Phosphorene, a single layer of phosphorous in a particular configuration, has potential application in semiconductor transistors.

Not just climate change: Study finds human activity is a major factor driving wildfires

A new study examining wildfires in California found that human activity explains as much about their frequency and location as climate influences. The researchers systematically looked at human behaviors...

RNA splicing mutations play major role in genetic variation and disease

RNA splicing is a major underlying factor that links mutations to complex traits and diseases, according to an exhaustive analysis of gene expression in whole genome and cell line data....

Water storage made prehistoric settlement expansion possible in Amazonia

Contemporary water storage. Location: Bom Futuro.Columbian settlements in Amazonia were not limited to the vicinities of rivers and lakes. One example of this can be found in the Santarém region in Brazilian Amazonia, where most...

Insect outbreaks reduce wildfire severity

Surprising new University of Vermont research finds that outbreaks by the mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm can actually reduce wildfire severity.Forest scientists have found an unexpected 'silver lining' to the insect outbreaks that have ravaged millions of trees across western North America.

Brain's 'thesaurus' mapped to help decode inner thoughts

What if a map of the brain could help us decode people's inner thoughts?

Silent epidemic? Head injury may be linked to lasting sleep problems

People who have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may still have sleep problems a year and a half after being injured, according to a study published in the April...

Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected

Oregon State University researcher Staci Simonich.The pavement sealcoat products used widely around the nation on thousands of asphalt driveways and parking lots are significantly more toxic and mutagenic than previously suspected, according to a new...

Hominins may have been food for carnivores 500,000 years ago

Tooth-marks on a 500,000-year-old hominin femur bone found in a Moroccan cave indicate that it was consumed by large carnivores, likely hyenas, according to a study published April 27, 2016 in the open-access journal <i>PLOS ONE</i>.Tooth-marks on a 500,000-year-old hominin femur bone found in a Moroccan cave indicate that it was consumed by large carnivores, likely hyenas, according to a study published April 27, 2016...

New tool puts a consistent value on experts' uncertainty on climate change models

Science can flourish when experts disagree, but in the governmental realm uncertainty can lead to inadequate policy and preparedness. When it comes to climate change, it can be OK for...

Protecting diversity on coral reefs: DNA may hold the key

This image shows coral reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands/ Papah&#257;naumoku&#257;kea Marine National Monument teeming with fishes.Coral reefs are widely known for their stunning array of color, shape and forms of life, making them a model for extreme biodiversity. Hidden within the multitude of reef inhabitants,...

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Hunting wolves near Denali, Yellowstone cuts wolf sightings in half

A wolf trots ahead of a visitor bus in Denali National Park and Preserve.Visitors to national parks are half as likely to see wolves in their natural habitat when wolf hunting is permitted just outside park boundaries.

Trinity scientists reveal origin of Earth's oldest crystals

Scanning electron microscope picture of a zircon crystal from the Sudbury crater.The tiny crystals probably formed in huge impact craters not long after Earth formed, some 4 billion years ago

Bearded dragons show REM and slow wave sleep

Sleeping bearded dragon (<i>Pogona vitticeps</i>).Behavioural sleep is ubiquitous among animals, from insects to man. In humans, sleep is also characterized by brain activity: periods of slow-wave activity are each followed by short phases of...

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A theory explains why gaming on touchscreens is clumsy

Users are most accurate in timing tasks when the touch event is registered when the contact area of the finger is largest. This is the time when maximum kinetic energy is transferred to the touch surface.New research challenges the belief that touchscreens are worse input devices because they lack physical buttons. The reason is that key press timing in touchscreen input is unpredictable. When timing...

Are we alone? Setting some limits to our uniqueness

In 1961, astrophysicist Frank Drake developed an equation to estimate the number of advanced civilizations likely to exist in the Milky Way galaxy. The Drake equation (top row) has proven to be a durable framework for research, and space technology has advanced scientists' knowledge of several variables. But it is impossible to do anything more than guess at variables such as L, the probably longevity of other advanced civilizations.

In new research, Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan offer a new equation (bottom row) to address a slightly different question: What is the number of advanced civilizations likely to have developed over the history of the observable universe? Frank and Sullivan's equation draws on Drake's, but eliminates the need for L.Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question-- summed up in the famous Drake equation -- has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and...

New report shows electronic cigarettes are beneficial to UK public health

Electronic cigarettes have the potential to contribute to reducing death and disability caused by Britain's biggest killer, say experts in The BMJ today.

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Hear no evil: Farmed fish found to be hard of hearing

The left and right earbones of a juvenile farmed salmon. The left one is normal, and the right one is deformed. The deformed earbone is larger and more opaque.New research published today in the journal Scientific Reports has revealed for the first time that half of the world's farmed fish have hearing loss due to a deformity of...

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Contamination in North Dakota linked to fracking spills

One of the 9,700 oil and gas wells drilled in North Dakota in the last decade. A Duke study has found wastewater spills are widespread, causing long-lasting contamination of soil and water.Accidental wastewater spills from unconventional oil production in North Dakota have caused widespread water and soil contamination, a new Duke University study finds.

Scientists establish first map of the sea lion brain

California sea lions have brains about the size of chimpanzees but they are organized much differently.Rio is a California sea lion who can solve IQ tests that many people have trouble passing. In fact, she is so smart that scientists at the Long Marine Lab...

Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

Deoxgenation due to climate change is already detectable in some parts of the ocean. New research from NCAR finds that it will likely become widespread between 2030 and 2040. Other parts of the ocean, shown in gray, will not have detectable loss of oxygen due to climate change even by 2100.A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large...

Decoding Zika to fight future outbreaks

Researcher Juan Carlos Saiz from the Department of Biotechnology of the Instituto Nacional de Investigaci&oacute;n y Tecnolog&iacute;a Agraria y Alimentaria in Madrid studying the Zika virus.The constant emergence of viral outbreaks has become a permanent threat to human health. Last year, Zika virus infected thousands of people in the Americas. It is also associated to...

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