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Newswise SciWire
Thursday, November 16, 2017

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Science News


Soils and Your Thanksgiving Meal

Did you know soil scientists are making your Thanksgiving dinner more sustainable? The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) November 15 Soils Matter blog explains research to make cranberries, poultry litter, and sweet potatoes better for the envir...

– Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

Embargo expired on 16-Nov-2017 at 09:00 ET

Tumbling Bumblebee Populations Linked to Fungicides

When a Cornell-led team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides. Instead, they foun...

– Cornell University

Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Nov-2017

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Physical Review Letters 119, 140503 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.140503]

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature Communications 8, 608 (2017). [DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00516-5]

NUS Researchers Develop Smart, Ultra-Thin Microfibre Sensor for Real-Time Healthcare Monitoring and Diagnosis

A research team from National University of Singapore has developed a soft, flexible and stretchable microfibre sensor for real-time healthcare monitoring and diagnosis. The novel sensor is highly sensitive and ultra-thin with a diameter of a strand ...

– National University of Singapore

Advanced Materials Technologies; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

New Trillion Trees Partnership Calls for Global Efforts to Protect and Restore 1 Trillion Trees

WCS, WWF, and BirdLife International today launched the Trillion Trees programme, a 25-year initiative to help implement and scale global forest commitments and spur greater ambitions towards protecting and restoring one trillion trees by 2050—the ...

– Wildlife Conservation Society


Replace or Wait? Study Says Swap All Incandescent Bulbs Now, but Hold on to CFLs, older LEDs

LED light bulbs are getting cheaper and more energy efficient every year. So, does it make sense to replace less-efficient bulbs with the latest light-emitting diodes now, or should you wait for future improvements and even lower costs?

– University of Michigan

Environmental Research Letters

Embargo expired on 15-Nov-2017 at 19:00 ET

Contribution Statements and Author Order on Research Studies Still Leave Readers Guessing

Although many scientific journals try to provide more details about author contributions by requiring explicit statements, such contribution statements get much less attention than authorship order, according to new findings from a Georgia Tech-Unive...

– Georgia Institute of Technology

Science Advances

Embargo expired on 15-Nov-2017 at 14:00 ET

X-Rays Reveal the Biting Truth About Parrotfish Teeth

A new study has revealed a chain mail-like woven microstructure that gives parrotfish teeth their remarkable ability to chomp on coral all day long – the structure could serve as a blueprint for designing ultra-durable synthetic materials.

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

ACS Nano, Oct. 20, 2017

Embargo expired on 15-Nov-2017 at 09:00 ET

includes video

Filling Intercropping Info Gap

In some parts of Africa, farmers intercrop sorghum – a grain – and peanuts. But they face a major information gap. There hasn’t been much research on optimal levels of fertilizer use for intercropping sorghum and peanuts in these areas. A new s...

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

Agronomy Journal, September 7, 2017

Embargo expired on 15-Nov-2017 at 09:00 ET

Volatility Surprises Arise in Removing Excess Hydrogen

Sometimes during catalytic hydrogenation, the partially hydrogenated products become volatile, melting and evaporating away before they can bind to more hydrogen atoms. Now, researchers have explored how and why this volatility varies during hydrogen...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

The Journal of Chemical Physics

Embargo expired on 15-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

Scientists Team Up on Study to Save Endangered African Penguins

The first study on prognostic health indicators in the endangered African Penguin provides invaluable information to preserve and rehabilitate this seabird. Competition with fisheries, oil spills, climate change, diseases and predators are all contri...

– Florida Atlantic University

Journal of Wildlife Diseases

La Búsqueda de Nuevos Biomarcadores que Indiquen el Riesgo de una Enfermedad Cardiovascular Temprana Gana una Beca para el Diseño de un Estudio a Mayor Escala en Personas de Ascendencia Mexicana

A los científicos del Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Texas) les han otorgado una beca por parte del National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Institutos Nacionales de Salud) para llevar a cabo un estudio pr...

– Texas Biomedical Research Institute


UTEP Team Advances in Developing Vaccine for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

A research team at The University of Texas at El Paso is one step closer to developing an effective human vaccine for cutaneous leishmaniasis, a tropical disease found in Texas and Oklahoma, and affecting some U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan and...

– University of Texas at El Paso

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Wine “Legs” and Minibot Motors

As any wine enthusiast knows, the “legs” that run down a glass after a gentle swirl of vinocan yield clues about alcohol content. Interestingly, the physical phenomenon that helps create these legs can be harnessed to propel tiny motors to carry ...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)


includes video

Pulling Iron Out of Waste Printer Toner

Someday, left-over toner in discarded printer cartridges could have a second life as bridge or building components instead of as trash, wasting away in landfills and potentially harming the environment. One group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry ...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

Are Petite Poplars the Future of Biofuels? UW Studies Say Yes

A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar a viable competitor in the biofuels market by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently — after only two or three years — instead of the usual 1...

– University of Washington

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

includes video

UCI Chemists’ Solar-Powered Device Generates Electricity Through Ion Transport

By binding photosensitive dyes to common plastic membranes and adding water, chemists at the University of California, Irvine have made a new type of solar power generator. The device is similar to familiar silicon photovoltaic cells but differs in a...

– University of California, Irvine


Does this One Gene Fuel Obesity?

New research from the Research Triangle suggests that variants in a gene called ankyrin-B – carried by millions of Americans – could cause people to put on pounds through no fault of their own.

– University of North Carolina Health Care System


Kevlar-Based Artificial Cartilage Mimics the Magic of the Real Thing

The unparalleled liquid strength of cartilage, which is about 80 percent water, withstands some of the toughest forces on our bodies

– University of Michigan

Advanced Materials

Salt Pond in Antarctica, Among the Saltiest Waters on Earth, Is Fed From Beneath

One of the saltiest bodies on Earth, an analog to how water might exist on Mars, shows signs of being one piece of a larger aquifer.

– University of Washington

Earth and Planetary Science Letters

A Structural Clue to Attacking Malaria’s ‘Achilles Heel’

New research could boost the development of a more potent vaccine against the global killer.

– Scripps Research Institute

PNAS, Nov. 2017

Researchers Devise Sensors and Phone App to Find Early Signs of Sickness in Newborns

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering faculty and graduate students, global health experts and technology specialists will receive $100,000 to further develop a phone-based system enabling mothers in remote villages to spot serious health problems dur...

– Johns Hopkins University

Cyanobacterial Studies Examine Cellular Structure During Nitrogen Starvation

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and ORNL are using neutrons to study what happens when cyanobacteria cell samples are starved for nitrogen. They are especially interested in how this process affects phycobilisomes, large antenna p...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Where a Leaf Lands and Lies Influences Carbon Levels in Soil for Years to Come

Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Biogeochemistry 134, 5-16 (2017). [DOI: 10.1007/s10533-017-0345-6]

A Chemical Thermometer for Tropical Forests

Monoterpene measures how certain forests respond to heat stress.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Plant, Cell & Environment 40, 441-452 (2017). [DOI: 10.1111/pce.12879]

The Effect of Hurricanes on Puerto Rico’s Dry Forests

More frequent storms turn forests from carbon source to sink.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Environmental Research Letters 12, 025007 (2017). [DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa583c]


Quick! What's That Smell? Mammal Brains Identify Type of Scent Faster Than Once Thought

It takes less than one-tenth of a second — a fraction of the time previously thought — for the sense of smell to distinguish between one odor and another, new experiments in mice show.

– NYU Langone Health

Nature Communications; R01 DC013797; R01 DC014366

Embargo expired on 14-Nov-2017 at 05:00 ET

Electron Backscatter Diffraction Yields Microstructure Insights

Soft magnetic core engineering plays a key role in high-efficiency electric motors, but for higher-frequency applications, soft magnetic composites are also promising. Each stage of motor construction affects the material’s microstructure, and unde...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

AIP Advances

Embargo expired on 14-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

Potential New Autism Drug Shows Promise in Mice

NitroSynapsin is intended to restore an electrical signaling imbalance in the brain found in virtually all forms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

– Scripps Research Institute

Nature Communications, Nov. 2017; P01 HD029587; R01 NS086890; R01 AG056259; DP1 DA041722; P30 NS076411; R43 AG052233; R43 AG055208; R21 AG048519...

Embargo expired on 14-Nov-2017 at 05:00 ET

Soft Magnetic Material Characterizations Get a Harder Look

In motors, generators and similar electric machines, the electrical current that powers them generates magnetic fields that magnetize some of the metallic components. Choosing the right magnetic material is crucial for designing efficient machines, s...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

AIP Advances

Embargo expired on 14-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

Are Multiple H-Coils Needed to Accurately Measure Magnetic Field Strengths?

Is more always better? Researchers in Kyoto, Japan, sought to find out if that was the case for measuring magnetic field strengths. Their paper, appearing this week in AIP Advances, from AIP Publishing, examines whether a double H-coil method or a si...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

AIP Advances

Embargo expired on 14-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

To Find New Biofuel Enzymes, It Can Take a Microbial Village

In search of new plant enzymes? Try looking in compost. Researchers at JBEI have demonstrated the importance of microbial communities as a source of stable enzymes that could be used to convert plants to biofuels. This approach yields robust enzymes ...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nature Microbiology, Nov 2017

Speedy Collision Detector Could Make Robots Better Human Assistants

A faster collision detection algorithm could enable robots to work more fluidly in the operating room or at home for assisted living. The algorithm, dubbed “Fastron,” runs up to 8 times faster than existing collision detection algorithms. It uses...

– University of California San Diego

Conference on Robot Learning Annual Meeting, Nov-2017

Heartbreaking Video of Rescued African Gray Parrots Destined for Pet Trade

WCS has released heartbreaking footage of rescued African gray parrots from the Republic of Congo where thousands were destined for the illegal pet trade.

– Wildlife Conservation Society

includes video

Alloys From the Laser Printer

In the future, new designer alloys for aerospace applications can be manufactured using the 3-D laser melting process (Additive Manufacturing). Pioneering work in this field was provided by Empa researcher Christoph Kenel, who works today at Northwe...

– Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

With Launch of New Night Sky Survey, UW Researchers Ready for Era of 'Big Data' Astronomy

On Nov. 14, scientists with the California Institute of Technology, the University of Washington and eight additional partner institutions announced that the Zwicky Transient Facility, the latest sensitive tool for astrophysical observations in the N...

– University of Washington

S&T Helps First Responders Mitigate Potential Jamming

DHS S&T hosted a week-long 2017 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise (JamX 17) at Idaho National Lab (INL) in Idaho Falls, Idaho where nearly 100 federal, state, and local public safety and private organizations gathered to test tactics and te...

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate


Human Genetic Variation Influences Alcohol’s Sedating and Stimulating

Although estimates vary, scientists believe that 50 to 64 percent of the risk of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is inherited. One way to identify this risk is through a person’s subjective response to alcohol. This study investigated the effects of t...

– Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Embargo expired on 13-Nov-2017 at 10:00 ET

Biocatalysts Are a Bridge to Greener, More Powerful Chemistry

New research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute is building a bridge from nature's chemistry to greener, more efficient synthetic chemistry.

– University of Michigan

Nature Chemistry

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

Scientists Identified a Cellular Network That “Short Circuits” the Antitumor Effect of Novel Immunotherapy

Wistar researchers discovered a novel form of crosstalk among tumor cells and other cell types in the tumor microenvironment, elucidating the mechanism of action of an immunotherapeutic strategy that inhibits tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and i...

– Wistar Institute

Cancer Cell

Embargo expired on 13-Nov-2017 at 12:00 ET

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Early Science Observations Revealed

Astronomers around the world will have immediate access to early data from specific science observations from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which will be completed within the first five months of Webb’s science operations. These observing pr...

– Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Embargo expired on 13-Nov-2017 at 10:00 ET

Duo of Titanic Galaxies Captured in Extreme Starbursting Merger

New observations with ALMA have uncovered the never-before-seen close encounter between two astoundingly bright and spectacularly massive galaxies in the early universe.

– National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Astrophysical Journal, Nov-2017

includes video

Using a Mathematical Lens to Look at Disease as a Whole Body Problem

A novel computational method allows researchers to parse how multiple organs contribute to a disease over time, giving a more holistic view of disease and potentially revealing new avenues for intervention.

– Thomas Jefferson University

PLOS Computational Biology

Testing a Web-Based Teen Driver Training Program to Manage Distraction

In new research presented at the HFES 2017 International Annual Meeting, a team of human factors/ergonomics researchers discussed how a supplemental Web-based driver training approach using realistic scenarios and visual effects could help reduce the...

– Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

HFES 2017 International Annual Meeting

SLAC X-ray Laser Reveals How Extreme Shocks Deform a Metal’s Atomic Structure

When hit by a powerful shock wave, materials can change their shape – a property known as plasticity – yet keep their lattice-like atomic structure. Now scientists have used the X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerato...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

C.E. Wehrenberg et al., Nature, 26 October 2017 (10.1038/nature24061)

Neutrons Probe Oxygen-Generating Enzyme for a Greener Approach to Clean Water

An international researcher team used neutron analysis at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, x-ray crystallography and other techniques to study chlorite dismutase, an enzyme that breaks down the environmental pollutant chlorite into harmless byproducts....

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ACS Catalysis

Molecular Magnetism Packs Power with “Messenger Electron”

A UW–Madison lab has made a molecule that gains magnetic strength through an unusual way of controlling those spins, which could lead to a breakthrough in quantam computing.

– University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chemistry – A European Journal

Investment Portfolio Theory Helps Scientists Predict Animal Population Growth

A study published in PNAS details a new “landscape portfolio” theory that is based on Markowitz’s “portfolio theory” in economics, melded with ecological landscape theory to predict population growth of living things.

– Stony Brook University


‘Criticality’ Experiments Enhance Nuclear Safety

Livermore researchers conducted the first Livermore-designed “criticality” experiment in 40 years. It was one in a series that aims to help ensure plutonium operations – which are key to assessing the U.S. nuclear stockpile without testing – ...

– Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

includes video

UF/IFAS Celebrates Partnership as It Commemorates Century of CREC

Whether they’ve faced problems with pests, pathogens, soils, water or natural disasters, growers have turned to scientists at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center for answers for the past 100 years.

– University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

100th anniversary, Nov. 29

Scalable Clusters Make HPC R&D Easy as Raspberry Pi

A quest to help the systems software community work on very large supercomputers without having to actually test on them has spawned an affordable, scalable system using thousands of inexpensive Raspberry Pi nodes.

– Los Alamos National Laboratory

S&T Reveals a Determined Cyber-Posture for National Cyber Security Awareness Month

S&T supports its wide range of research and development projects by providing researchers, businesses and organizations in the cybersecurity community multiple pathways to partnership.

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate

UWM Geologists Uncover Antarctica’s Fossil Forests

Prehistoric polar forests were built for survival, but were not hardy enough to live in ultra-high concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. A UWM geologist is studying the tree fossil record in Antarctica from a mass extinction 250 million years...

– University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

NSF 1142749

Royal Send-Off

The Royal Government of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration (FiA), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) announced today the release of 25 Royal Turtles into their natural hab...

– Wildlife Conservation Society

includes video

Mining for Cancer Clues

A group of researchers is building a portal of genetic information to help doctors detect, diagnose and treat cancer optimally in each of their patients. The goal: Someday, oncologists will pull up this data on a tablet and use it to guide treatment ...

– University of Delaware

SciWire Policy and Public Affairs

AMP Issues Consensus Clinical Validation Guideline Recommendations for Next-Generation Sequencing Bioinformatics Pipelines

The Association for Molecular Pathology, the premier global, non-profit molecular diagnostics professional society, today published 17 consensus recommendations to help clinical laboratory professionals achieve high-quality sequencing results and del...

– Association for Molecular Pathology

The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics

SciWire Announcements

Bioengineered Robotic Hand with Its Own Nervous System Will Sense Touch

Researchers are developing a first-of-its-kind bioengineered robotic hand that will actually feel and adapt to its environment. This “living” robot will have its own peripheral nervous system directly linking robotic sensors and actuators.

– Florida Atlantic University

includes video

ASCB Names 67 Society Fellows for 2017

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) is pleased to announce the 2017 cohort of ASCB Fellows. The honor of being named an ASCB Fellow is bestowed to ASCB members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for their meritorious efforts to advance c...

– American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

Can Computers Be Creative?

Penn State researchers are using DARPA funding to teach computers how to generate original design ideas and then determine if those ideas are feasible in the real world.

– Penn State College of Engineering

includes video

Fuertes Observatory Celebrates a Century of Scanning the Cosmos

Fiery supernovae, delicate rings of ice, planet-hopping comets – visitors to Fuertes Observatory have seen them all. For 100 years, Fuertes Observatory has opened a window to the cosmos for the Cornell and Ithaca communities.

– Cornell University

Multi-Partner Awards in Artificial Intelligence and Life Sciences Achievements

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego received two key HPCwire awards for 2017, recognizing the use of its Comet supercomputer in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) research and the life sciences. ...

– University of California San Diego

WFIRM Scientists Study Space Radiation Health Effects to Keep Astronauts Safe

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) has been selected by NASA to lead a multi-institutional project to better understand the health risks related to radiation exposure from missions in deep space.

– Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

CANDLE Shines in 2017 HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards

Argonne National Laboratory has been recognized in the annual <em>HPCwire</em> Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards, presented at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17), in Denver,...

– Argonne National Laboratory

Embargo expired on 13-Nov-2017 at 20:00 ET

Globus Announces ActiveScale Support

Globus, the leading research data management service, today announced general availability of Globus for ActiveScale. This new premium connector for the Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) ActiveScale™ object storage system enables researcher...

– Computation Institute

INCITE Grants of 5.95 Billion Hours Awarded to 55 Computational Research Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced 55 projects with high potential for accelerating discovery through its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. The projects will share 5.95 bil...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Diagnosing Supercomputer Problems

A team of computer scientists and engineers from Sandia National Laboratories and Boston University recently won the Gauss Award at the International Supercomputing conference for their paper about using machine learning to automatically diagnose pr...

– Sandia National Laboratories

High Performance Computing

PPPL Honors Grierson and Greenough for Distinguished Research and Engineering Achievements

Article describes PPPL's presentation of 2017 Kaul Prize and Distinguished Engineering Fellow awards.

– Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

SLAC’s Helen Quinn Honored with 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

Helen Quinn, a professor emerita at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, will receive the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics – one of eight prestigious Franklin Institute Awards that will b...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

includes video





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