Earth

Spherical tokamak as model for next steps in fusion energy

Spherical tokamak as model for next steps in fusion energy

Among the top puzzles in the development of fusion energy is the best shape for the magnetic facility -- or "bottle" -- that will provide the next steps in the development of fusion reactors. Leading candidates include spherical tokamaks, compact machines that are shaped like cored apples, compared with the doughnut-like shape of conventional tokamaks. The spherical design produces high-pressure plasmas -- essential ingredients for fusion reactions -- with relatively low and cost-effective magnetic fields.

Green light: USU biochemists describe light-driven conversion of greenhouse gas to fuel

Green light: USU biochemists describe light-driven conversion of greenhouse gas to fuel

By way of a light-driven bacterium, Utah State University biochemists are a step closer to cleanly converting harmful carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion into usable fuels. Using the phototropic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris as a biocatalyst, the scientists generated methane from carbon dioxide in one enzymatic step.

Global climate models do not easily downscale for regional predictions

One size does not always fit all, especially when it comes to global climate models, according to Penn State climate researchers.

"The impacts of climate change rightfully concern policy makers and stakeholders who need to make decisions about how to cope with a changing climate," said Fuqing Zhang, professor of meteorology and director, Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques, Penn State. "They often rely upon climate model projections at regional and local scales in their decision making."

Graphene under pressure

Small balloons made from one-atom-thick material graphene can withstand enormous pressures, much higher than those at the bottom of the deepest ocean, scientists at the University of Manchester report.

This is due to graphene's incredible strength - 200 times stronger than steel.

The graphene balloons routinely form when placing graphene on flat substrates and are usually considered a nuisance and therefore ignored. The Manchester researchers, led by Professor Irina Grigorieva, took a closer look at the nano-bubbles and revealed their fascinating properties.

Whales in the desert

Whales in the desert

Boulder, Colo., USA - In Cerro Colorado, located in the Ica Desert of Peru, sedimentary sequences dating back nine million years have been found to host the fossil skeletons of hundreds of marine vertebrates. In 2008, remains of a giant raptorial sperm whale, Livyatan melvillei, were discovered at this site. In September 2014, the same international team of researchers, guided by Giovanni Bianucci from Pisa University (Italy), found a partial skeleton of a mysticete whale in a rock boulder.

Forest and watercourse interplay important for restorations

Forest and watercourse interplay important for restorations

Humans utilise forests and watercourses in a way that depletes ecosystem habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Many areas are restored to break the trend, but to succeed you need to consider not only the ecosystem in mind, but also surrounding ecosystems. This according to researchers in Umeå in Sweden in an article published in BioScience.

Direct and active parent involvement key to healthy living for kids

Parents who directly and actively engage their children in healthy living behaviour - instead of passively 'supporting' the behaviour - are significantly more likely to see their kids meet Canadian guidelines when it comes to physical activity, healthy eating and screen time, new research from Public Health Ontario (PHO) has found.

Nutrition matters: Stress from migratory beekeeping may be eased by access to food

Nutrition matters: Stress from migratory beekeeping may be eased by access to food

In the first large-scale and comprehensive study on the impacts of transporting honey bees to pollinate various crops, research from North Carolina State University shows that travel can adversely affect bee health and lifespan. Some of these negative impacts may be reduced by moving bee colonies into patches with readily available food or by providing supplemental nutrition when there are few flowers for honey bees to visit, the researchers say.

Study reveals surprising role of haze in the warming of Chinese cities

A new Yale-led study published in the journal Nature Communications sheds light on the surprising role that haze in China plays in promoting the urban heat island effect [UHI], a process whereby city centers tend to be significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas.

The past, present & future of gravitational-wave astronomy, with Kip Thorne & Rainer Weiss

In an extensive interview published online this week, the winners of the 2016 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics discuss their 40-year effort to detect gravitational waves, the elusive ripples in the fabric of space-time that Albert Einstein so boldly predicted. The discussion, with physicists Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss, covers the challenges of eavesdropping on gravitational waves, why their discovery has captured the world's imagination, and what the future holds for astronomy.