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Newswise SciWire - Science News for Journalists
Newswise SciWire
Thursday, February 15, 2018

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Science News


Maximizing the Environmental Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles

The added weight, electricity demand and aerodynamic drag of the sensors and computers used in autonomous vehicles are significant contributors to their lifetime energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study.

– University of Michigan

Environmental Science & Technology

Embargo expired on 15-Feb-2018 at 08:00 ET

Birds and Primates Share Brain Cell Types Linked to Intelligence

In a new study, published this week in the journal Current Biology, scientists from UChicago show that some neurons in bird brains form the same kind of circuitry and have the same molecular signature as cells that enable connectivity between differe...

– University of Chicago Medical Center

Current Biology

Embargo expired on 15-Feb-2018 at 00:00 ET

Can Social Media Data Be Used to Predict Threats or Identify Fake News?

Conrad Tucker, associate professor of engineering design and industrial engineering, has received funding from the U.S. Air Force to investigate whether crowd-sourced data from social media can be used to not only detect threats, but also prevent cat...

– Penn State College of Engineering

Embargo expired on 15-Feb-2018 at 06:00 ET

Don’t Blame Hurricanes for Most Big Storm Surges in Northeast

Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists. Extratropical cyclones , including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generat...

– Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology; Rutgers Today

Fingerprints of Quantum Entanglement

Quantum entanglement is a key feature of a quantum computer. Yet, how can we verify that a quantum computer indeed incorporates a large-scale entanglement? Using conventional methods is hard since they require a large number of repeated measurements....

– University of Vienna

npj Quantum Information

How Does Biochar Work to Improve, or Even Decontaminate, Soil?

What can be made with unwanted materials, looks like charcoal, and provides multiple benefits to soil health? Biochar! The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) February 15 Soils Matter blog explains what biochar is and how it helps improve—or dec...

– Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)


Cover Crops in Nitrogen’s Circle of Life

A circle of life–and nitrogen–is playing out in farms across the United States. And researchers are trying to get the timing right. The goal is to time nutrient release from cover crops to better match the nutrient needs of specific cash crops. ...

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

Soil Science Society of America Journal, Jan. 25, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing

Engineers at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Oregon State University are developing a new method of processing nanomaterials that could lead to faster and cheaper manufacturing of flexible thin film devices – from touch screens to window coa...

– Rutgers University-New Brunswick

RSC Advances ; Scientific Reports ; Rutgers Today

'Excess Emissions' Make Significant Contribution to Air Pollution

A study by Indiana University researchers shows that excess emissions -- which occur with plant shut-downs, start-ups and malfunctions, and not just in connection with natural disasters -- can make serious contributions to overall air pollution.

– Indiana University

Environmental Science & Technology Feb-2017

From 100,000 to 8: Representing Complex Aerosol Patterns with Far Fewer Particles

Study shows how aerosols interacting with clouds can be accurately captured by sparse set of representative particles.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122, 9867 (2017). [DOI: 10.1002/2016JD026335]

How Bacteria Produce Manganese Oxide Nanoparticles

Multiple techniques to characterize an enzyme complex shed light on how bacteria create particles and contribute to global cycles.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature Communications 8, 746 (2017). [DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00896-8]

Engineers Develop Smart Material That Changes Stiffness When Twisted or Bent

Iowa State's Martin Thuo and Michael Bartlett led development of a rubbery material that transforms itself into a hard composite when bent or twisted. The new material could be used in medicine to support delicate tissues or in industry to protect va...

– Iowa State University

Materials Horizons, 2018 Advance Article

Living Human Tracheas

Biomedical engineers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. are growing tracheas by coaxing cells to form three distinct tissue types after assembling them into a tube structure-...

– Case Western Reserve University

Advanced Science

Genetic Limits Threaten Chickpeas, a Globally Critical Food

Scientists have discovered an extreme lack of genetic diversity and other threats to the future adaptability of domestic chickpeas, the primary source of protein of 20 percent of the world's people. But they also collected wild relatives of chickpeas...

– University of Vermont

Nature Communcations, Feb. 13, 2108

Clean Plates Much More Common When We Eat at Home

When people eat at home, there’s typically not much left on their plates – and that means there’s likely less going to landfills, according to new research from The Ohio State University.

– Ohio State University


Scientists Find Key Proteins Control Risk of Osteoarthritis During Aging

A study from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) explains why the risk of osteoarthritis increases as we age and offers a potential avenue for developing new therapies to maintain healthy joints.

– Scripps Research Institute

Science Translational Medicine, Feb. 14; AG007996; AR049617; AR505631

UCI Oceanographers Solve Mystery of Phytoplankton Survival in Nutrient-Poor Pacific

Upwelling in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean provides essential nutrients for the region’s microscopic plants, but iron – a key ingredient that facilitates nitrogen consumption – is in short supply. To compensate, the phytoplankton band to...

– University of California, Irvine

Nature Communications, Feb-18

Researchers Discover Novel Exciton Interactions in Carbon Nanotubes

Nanotechnology researchers studying small bundles of carbon nanotubes have discovered an optical signature showing excitons bound to a single nanotube are accompanied by excitons tunneling across closely interacting nanotubes.

– Los Alamos National Laboratory

Nature Communications

Physics Data Processing on NERSC Supercomputer Dramatically Cuts Reconstruction Time

In a recent demonstration project, physicists from Brookhaven National Laboratory and Berkeley Lab used the Cori supercomputer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center to reconstruct data collected from a nuclear physics experiment...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Journal of Physics

Meet the Director: Sergei Nagaitsev

This is one in a series of profiles on directors of the SC-stewarded user facilities. This profile features Sergei Nagaitsev, director of the Fermilab Accelerator Complex.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Perspective on Fuel Cells

In a new Perspective article, published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, researchers are aiming to tackle a fundamental debate in key reactions behind fuel cells and hydrogen production, which, if solved, could significantly bolster cle...

– The Electrochemical Society

Journal of The Electrochemical Society

Particulate Filter Research May Enable More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

A team of researchers from ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division is using neutron imaging to study particulate filters that collect harmful emissions in vehicles. A better understanding of how heat treatments and oxidation methods can r...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

OU Researcher Uses Geometry for Affairs of the Heart

An OU researcher's recent work is focused on a predictive surgery for a serious heart condition called Functional Tricuspid Regurgitation, which affects approximately 1.6 million Americans. The team uses to clinical image data, such as functional mag...

Expert Available

– University of Oklahoma, Gallogly College of Engineering


One Hour of Video Gaming Can Increase the Brain’s Ability to Focus

Researchers at the University of Arkansas and the Ministry of Education of China studied expert and non-expert video game players and observed that both groups showed an increase in visual selective attention after only one hour of video game play.

– University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 05:00 ET

#Epicduckchallenge Shows We Can Count on Drones

A few thousand rubber ducks, a group of experienced wildlife spotters and a drone have proven the usefulness and accuracy of drones for wildlife monitoring. A University of Adelaide study showed that monitoring wildlife using drones is more accurate ...

– University of Adelaide

Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 08:05 ET

LJI researchers reveal how to undermine immune cell mobilization in allergic inflammation.

LJI researchers report mechanisms used by a subgroup of ILCs, known as ILC2 cells, to undergo maturation required for them to mount an effective immune response. These discoveries suggest a novel approach to treat inflammatory disease caused by overa...

– La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

Immunity; RO1AI123398; YFA0505802; YFC0903900; NSFC81630041

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 12:00 ET

Drones Deliver Green Transportation Option

By getting your next package delivered by drone, you could be saving energy, but only if companies deploy drones sensibly. New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University, SRI International and the University of ...

– Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Nature Communications

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 11:00 ET

When It Comes to Extinction Risk, Body Size Matters

Models for extinction risk are necessarily simple. Most reduce complex ecological systems to a linear relationship between resource density and population growth—something that can be broadly applied to infer how much resource loss a species can su...

– Santa Fe Institute

Nature Communications

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 05:00 ET

Analysis: Female Drivers Convicted for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Women have become increasingly involved in drunk driving and fatal crashes. However, much of the research on drunk driving has been conducted using predominantly male samples. Little is known about the life context, psychiatric histories, and family ...

– Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 10:00 ET

Three’s Company: New Alloy Sets Magnetism Benchmark

Spintronics leverages electron spins to enhance solid-state devices by prolonging battery life. Spintronic developments, however, are increasingly running up against the Slater-Pauling limit, the maximum for how tightly a material can pack its magnet...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Applied Physics Letters

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 11:00 ET

In Effort to Treat Rare Blinding Disease, Researchers Turn Stem Cells into Blood Vessels

People with a mutated ATF6 gene have a malformed or missing fovea, severely limiting vision. UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers first linked ATF6 to this type of vision impairment. Now the team discovered that a chemical that activates ATF6 ...

– University of California San Diego Health

Science Signaling; EY027335; I01BX002284; N09G-302

Embargo expired on 13-Feb-2018 at 14:00 ET

Clues to Aging Found in Stem Cells’ Genomes

In fruit flies, repeating genetic elements shrink with age, but then expand in future generations, a resurgence that may help explain how some cells stay immortal.

– Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

eLife, Feb-2018

Berkeley Lab Report Calls for Industry Attention to Ensuring Grid Reliability

In light of changes in how electricity is being both generated and consumed, the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has written a new report analyzing challenges facing the nation’s electric grid and makin...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Can a Cockroach Teach a Robot How to Scurry Across Rugged Terrain?

Researchers build a robot that moves more like a cockroach.

– Johns Hopkins University

Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Feb-2-2018; Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Feb-2-2018; W911NF-17-1-0346

includes video

Missing Link to Novel Superconductivity Revealed at Ames Laboratory

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have discovered a state of magnetism that may be the missing link to understanding the relationship between magnetism and unconventional superconductivity.

– Ames Laboratory

npj Nature Quantum Materials

Longer-Lived Animals Have Longer-Lived Proteins

Researchers studying half-lives of evolutionarily related proteins in different species uncovered a link between species lifespan and protein lifespan.

– American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

MCB-1350165 CAREER; R35 GM119502-01

New Turbulent Transport Modeling Shows Multiscale Fluctuations in Heated Plasma

Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility used a “reduced physics” fluid model of plasma turbulence to explain unexpected properties of the density profile inside a tokamak experiment. Modeling plasma’s turbulent behavior could help sc...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Physics of Plasmas

Researchers Quantify Nutritional Value of Soil Fungi to the Serengeti Food Web

A new study by Northern Arizona University scientists shows how much arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi contribute to the complex ecosystem that makes up the Serengeti.

– Northern Arizona University

Journal of Ecology

Mars Rocks: UNLV Helps Pinpoint Landing Spots for NASA’s 2020 Mission

UNLV research could help assess excavation sites for rover mission that hopes to secure evidence of past life on the red planet.

– University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

Nature Communications

Every Rose Has Its Thorn — and Its Tick

When it comes to avoiding Lyme disease, know your forest. That's the cautionary tale from a new study which found that ticks in urban parks in Delaware dominated by an invasive rose bush were nearly twice as likely to be infected with Borrelia burgdo...

– Washington University in St. Louis

Parasites & Vectors

Heroin Vaccine Blocks Lethal Overdose

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have achieved a major milestone toward designing a safe and effective vaccine to both treat heroin addiction and block lethal overdose of the drug.

– Scripps Research Institute

Molecular Pharmaceutics; UH3DA041146; F32AI126628; F32DA043323; R42DA040422; R44AI094770

Circulating Lipids Play Roles in Many Diseases

Cholesterol in muscular dystrophy; synergy between alcohol and hepatitis in cholesterol levels; bacterial lipids in healthy arteries.

– American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

Journal of Lipid Research; Journal of Lipid Research; Journal of Lipid Research

Press Registration Now Open for Nutrition 2018 Meeting

Reporters and bloggers are invited to attend Nutrition 2018, the inaugural flagship meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. The meeting will be held June 9-12, 2018 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

– American Society for Nutrition (ASN)

Nutrition 2018

includes video

Interdisciplinary Approach Yields New Insights Into Human Evolution

Vanderbilt biologist Nicole Creanza takes an interdisciplinary approach to human evolution--both biological and cultural--as editor of special themed issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

– Vanderbilt University

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, volume 373, issue 1743

WVU Alumna Named 2018 Outstanding West Virginian

West Virginia University alumna Caitlin Ahrens (BS Geology and Physics, 2015) was chosen as the 2018 Jaycees Outstanding Young West Virginian for her role as a NASA ambassador and advocacy for young women in science.

– West Virginia University - Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Naltrexone Treatment Is More Effective for Heavy Drinkers Who Use Nicotine/Cigarettes

There are medications available to help people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol reduce or stop their drinking. One such medication is the opioid antagonist naltrexone, which has been approved for treatment of alcohol dependence by the Food and ...

– Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Embargo expired on 12-Feb-2018 at 10:00 ET

No Llamas Required

Antibodies made by camels, llamas and alpacas allow scientists to study the structure and function of proteins in disease and health. While valuable, the approach is time-consuming, costly and often unsuccessful. Overcoming this barrier, scientists...

– Harvard Medical School

Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

Embargo expired on 12-Feb-2018 at 11:00 ET

Solving the Dark Energy Mystery: A New Assignment for a 45-Year-Old Telescope

Today, the dome closes on the previous science chapters of the 4-meter Mayall Telescope in Arizona so that it can prepare for its new role in creating the largest 3-D map of the universe. This map could help to solve the mystery of dark energy, which...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Embargo expired on 12-Feb-2018 at 11:00 ET

Despite Odds, Fish Species That Bypasses Sexual Reproduction Is Thriving

An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of the Amazon molly, a fish that reproduces asexually. The researchers expected that the asexual organism would be at a genetic disadvantage, but the Amazon molly is thriving.

– Washington University in St. Louis

Nature Ecology & Evolution, Feb, 12, 2018

Embargo expired on 12-Feb-2018 at 11:00 ET

Middle Earth Preserved in Giant Bird Dung

While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts.

– University of Adelaide

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Embargo expired on 12-Feb-2018 at 15:00 ET

Scalable Two-Dimensional Materials Advance Future-Gen Electronics

A pair of papers published online in two nanotechnology journals this month provide the basis for growing wafer-scale two-dimensional crystals for future electronic devices

– Penn State Materials Research Institute

Nano Letters, ACS Nano Feb 2018

Captured Electrons Excite Nuclei to Higher Energy States

For the first time, scientists demonstrated a long-theorized nuclear effect called nuclear excitation by electron capture. This advance tests theoretical models that describe how nuclear and atomic realms interact and may also provide new insights in...

– Argonne National Laboratory

Nature, Feb-2018

Innovative Restoration of Coral Reefs Helps Protect Caribbean Islands

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz and the Nature Conservancy have measured the protective role of coral reefs and field-tested a solution that reduces coastal risks by combining innovative engineering with restoration ecology.

– University of California, Santa Cruz

Journal of Environmental Management, Feb. 2018

Researchers Identify Gene That Improves Plant Growth and Conversion to Biofuels

A research team led by the University of Georgia has discovered that manipulation of the same gene in poplar trees and switchgrass produced plants that grow better and are more efficiently converted to biofuels.

– University of Georgia

Nature Biotechnology

Neutron Study of Glaucoma Drugs Offers Clues About Enzyme Targets for Aggressive Cancers

A team of researchers from ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division is using neutron imaging to study particulate filters that collect harmful emissions in vehicles. A better understanding of how heat treatments and oxidation methods can ...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Hybrid Optics Bring Color Imaging Using Ultrathin Metalenses Into Focus

In a paper published Feb. 9 in Science Advances, scientists at the University of Washington announced that they have successfully combined two different imaging methods — a type of lens designed for nanoscale interaction with lightwaves, along with...

– University of Washington

Science Advances, Feb. 2018

Smooth Sailing: PPPL Develops an Integrated Approach to Understand How to Better Control Plasma Instabilities

PPPL physicist Francesca Poli and coauthors recently published findings that describe an approach that for the first time simultaneously simulates the plasma, the magnetic islands, and the feedback control from waves that provide so-called electron c...

– Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Nuclear Fusion, Nov-2017

Tissue Paper Sensors Show Promise for Health Care, Entertainment, Robotics

University of Washington engineers have turned tissue paper – similar to toilet tissue – into a new kind of wearable sensor that can detect a pulse, a blink of an eye and other human movement. The sensor is light, flexible and inexpensive, with p...

– University of Washington

Advanced Materials Technolgies

Narrowing in on the W Boson Mass

Scientists working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—the world’s largest particle collider, hosted at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory—have precisely measured the mass of the W boson, a particle that plays...

– Brookhaven National Laboratory

includes video

Action Plan Released to Conserve One of Africa’s Richest Sites for Biodiversity

A team of scientists led by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has developed a conservation blueprint to protect one of the most biodiverse regions in Africa: the Albertine Rift, home to mountain and Grauer’s gorillas, golden monkeys, chimpanzees,...

– Wildlife Conservation Society

SciWire Announcements

FAU Brain Institute Awarded $780,000 from Stiles-Nicholson Foundation to Launch ASCEND Program

To address the national shortage in STEM (science-technology-engineering and math) career-oriented students, the FAU Brain Institute has received a $780,000 grant from the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation to launch an innovative program targeted at middle...

– Florida Atlantic University

The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society Names 2018 Class of Fellows

The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) has announced the names of its 2018 Class of Fellows. The Class of Fellow is TMS’s highest honor.

– TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society)

The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society Announces 2018 Society Award Recipients

The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) has announced the recipients of its 2018 Society Awards. The honorees will receive their accolades during the TMS–AIME Awards Ceremony which will take place on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the TMS 201...

– TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society)

TMS 2018 Annual Meeting & Exhibition (TMS2018)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, OHSU Create Joint Research Co-Laboratory to Advance Precision Medicine

News Release PORTLAND, Ore. — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and OHSU today announced a joint collaboration to improve patient care by focusing research on highly complex sets of biomedical data, and the tools to interpret them.The OHSU-PNNL...

– Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

WCS Media Briefing: The Hi-Tech Tool Poachers Hate

1) SMART Connect allows rangers and conservation area managers to exchange critical information and transmit data in real time, 2) Developer of “SMART Connect” will explain how new tool can revolutionize protected area management, 3) SMART is cur...

– Wildlife Conservation Society

French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development Joins International Phytobiomes Alliance

The International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research announced today that the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD-France) has joined the organization as a sponsoring partner.

– International Phytobiomes Alliance

The Mysteries of Plasma and Solar Eruptions Earn PPPL Graduate an Astrophysics Prize

Article describes dissertation award for graduate of Princeton University Department of Astrophysical Sciences.

– Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

USDA Funds Maple Syrup Research at University of Rhode Island

The study, titled “Beneficial effects of maple syrup phytochemicals against inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome,” aims to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of a polyphenol-enriched maple syrup extract in mice fed a high-fat diet ...

– University of Rhode Island

MSU Uses $3 Million NASA Grant to Find Better Ways to Regulate Dams

Michigan State University researchers, equipped with $3 million from NASA, will investigate innovative methods to improve dams so that they are less harmful to people and the environment.

– Michigan State University

45-Year-Old Telescope Gets a Makeover to Demystify Dark Energy

Forty-five years ago this month, a telescope tucked inside a 14-story, 500-ton dome atop a mile-high peak in Arizona took in the night sky for the first time and recorded its observations on glass photographic plates. Today, the dome closes on the pr...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory





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