Wobbling of a Saturn moon hints at what lies beneath

Using instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft to measure the wobbles of Mimas, the closest of Saturn's regular moons, a Cornell University astronomer publishing in Science, Oct. 17, has inferred that this small moon's icy surface cloaks either a rugby ball-shaped...

Loss of big predators could leave herbivores in a thorny situation

This image shows impala (antelope), Mpala Research Center, Laikipia, Kenya.Global declines in carnivore populations could embolden plant eaters to increasingly dine on succulent vegetation, driving losses in plant and tree biodiversity, according to UBC research published today in Science.

Thermal paper cash register receipts account for high bisphenol A (BPA) levels in humans

Vom Saal's team is providing the first data that BPA from thermal paper used in cash register receipts accounts for high levels of BPA in humans.Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as water bottles, dental composites and resins used to line metal food and beverage...

Backpack physics: Smaller hikers carry heavier loads

A group of backpackers hike on an Outward Bound course in the La Sal Mountains, UT.Hikers are generally advised that the weight of the packs they carry should correspond to their own size, with smaller individuals carrying lighter loads. Although petite backpackers might appreciate the...

Big black holes can block new stars

This is elliptical galaxy NGC 1132, as seen by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory; the blue/purple in the image is the X-ray glow from hot, diffuse gas that is not forming into stars.Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

Whole exome sequencing closer to becoming 'new family history'

Approximately one-fourth of the 3,386 patients whose DNA was submitted for clinical whole exome testing received a diagnosis related to a known genetic disease, often ending a long search for...

Researchers develop world's thinnest electric generator

This is a cartoon showing positive and negative polarized charges are squeezed from a single layer of atoms of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), as it is being stretched.Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology report today that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin...

A global surge of great earthquakes from 2004-2014 and implications for Cascadia

The last ten years have been a remarkable time for great earthquakes. Since December 2004 there have been no less than 18 quakes of Mw8.0 or greater -- a rate...

Penn researchers untangle the biological effects of blue light

This image depicts Geoffrey K. Aguirre, MD, PhD, a behavioral neurologist and associate professor in the department of Neurology; Manuel Spitschan, a Penn graduate student in psychology; and David Brainard, PhD, RRL professor of Psychology, director of the Vision Research Center and director of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science; found that melanopsin, a protein and short wave-sensitive S-cones, both in the retina, have opposite effects and compete for control of the pupil in response to blue light.Blue light can both set the mood and set in motion important biological responses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences have...

Fast modeling of cancer mutations

Sequencing the genomes of tumor cells has revealed thousands of genetic mutations linked with cancer. However, sifting through this deluge of information to figure out which of these mutations actually...

Journey to the center of the earth

This map of the Samoan hotspot shows its division into three parallel volcanic lineaments.A UC Santa Barbara geochemist studying Samoan volcanoes has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside the Earth. Known as hotspots, volcanic island chains such as Samoa...

Camera-traps capture wild chimps' nighttime raiding activities

Wild chimpanzees living in disturbed habitat may use innovative strategies, like foraging crops at night, to coexist with nearby human activities, according to a study published October 22, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sabrina Krief from Muséum...

POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization

This is the Huan Tran Telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile. The POLARBEAR microwave bolometers are mounted on the telescope to study the polarization of light from a period 380,000 years after the Big Bang.An international team of physicists has measured a subtle characteristic in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation that will allow them to map the large-scale structure of the...

Exploring X-Ray phase tomography with synchrotron radiation

Phase-contrast imaging is a technique for scanning the volumes of soft tissues like tumors or internal organs, but with much greater contrast than conventional CT scans. This image shows a non-invasive 'slice' of a rat's heart tissue made with X-ray phase tomography by propagation-based imaging, which provides sharper data with higher resolution than phase tomography using X-ray grating interferometry (see image #2).X-ray phase tomography is an imaging technique that uses penetrating X-rays to create volumetric views through "slices" or sections of soft biological tissues, such as tumors, and it offers strongly...

Triplet threat from the sun

This is the initial UV excitation leading to photofragmentation.The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper -- ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins...

University of Tennessee study finds fish just wanna have fun

A cichlid fish strikes a bottom-weighted thermometer that would immediately right itself. It was often struck repeatedly in bouts.Fish just want to have fun, according to a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study that finds even fish "play."

Researchers solve riddle of the rock pools

The rock goby can change both its color and brightness to match its background in just one minute.Research from the University of Exeter has revealed that the rock goby (Gobius paganellus), an unassuming little fish commonly found in rock pools around Britain, southern Europe, and North Africa,...

New tracers can identify frack fluids in the environment

Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment.

Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii

Hawaii's evacuation maps are based in part on the 1946 tsunami, the most destructive tsunami in Hawaii's recent history. But new research shows that mammoth tsunamis, many times the size of the 1946 event, have struck the island in the past, and may again in the future.A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii's recorded history, has...

Tiny 'nanoflares' might heat the Sun's corona

This image from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) shows emission from hot plasma (T ~ 80,000-100,000 K) in the Sun's transition region -- the atmospheric layer between the surface and the outer corona. The bright, C-shaped feature at upper center shows brightening in the footprints of hot coronal loops, which is created by high-energy electrons accelerated by nanoflares. The vertical dark line corresponds to the slit of the spectrograph. The image is color-coded to show light at a wavelength of 1,400 Angstroms. The size of each pixel corresponds to about 120 km (75 miles) on the Sun.Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa...

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new...

UNH scientist: Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes...

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