Showing: 11 - 20 of 192 RESULTS

The mountains of Pluto are snowcapped, but not for the same reasons as on Earth — ScienceDaily

In 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snowcapped mountains on Pluto, which are strikingly similar to mountains on Earth. Such a landscape had never before been observed elsewhere in the Solar System. However, as atmospheric temperatures on our planet decrease at altitude, on Pluto they heat up at altitude as a result of solar radiation.

So where does this ice come from? An international team led by CNRS scientists* conducted this exploration. They first determined that the “snow” on Pluto’s mountains actually consists of frozen methane, with traces of this gas being present in Pluto’s atmosphere, just like water vapour on Earth.

Then, to understand how the same landscape could be produced in such different conditions, they used a climate model for the dwarf planet, which revealed that due to its particular dynamics, Pluto’s atmosphere is rich in gaseous methane at altitudes. As a result, it is only

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New method uses noise to make spectrometers more accurate — ScienceDaily

Optical spectrometers are instruments with a wide variety of uses. By measuring the intensity of light across different wavelengths, they can be used to image tissues or measure the chemical composition of everything from a distant galaxy to a leaf. Now researchers at the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering have come up a with a new, rapid method for characterizing and calibrating spectrometers, based on how they respond to “noise.”

Rendering of prism and spectrum

Optical spectroscopy splits light and measures the intensity of different wavelengths. It is a powerful technique across a wide range of applications. UC Davis engineers Aaron Kho and Vivek Srinivasan have now found a new way to characterize and cross-calibrate spectroscopy instruments using excess “noise” in a light signal.

Spectral resolution measures how well a spectrometer can distinguish light of different wavelengths. It’s also important to be able to calibrate the spectrometer so that

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American Pikas show resiliency in the face of global warming — ScienceDaily

The American pika is a charismatic, diminutive relative of rabbits that some researchers say is at high risk of extinction due to climate change. Pikas typically live in cool habitats, often in mountains, under rocks and boulders. Because pikas are sensitive to high temperatures, some researchers predict that, as the Earth’s temperature rises, pikas will have to move ever higher elevations until they eventually run out of habitat and die out. Some scientists have claimed this cute little herbivore is the proverbial canary in the coal mine for climate change.

A new extensive review by Arizona State University emeritus professor Andrew Smith, published in the October issue of the Journal of Mammalogy, finds that the American pika is far more resilient in the face of warm temperatures than previously believed. While emphasizing that climate change is a serious threat to the survival of many species on Earth, Smith believes

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New analytical framework predicts the propensity of wave-energy devices to capsize — ScienceDaily

Ocean waves represent an abundant source of renewable energy. But to best use this natural resource, wave-energy converters need to be capable of physically handling ocean waves of different strengths without capsizing.

Texas A&M University researchers have developed analytical tools that can help characterize the movements of floating but anchored wave-energy devices. Unlike complicated simulations that are expensive and time-consuming, they said their technique is fast, yet accurate enough to estimate if wave-energy devices will turn over in an ever-changing ocean environment.

“Wave-energy converters need to take advantage of large wave motions to make electricity. But when a big storm comes, you don’t want big wave, wind and current motions to destroy these devices,” said Dr. Jeffrey Falzarano, professor in the Department of Ocean Engineering. “We have developed much simpler analytical tools to judge the performance of these devices in a dynamic ocean environment without necessitating massive amounts of simulations

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A study detailing the processes that control mole size may help scientists find new ways to prevent skin cancer from growing — ScienceDaily

Moles stop growing when they reach a certain size due to normal interactions between cells, despite having cancer-associated gene mutations, says a new study published today in eLife.

The findings in mice could help scientists develop new ways to prevent skin cancer growth that take advantage of the normal mechanisms that control cell growth in the body.

Mutations that activate the protein made by the BRAF gene are believed to contribute to the development of skin cancer. However, recent studies have shown that these mutations do not often cause skin cancer, but instead result in the formation of completely harmless pigmented moles on the skin. In fact, 90% of moles have these cancer-linked mutations but never go on to form tumours. “Exploring why moles stop growing might lead us to a better understanding of what goes wrong in skin cancer,” says lead author Roland Ruiz-Vega, a postdoctoral researcher at

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Teen brain differences linked to increased waist circumference — ScienceDaily

Differences in the microstructure of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a region in the brain that plays an important role in processing food and other reward stimuli, predict increases in indicators of obesity in children, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and nine other institutes, all part of the National Institutes of Health. The paper, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The ABCD Study will follow nearly 12,000 children through early adulthood to assess factors that influence individual brain development and other health outcomes.

Findings from this study provide the first evidence of microstructural brain differences that are linked to waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) in children. These microstructural differences in cell density could be indicative of inflammatory processes triggered by a diet

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Sea star’s ability to clone itself may empower this mystery globetrotter — ScienceDaily

For decades, biologists have captured tiny sea star larvae in their nets that did not match the adults of any known species. A Smithsonian team recently discovered what these larvae grow up to be and how a special superpower may help them move around the world. Their results are published online in the Biological Bulletin.

“Thirty years ago, people noticed that these asteroid starfish larvae could clone themselves, and they wondered what the adult form was,” said staff scientist Rachel Collin at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). “They assumed that because the larvae were in the Caribbean the adults must also be from the Caribbean.”

Scientists monitor larvae because the larvae can be more sensitive to physical conditions than the adults and larval dispersal has a large influence on the distribution of adult fishes and invertebrates. Collin’s team uses a technique called DNA barcoding to identify plankton. They

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Novel discoveries in preventing epileptic seizures — ScienceDaily

A team of researchers from the Florida State University College of Medicine has found that an amino acid produced by the brain could play a crucial role in preventing a type of epileptic seizure.

Temporal lobe epileptic seizures are debilitating and can cause lasting damage in patients, including neuronal death and loss of neuron function.

Sanjay Kumar, an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, and his team are paving the way toward finding effective therapies for this disease.

The research team found a mechanism in the brain responsible for triggering epileptic seizures. Their research indicates that an amino acid known as D-serine could work with the mechanism to help prevent epileptic seizures, thereby also preventing the death of neural cells that accompanies them.

The team’s findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

The temporal lobe processes sensory information and creates memories, comprehends language

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Bacterial toxin with healing effect — ScienceDaily

A bacterial toxin promoting tissue healing has been discovered. The compound, found in Staphylococcus aureus, does not just damage cells, but also stimulates tissue regeneration.

Normally they are among the many harmless organisms found in and on the human body: one in four people have millions of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin and on the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, without being aware of it. In some cases, however, the harmless bacteria can turn into pathogens, which can lead to skin inflammation and lung infections, or — in the worst cases — sepsis. “This happens especially when the bacteria multiply too fast, for example when a person’s immune system is weakened by an infection or injury,” says Prof. Oliver Werz of Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany.

The Professor for Pharmaceutical Chemistry and his team have studied the molecular defence mechanisms of the human immune system in

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Dust increases reflect farming practices and climate trends reminiscent of the lead-up to the 1930s Dust Bowl — ScienceDaily

Got any spaces left on that 2020 bingo card? Pencil in “another Dust Bowl in the Great Plains.” A study from University of Utah researchers and their colleagues finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year.

The trend of rising dust parallels expansion of cropland and seasonal crop cycles, suggesting that farming practices are exposing more soil to wind erosion. And if the Great Plains becomes drier, a possibility under climate change scenarios, then all the pieces are in place for a repeat of the Dust Bowl that devastated the Midwest in the 1930s.

“We can’t make changes to the earth surface without some kind of consequence just as we can’t burn fossil fuels without consequences,” says Andy Lambert, lead author of the study and a recent U graduate. “So while the agriculture industry is absolutely important, we

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