Sci/tech

Hot spot at Hawaii? Not so fast
August 18, 2017 02:01 PM - Rice University

Through analysis of volcanic tracks, Rice University geophysicists have concluded that hot spots like those that formed the Hawaiian Islands aren’t moving as fast as recently thought.

Hot spots are areas where magma pushes up from deep Earth to form volcanoes. New results from geophysicist Richard Gordon and his team confirm that groups of hot spots around the globe can be used to determine how fast tectonic plates move.

Gordon, lead author Chengzu Wang and co-author Tuo Zhang developed a method to analyze the relative motion of 56 hot spots grouped by tectonic plates. They concluded that the hot-spot groups move slowly enough to be used as a global reference frame for how plates move relative to the deep mantle. This confirmed the method is useful for viewing not only current plate motion but also plate motion in the geologic past.

Hot spot at Hawaii? Not so fast
August 18, 2017 02:01 PM - Rice University

Through analysis of volcanic tracks, Rice University geophysicists have concluded that hot spots like those that formed the Hawaiian Islands aren’t moving as fast as recently thought.

Hot spots are areas where magma pushes up from deep Earth to form volcanoes. New results from geophysicist Richard Gordon and his team confirm that groups of hot spots around the globe can be used to determine how fast tectonic plates move.

Gordon, lead author Chengzu Wang and co-author Tuo Zhang developed a method to analyze the relative motion of 56 hot spots grouped by tectonic plates. They concluded that the hot-spot groups move slowly enough to be used as a global reference frame for how plates move relative to the deep mantle. This confirmed the method is useful for viewing not only current plate motion but also plate motion in the geologic past.

Genome analysis with near-complete privacy possible
August 18, 2017 01:49 PM - Stanford University

It is now possible to scour complete human genomes for the presence of disease-associated genes without revealing any genetic information not directly associated with the inquiry, say Stanford University researchers.

This “genome cloaking” technique, devised by biologists, computer scientists and cryptographers at the university, ameliorates many concerns about genomic privacy and potential discrimination based on an individual’s genome sequence.

NASA Gets a Final Look at Hurricane Gert's Rainfall
August 18, 2017 01:15 PM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Before Hurricane Gert became a post-tropical cyclone, NASA got a look at the rainfall occurring within the storm. After Gert became post-tropical NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured an image as Gert was merging with another system.

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite provided rainfall information on Hurricane Gert on August 16, 2017 at 5:37 p.m. EDT (2137 UTC). At that time, Gert was a strong category two hurricane with maximum sustained winds of about 93.5 mph (85 knots).

Study Reveals Evolutionary History of Imperiled Salmon Stocks
August 18, 2017 01:07 PM - University of California - Davis

New technologies for analyzing DNA may transform how imperiled species are considered and managed for conservation protection, according to a study published today in the journal Science Advances and led by the University of California, Davis.

These technologies can be applied to a wide range of species around the world — from mushrooms to walruses — but the study focuses on two iconic species of Pacific salmon: steelhead and chinook. While steelhead are a legendary sport fish, chinook are considered the workhorse of the West Coast salmon industry.

NOAA scientists get rare chance to study the effects of an eclipse on weather
August 18, 2017 11:03 AM - NOAA

It’s the most fundamental principle of meteorology - energy from the sun drives Earth’s weather.

So what happens when the sun’s rays are blocked by an eclipse? And can modern forecasting tools accurately predict changes in the weather when the sun’s rays are partially or totally blocked?

Researchers unlock cheesemaking secret
August 18, 2017 11:03 AM - University of Queensland

Researchers say their new knowledge on the inner workings of a bacterium has important implications for Australia’s billion dollar cheese industry.

University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences researcher Associate Professor Mark Turner said a discovery by a UQ, Columbia University and University of Washington research group had explained the regulation of an enzyme in the bacterium Lactococcus, which is used as a starter culture in cheese production.

The Power of Perovskite
August 18, 2017 10:53 AM - Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Originally a mineral, the perovskite used in today’s technology is quite different from the rock found in the Earth mantle. A “perovskite structure” uses a different combination of atoms but keep the general 3-dimensional structure originally observed in the mineral, which possesses superb optoelectronic properties such as strong light absorption and facilitated charge transport. These advantages qualify the perovskite structure as particularly suited for the design of electronic devices, from solar cells to lights.

The accelerating progress in perovskite technology over the past few years suggest new perovskite-based devices will soon outperform current technology in the energy sector. The Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit at OIST led by Prof. Yabing Qi is at the forefront of this development, with now two new scientific publications focusing on the improvement of perovskite solar cells and a cheaper and smarter way to produce emerging perovskite-based LED lights.

SPOILER ALERT: Computer Simulations Provide Preview of Upcoming Eclipse
August 18, 2017 09:15 AM - University of Texas At Austin

A research team from Predictive Science Inc. (PSI) used the Stampede2supercomputer at The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to forecast the corona of the sun during the upcoming eclipse. The findings shed light on what the eclipse of the sun might look like Aug. 21 when it will be visible across much of the U.S., tracing a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states.

Beyond their rarity, solar eclipses help astronomers better understand the sun’s structure, inner workings and the space weather it generates. 

SPOILER ALERT: Computer Simulations Provide Preview of Upcoming Eclipse
August 18, 2017 09:15 AM - University of Texas At Austin

A research team from Predictive Science Inc. (PSI) used the Stampede2supercomputer at The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to forecast the corona of the sun during the upcoming eclipse. The findings shed light on what the eclipse of the sun might look like Aug. 21 when it will be visible across much of the U.S., tracing a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states.

Beyond their rarity, solar eclipses help astronomers better understand the sun’s structure, inner workings and the space weather it generates. 

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