Culture

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.

Mention "outsourcing" and people tend to think of fields like manufacturing or telemarketing; theoretical physics isn't even on the list.

Yet the scientists who develop theoretical predictions for high-energy particle physics experiments say "outsourcing" in their field has allowed the U.S. to lag behind in this area of high-profile, global science.

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Chicago, Dr. Jorge Zavala, Sr. of the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, and colleagues showed that elevated CO2 may negatively impact the relationship between some plants and insects.

Elevated CO2 is considered to be a serious catalyst of global change. Its effects can be felt throughout the ecosystem, including the insect-plant food chain link. Safeguarding highly-usable crops is of great importance to many local and national economies.

Instead of preserving life, Germany’s embryo protection law has had the unintended consequence of increasing the number of foetuses killed after fertility treatment according to new figures presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology today (Wednesday). A representative of the German IVF registry has called for the law to be changed urgently to ensure that this situation does not continue.

You buy more salad dressing from Paul Newman under his own label than you would if he were in commercials for someone else, research says.

Endorsements by the rich and famous have long been a staple of the advertising industry. They can give otherwise mundane products, like razors or carpet cleaners, new cachet. Market research has shown repeatedly that celebrities can "instantly" add personality and appeal to even unknown products and make or break recognized brands.

The ingenious system called adaptive optics, known for its computer control of subdivided, individually angled mirrors, is an efficient but expensive way to correct distortions in laser beams. The mirrors automatically adjust until an undistorted beam is obtained in a way formerly thought unachievable by a single large mirror.

Now a Sandia National Laboratories’ tool that efficiently but inexpensively uses a single mirror to achieve some of the same effects has received a U.S. patent, issued June 12.

Do pediatricians face a malpractice crisis? In the first systematic multi-year analysis of malpractice claims solely against pediatricians, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine report in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics that the answer is neither yes nor no.

Did another universe collapse give birth to the one we live in today?

"My paper introduces a new mathematical model that we can use to derive new details about the properties of a quantum state as it travels through the Big Bounce, which replaces the classical idea of a Big Bang as the beginning of our universe," said Martin Bojowald, assistant professor of physics at Penn State.

About 250 years before Daniel Massey built his farm house in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, his great-grandfather came to the New World as an indentured servant. 150 years later, Penn State's Archaeological Field School is excavating Daniel's house to see how far he came from those humble beginnings.

A new paper published in Journal of the American Ceramic Society proposes a new method of producing hydrogen for portable fuel cells.

This new method negates the need for the complicated and expensive equipment currently used. With their ability to work steadily for 10-20 times the length of equivalently sized Lithium-ion batteries, portable fuel cells are ideal energy suppliers for devices such as computers, cell phones and hybrid vehicles.