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  • October 7, 2015
  • 02:56 PM

Is radiation or human intrusion the more clear and present danger to animals near Chernobyl?

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Chernobyl has an unhospitable reputation for wildlife. But new research suggests that animals are thriving in the wild near the old reactor site.... Read more »

Deryabina, T., Kuchmel, S., Nagorskaya, L., Hinton, T., Beasley, J., Lerebours, A., & Smith, J. (2015) Long-term census data reveal abundant wildlife populations at Chernobyl. Current Biology, 25(19). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.017  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 10:11 AM

How Cuttlefish Stay Camouflaged On the Go

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Most camouflaged creatures try to hold still so they won't give away their ruse. But cuttlefish aren't most creatures. These masters of camouflage can change color to seamlessly match their background, and they can keep swimming while they do it.

"Cuttlefish are one of nature's fastest dynamic camouflagers," says Noam Josef, a graduate student at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The cephalopods can change color in just one tenth of a second. They can also create different........ Read more »

Josef N, Berenshtein I, Fiorito G, Sykes AV, & Shashar N. (2015) Camouflage during movement in the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 26385328  

  • September 30, 2015
  • 08:40 PM

Zooplankton migration traps carbon in deep ocean

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A new mechanism of trapping carbon in the ocean has been proposed by researchers studying the migration of zooplankton!... Read more »

Jónasdóttir SH, Visser AW, Richardson K, & Heath MR. (2015) Seasonal copepod lipid pump promotes carbon sequestration in the deep North Atlantic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26338976  

  • September 24, 2015
  • 06:03 PM

New solar cells inspired by 400-year-old art

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Kirigami, the ancient art of paper cutting, has inspired a new type of solar cell that can track the sun without lots of expensive materials!... Read more »

Lamoureux, A., Lee, K., Shlian, M., Forrest, S., & Shtein, M. (2015) Dynamic kirigami structures for integrated solar tracking. Nature Communications, 8092. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9092  

  • September 17, 2015
  • 09:00 AM

The Martian: Getting Home Is Just Half The Problem

by Mark Lasbury in The 'Scope

"The Martian" movie opens soon! It's about an astronaut stranded on Mars who is trying to survive and find a way to get back home. But today, we humans here on Earth still have to think of clever ways to survive a trip to the red planet in the first place.... Read more »

  • September 16, 2015
  • 11:26 AM

Penguins Find Each Other's Beaks Sexy

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

If Tinder for penguins existed, birds with the best beak spots would get swiped right. King penguins are attracted to the colors on each other's beaks, scientists have found—including colors we clueless humans can't see.

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) live near the bottom of the world and are monogamous for about a year at a time. They're a little smaller than emperor penguins, the ones you saw in March of the Penguins, and have a less arduous lifestyle. In the spring, they gath........ Read more »

Keddar, I., Altmeyer, S., Couchoux, C., Jouventin, P., & Dobson, F. (2015) Mate Choice and Colored Beak Spots of King Penguins. Ethology. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12419  

  • September 11, 2015
  • 06:06 PM

Smart cells teach neurons damaged by Parkinson’s to heal themselves

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created smarter immune cells that produce and deliver a healing protein to the brain while also teaching neurons to begin making the protein for themselves.... Read more »

  • September 10, 2015
  • 02:26 PM

Physicists show ‘molecules’ made of light may be possible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s not lightsaber time… at least not yet. But a team including theoretical physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has taken another step toward building objects out of photons, and the findings* hint that weightless particles of light can be joined into a sort of “molecule” with its own peculiar force.... Read more »

M. F. Maghrebi, M. J. Gullans, P. Bienias, S. Choi, I. Martin, O. Firstenberg, M. D. Lukin, H. P. Büchler, & A. V. Gorshkov. (2015) Coulomb bound states of strongly interacting photons. Physical Review Letters. arXiv: 1505.03859v1

  • September 9, 2015
  • 06:21 PM

Carving a path towards carbon pricing

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Why aren't carbon taxes more common? A new policy paper talks about the resistance and decreasing the cost of renewables can make carbon pricing the ONLY smart option.... Read more »

Wagner, G., Kåberger, T., Olai, S., Oppenheimer, M., Rittenhouse, K., & Sterner, T. (2015) Energy policy: Push renewables to spur carbon pricing. Nature, 525(7567), 27-29. DOI: 10.1038/525027a  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 05:03 AM

Higgs even more standard

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

LHCP 2015 is going on at St. Peterburg and new results were presented by the two main collaborations at CERN. CMS and ATLAS combined the results from run 1 and improved the quality of the measured data of the Higgs particle discovered on 2012. CERN press release is here. I show you the main picture about […]... Read more »

  • August 21, 2015
  • 12:49 PM

To Avoid Mosquitoes, Stop Breathing and Be Invisible

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Hungry mosquitoes use an arsenal of sensory tools to hunt you down. They sniff out the carbon dioxide you exhale; they home in on your heat signature. But a previously under-appreciated tool in the mosquito's kit is the same one you use just before slapping at it in horror: vision.

At Caltech, Floris van Breugel put mosquitoes in a wind tunnel to tease apart how they find their meals. He used Aedes aegypti, a tropical species that spreads yellow fever and other diseases. The insects wer........ Read more »

van Breugel, F., Riffell, J., Fairhall, A., & Dickinson, M. (2015) Mosquitoes Use Vision to Associate Odor Plumes with Thermal Targets. Current Biology, 25(16), 2123-2129. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.046  

  • August 20, 2015
  • 06:01 PM

The story of a cave and climate change

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Old writings spanning the last four hundred years have been discovered in China that detail eras of drought. Using these as a starting point, researchers have connected the time periods with changes in rainfall to predict future droughts in the region.... Read more »

Tan, L., Cai, Y., An, Z., Cheng, H., Shen, C., Breitenbach, S., Gao, Y., Edwards, R., Zhang, H., & Du, Y. (2015) A Chinese cave links climate change, social impacts, and human adaptation over the last 500 years. Scientific Reports, 12284. DOI: 10.1038/srep12284  

  • August 20, 2015
  • 02:09 PM

Falling with Style: Controlled Gliding in Spiders

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Sometimes I read a paper because the methods catch my eye. I can just imagine some scientists sitting around a table with a beer and saying, “I wonder what would happen if we just dropped a bunch of spiders from the tops of trees.” An article published online yesterday did just that.Barro Colorado Island is a man-made island is located in Gatun Lake, created by filling of the Panama Canal. It is covered in tropical rainforests, and its inhabitants have been studied extensively. It would be a........ Read more »

Stephen P. Yanoviak, Yonatan Munk, & Robert Dudley. (2015) Arachnid aloft: directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders. J. R. Soc. Interface. info:/10.1098/rsif.2015.0534

  • August 12, 2015
  • 12:54 PM

Cognitive decision making as the collapse of a quantum superstate

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Decision making in an enormous range of tasks involves the accumulation of evidence in support of different hypotheses. One of the enduring models of evidence accumulation is the Markov random walk (MRW) theory, which assigns a probability to each hypothesis. In an MRW model of decision making, when deciding between two hypotheses, the cumulative evidence for and against each hypothesis reaches different levels at different times, moving particle-like from state to state and only occupying a sin........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2015
  • 12:12 PM

How Bees Carry Their Baggage

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Think your airline's bag fees are burdensome? Try flying after swallowing part of your luggage and strapping the rest to your legs. That's how bees do it. And depending on how a bumblebee loads herself up with nectar and pollen, her flight back to the hive might be less of a beeline than usual.

Like honeybees, bumblebees gather both nectar and pollen, bringing them back to the hive for food. They collect nectar simply by drinking it. After being slurped up a bee's long tongue, nectar is s........ Read more »

  • July 21, 2015
  • 03:43 PM

Drawing a line between quantum and classical world

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Quantum theory is one of the great achievements of 20th century science, yet physicists have struggled to find a clear boundary between our everyday world and what Albert Einstein called the “spooky” features of the quantum world, including cats that could be both alive and dead, and photons that can communicate with each other across space instantaneously.... Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 12:48 PM

Research investigates whether solar events could trigger birth defects on Earth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. But could these cosmic rays pose hazards even at sea level? In recent years, research has suggested congenital birth defects down on Earth’s surface could be caused by these “solar particle events” — spikes in cosmic rays from the sun that touch off the northern lights and sometimes hamper communications or the electric power grid.... Read more »

  • July 19, 2015
  • 12:44 PM

Dead galaxies in Coma Cluster may be packed with dark matter

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Galaxies in a cluster roughly 300 million light years from Earth could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study. The research, published today, used powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest structures in the Universe in which thousands of galaxies are bound together by gravity.... Read more »

Cameron Yozin et al. (2015) The quenching and survival of ultra-diffuse galaxies in the Coma cluster. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. info:/10.1093/mnras/stv1073

  • July 18, 2015
  • 12:43 PM

Study finds metal foams capable of shielding X-rays, gamma rays, neutron radiation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.... Read more »

  • July 16, 2015
  • 06:24 PM

Hydraulic fracturing and hospitalization: a tentative link

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

There is little hard data bout how fracking affects health outcomes, but a new study provides a first glimpse at a correlation between increased well-drilling and inpatient rates. Read more here!... Read more »

Jemielita, T., Gerton, G., Neidell, M., Chillrud, S., Yan, B., Stute, M., Howarth, M., Saberi, P., Fausti, N., Penning, T.... (2015) Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates. PLOS ONE, 10(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131093  

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