Culture

Hey kids! Try this at home. Pour clean water onto a small plate. Wait for all the ripples to stop. Then mix a small amount of mineral oil with an even smaller amount of detergent. Squeeze a tiny drop of that mixture onto the water and watch in amazement as the oil appears to pump like a beating heart.

New fundamental particles aren’t found only at Fermilab and at other particle accelerators. They also can be found hiding in plain pieces of ceramic, scientists at the University of Illinois report.

The newly formulated particle is a boson and has a charge of 2e, but does not consist of two electrons, the scientists say. The particle arises from the strong, repulsive interactions between electrons, and provides another piece of the high-temperature superconductivity puzzle.

Researchers at the University of Warwick are co-ordinating a global effort to sequence the genome of one of the World’s most important mushrooms - Agaricus bisporus. The secrets of its genetic make up could assist the creation of biofuels, support the effort to manage global carbon, and help remove heavy metals from contaminated soils.

A new study provides support for the hypothesis that walking on two legs, or bipedalism, evolved because it used less energy than quadrupedal knucklewalking.

David Raichlen, an assistant professor of anthropology at The University of Arizona, conducted the study with Michael Sockol from the University of California, Davis, who was the lead author of the paper, and Herman Pontzer from Washington University in St. Louis.

In the 40 years that humans have been traveling into space, the suits they wear have changed very little. The bulky, gas-pressurized outfits give astronauts a bubble of protection, but their significant mass and the pressure itself severely limit mobility.

Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, wants to change that.

Volcanologist Sarah Fagents from the University of Hawaii at Manoa had an amazing opportunity to study volcanic hazards first hand, when a volcanic mudflow broke through the banks of a volcanic lake at Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand.

Fagents and colleagues were there on a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project to study the long-forecast Crater Lake break-out lahar at Mount Ruapehu. A lahar is a type of mudflow composed of water and other sediment that flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley.

A team of researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have discovered a unique mechanism by which the same signal molecule determines the formation of the both the lens of the eye and the olfactory cells of the nose.

Smell and sight are two sensory systems that are crucial to our ability to perceive the world around us. The ability to sense smells is established by the development of the olfactory mucous membrane. The ability to see is similarly dependent on the formation of the lens in the eyes.

Brightly colored birds are among the species most adversely affected by the high levels of radiation around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, ecologists have discovered. The findings help explain why some species are harder hit by ionising radiation than others.

By looking at temperature fluctuations and reduced agricultural production in eastern China's past, David Zhang from the University of Hong Kong and his colleagues say they can predict the geopolitics of global warming's future.

They found that warfare frequency in eastern China, and the southern part in particular, significantly correlated with temperature oscillations. Almost all peaks of warfare and dynastic changes coincided with cold phases.

Very precise time keeps the Internet and e-mail functioning, ensures television broadcasts arrive at our TVs and is integral to a network of global navigation satellites (such as the Global Positioning System) used for precision mapping and surveying, environmental monitoring and personal location-based services. But time can only be useful if it is the same for everyone. And that requires a single source against which we can all check our clocks.