons) it is possible to study in great detail the predictions of the theory. In particular, due to the way heavy particles influence the Higgs field, one may verify the consistence of the standard model by looking at a graph where the top quark mass is in the x axis and the W boson on the y axis: different hypotheses for the Higgs boson mass then lie on different parallel curves. One example of such a graph is shown below. It is too complex to discuss it in detail here, but if you are curious I can supply more information in the comments thread.
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Whey Acid Dumping: Greek Yogurt Is Killing Gaia

April 4, 2014 - 11:00am
Enjoy Greek yogurt?

Maybe, if you hate nature.

Because it is now a $2 billion a year industry, activists have turned on it, a fate that the $29 billion organic food industry has so far escaped.

One Green Planet says the greek yogurt manufacturing process is "creating an ecological nightmare beyond all comprehension" which tells you that no one at One Green Planet can do simple math. And they are prone to hyperbole. It is entirely in my ability to comprehend what a cup of yogurt can do.
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Subsurface Ocean Confirmed On Saturn Moon Of Enceladus

April 4, 2014 - 1:07am

In 2005, NASA's Cassini spacecraft sent pictures back to Earth depicting an icy Saturnian moon spewing water vapor and ice from fractures, known as "tiger stripes," in its frozen surface. It was big news that tiny Enceladus—a mere 500 kilometers in diameter—was such an active place. Since then, scientists have hypothesized that a large reservoir of water lies beneath that icy surface, possibly fueling the plumes. Now, using gravity measurements collected by Cassini, scientists have confirmed that Enceladus does in fact harbor a large subsurface ocean near its south pole, beneath those tiger stripes.


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Cassini Reports Sub-surface Ocean On Enceladus

April 4, 2014 - 1:07am

Enceladus—one of Saturn's smaller satellites—has joined the ranks of Titan and Europa as a moon that appears to have liquid water splashing around inside of it, researchers say. New gravity data from the Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring the planet's moons for 10 years, reveal that Enceladus harbors an ocean of water beneath 18 to 24 miles (30 to 40 kilometers) of ice at its surface.

A team of Italian and American scientists led by Luciano Iess at Sapienza Università di Roma in Rome, Italy investigated the moon's gravity field and the notable asymmetry it exhibits between northern and southern hemispheres to reach these conclusions. Their results appear in the 4 April issue of Science.


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Smoking May Dull Obese Women's Ability To Taste Fat And Sugar

April 4, 2014 - 1:07am

Cigarette smoking among obese women appears to interfere with their ability to taste fats and sweets, a new study shows. Despite craving high-fat, sugary foods, these women were less likely than others to perceive these tastes, which may drive them to consume more calories.


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How Dementia Sabotage Memory Formation And Maintenance

April 3, 2014 - 10:59pm

Memory loss is a debilitating consequence of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), an incurable condition contributing to a progressive loss of cognitive function. But what is the cause of memory loss in AD?  Previous work reveals that memory is encoded by molecular and structural changes in synaptic connections between neurons.  

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Tiny Microbial Power Generator Runs On Spit

April 3, 2014 - 10:55pm

Spit-powered, micro-sized microbial fuel cells produce enough energy to run on-chip applications, according to a paper in
Asia Materials.

Microbial fuel cells create energy when bacteria break down organic material producing a charge that is transferred to the anode. Bruce Logan, Professor Environmental Engineering at Penn State, has studied microbial fuel cells for more than ten years and usually looks to wastewater as a source for both the organic material and the bacteria to create either electricity or hydrogen, but says these tiny machines are a bit different.


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Calcium Waves Help The Roots Tell The Shoots

April 3, 2014 - 9:39pm

MADISON – For Simon Gilroy, sometimes seeing is believing. In this case, it was seeing the wave of calcium sweep root-to-shoot in the plants the University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of botany is studying that made him a believer.

Gilroy and colleagues, in a March 24, 2014 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed what long had been suspected but long had eluded scientists: that calcium is involved in rapid plant cell communication.

It's a finding that has implications for those interested in how plants adapt to and thrive in changing environments. For instance, it may help agricultural scientists understand how to make more salt- or drought-tolerant plants.


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Sentinel-1 Liftoff : Environmental Data Will Be Free To Everyone Worldwide

April 3, 2014 - 9:38pm
Sentinel-1A lifted off on a Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guyana at 9:02 PM GMT today.

Sentinel-1A has been at the launch site since the end of February and has been through numerous tests to make sure that everything is in perfect condition to provide essential radar imagery for Europe’s Copernicus program, which focuses on providing data to improve the way the environment is managed.

Weather satellites have been providing operational data for years, of course, but the family of Sentinel missions is designed for environmental monitoring.
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Fences: Former Conservation Must-Have Now Implicated In Ecological Meltdown

April 3, 2014 - 9:24pm

Wildlife fences are constructed for lots of reasons, including having them killed by cars (and people along with them) to prevent the spread of disease and to protect small small populations of threatened species.

Near more populated areas, the concern is different; predatory animals will wantonly kill livestock and ruin crops, a few threaten human lives.

Separating people and wildlife by fencing is a mutually beneficial way to avoid detrimental effects but a paper in Science, clearly written by people who clearly do not live near bears, wolves or mountain lions, argues it is a last resort.


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Organic Food Does Not Reduce Cancer Risk

April 3, 2014 - 7:48pm
Organic food has built a lot of mythology around its process - more ethical, more nutritional, fewer pesticides, a larger penis for the sons of organic shoppers - but one claim was a puzzler only subscribed to by the kind of people who buy homeopathy and healing crystals; that eating organic might reduce the risk of cancer.
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How Meta: Using The Sun To Create Solar Energy Materials

April 3, 2014 - 7:31pm

Oregon State University chemists have discovered how to use the sun as more than just a way to harvest passive energy - they can use it to directly produce the solar energy materials that make energy harvesting possible.

This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy, speed production processes, use environmentally benign materials, and make the sun almost a "one-stop shop" that produces both the materials for solar devices and the eternal energy to power them.


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Cathartic Pain: A New Tweetment For Discussing Migraine Agony

April 3, 2014 - 6:16pm

If we describe the feeling of someone drilling an icicle into their temple, throwing up, and light and sound being unbearable, migraine sufferers know just what we mean.


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A New Approach For Detecting Changes In Genetically Modified Foods

April 3, 2014 - 6:12pm

Despite extensive cultivation and testing of GM foods, questions related to whether genetic manipulation causes changes in food quality and composition or if genetically modified foods are somehow less nutritious than their non-GM counterparts linger in the minds of some consumers. 

In research led by Owen Hoekenga, a Cornell University adjunct assistant professor, scientists extracted roughly 1,000 biochemicals, or "metabolites," from the fruit of tomatoes. These tomatoes had been genetically engineered to delay fruit ripening, a common technique to help keep fruits fresher longer. The researchers then compared this "metabolic profile" from the GM fruit to the profile of its non-GM variety.


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Romance Cyberpsychology: Where People Meet Each Other

April 3, 2014 - 6:06pm

Up to 7% of Americans married between 2005-2012 say they met on social networking sites. This has led to a rash of claims by marketing groups for dating sites that it is the future of romance and that more marriages happen to their technology. Between 3 and 6% of couples say they met that way.

But how much is technology a factor versus other factors? How do couples compare to couples who met through other types of online meetings or the "old-fashioned" way in terms of age, race, frequency of Internet use, and other factors? In an article on the subject, Jeffrey Hall, PhD, a communications scholar at University of Kansas, Lawrence, describes the characteristics that are more common among recently married individuals who met online via social networking sites. 

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