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Newswise SciWire - Science News for Journalists
Newswise SciWire
Thursday, April 11, 2019

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(67 New)

Science News


U.S. Energy Use Rises to Highest Level Ever

Americans used more energy in 2018 than in any other year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Overall total energy consumption rose to 101.2 quadrillion BTU (or “quads”). The prior...

– Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Got Bird Nests? Report to NestWatch!

Ithaca, NY—Around the world, birds are building nests and raising families—even near homes, offices, or in local parks. Anyone who finds a bird's nest can help scientists by reporting to the free NestWatch project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithol...

– Cornell University


New imaging reveals previously unseen vulnerabilities of HIV

Researchers have used a molecular “can opener” and advanced imaging to expose parts of the HIV envelope and reveal in detail a previously unknown virus shape with unique vulnerabilities that can be targeted by antibodies. This could open new dire...

– Tufts University

Cell Host & Microbe, April 10, 2019; 1K22AI116262 (NIH/NIAID)

Embargo expired on 10-Apr-2019 at 11:00 ET

Atomic Maps Reveal How Iron Rusts

Scientists discovered how iron atoms continually re-arrange on surfaces, offering insights into metal corrosion and soil remediation.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

PNAS 116, 2866 (2019). [DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1816620116]

Creating sustainable bioplastics from electricity-eating microbes

Electricity harvested from the sun or wind can be used interchangeably with power from coal or petroleum sources. Or sustainably produced electricity can be turned into something physical and useful. Researchers in Arts & Sciences at Washington Unive...

– Washington University in St. Louis

Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology; Department of Energy; Department of Defense, Army Research Office; David and Lucile Packard Foundation

A Dust-Up: Microbes Interact with Harmful Chemicals in Dust

The dust that settles throughout our homes and offices almost always contains bits of chemicals that can cause problems for the human endocrine system, scientists say. But a new study indicates that the microbes we track into buildings can help break...

– Ohio State University

Environmental Sciences: Process Impacts

EHT Radio Astronomy Newsroom

The first direct visual evidence of a black hole will help scientists understand how the universe behaves under conditions of extreme gravity, forces so strong that they warp the fabric of space and time.

– National Radio Astronomy Observatory

UNH Researchers Find Unusual Phenomenon in Clouds Triggers Lightning Flash

In a first-of-its-kind observation, researchers from the University of New Hampshire Space Science Center have documented a unique event that occurs in clouds before a lightning flash happens. Their observation, called “fast negative breakdown,” ...

– University of New Hampshire

Nature Communications, April 9, 2019

New electronic materials to carry more energy, more efficiently

Material scientists formulated and tested a new cobalt-based Heusler alloy that can host massless particles, known as Weyl fermions, that can carry charge more efficiently.

– South Dakota State University

Scientific Reports, March 2019

Shrimp claw inspires new method of underwater plasma generation

Texas A&M researchers are looking to nature for inspiration in developing a new method of underwater plasma generation using shrimp as a model – a discovery which could provide significant improvements for actions ranging from water sterilization t...

– Texas A&M University

Science Advances 15 Mar 2019

includes video

Birds’ surprising sound source

Birds, although they have larynges, use a different organ to sing. Called a syrinx, it’s a uniquely avian feature. Now, a team that brings together physics, biology, computation and engineering finds that the syrinx confers an advantage: by sitting...

– University of Utah

PLoS Biology

Evolution from water to land led to better parenting

The evolution of aquatic creatures to start living on land made them into more attentive parents, says new research on frogs led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath.

– University of Bath

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B

Long-lived bats could hold secrets to mammal longevity

University of Maryland researchers analyzed an evolutionary tree reconstructed from the DNA of a majority of known bat species and found four bat lineages that exhibit extreme longevity. They also identified, for the first time, two life history feat...

– University of Maryland, College Park

Biology Letters

Astronomers capture first image of a black hole

This breakthrough was announced today in a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

– European Southern Observatory (ESO)

The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Next-generation Gene Drive Arrives

Scientists developed a new version of a gene drive that spreads favorable genetic variants, also known as “alleles,” throughout a population. The new “allelic drive” is equipped with a guide RNA that directs CRISPR to cut undesired variants o...

– University of California San Diego

Nature Communications, April-2019

Pesticide Cocktail Can Harm Honey Bees

A series of tests conducted over several years by UC San Diego scientists has shown for the first time that the pesticide Sivanto could pose a range of threats to honey bees depending on seasonality, bee age and use in combination with common chemica...

– University of California San Diego

Proceedings of the Royal Society B, April-2019

Climate Scientists Partner with San Francisco to be Ready for Future Storms

The City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) is partnering with experts from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Silvestrum Climate Associates to assess how climate change may influence the intensity of atmospheric rivers and asso...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Release online

New two-photon imaging facility to expand neuroscience research and teaching

A new two-photon imaging facility at West Virginia University is expanding opportunities for neuroscience research in the Department of Biology and beyond.

– West Virginia University - Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Enhanced Robot “Vision” Enables More Natural Interaction With Humans

A wide-eyed, soft-spoken robot named Pepper motors around the Intelligent Systems Lab at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. One of the researchers tests Pepper, making various gestures as the robot accurately describes what he’s doing. When he cross...

– Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

ORNL–Eck Industries partnership fast-tracks high-performance alloys to market

By partnering with ORNL, Eck Industries Inc. is using neutrons at the lab’s Spallation Neutron Source to develop tailor-made, industrial high-performance aluminum alloys and bringing them to market with remarkable turnaround time.

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory


A Jetsons future? Assessing the role of flying cars in sustainable mobility

In the 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons, George Jetson commutes to work in his family-size flying car, which miraculously transforms into a briefcase at the end of the trip.

– University of Michigan

Nature Communications

Embargo expired on 09-Apr-2019 at 11:00 ET

includes video

Physics Tip Sheet: APS April Meeting

This tip sheet highlights interesting presentations from the upcoming 2019 APS April Meeting in Denver -- a major international meeting that features talks and presentations about discoveries in astrophysics, particle physics, energy research and man...

– American Physical Society (APS)

APS April Meeting 2019

Embargo expired on 09-Apr-2019 at 13:00 ET

New Algorithm Helps to Detect and Analyze Suspicious Activity in Surveillance Footage

New research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, could make it easier to track and process suspicious activity in surveillance footage.

– Binghamton University, State University of New York

2019 IEEE CCNC conference, Jan-2019

Researchers Reveal More Than Dozen Wild Bee Species Declining in Northeast

Researchers have found a dramatic decline of 14 wild bee species that are important across the Northeast for the pollination of major local crops like apples, blueberries and cranberries.

– University of New Hampshire

Insect and Conservation Diversity, March 22, 2019

Strain and Defects Grow in Tiny Magnetite Crystals When Oxidized

Detailed 3D images show how nanoparticles change in reactions that purify contaminated water or power recyclable geochemical batteries.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature Communications 10, 703 (2019). [DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08470-0]

Study Shows Potential for Earth-Friendly Plastic Replacement

New research from The Ohio State University has shown that combining natural rubber with bioplastic in a novel way results in a much stronger replacement for plastic, one that is already capturing the interest of companies looking to shrink their env...

– Ohio State University


New open-source software predicts impacts of extreme events on grids

A new, free, open-source software reliably predicts how damage from hurricanes, ice storms, earthquakes, and other extreme events will restrict power delivery from utility grids. The Severe Contingency Solver for Electric Power Transmission is the on...

– Los Alamos National Laboratory

Specialist Enzymes Make E. coli Antibiotic Resistant at Low pH

New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that many "redundant" enzymes are actually specialists that ensure maximal growth across different environments. Further, these enzymes were found to increase E. coli’s resistance to ant...

– Washington University in St. Louis

eLife; National Science Foundation DGE-1745038; Wellcome 101824/Z/13/Z; National Institutes of Health MIRA; National Institutes of Health GM127331; National Institutes of Health GM64671...

Life could be evolving right now on nearest exoplanets

Rocky, Earth-like planets orbiting our closest stars could host life, according to a new study that raises the excitement about exoplanets.

– Cornell University

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, April 2019

Researchers discover neural patterns key to understanding disorders such as PTSD

Researchers have identified for the first time an imbalance in a key neural pathway that explains how some people reactivate negative emotional memories. The finding could help scientists unlock new ways to treat psychiatric disorders such as post-tr...

– University of California, Irvine

Neuron; R37NS21135, R01MH102392, T32NS45540

More than 90% of glacier volume in the Alps could be lost by 2100

The study, by a team of researchers in Switzerland, provides the most up-to-date and detailed estimates of the future of all glaciers in the Alps

– European Geosciences Union (EGU)

The Cryosphere

Study explores how technology can help prompt positive memories for people with depression

Researchers have provided a crucial first step towards understanding how computing technology could be used to help people with depression remember happy memories.

– Massachusetts General Hospital

The oldest ice on Earth may be able to solve the puzzle of the planet's climate history

As part of the EU project "Beyond EPICA - Oldest Ice", experts from 14 institutions located in 10 European countries have spent three years combing the Antarctic ice sheet to find the ideal location to retrieve the oldest ice core on the Earth. The l...

– University of Bern

Graphene coating could help prevent lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries are what allow electric vehicles to travel several hundred miles on one charge. Their capacity for energy storage is well known, but so is their tendency to occasionally catch on fire – an occurrence known to battery researchers a...

– University of Illinois at Chicago

Advanced Functional Materials

New Model Accurately Predicts Harmful Space Weather

A new, first-of-its-kind space weather model reliably predicts space storms of high-energy particles that are harmful to many satellites and spacecraft orbiting in the Earth’s outer radiation belt.

– Los Alamos National Laboratory

Space Weather

Industrial 3D Printing Goes Skateboarding

Plastic pulled from the waste stream can find new use with the Gigabot X, an open source industrial 3D printer. A team from Michigan Tech shows how three Gigabot-printed sporting goods — skateboard decks, kayak paddles and snowshoes — can help bu...

– Michigan Technological University

Additive Manufacturing, April-2019

includes video

Ready, Set, Go: Scientists Evaluate a Novel Technique for Firing Up the Fuel That Feeds Fusion Reactions

Article describes analytical confirmation that transient CHI, a novel device for starting up fusion plasmas, can achieve startup in future compact fusion facilities.

– Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Geographer establishes Morgantown Seed Preservation Library

A West Virginia University heirloom seed expert is working to increase access to Appalachia’s heirloom seeds through a new seed preservation library.

– West Virginia University - Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

U-M to reduce emissions through renewable energy purchase from DTE Energy

The University of Michigan is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly following an agreement to buy renewable energy through DTE Energy that will result in about half of the purchased electricity for the Ann Arbor campus coming from...

– University of Michigan


U-M Researchers Use Genomic Data to Map 'Refugia' Where North American Trees Survived the Last Ice Age

During the last ice age, which peaked around 21,500 years ago, glaciers covered large portions of North America, including the entire Great Lakes region. Once the ice retreated, the land was gradually repopulated by trees that eventually formed dense...

– University of Michigan

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Embargo expired on 08-Apr-2019 at 15:00 ET

'Electron Shuttle' Protein Plays Key Role in Plant Cell-Wall Construction

Scientists studying plant cell walls have discovered mechanistic details of a protein involved in the assembly of lignin, a key cell-wall component. The protein acts as a targeted "electron shuttle," delivering the "fuel" that drives the construction...

– Brookhaven National Laboratory

The Plant Cell, April 8, 2019

Embargo expired on 08-Apr-2019 at 17:00 ET

Many coastal homes are unprotected from hurricanes and homeowners have no intention of retrofitting, study finds

According to the Notre Dame study, 62 percent of coastal homeowners are not considering taking any action to reduce the vulnerabilities of their homes or enhance protections against future hurricanes.

– University of Notre Dame

Climatic Change

A New View on a Very Old Problem: Evolution of the Photochemical Reaction Centers

Researchers offer insights into how a key piece of photosynthetic machinery changed over 3 billion years.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Photosynthesis Research 138, 11 (2018). [DOI: 10.1007/s11120-018-0503-2]; Photosynthesis Research 138, 1 (2018). [DOI: 10.1007/s11120-018-0496-x]

Scientific computing in the cloud gets down to Earth

In a groundbreaking effort, seismology researchers have conducted a continent-scale survey for seismic signatures of industrial activity in the Amazon Web Services commercial cloud (AWS), then rapidly downloaded the results without storing raw data o...

– Los Alamos National Laboratory

Seismological Research Letters

Water and wastewater disinfection can help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, but what about their genes?

A UW team tested how well current water and wastewater disinfecting methods affect antibiotic resistance genes in bacterial DNA. While these methods work well to deter bacterial growth, they had varied success in either degrading or deactivating a re...

– University of Washington

Environmental Science & Technology

Declassified U2 spy plane images reveal bygone Middle Eastern archaeological features

In the 1950s and early '60s, with the Cold War at its peak, the United States flew U2 spy planes across Europe, the Middle East, and central eastern Asia, taking images of interesting military targets. Though the missions typically connected Point A ...

– University of Pennsylvania

Advances in Archaeological Practice

Study: Some Woodpeckers Imitate a Neighbor's Plumage

In the first global test of the idea, scientists have found evidence that some woodpeckers can evolve to look like another species of woodpecker in the same neighborhood.

– Cornell University

Nature Communications, April 2019

When the extreme becomes the norm for Arctic animals

Think of reindeer on Norway's Svalbard archipelago as the arctic equivalent of sloths. It's not a perfect analogy except that like tropical sloths, Svalbard reindeer move as little as possible to conserve energy.

– Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Nature Communications

Spying on cells' eating habits could aid cancer diagnosis

Scientists have developed a new imaging technology to visualise what cells eat, which could aid the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

– University of Edinburgh

Angewandte Chemie

Researchers develop first functional targeted inhibitors of peanut allergens

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have effectively prevented the binding of peanut allergens with IgE to suppress the allergic reaction to peanuts using a first-in-class design of allergen-specific inhibitors.

– University of Notre Dame

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

New DNA “Shredder” Technique Goes Beyond CRISPR’s Scissors

The molecular "scissors" known as CRISPR-Cas9 has transformed genetic research in recent years. Now, an international team has unveiled a new CRISPR-based tool that acts more like a shredder, able to wipe out long stretches of DNA in human cells with...

– Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Molecular Cell; GM128637; GM118174; GM102543; GM117268

The cost of computation

There's been a rapid resurgence of interest in understanding the energy cost of computing. Recent advances in this "thermodynamics of computation" are summarized in a new review published in the Journal of Physics A.

– Santa Fe Institute

Journal of Physics A

Newly Devised Static Negative Capacitor Could Improve Computing

In a new study, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, together with collaborators in France and Russia, have created a permanent static “negative capacitor,” a device believed to have been in violatio...

– Argonne National Laboratory

Communications Physics, February 26, 2019

New Wasps Named After Biscuits and Doctor Who Aliens

University of Adelaide researchers were inspired by everything from chocolate biscuits and Doctor Who aliens when choosing names for 10 new species of wasps.

– University of Adelaide


Limiting Sedentary Time, Reducing Risk for Overuse Running Injuries, PE May Enhance Adolescents Math Performance and More from the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®

If you're looking for health and fitness story ideas, here is research from ACSM’s flagship journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world.

– American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®

Evolutionary Biologist Receives Award to Study the Regenerative Powers of the Shrew

Stony Brook University's Liliana Dávalos, PhD, is studying the phenomenal capabilities of the shrew, which shrinks up to 20 percent during winter months without hibernating. The research may shed light on the processes of neurological degeneration a...

– Stony Brook University

Champions in Science: Profile of Emily Martinez, National Science Bowl® Competitor

Each year, the DOE Office of Science writes profiles on past NSB competitors. These features include memories of their high school adventures and information on their education and career accomplishments

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

SciWire Announcements

Brookhaven Joins the IBM Q Network Hub at Oak Ridge National Lab

Brookhaven National Lab has joined the IBM Q Network Hub at Oak Ridge National Lab. This hub is part of an international community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, universities, and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and e...

– Brookhaven National Laboratory

New Center Founded to Develop More Efficient Flexible Solar Cells

New organic materials for creating advanced flexible, light-weight solar cells and electronics for military and civilian use in remote areas away from power grids will be the focus of a new research center directed by Enrique Gomez, professor of chem...

– Penn State College of Engineering

Tulane anthropologist awarded Guggenheim Fellowship to study Amazon rainforests

Tulane University anthropology professor William Balée has been named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to document the historical ecology of the lower Amazon basin.

– Tulane University

includes video

Southern Research teams with Ina Research to boost presence in Japan

Southern Research and Japan’s Ina Research announced today they have formed a partnership that calls for Ina to help connect Southern Research with potential new customers for drug development services in the country with the world’s third larges...

– Southern Research

Forensic Science, Chemistry student student receives national forensic science and criminal justice scholarship

West Virginia University junior Samantha Mehnert has been selected as a recipient of the 2019 George H. Robinson Memorial Scholarship.

– West Virginia University - Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Missouri S&T, Phelps Health receive $5.1 million from Army to help military address traumatic brain injury

Armed with more than $5.1 million in federal funds, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology and Phelps Health are helping the U.S. Army tackle the persistent problem of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among soldiers and recruits.Fun...

– Missouri University of Science and Technology

SDSC’s Phylogenetics Science Gateway Awarded NSF/Internet2 Grant

The widely used CyberInfrastructure for Phylogenetic REsearch (CIPRES) science gateway, based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), has been awarded a one-year Internet2 grant funded by the NSF to give users AWS cloud access.

– University of California San Diego


Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of UN Secretary-General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, Named Dean of The Fletcher School

Rachel Kyte, who has led United Nations efforts toward greater access to clean, affordable energy as part of action on climate change and sustainable development, has been named dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Kyte is the first woman...

– Tufts University

includes video

Melissa Cragin Joins SDSC’s Research Data Services Group

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego announced today the appointment of Melissa Cragin as Chief Strategist for SDSC’s Research Data Services (RDS) group, effective immediately.

– University of California San Diego

David Reis named head of PULSE Institute for ultrafast science

Long before David Reis joined the faculty of the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, he was helping lay the groundwork for the lab’s first-of-a-kind X-ray free-electron laser, or XFEL, and the revo...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory





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