Scientists have developed a new way to grow hematite as an electrode in solar water-splitting devices to greatly improve efficiency!... Read more »
Jang, J., Du, C., Ye, Y., Lin, Y., Yao, X., Thorne, J., Liu, E., McMahon, G., Zhu, J., Javey, A.... (2015) Enabling unassisted solar water splitting by iron oxide and silicon. Nature Communications, 7447. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8447
With gravitational lensing, researchers have located population III stars in far galaxies.... Read more »
Rydberg, C., Zackrisson, E., Zitrin, A., Guaita, L., Melinder, J., Asadi, S., Gonzalez, J., Östlin, G., & Ström, T. (2015) A SEARCH FOR POPULATION III GALAXIES IN CLASH. I. SINGLY IMAGED CANDIDATES AT HIGH REDSHIFT. The Astrophysical Journal, 804(1), 13. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/804/1/13
A look at living with disease close at hand, using a couple different papers. Living with Risk.... Read more »
Foxman EF, Storer JA, Fitzgerald ME, Wasik BR, Hou L, Zhao H, Turner PE, Pyle AM, & Iwasaki A. (2015) Temperature-dependent innate defense against the common cold virus limits viral replication at warm temperature in mouse airway cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(3), 827-32. PMID: 25561542
Martincorena I, Roshan A, Gerstung M, Ellis P, Van Loo P, McLaren S, Wedge DC, Fullam A, Alexandrov LB, Tubio JM.... (2015) Tumor evolution. High burden and pervasive positive selection of somatic mutations in normal human skin. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6237), 880-6. PMID: 25999502
Cherry, J., Liu, B., Frost, J., Lemere, C., Williams, J., Olschowka, J., & O’Banion, M. (2012) Galactic Cosmic Radiation Leads to Cognitive Impairment and Increased Aβ Plaque Accumulation in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. PLoS ONE, 7(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053275
Organic solar cells suffer from fast electron-hole recombination, limiting efficiency, but scientists have found a cool new structure to prevent such limitations!... Read more »
Huber, R., Ferreira, A., Thompson, R., Kilbride, D., Knutson, N., Devi, L., Toso, D., Challa, J., Zhou, Z., Rubin, Y.... (2015) Long-lived photoinduced polaron formation in conjugated polyelectrolyte-fullerene assemblies. Science, 348(6241), 1340-1343. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa6850
Moving closer to the possibility of “materials that compute” and wearing your computer on your sleeve, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have designed a responsive hybrid material that is fueled by an oscillatory chemical reaction and can perform computations based on changes in the environment or movement, and potentially even respond to human vital signs. The material system is sufficiently small and flexible that it could ultimately be integrated in........ Read more »
Yashin, V., Levitan, S., & Balazs, A. (2015) Achieving synchronization with active hybrid materials: Coupling self-oscillating gels and piezoelectric films. Scientific Reports, 11577. DOI: 10.1038/srep11577
There's good news for scientists who study animals that are too small to carry a GPS monitor, or that spit ID tags back out through their arms. A setup using an off-the-shelf camera can precisely capture an animal's path in three dimensions—without anyone touching the animal.
Emmanuel de Margerie, who studies animal behavior at the University of Rennes 1 in France, says there are several reasons to seek new animal-tracking technologies. To put a GPS or other kind of tag on an animal, yo........ Read more »
de Margerie E, Simonneau M, Caudal JP, Houdelier C, & Lumineau S. (2015) 3D tracking of animals in the field, using rotational stereo videography. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 26056245
A description of the formation of the solar system and how we think it got to be how it is today, with a focus on Pluto and Kuiper belt.... Read more »
Thayne Currie, Carey M. Lisse, Marc J. Kuchner, Nikku Madhusudhan, Scott J. Kenyon, Christian Thalmann, Joseph Carson, & John H. Debes. (2015) Direct Imaging and Spectroscopy of a Young Extrasolar Kuiper Belt in the Nearest OB Association. Astrophysical Journal Letters. arXiv: 1505.06734v1
Konstantin Batygin, & Gregory Laughlin. (2015) Jupiter's Decisive Role in the Inner Solar System's Early Evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. arXiv: 1503.06945v2
A new paper in the unconventional journal Medical Hypotheses raises concerns that MRI brain scans could be harmful.
E. Z. Meilikhov of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology proposes that the powerful static magnetic fields inside an MRI scanner could exert force on tiny particles of the iron-containing mineral magnetite within the brain. These nanoparticles, being magnetic, could move and rotate in the MRI's magnetic field and even be forced inside neurons, he says:
20 years ago... Read more »
Meilikhov EZ. (2015) Is magnetic resonance imaging of human brain is harmful?. Medical hypotheses. PMID: 26003831
Crystalline silicon solar cells are reaching their efficiency limit and manufacturing costs. But a new method to create black-silicon solar cells, potentially cheaper, has led to a record 22.1% efficiency. Learn about the physics behind the record here!... Read more »
Savin H, Repo P, von Gastrow G, Ortega P, Calle E, Garín M, & Alcubilla R. (2015) Black silicon solar cells with interdigitated back-contacts achieve 22.1% efficiency. Nature nanotechnology. PMID: 25984832
Magnetic superpowers are now possible by implanting a tiny magnet in your body.... Read more »
Hameed, J.; Harrison, I.; Gasson, M.N.; Warwick, K. (2010) A novel human-machine interface using subdermal magnetic implants. Cybernetic Intelligent Systems (CIS). DOI: 10.1109/UKRICIS.2010.5898141
While fusion might still be a far off dream, a new discovery may help bring that dream closer to reality. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that could quicken the development of large scale fusion energy. The scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.... Read more »
Peatlands have long been seen as a dangerous store of carbon that could be released as glaciers melt and temperatures increase. But new research suggests Nature has some natural adaptations at hand to prevent such a release from occurring!... Read more »
Wang, H., Richardson, C., & Ho, M. (2015) Dual controls on carbon loss during drought in peatlands. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2643
Of two network breakdown models, researchers find ‘link deletion’ to be most common.... Read more »
Yohsuke Murase, Hang-Hyun Jo, János Török, János Kertész, & Kimmo Kaski. (2015) Modeling the role of relationship fading and breakup in social network formation. arXiv. arXiv: 1505.00644v1
In the future when touch screens are obsolete and we control our devices by facial gesture, maybe we'll zoom in and out the same way a bat does it. We'll open our mouths wide to narrow our field of focus. To see the bigger picture, we'll purse our lips tightly. But while we'll only be reading the news or shopping online, bats are operating one of the coolest sensory systems owned by a mammal.
An Italian priest, Lazzaro Spallanzani, sent blindfolded bats through obstacle courses in the lat... Read more »
Kounitsky P, Rydell J, Amichai E, Boonman A, Eitan O, Weiss AJ, & Yovel Y. (2015) Bats adjust their mouth gape to zoom their biosonar field of view. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25941395
In case you missed it, the people of the United Kingdom just elected 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to run their government for the next give years. How many of these newly elected MPs have science backgrounds? Like many, I was inspired by Mark Henderson’s book The Geek Manifesto  back in 2012 after reading an article which argued that (quote) “with just one British MP having a scientific background, the people who run the country clearly need some expert advice”. So when I........ Read more »
Anon. (2012) Books in brief: The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters. Nature, 485(7397), 173-173. DOI: 10.1038/485173a
The House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith, unveiled their new science budget last week. Read on to see what it proposes and what it means for science.... Read more »
Mervis, J., & Cho, A. (2015) House science chief unveils contentious vision for science. Science, 348(6233), 380-381. DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6233.380
Of course there's nothing ordinary about an octopus. It's the animal that showed us spinelessness doesn't have to mean a lack of smarts. But when researchers brought some octopuses into the lab to study exactly how the animals move, their findings were bizarre—both predictably and unpredictably.
Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem studied nine common octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) that fishers had scooped out of the ocean for them. Once the animals got comfortable in the lab, t........ Read more »
Levy G, Flash T, & Hochner B. (2015) Arm Coordination in Octopus Crawling Involves Unique Motor Control Strategies. Current biology : CB. PMID: 25891406
Back in the day, I argued that if we were going to get serious about space exploration, we also had to budget for large, luxury spacecraft rather than just capsules in which we would cram the brave men and women we’d be sending to other worlds with a pat on the back for agreeing to deal with the discomfort and damage to their bodies. Among the reasons listed were the basic physiological problems of spending many months in zero gravity, and mental health hazards of boredom and cabin fever. ........ Read more »
Vipan K. Parihar, Barrett Allen, Katherine K. Tran, Trisha G. Macaraeg, Esther M. Chu, Stephanie F. Kwok, Nicole N. Chmielewski, Brianna M. Craver, Janet E. Baulch, Munjal M. Acharya, Francis A. Cucinotta, & Charles L. Limoli. (2015) What happens to your brain on the way to Mars. Science Advances, 1(4). info:/10.1126/sciadv.1400256
How can we mimic plant photosynthesis to move to a fossil-free economy? Read here to find out!... Read more »
Sun, K., Saadi, F., Lichterman, M., Hale, W., Wang, H., Zhou, X., Plymale, N., Omelchenko, S., He, J., Papadantonakis, K.... (2015) Stable solar-driven oxidation of water by semiconducting photoanodes protected by transparent catalytic nickel oxide films. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201423034. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1423034112
The alien civilizations we search might be too advanced to be found.
... Read more »
Griffith, R., Wright, J., Maldonado, J., Povich, M., Sigurđsson, S., & Mullan, B. (2015) THE Ĝ INFRARED SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL CIVILIZATIONS WITH LARGE ENERGY SUPPLIES. III. THE REDDEST EXTENDED SOURCES IN . The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 217(2), 25. DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/217/2/25
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