Earth

Computer bits are binary, with a value of 0 or 1. By contrast, neurons in the brain can have all kinds of different internal states, depending on the input that they received. This allows the brain to process information in a more energy-efficient manner than a computer. University of Groningen (UG) physicists are working on memristors, resistors with a memory, made from niobium-doped strontium titanate, which mimic how neurons work. Their results were published in the Journal of Applied Physics on 21 October.

Florida has become a haven for invasive species in the United States, but perhaps the most well-known of the State's alien residents is the Burmese python. These giant snakes, native to Southeast Asia, have become well-established over the past few decades and even flourish in their new environment.

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new type of blow fly spotted in Indiana points to shifting species populations due to climate change. Researchers at IUPUI have observed the first evidence of Lucilia cuprina in Indiana, an insect previously known to populate southern states from Virginia to California.

Ecosystems have a variety of benefits: They provide us with food, water and other resources, as well as recreational space. It is therefore even more important that these systems remain functional and stable - especially in view of climate change or environmental pollution. Ecologists at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) have now examined the factors that influence this stability in a unique and comprehensive experiment.

Mini-ecosystems with ciliates

What do watermelons and bacteria have in common? Just like the tasty fruit, microbes can be molded into unusual shapes, a study in Nature Communications has shown. The paper, produced by researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), has modified the structure of bacterial cells from simple rods into elaborate shapes not seen in nature, showing just how robust these life forms can be.

DeKalb, IL - A new study finds that over the past four decades, tornado frequency has increased over a large swath of the Midwest and Southeast and decreased in portions of the central and southern Great Plains, a region traditionally associated with Tornado Alley.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Oct. 17, 2018--A new collaborative study has investigated Arctic shrub-snow interactions to obtain a better understanding of the far north's tundra and vast permafrost system. Incorporating extensive in situ observations, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists tested their theories with a novel 3D computer model and confirmed that shrubs can lead to significant degradation of the permafrost layer that has remained frozen for tens of thousands of years. These interactions are driving increases in discharges of fresh water into rivers, lakes and oceans.

The 2.7 billion people who live in China and India -- more than a third of the world's population -- regularly breath some of the dirtiest air on the planet. Air pollution is one of the largest contributors to death in both countries, ranked 4th in China and 5th in India, and harmful emissions from coal-fire powerplants are a major contributing factor.

In a recent study, researchers from Harvard University wanted to know how replacing coal-fired powerplants in China and India with clean, renewable energy could benefit human health and save lives in the future.

Investigators who analyzed the published literature have found significant gaps in our understanding of the effects of microplastics--plastic particles less than 5mm in size--in the environment.

DURHAM, N.H. - As winter in New England seems to get warmer, fall lingers longer and spring comes into bloom earlier, areas like northern New Hampshire and western Maine are seeing an unusual continued increase in winter ticks which are endangering the moose population. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that the swell of infestations of this parasite, which attaches itself to moose during the fall and feeds throughout the winter, is the primary cause of an unprecedented 70 percent death rate of calves over a three-year period.