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  • Indonesia volcano eruption death toll rises to 13
    on December 5, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Rescuers in Indonesia raced to find survivors in villages blanketed by molten ash Sunday after the eruption of Mount Semeru killed at least 13 people and left dozens injured, officials said.

  • Total solar eclipse plunges Antarctica into darkness
    on December 4, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    A total solar eclipse plunged Antarctica from summer into darkness early Saturday in a rare astronomical spectacle witnessed by a handful of scientists and thrill-seekers—and countless penguins.

  • How you speak up at work can affect whether you’re picked for a team
    on December 4, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Business leaders and management experts often encourage people to speak up in the workplace. Suggesting a creative idea or a more efficient way to work can help companies overcome challenges and meet goals. But new research shows another, more subtle and often overlooked form of speaking up has a big effect on the way work gets done and how teams come together.

  • Chemical pollutants disrupt reproduction in anemonefish, study finds
    on December 4, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Ocean pollution is unfortunately becoming more commonplace, raising concerns over the effect of chemicals that are leaching into the water. In a new study, researchers have discovered how these chemicals can affect the reproduction in common anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris.

  • Research finds nasal problem plagued long-nosed crocodile relatives
    on December 3, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    Research published in the journal Anatomical Record finds that humans have more in common with endangered crocodiles than we think—namely, a deviated septum.

  • To capture single photons, researchers create an interference ‘wall’
    on December 3, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Photons are the basis for many next-generation quantum technologies, including ultra-secure quantum communications and potentially game-changing quantum computers.

  • Understanding mouthfeel of food using physics
    on December 3, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Food texture can make the difference between passing on a plate and love at first bite. To date, most studies on food texture center on relating a food’s overall composition to its mechanical properties. Our understanding of how microscopic structure and changes in the shape of food affect food texture, however, remains underdeveloped.

  • Where did western honey bees come from? New research finds the sweet spot
    on December 3, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    For decades, scientists have hotly debated the origin of the western honey bee. Now, new research led by York University has discovered these popular honey-producing bees most likely originated in Asia.

  • Studying our solar system’s protective bubble
    on December 3, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    A multi-institutional team of astrophysicists headquartered at Boston University, led by BU astrophysicist Merav Opher, has made a breakthrough discovery in our understanding of the cosmic forces that shape the protective bubble surrounding our solar system—a bubble that shelters life on Earth and is known by space researchers as the heliosphere.

  • Potential new gene editing tools uncovered
    on December 3, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Few developments have rocked the biotechnology world or generated as much buzz as the discovery of CRISPR-Cas systems, a breakthrough in gene editing recognized in 2020 with a Nobel Prize. But these systems that naturally occur in bacteria are limited because they can make only small tweaks to genes. In recent years, scientists discovered a different system in bacteria that might lead to even more powerful methods for gene editing, given its unique ability to insert genes or whole sections of DNA in a genome.

  • Lightweight space robot with precise control developed
    on December 3, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Robots are already in space. From landers on the moon to rovers on Mars and more, robots are the perfect candidates for space exploration: they can bear extreme environments while consistently repeating the same tasks in exactly the same way without tiring. Like robots on Earth, they can accomplish both dangerous and mundane jobs, from space walks to polishing a spacecraft’s surface. With space missions increasing in number and expanding in scientific scope, requiring more equipment, there’s a need for a lightweight robotic arm that can manipulate in environments difficult for humans.

  • Fossils dug up 100 years ago rediscovered wrapped in old newspaper
    on December 3, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    A stash of rediscovered dinosaur bones wrapped in century-old newspapers is set to reveal two pasts: one set in the 1920s and the University of Alberta’s earliest paleontology, the other some 70 million years ago.

  • How can music, dance and art help improve air pollution?
    on December 3, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Music, dance, art and storytelling have allowed an international team of researchers to reveal aspects of air pollution in Nairobi that would not have been identified otherwise.

  • The role of messenger RNA in DNA repair
    on December 3, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    An organism’s genome could be compared to a complex system of instructions that allows it not only to develop, but also to carry out all the activities essential to its survival. To do this, this genome needs to be expressed correctly, i.e. these instructions need to be “read” properly, and the information it contains must not be altered or degraded over time.

  • Tropical forests recover after deforestation
    on December 3, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Tropical forests are disappearing at an alarming rate through deforestation, but they also have the potential to regrow naturally on abandoned lands. This has been shown by an international study led by scientists from Wageningen University. How a forest recovers, depends on the amount of rainfall, the age of the forest, and the functional characteristics of the tree species.

  • Astronomers discover hot, dense planet with eight-hour year
    on December 3, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    In a new study, published in the journal Nature, the researchers show that the planet, which is 31 light years from Earth, is one of the lightest among the nearly 5,000 exoplanets (planets outside our own solar system) that are known today, with half the mass of Earth. It has a diameter of just over 9,000 kilometers—slightly larger than Mars.

  • Exoplanets in debris disks
    on December 3, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Debris disks around main-sequence stars are tenuous belts of dust thought to be produced when asteroids or other planetesimals collide and fragment. They are common: more than about a quarter of all main-sequence stars have debris disks and, since these disks can be hard to detect, it is likely that the fraction is even higher. Current instruments are only able to detect debris disks in systems that are at least an order of magnitude more luminous than the disk generated by the solar system’s Kuiper Belt (the region extending from the orbit of Neptune at about thirty astronomical units out to about fifty au).

  • Development of a single-process platform for the manufacture of graphene quantum dots
    on December 3, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Graphene consists of a planar structure, with carbon atoms connected in a hexagonal shape that resembles a beehive. When graphene is reduced to several nanometers (nm) in size, it becomes a graphene quantum dot that exhibits fluorescent and semiconductor properties. Graphene quantum dots can be used in various applications as a novel material, including display screens, solar cells, secondary batteries, bioimaging, lighting, photocatalysis, and sensors. Interest in graphene quantum dots is growing, because recent research has demonstrated that controlling the proportion of heteroatoms (such as nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous) within the carbon structures of certain materials enhances their optical, electrical, and catalytic properties.

  • Inside the tectonic wake of a migrating restraining bend: Mount Denali—the highest mountain peak in North America
    on December 3, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    In their recent publication, “Why is Denali (6,190 m) so big? Caught inside the tectonic wake of a migrating restraining bend,” Jeff A. Benowitz and a research team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Virginia Tech, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in the U.S., documented the evolution of the Mount McKinley bend of the Denali Fault.

  • ESA’s Mars Express unravels mystery of martian moon using ‘fake’ flybys
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    By performing a series of real and ‘fake’ flybys, ESA’s Mars Express has revealed how Mars’ largest moon, Phobos, interacts with the solar wind of charged particles thrown out by the Sun—and spotted an elusive process that has only been seen at Phobos once before.

  • CMS collaboration homes in on Higgs boson’s lifetime
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    The Higgs boson doesn’t stick around for long. Once it is created in particle collisions, the famed particle lives for a mere less than a trillionth of a billionth of a second or, more precisely, 1.6 x 10-22 seconds. According to theory, that is, for so far experiments have only been able to set bounds on the value of the particle’s lifetime or to determine this property with a large uncertainty. Until now. In a new study, the CMS collaboration reports a value for the particle’s lifetime that has a small enough uncertainty to confirm that the Higgs boson does have such a short lifetime.

  • Host and resident bacteria join forces to control fungi in plant roots
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    In nature, the roots of healthy plants are colonized by complex microbial communities of bacteria and filamentous eukaryotes (i.e., fungi and oomycetes, Fig. 1), the composition of which profoundly influences plant health. Maintaining a microbial equilibrium in their roots is very important for plants to remain healthy, however, the means by which this is achieved by plants is still largely unknown. Now, in a new study published in PNAS, Stéphane Hacquard and his colleagues from the Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions at the MPIPZ in Cologne, Germany, shed light on the host and microbial factors that are required to maintain a beneficial relationship between plant roots and their diverse microbial partners.

  • Artificial material protects light states on smallest length scales
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Light not only plays a key role as an information carrier for optical computer chips, particularly for the next generation of quantum computers. Its lossless guidance around sharp corners on tiny chips and the precise control of its interaction with other light are the focus of research worldwide. Scientists at Paderborn University have now demonstrated the spatial confinement of a light wave to a point smaller than the wavelength in a topological photonic crystal. These are artificial electromagnetic materials that facilitate robust manipulation of light. The state is protected by special properties and is important for quantum chips, for example. The findings have now been published in Science Advances.

  • Iron selenide film reveals clues about superconductivity
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    Through their study of two-dimensional iron selenide (FeSe) films, a research team has unlocked some intriguing clues about superconductivity.

  • Spiders’ motion on a web studied as electrons orbiting a nucleus
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    The tiny male golden orb-weaving spider faces a considerable challenge when searching for a mate. He is a fraction of the size of the massive female, but must carefully enter her web and approach her without being noticed, because the cannibalistic female will kill and eat him if he makes one wrong move on her web. Add to this gamble the competition he faces from other males also on the delicate arena of the web, and you have a complex optimization problem that even human analysts would find daunting. Yet these little spiders barely have what we would recognize as a brain. How then do they manage? This is a question that has captivated Alex Jordan and members of his lab at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior for over a decade. Now, teaming up with researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science, they are closer to an answer.

  • Using machine learning and computationally derived descriptors to find special classes of catalysts
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    A team of researchers at RWTH Aachen University and the University of Jyväskylä has developed a system based on machine learning and computationally derived descriptors that can be used to find special kinds of catalysts. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes using machine learning algorithms to find patterns in known types of ligands and applying the results to find new catalysts.

  • How some tissues can ‘breathe’ without oxygen
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Humans need oxygen molecules for a process called cellular respiration, which takes place in our cells’ mitochondria. Through a series of reactions called the electron transport chain, electrons are passed along in a sort of cellular relay race, allowing the cell to create ATP, the molecule that gives our cells energy to complete their vital functions.

  • Researchers one step closer to optoacoustic endoscopic probe for microsurgery
    on December 3, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Skoltech researchers and their colleagues have come one step closer to a working optoacoustic endoscopic probe—a device that could slip inside a blood vessel and analyze atherosclerotic plaques by shining laser light on them to make them wobble like a loudspeaker membrane and betray their chemical composition with an ultrasound signature. This could prove useful in robotized microsurgery and medical diagnostics. The study recently came out in ACS Photonics.

  • Environmental scientist suggests lessons can be learned from unexpected eruption of Cumbre Vieja
    on December 3, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Environmental scientist Marc-Antoine Longpré with City University of New York is suggesting in a Perspective piece published in the journal Science that lessons can be learned from the unexpected eruption of Cumbre Vieja last fall. In his paper, he notes that the timing, explosive power and effusiveness of the blast caught most vulcanologists off guard.

  • Never-before-seen electron behavior could help scientists create superwires for supercharged technology
    on December 3, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Wakanda, the mythical setting for Marvel’s superhero film “Black Panther,” is home to some not-so-mythical technology. An indestructible cape might not yet be possible, but Wakanda’s levitating high-speed trains could zoom into reality with the help of superconductors.