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Newswise SciWire - Science News for Journalists
Newswise SciWire
Thursday, October 12, 2017

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Science News

12-Oct-2017


Study Reveals Need for Better Modeling of Weather Systems for Climate Prediction

A team of researchers discovered persistent dry and warm biases in the central U.S. that was caused by poor modeling of atmospheric convective systems Their findings call for better calculations with global climate models.

– Stony Brook University

Nature Communications

Embargo expired on 12-Oct-2017 at 05:00 ET


Citing Lancet Study, Lighthouse Guild Calls for Stronger Effort to Deal with Global Increase in Blindness and Vision Impairment

Lighthouse Guild is calling for a stronger effort to reverse the worldwide increase in blindness and vision impairment in response to a new study that analyzed the leading causes of blindness in 98 countries. The call-to-action comes on World Sight D...

– Lighthouse Guild

Embargo expired on 12-Oct-2017 at 07:00 ET

11-Oct-2017


Injecting Electrons Jolts 2-D Structure Into New Atomic Pattern

The same electrostatic charge that can make hair stand on end and attach balloons to clothing could be an efficient way to drive atomically thin electronic memory devices of the future, according to a new Berkeley Lab study. Scientists have found a w...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nature, Oct. 11, 2017

Embargo expired on 11-Oct-2017 at 13:00 ET


Scientists Develop Machine-Learning Method to Predict the Behavior of Molecules

An international, interdisciplinary research team of scientists has come up with a machine-learning method that predicts molecular behavior, a breakthrough that can aid in the development of pharmaceuticals and the design of new molecules that can be...

– New York University

Nature Communications

Embargo expired on 11-Oct-2017 at 05:00 ET


Researchers Identify Gene to Help Hybrid Wheat Breeding

Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide have identified a naturally occurring wheat gene that, when turned off, eliminates self-pollination but still allows cross-pollination – opening the way for breeding high-yielding hybrid wheats. ...

– University of Adelaide

Nature Communications

Embargo expired on 11-Oct-2017 at 05:00 ET


Grazing Horses on Better Pastures

Horses in less temperate zones may get some extra grazing. A new study shows warm-season annual grasses have good potential for use in horse pastures.

– American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

Agronomy Journal, August 10, 2017

Embargo expired on 11-Oct-2017 at 09:00 ET


Ceramic Pump Moves Molten Metal at a Record 1,400 Degrees Celsius

A ceramic-based mechanical pump able to operate at record temperatures of more than 1,400 degrees Celsius (1,673 Kelvin) can transfer high temperature liquids such as molten tin, enabling a new generation of energy conversion and storage systems.

– Georgia Institute of Technology

Nature; DE-AR0000339

Embargo expired on 11-Oct-2017 at 13:00 ET


Star Tortoise Makes Meteoric Comeback

The Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota), a medium-sized tortoise found only in Myanmar’s central dry zone, has been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to an aggressive captive-breeding effort spearheaded by a team of conserva...

– Wildlife Conservation Society

Herpetological Review

includes video


Low-Cost Battery From Waste Graphite

Lithium ion batteries are flammable and the price of the raw material is rising. Are there alternatives? Yes: Empa and ETH Zürich researchers have discovered promising approaches as to how we might produce batteries out waste graphite and scrap meta...

– Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

S. Wang, K.V. Kravchyk, F. Krumeich, and M.V. Kovalenko, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017


Key Odorants in World’s Most Expensive Beef Could Help Explain Its Allure

Renowned for its soft texture and characteristic flavor, Wagyu beef — often referred to as Kobe beef in the U.S. — has become one of the world’s most sought-after meats. Now in a study appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry


The Making of Medieval Bling

Gold has long been valued for its luxurious glitter and hue, and threads of the gleaming metal have graced clothing and tapestries for centuries. Determining how artisans accomplished these adornments in the distant past can help scientists restore, ...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

Analytical Chemistry


Year-to-Year Volatility of Penguin Population Requires New Approaches to Track Marine Health

A study using data on Adélie penguin populations over the last 35 years has found that only a small fraction of year-to-year changes in Adélie penguin populations can be attributed to measureable factors such as changes in sea ice.

– Stony Brook University

Nature Communications


Tracking the Viral Parasites of Giant Viruses over Time

Viruses exist amidst all bacteria, usually in a 10-fold excess and include virophages which live in giant viruses and use their machinery to replicate and spread. In Nature Communications, a team including DOE JGI researchers reports effectively doub...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nature Communications


New Software Speeds Origami Structure Designs

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new computer-aided approach that streamlines the design process for origami-based structures, making it easier for engineers and scientists to conceptualize new ideas graphically while s...

– Georgia Institute of Technology

Proceedings of the Royal Society A; CMMI-1538830


Bio-Methane Transforms From Landfill Waste to Energy Source

Most manure just sits around. Anaerobic digesters take those piles and place them in large covered tanks and convert waste into an energy source. Chemical engineers from Michigan Tech examined the carbon footprint of anaerobic digestion.

– Michigan Technological University

Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy, Sept-2017


TSRI Chemists Use Modified DNA Nucleotides to Create New Materials

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have demonstrate that they can repurpose DNA to create new substances with possible medical applications.

– Scripps Research Institute

Angewandte Chemie, Oct. 2017; N66001-14-2-4052


A Complex Little Alga that Lives by the Sea

The genetic material of Porphyra umbilicalis reveals the mechanisms by which it thrives in the stressful intertidal zone at the edge of the ocean.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

PNAS 114(31), E6361-6370(2017). [DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1703088114]


Tiny Green Algae Reveal Large Genomic Variation

First complete picture of genetic variations in a natural algal population could help explain how environmental changes affect global carbon cycles.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Science Advances 3(7), e1700239 (2017). [DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700239]


On the Road to Fire-Free, Lithium-Ion Batteries Made with Asphalt

Lithium-ion batteries can be found in everything from cell phones to hoverboards, but these power sources have recently made headlines for the fires they have inadvertently caused. To address these safety hazards, scientists report in ACS Nano that t...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

ACS Nano


S&T-Funded Training Programs Build the Transboundary Animal Disease Workforce

DHS S&T partnered with two universities to develop training programs for individuals who will develop the next generation of TAD identification, prevention, and mitigation capabilities.

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate


U.S. Air Force Funds Innovative Technology to Improve Groundwater Clean Up at Clarkson University

Two Clarkson University Professors have developed a novel and efficient method of cleaning contaminated water by using an electric discharge plasma.

– Clarkson University


Tulane Lab Looks to Create 'Dream Reaction'

Tulane University’s Shantz Lab has received a two-year grant of $110,000 from the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund to find a solution to one of the chemical industry's most demanding transformations, the direct conversion...

– Tulane University


Racial microaggressions in STEM and solar system shake-ups from the University of Utah at DPS 17

University of Utah scientists gather with their peers in Provo, Utah, next week at the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences annual meeting, Oct. 15-20. Below are summaries of presentations at the meeting, along with the ti...

– University of Utah

10-Oct-2017


Spin-Current Generation Gets Mid-IR Boost with Plasmonic Metamaterial

Researchers have begun to use metamaterials, engineered composites that have unique properties not found in nature, to enhance the absorption rates of plasmonic absorbers, and a team in Japan used a trilayered metamaterial to develop a wavelength-sel...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

APL Photonics

Embargo expired on 10-Oct-2017 at 11:00 ET


Researchers Map the Illegal Use of Natural Resources in the Protected Brazilian Amazon

New research published in the open access peer-reviewed journal PeerJ uses law enforcement data collected from 2010 to 2015 to understand the geographical distribution of the illegal use of natural resources across the region’s protected area netwo...

– PeerJ

PeerJ

Embargo expired on 10-Oct-2017 at 07:00 ET


Probing Exotic Ices

When frozen under extreme pressures and temperatures, ice takes on a range of complex crystalline structures. Many of the properties and behaviors of these exotic ices remain mysterious, but researchers recently analyzed how water molecules interact ...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Journal of Chemical Physics

Embargo expired on 10-Oct-2017 at 11:00 ET


Size Doesn’t Matter – At Least for Hammerheads and Swimming Performance

Different head shapes and different body sizes of hammerhead sharks should result in differences in their swimming performance right? Researchers from FAU have conducted the first study to examine the whole body shape and swimming kinematics of two c...

– Florida Atlantic University

Journal of Experimental Biology

includes video


OLYMPUS Experiment Sheds Light on Inner Workings of Protons

Seven-year study explains how packets of light are exchanged when protons meet electrons.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Physical Review Letters 118, 092501 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.092501]


Precise Radioactivity Measurements: A Controversy Settled

Simultaneous measurements of x-rays and gamma rays emitted in radioactive nuclear decays show that the vacancy left by an electron’s departure, not the atomic structure, influences whether gamma rays are released.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Physical Review C 95, 034325 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.95.034325]


This Soft Robotic Gripper Can Screw in Your Light Bulbs for You

How many robots does it take to screw in a light bulb? The answer: just one, assuming you’re talking about a new robotic gripper developed by engineers at the University of California San Diego. The engineering team has designed and built a grippe...

– University of California San Diego


A Molecular Garbage Disposal Complex Has a Role in Packing the Genome

New research from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on Oct. 13, has found that the proteasome, an essential protein complex that breaks down proteins in cells, has another unexpected...

– American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

Journal of Biological Chemistry


Scientists Use Machine Learning to Translate 'Hidden' Information that Reveals Chemistry in Action

UPTON, NY—Chemistry is a complex dance of atoms. Subtle shifts in position and shuffles of electrons break and remake chemical bonds as participants change partners. Catalysts are like molecular matchmakers that make it easier for sometimes-relucta...

– Brookhaven National Laboratory

Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters


Sharing of Science Is Most Likely Among Male Scientists

Even though science is becoming increasingly competitive, scientists are still very willing to share their work with colleagues. This is especially true for male scientists among each other and less so for females among each other or between the sexe...

– University of Vienna

Scientific Reports


Forget About It

Inspired by human forgetfulness – how our brains discard unnecessary data to make room for new information — scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory a...

– Argonne National Laboratory

Nature Communications, Aug-2017


Effort to Create Mouse That More Closely Mirrors Human Alzheimer’s Wins Federal Grant

A proposal to humanize several mouse genes for research into Alzheimer’s disease has spurred the National Institute on Aging to award $11.35 million to the University of California, Irvine.

– University of California, Irvine


When the Brain’s Wiring Breaks

During head injury, a common problem is damage to axons – long stalks that grow out of the bodies of neurons. After a strong jolt to the head, axons can break or swiftly degenerate. UNC’s Anne Taylor and colleagues have revealed new molecular det...

– University of North Carolina Health Care System

Nature Communications


NIH-Funded Researchers Develop Metal-Free MRI Contrast Agent

Researchers have developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent with safe-to-use, metal-free compounds. The organic nanoparticles illuminated tumor tissue in mice just as well as metal-based contrast agents

– National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

ACS Cent Sci, Jul-2017; EB018529, EB019950


New Study Is a Step Toward Creating Planes That Travel at Hypersonic Speed

A recent study by researchers at NASA and Binghamton University, State University of New York, could lead to a drastic decrease in flight times. The study, funded in part by the U.S. Air Force, is one of the first steps toward the creation of planes ...

– Binghamton University, State University of New York

Scientific Reports, Sept-2017


Solar-Powered Devices Made of Wood Could Help Mitigate Water Scarcity Crisis

Energy from the sun and a block of wood smaller than an adult’s hand are the only components needed to heat water to its steaming point in these purifying devices.

– Maryland NanoCenter

Advanced Materials


Timber Bridges Viable Option for Local Roads

Structural testing of a glulam timber girder bridge confirmed that they are viable, cost-effective options for replacing bridges on low-traffic county and township road.

– South Dakota State University

includes video


Hibernating Ribosomes Help Bacteria Survive

In the second of two high-profile articles published in recent weeks, SLU scientist Mee-Ngan F. Yap, Ph.D, continues to uncover the secrets of how ribosomes hibernate under stressful conditions.

– Saint Louis University Medical Center

Nature Communications


Climate Change Predicted to Reduce Size, Stature of Dominant Midwest Plant, Collaborative Study Finds

Kansas State University researchers are involved in a study that found climate change may reduce the growth and stature of big bluestem — a dominant prairie grass and a major forage grass for cattle.

– Kansas State University

Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13666


Explorations of the Universal Glue

The newly upgraded CEBAF Accelerator opens door to strong force studies.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Physical Review C 95, 042201 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.95.042201]


$420,000 Grant Funds Study on What Makes Humans Susceptible to Zika

A Texas researcher has received a two-year, $420,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to study the mosquito-borne virus Zika. With the NIAID grant, Wu and his colleagues at Texas Tech University Health Scien...

– Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso


Northwestern Solar Home Shows Off in Prime Time

Now midway through the competition portion of the 2017 Solar Decathlon, Northwestern is currently in sixth place (out of 11 teams). For scores and standings, visit the Solar Decathlon website (solardecathlon.gov).

– Northwestern University


University of Chicago Launches Months-Long Commemoration of First Nuclear Reaction

Groundbreaking scientific discovery conducted at UChicago 75 years ago

– University of Chicago

Oct. 19: Physics Colloquium: Big Sciences; Oct. 26: Nuclear Energy and Technology—from 1942 to the 3rd Millennium; Nov. 1-Dec. 15: Lantern Pile, an art installation; Nov. 16: Physics Colloquium: Impact on University Research...

09-Oct-2017


A Spoonful of Oil: Research Finds Further Evidence That Fats and Oils Help to Unlock Full Nutritional Benefits of Veggies

Some dressing with your greens may help you absorb more nutrients, according to a study from an Iowa State University scientist. The research found enhanced absorption of multiple fat-soluble vitamins in addition to beta-carotene and three other caro...

– Iowa State University

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Embargo expired on 09-Oct-2017 at 10:00 ET


Prototype Shows How Tiny Photodetectors Can Double Their Efficiency

UC Riverside physicists have developed a photodetector – a device that converts light into electrons – by combining two distinct inorganic materials and producing quantum mechanical processes that could revolutionize the way solar energy is colle...

– University of California, Riverside

Nature Nanotechnology; SC0012670; FA9550-16-1-0216; 1651247; ACI-1053575; 1506707

Embargo expired on 09-Oct-2017 at 11:00 ET

includes video


Imaging a Killer

Huntington’s disease is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder that is caused by mutations in one specific gene called huntingtin (Htt). Now, for the first time, an international team of researchers has uncovered a detailed structural desc...

– Washington University in St. Louis

Journal of the American Chemical Society

includes video


Genome Architecture Caught in Motion

Researchers at The Wistar Institute have uncovered new aspects of the three-dimensional organization of the genome, specifically how the genetic material is compacted and de-compacted in a timely fashion during the different phases of the cell cycle....

– Wistar Institute

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology


UW Researchers Discover an Evolutionary Stepping Stone to Beet-Red Beets

Writing this week (Oct. 9, 2017) in the journal New Phytologist, University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Botany Hiroshi Maeda and his colleagues describe an ancient loosening up of a key biochemical pathway that set the stage for the ancestors...

– University of Wisconsin-Madison

New Phytologist Oct 9 2017


Understanding the Rice Genome for Bioenergy Research

Genome-wide rice studies yield first major, large-scale collection of mutations for grass model crops, vital to boosting biofuel production.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

The Plant Cell (2017). [DOI: 10.1105/tpc.17.00443]


Leaning Into the Supercomputing Learning Curve

Scientists need to learn how to take advantage of exascale computing. This is the mission of the Argonne Training Program on Extreme-Scale Computing (ATPESC), which held its annual two-week training workshops over the summer.

– Argonne National Laboratory


Lighten Up

To accelerate innovation and adoption of new lightweighting technologies for on-highway vehicles, the Lightweight Materials National Laboratory Consortium, or LightMAT, is overseeing a second directed funding- assistance call. Interested industry par...

– Argonne National Laboratory

SciWire Announcements


Winners of 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists Include Pioneering Molecular Biologist, Physical Chemist and Mathematician; Six Additional Researchers Named Finalists

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences today announced the three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. Established in 2007, the Awards are given annually by the Blavatnik ...

– Blavatnik Family Foundation/New York Academy of Sciences

Embargo expired on 12-Oct-2017 at 08:30 ET


National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Institutional Project to Improve Harvests of One of the Most Important Crops in U.S. Agriculture

The collaborative project brings together expertise in molecular genetics, developmental genomics and statistics to meet the food and fuel demands of a growing population.

– Donald Danforth Plant Science Center


Lighthouse Guild to Host Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Pisart Award Lecture

Lighthouse Guild will host the 2017 Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Award Luncheon and The Pisart Award Lecture and Reception at The University Club of New York, October 20-21, 2017.

– Lighthouse Guild


UC San Diego Cybersecurity Expert Stefan Savage Receives Prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship

.Stefan Savage, a renowned cybersecurity expert and professor of computer science at the University of California San Diego, has been awarded a fellowship by the MacArthur Foundation. Perhaps better known as the MacArthur “genius” award, the pres...

– University of California San Diego


Exploring the Exotic World of Quarks and Gluons at the Dawn of the Exascale

As nuclear physicists delve ever deeper into the heart of matter, they require the tools to reveal the next layer of nature’s secrets. Nowhere is that more true than in computational nuclear physics. A new research effort led by theorists at DOE’...

– Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility


St. Mary’s College Students Raise $14K and Collect 9,816 Non-perishable Items for Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief

St. Mary’s College of Maryland students led by the Student Government Association collected nearly $14,000 in monetary donations and 9,816 non-perishable items currently being distributed by the Pasadena Independent School District in southeastern ...

– St. Mary's College of Maryland


Cancer Research Institute to Honor Three Scientists for Their Outstanding Scientific Contributions to Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy

The Cancer Research Institute will give awards for scientific achievements in immunology and tumor immunology and immunotherapy to three accomplished research scientists at its 31st Annual Awards Dinner on November 14, 2017, in New York City.

– Cancer Research Institute


Genentech CEO Bill Anderson and Philanthropist Bruce Ratner to Receive the Cancer Research Institute 2017 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research

Cancer Research Institute will recognize Genentech and Bruce Ratner for their contributions to medical research, patient care, or public education in the fields of cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

– Cancer Research Institute


Researcher Receives NIH Grant to Study Biomarkers of Variation in Brain Regions Important to Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Associate Scientist Melanie Carless, Ph.D., has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to identify microRNA biomarkers in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid that are associated with changes in the brain correlated to neuropsychiatric d...

– Texas Biomedical Research Institute

R21MH114154


Nobel Prize news conference for Richard Thaler at 11 a.m. CDT

University of Chicago Prof. Richard H. Thaler has been awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017 “for his contributions to behavioural economics.” An 11 a.m. CDT news conference will be held in the W...

– University of Chicago


Johns Hopkins Scientists Win Grant for Machine Translation of Rarer Languages

A team of computer scientists has won a $10.7 million grant from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to create an information retrieval and translation system for languages that are not widely used.

– Johns Hopkins University


$900K NSF Grant Helps Wake Forest Researchers Look for the Big Picture in Big Data

Thanks to a $900,000 award from the National Science Foundation, Wake Forest University researchers are examining how the plant hormone ethylene affects growth and development of the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, which is a genetic model used to pro...

– Wake Forest University

SciWire Marketplace


iKey Announces New Amazon.com Distribution Of Two Medical-Grade Keyboards

iKey, Ltd announces new distribution on Amazon.com for two of its medical-grade, infection-control keyboards. The keyboards are designed to be used in patient rooms, dialysis centers and medical/scientific research labs where infection control is par...

– iKey, Ltd.

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