Sci/tech

Tornado Spawning Eastern U.S. Storms Examined by NASA's GPM Satellite
May 26, 2017 10:59 AM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

On Wednesday May 24, 2017 severe weather affected a large area of the eastern United States. That's when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over the area and found extremely heavy rainfall and towering clouds in the system.

Tornadoes were reported in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio on that day. The National Weather Service noted that rainfall in Tallahassee, Florida set a record at 1.52 inches on May 24.

NOAA begins transition of powerful new tool to improve hurricane forecasts
May 26, 2017 07:40 AM - NOAA

NOAA will begin using its newest weather prediction tool -- the dynamic core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), to provide high quality guidance to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center through the 2017 hurricane season.

Developed by Shian-Jiann Lin and his team at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), the FV3 will be used to power experimental hurricane forecast models that run parallel to the operational forecast models this season. This is the start of a major transition of the FV3 to NOAA operational weather forecasting, expected to be completed in 2019.

University of Saskatchewan Bat Men shed light on bat super immunity
May 26, 2017 07:40 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cause serious and often fatal disease in people, but bats seem unharmed.

Veterinary microbiology PhD candidate Arinjay Banerjee and his professor Vikram Misra have now found some clues.

New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
May 25, 2017 05:10 PM - University of California - San Diego

Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries.

The device is an improved version of a clinical tool called an electrode grid, which is a plastic or silicone-based grid of electrodes that is placed directly on the surface of the brain during surgery to monitor the activity of large groups of neurons. Neurosurgeons use electrode grids to identify which areas of the brain are diseased in order to avoid damaging or removing healthy, functional tissue during operations. Despite their wide use, electrode grids have remained bulky and have not experienced any major advances over the last 20 years.

New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
May 25, 2017 05:10 PM - University of California - San Diego

Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries.

The device is an improved version of a clinical tool called an electrode grid, which is a plastic or silicone-based grid of electrodes that is placed directly on the surface of the brain during surgery to monitor the activity of large groups of neurons. Neurosurgeons use electrode grids to identify which areas of the brain are diseased in order to avoid damaging or removing healthy, functional tissue during operations. Despite their wide use, electrode grids have remained bulky and have not experienced any major advances over the last 20 years.

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells
May 25, 2017 04:21 PM - Jennifer Langston via University of Washington

Living cells must constantly process information to keep track of the changing world around them and arrive at an appropriate response.

Through billions of years of trial and error, evolution has arrived at a mode of information processing at the cellular level. In the microchips that run our computers, information processing capabilities reduce data to unambiguous zeros and ones. In cells, it’s not that simple. DNA, proteins, lipids and sugars are arranged in complex and compartmentalized structures.

But scientists — who want to harness the potential of cells as living computers that can respond to disease, efficiently produce biofuels or develop plant-based chemicals — don’t want to wait for evolution to craft their desired cellular system.

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells
May 25, 2017 04:21 PM - Jennifer Langston via University of Washington

Living cells must constantly process information to keep track of the changing world around them and arrive at an appropriate response.

Through billions of years of trial and error, evolution has arrived at a mode of information processing at the cellular level. In the microchips that run our computers, information processing capabilities reduce data to unambiguous zeros and ones. In cells, it’s not that simple. DNA, proteins, lipids and sugars are arranged in complex and compartmentalized structures.

But scientists — who want to harness the potential of cells as living computers that can respond to disease, efficiently produce biofuels or develop plant-based chemicals — don’t want to wait for evolution to craft their desired cellular system.

Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
May 25, 2017 04:13 PM - Oregon State University

Sediment that eroded from the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau over millions of years was transported thousands of kilometers by rivers and in the Indian Ocean – and became sufficiently thick over time to generate temperatures warm enough to strengthen the sediment and increase the severity of the catastrophic 2004 Sumatra earthquake.

The magnitude 9.2 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, generated a massive tsunami that devastated coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. The earthquake and tsunami together killed more than 250,000 people making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.

Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
May 25, 2017 04:13 PM - Oregon State University

Sediment that eroded from the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau over millions of years was transported thousands of kilometers by rivers and in the Indian Ocean – and became sufficiently thick over time to generate temperatures warm enough to strengthen the sediment and increase the severity of the catastrophic 2004 Sumatra earthquake.

The magnitude 9.2 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, generated a massive tsunami that devastated coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. The earthquake and tsunami together killed more than 250,000 people making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.

Solving one of nature's great puzzles: what drives the accelerating expansion of the universe?
May 25, 2017 08:06 AM - University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia (UBC) physicists may have solved one of nature’s great puzzles: what causes the accelerating expansion of our universe?

PhD student Qingdi Wang has tackled this question in a new study that tries to resolve a major incompatibility issue between two of the most successful theories that explain how our universe works: quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

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