الجمعة، 4 سبتمبر 2015

ScienceDaily: Top News

ScienceDaily: Top News

Using stellar 'twins' to reach the outer limits of the galaxy

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:33 PM PDT

A new method of measuring the distances between stars enables astronomers to climb the 'cosmic ladder' and understand the processes at work in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

Study identifies viral product that promotes immune defense against RSV

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:32 PM PDT

Research has found a viral product that promotes a strong immune response against respiratory syncytial virus, a threat to infants and the elderly.

'Hedgehog' robots hop, tumble in microgravity

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 02:21 PM PDT

Hopping, tumbling and flipping over are not typical maneuvers you would expect from a spacecraft exploring other worlds. Traditional Mars rovers, for example, roll around on wheels, and they can't operate upside-down. But on a small body, such as an asteroid or a comet, the low-gravity conditions and rough surfaces make traditional driving all the more hazardous. Enter Hedgehog: a new concept for a robot that is specifically designed to overcome the challenges of traversing small bodies.

Before nature selects, gene networks steer a course for evolution

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 01:05 PM PDT

Natural selection is a race to reproduce, a competition between individuals with varying traits that helps direct evolution. How do the structures of gene networks determine which individuals appear on the starting line, silently influencing evolution before competition has even begun? Researchers have addressed this question by exploring the gene network that guides limb development in mammals.

Scientists use Instagram data to forecast top models at New York Fashion Week

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:46 AM PDT

Researchers have predicted the popularity of new faces to the world of fashion modeling with over 80 percent accuracy using advanced computational methods and data from Instagram.

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:46 AM PDT

Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group.

Growing up on a farm provides protection against asthma and allergies

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:46 AM PDT

Researchers have successfully established a causal relationship between exposure to so-called farm dust and protection against asthma and allergies. This breakthrough discovery is a major step forward towards the development of an asthma vaccine.

Self-sweeping laser could dramatically shrink 3-D mapping systems

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:44 AM PDT

Researchers are using light to move mirrors, a novel concept to automate the way a light source changes its wavelength as it sweeps the surrounding landscape. The advance could have implications for imaging technology using LIDAR.

New role for an old protein: Cancer causer

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:20 AM PDT

A protein known to play a role in transporting the molecular contents of normal cells into and out of various intracellular compartments can also turn such cells cancerous by stimulating a key growth-control pathway.

Ecologists wondering where the lions, and other top predators, are

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:20 AM PDT

Ecologists have discovered a pattern that is consistent across a range of ecosystems. They found that, in a very systematic way, in crowded settings, prey reproduced less than they do in settings where their numbers are smaller. Some scientists are already suggesting that it may well be the discovery of a new law of nature.

Fighting explosives pollution with mutant plants

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:19 AM PDT

Biologists have taken an important step in making it possible to clean millions of hectares of land contaminated by explosives. Biologists have unraveled the mechanism of TNT toxicity in plants raising the possibility of a new approach to explosives remediation technology. TNT has become an extensive global pollutant over the last 100 years and there are mounting concerns over its toxicity to biological systems.

Making nanowires from protein and DNA

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 11:19 AM PDT

Using computational and experimental methods, researchers have developed a technique for creating so-called protein-DNA nanowires -- a hybrid biomaterial that could have important applications.

Cassini's final breathtaking close views of dione

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

A pockmarked, icy landscape looms beneath NASA's Cassini spacecraft in new images of Saturn's moon Dione taken during the mission's last close approach to the small, icy world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the best resolution ever.

Dawn sends sharper scenes from Ceres

Posted: 25 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

The fingerprints of sea level rise

Posted: 26 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

According to the 23-year record of satellite data from NASA and its partners, the sea level is rising a few millimeters a year -- a fraction of an inch. If you live on the U.S. East Coast, though, your sea level is rising two or three times faster than average. If you live in Scandinavia, it's falling. Residents of China's Yellow River delta are swamped by sea level rise of more than nine inches (25 centimeters) a year. These regional differences in sea level change will become even more apparent in the future, as ice sheets melt.

Warming seas and melting ice sheets

Posted: 26 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

For thousands of years, sea level has remained relatively stable and human communities have settled along the planet's coastlines. But now Earth's seas are rising. Globally, sea level has risen about eight inches (20 centimeters) since the beginning of the 20th century and more than two inches (5 centimeters) in the last 20 years alone. All signs suggest that this rise is accelerating.

NASA zeroes in on ocean rise: How much? How soon?

Posted: 26 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches (25 centimeters) due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

Posted: 27 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead to faster, safer procedures.

NASA's summer research on sea level rise in Greenland

Posted: 28 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

On Greenland's ice sheet, a vast icy landscape crisscrossed by turquoise rivers and dotted with meltwater lakes, a small cluster of orange camping tents popped up in late July. The camp, home for a week to a team of researchers, sat by a large, fast-flowing river. Just half a mile (a kilometer) downstream, the river dropped into a seemingly bottomless moulin, or sinkhole in the ice. The low rumble of the waters, the shouted instructions from scientists taking measurements, and the chop of the blades of a helicopter delivering personnel and gear were all that was heard in the frozen landscape.

Hubble survey unlocks clues to star birth in neighboring galaxy

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:20 AM PDT

In an intensive citizen-science-aided survey of Hubble telescope images of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass. By nailing down what percentage of stars have a particular mass within a cluster (the Initial Mass Function), scientists can better interpret the light from distant galaxies and understand the formation history of stars in our universe.

New hope for Lou: Unexplored therapeutic targets for ALS

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:20 AM PDT

No cures exist for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the only approved therapy slows the progression by only a few months. A new study identifies a promising unexplored avenue of treatment for ALS, the endothelin system.

Greenland campaign takes flight to measure ice sheet

Posted: 28 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

Earlier this month, a NASA instrument nestled in the belly of a small plane flew over Greenland's ice sheet and the Arctic Ocean's icy waters. Flying above creviced glaciers, chunks of ice floating in melt ponds, and the slushy edges of the ice sheets, the instrument used a rapidly firing laser to measure the elevation of the surface below.

Back to school and back to sleep

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

Poor sleep might explain how stress impacts health in kids, a new study suggests. Researchers found that getting a good night's sleep might buffer the impact of stress on kids' cortisol level, which is a hormone produced in the adrenal gland to regulate the body's cardiovascular, metabolic and immune systems.

Family tree for orchids explains their astonishing variability

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

Orchids, a fantastically complicated and diverse group of flowering plants, have long blended the exotic with the beautiful. Previously, botanists have proposed more than a half dozen explanations for this diversity. Now, research corroborates many of these explanations, but finds no evidence for other logical suggestions, such as that deceitful pollination.

California rising?

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

Spatially corrected sea-level records for the Pacific coast indicate that uplift rates are overestimated by 40 percent, scientists report. Uplift is the vertical elevation of Earth's surface in response to plate tectonics.

Teens lose sleep after change to daylight saving time, study shows

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

High school students lose sleep on school nights following the change to daylight saving time that occurs in March, a study has concluded. The loss of sleep during the school week was associated with a decline in vigilance and cognitive function, which raises safety concerns for teen drivers.

Genetic factors drive roles of gut bacteria in diabetes, obesity

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

One strain of mice that were genetically prone to become obese became resistant to excess weight gain after their populations of gut microbiota were transformed simply by an sharing an environment with other mice, researchers have discovered.

'Littlest' quark-gluon plasma produced: State of matter thought to have existed at birth of the universe

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

Researchers have produced quark-gluon plasma -- a state of matter thought to have existed right at the birth of the universe -- with fewer particles than previously thought possible.

Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought, say scientists

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

Today's ice sheets may be more resilient to increased carbon dioxide levels than previously thought, a new study suggests. This work explored these very old conditions and found that sea level might not have risen as much as previously thought -- and thus may not rise as fast as predicted now.

One step closer to cheaper antivenom

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:17 AM PDT

Researchers involved in an international collaboration across six institutions have successfully identified the exact composition of sea snake venom, which makes the future development of synthetic antivenoms more realistic. Currently, sea snake anitvenom costs nearly USD 2,000, yet these new findings could result in a future production of synthetic antivenoms for as little as USD 10-100.

Laughter, then love: Study explores why humor is important in romantic attraction

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:15 AM PDT

Research has found the when two strangers meet, the more times a man tries to be funny and the more a woman laughs at those attempts, the more likely the woman is interested in the man. When both laugh together, it's an even better indication of a romantic connection. The findings were among the discoveries made as part of a study looking for a connection between humor and intelligence.

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes in breast cancer survivors

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:15 AM PDT

Acupuncture may be a viable treatment for women experiencing hot flashes as a result of estrogen-targeting therapies to treat breast cancer, according to a new study. Hot flashes are particularly severe and frequent in breast cancer survivors, but current FDA-approved remedies for these unpleasant episodes, such as hormone replacement therapies are off-limits to breast cancer survivors because they include estrogen.

Targeting newly discovered pathway sensitizes tumors to radiation and chemotherapy

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:15 AM PDT

In some patients, aggressive cancers can become resistant to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In a new paper, researchers identified a pathway that causes the resistance and a new therapeutic drug that targets this pathway.

Clues from ancient Maya reveal lasting impact on environment

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:15 AM PDT

Evidence from the tropical lowlands of Central America reveals how Maya activity more than 2,000 years ago not only contributed to the decline of their environment but continues to influence today's environmental conditions, according to researchers.

Babies benefit from parenting classes even before birth

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:15 AM PDT

A brief series of classes to help first-time parents better support each other through the often stressful transition to parenthood has a positive effect on birth outcomes as well, according to health researchers.

Microscopic animals inspire innovative glass research

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:15 AM PDT

When researchers set about to explain unusual peaks in what should have been featureless optical data, they thought there was a problem in their calculations. In fact, what they were seeing was real. The peaks were an indication of molecular order in a material thought to be entirely amorphous and random: their experiments had produced a new kind of glass.

Customizing 3-D printing

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

Researchers have designed a new system that automatically turns CAD files into visual models that users can modify in real time, simply by moving virtual sliders on a Web page. Once the design meets the user's specifications, he or she hits the print button to send it to a 3-D printer.

Image-tracking technology helps scientists study nature v. nurture in neural stem cells

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

One of the longstanding debates in science, that has, perhaps unsurprisingly, permeated into the field of stem cell research, is the question of nature versus nurture influencing development. Science on stem cells thus far, has suggested that, as one side of the existential debate holds: their fate is not predestined. But new research suggests that the cells' tabula might not be as rasa as we have been led to believe.

Switch for health heart muscle

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

Researchers have discovered a protein, called Mel18, that regulates the development of heart muscle. Faults in the production of Mel18 in early cardiac cells may play a role in heart defects. The findings could help grow cardiac cells in the laboratory from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS).

Aspirin could hold key to supercharged cancer immunotherapy

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

Giving cancer patients aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could dramatically boost the effectiveness of the treatment, according to new research. Aspirin is part of a group of molecules called COX inhibitors, which stop the production of PGE2 and help reawaken the immune system. Combining immunotherapy with aspirin or other COX inhibitors substantially slowed bowel and melanoma skin cancer growth in mice, compared to immunotherapy alone, authors say.

Study finds increased risk of MGUS in Vietnam Vets exposed to Agent Orange

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

A study that used stored blood samples from US Air Force personnel who conducted aerial herbicide spray missions of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war found a more than two-fold increased risk of the precursor to multiple myeloma known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), according to an article.

Team decodes structure of protein complex active in DNA repair

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

The multifunctional ubiquitin tweaks the activity of newly made proteins, which can influence DNA damage repair via BRCA1 and anti-inflammatory responses, scientists report. One enzyme in particular, BRCC36, removes a specific type of ubiquitin central to DNA damage repair and inflammation. But BRCC36 doesn't act on its own. It's part of a complex with KIAA0157. How these two work together is finally coming into focus.

Health risks of saturated fats aggravated by immune response

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

High levels of saturated fat in the blood could make an individual more prone to inflammation and tissue damage, a new study suggests. The new research shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes - a type of white blood cell - migrating into the tissues of vital organs.

Could more intensive farming practices benefit tropical birds?

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 10:14 AM PDT

Does it help when farms share the land with birds and other animals? The short answer is 'no,' based on the diversity of bird species. If the goal is to preserve more bird species, representing a greater span of evolutionary history, then it's better to farm more intensively in some areas while leaving more blocks of land entirely alone. In other words, land-sparing wins out over land-sharing, experts say.

NASA to study Arctic climate change ecosystem impacts

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 08:11 AM PDT

As part of a broad effort to study the environmental and societal effects of climate change, NASA has begun a multi-year field campaign to investigate ecological impacts of the rapidly changing climate in Alaska and northwestern Canada, such as the thawing of permafrost, wildfires and changes to wildlife habitats.

Moths: Stunning winged wonders of Madidi

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:19 AM PDT

Biologists have created a stunning gallery of images of some of the moths uncovered by the Bolivian scientific expedition, Identidad Madidi.

Genetic testing all women for breast cancer might not be worth the cost

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:19 AM PDT

Women who are carriers of mutated BRCA genes are known to have a significantly higher risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers than those who don't have the mutations. But a new study questions the value of screening for the genetic mutations in the general population—including those who do not have cancer or have no family history of the disease— because of the high cost.

Emotional behavior altered after multiple exposures to anesthesia during infancy

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:19 AM PDT

Repeated exposure to anesthesia early in life causes alterations in emotional behavior that may persist long-term, according to a study.

Variations in cell programs control cancer and normal stem cells

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:19 AM PDT

In the breast, cancer stem cells and normal stem cells can arise from different cell types and tap into distinct yet related stem cell programs, according to researchers. The differences between these stem cell programs may be significant enough to be exploited by future therapeutics.

Still more blind can be cured

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:18 AM PDT

A number of illnesses causing blindness can be cured from transplanting cells from the oral cavity. New findings make the treatment accessible to the places where the condition strikes the most frequently: in developing countries.

How to curb emissions: Put a price on carbon

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:17 AM PDT

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions. While prospects for a comprehensive carbon price are dim, especially in the US, many other policy approaches can spur the renewables revolution, according to a new policy article.

Study shows how investments reflected shift in environmental views

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:17 AM PDT

A new study is the first to use financial investors' actions, rather than self-reported opinions, to investigate the trans-Atlantic difference in public opinion on climate change and the environment.

New, ultrathin optical devices shape light in exotic ways

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:15 AM PDT

Researchers have developed innovative flat, optical lenses that are capable of manipulating light in ways that are difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional optical devices. The new lenses are not made of glass. Instead, silicon nanopillars are precisely arranged into a honeycomb pattern to create a "metasurface" that can control the paths and properties of passing light waves.

Comet hitchhiker would take tour of small bodies

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:13 AM PDT

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn't easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids and comets, which have low gravitational pull. A concept called Comet Hitchhiker, developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, puts forth a new way to get into orbit and land on comets and asteroids, using the kinetic energy -- the energy of motion -- of these small bodies

What happened to early Mars' atmosphere? New study eliminates one theory

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:10 AM PDT

Scientists may be closer to solving the mystery of how Mars changed from a world with surface water billions of years ago to the arid Red Planet of today. A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the original Martian atmosphere may have already lost most of its carbon dioxide by the era of valley network formation.

At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:07 AM PDT

When the sun set on Saturn's rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA's Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox -- one of two times in the Saturnian year when the sun illuminates the planet's enormous ring system edge-on. The event provided an extraordinary opportunity for the orbiting Cassini spacecraft to observe short-lived changes in the rings that reveal details about their nature.

NASA soil moisture radar ends operations, mission science continues

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 09:04 AM PDT

Mission managers for NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory have determined that its radar, one of the satellite's two science instruments, can no longer return data. However, the mission, which was launched in January to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed, continues to produce high-quality science measurements supporting SMAP's objectives with its radiometer instrument.

Not on my watch: Chimp swats film crew’s drone

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:38 AM PDT

Cool. Calm. And oh, so calculated. That's how a chimpanzee living in the Royal Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands set out to swat an aerial drone that was filming her group. Biologists explain it as yet another example of chimpanzees' make-do attitude to using whatever is on hand as tools.

Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in remyelination

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:38 AM PDT

Researchers have revealed the molecular mechanism involved in the process of repair to damage of the myelin sheath.This achievement shows that it is possible to encourage the regeneration of the myelin sheath by inhibiting the action of PTPRZ in endogenous oligodendrocyte precursor cells, indicating a new potential treatment for demyelinating diseases.

Childhood celiac disease discovery opens door for potential treatments

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:36 AM PDT

Childhood celiac disease mirrors the condition in adults, increasing the possibility a celiac disease therapy that could enable patients to eat gluten again will work in children, a new study has revealed.