Sci/tech

How cancers trick the immune system into helping rather than harming them
February 16, 2017 01:00 PM - Trinity College Dublin

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have discovered how certain cancers hijack the immune system for their benefit -- tricking it into helping rather than harming them.

Method to predict surface ozone pollution levels provides 48-hour heads-up
February 16, 2017 11:36 AM - Penn State University

A novel air quality model will help air quality forecasters predict surface ozone levels up to 48-hours in advance and with fewer resources, according to a team of meteorologists.

The method, called regression in self-organizing map (REGiS), weighs and combines statistical air quality models by pairing them with predicted weather patterns to create probabilistic ozone forecasts. Unlike current chemical transport models, REGiS can predict ozone levels up to 48 hours in advance without requiring significant computational power.

Snow Science in Support of Our Nation's Water Supply
February 16, 2017 11:29 AM - NASA

Researchers have completed the first flights of a NASA-led field campaign that is targeting one of the biggest gaps in scientists' understanding of Earth's water resources: snow.

NASA uses the vantage point of space to study all aspects of Earth as an interconnected system. But there remain significant obstacles to measuring accurately how much water is stored across the planet's snow-covered regions. The amount of water in snow plays a major role in water availability for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower.

How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions
February 16, 2017 10:26 AM - Nicole Moore via University of Michigan

New findings from the University of Michigan explain an Ice Age paradox and add to the mounting evidence that climate change could bring higher seas than most models predict.

The study, published in Nature, shows how small spikes in the temperature of the ocean, rather than the air, likely drove the rapid disintegration cycles of the expansive ice sheet that once covered much of North America.

Crystal Growth, Earth Science and Tech Demo Research Launching to Orbiting Laboratory
February 16, 2017 10:16 AM - NASA / Johnson Space Center

The tenth SpaceX cargo resupply launch to the International Space Station, targeted for launch Feb. 18, will deliver investigations that study human health, Earth science and weather patterns. Here are some highlights of the research headed to the orbiting laboratory:

Crystal growth investigation could improve drug delivery, manufacturing

Monoclonal antibodies are important for fighting off a wide range of human diseases, including cancers. These antibodies work with the natural immune system to bind to certain molecules to detect, purify and block their growth. The Microgravity Growth of Crystalline Monoclonal Antibodies for Pharmaceutical Applications (CASIS PCG 5) investigation will crystallize a human monoclonal antibody, developed by Merck Research Labs, that is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of immunological disease.

How much biomass grows in the savannah?
February 16, 2017 09:49 AM - Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Savannahs form one of the largest habitats in the world, covering around one-fifth of the Earth's land area. They are mainly to be found in sub-Saharan Africa. Savannahs are home not only to unique wildlife, including the 'Big Five' - the African elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, leopard and lion - but also to thousands of endemic plant species such as the baobab, or monkey bread tree.

Newly engineered material can cool roofs, structures with zero energy consumption
February 15, 2017 04:24 PM - Trent Knoss via University of Colorado at Boulder

A team of University of Colorado Boulder engineers has developed a scalable manufactured metamaterial — an engineered material with extraordinary properties not found in nature — to act as a kind of air conditioning system for structures. It has the ability to cool objects even under direct sunlight with zero energy and water consumption.

When applied to a surface, the metamaterial film cools the object underneath by efficiently reflecting incoming solar energy back into space while simultaneously allowing the surface to shed its own heat in the form of infrared thermal radiation.

NASA Study Identifies New Pathway for Greenland Meltwater to Reach Ocean
February 15, 2017 11:57 AM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

Cracks in the Greenland Ice Sheet let one of its aquifers drain to the ocean, new NASA research finds. The aquifers, discovered only recently, are unusual in that they trap large amounts of liquid water within the ice sheet. Until now, scientists did not know what happened to the water stored away in this reservoir -- the discovery will help fine tune computer models of Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise.

Researchers Catch Extreme Waves with High-Resolution Modeling
February 15, 2017 10:55 AM - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Surfers aren’t the only people trying to catch big waves. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are trying to do so, too, at least in wave climate forecasts.

Intergalactic unions more devastating than we thought
February 15, 2017 10:49 AM - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Scientists from MIPT, the University of Oxford, and the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated the number of stars disrupted by solitary supermassive black holes in galactic centers formed due to mergers of galaxies containing supermassive black holes. The astrophysicists found out whether gravitational effects arising as two black holes draw closer to one another can explain why we observe fewer stars being captured by black holes than basic theoretical models predict. In their study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the researchers looked into the interplay of various dynamic mechanisms affecting the number of stars in a galaxy that are captured per unit time (tidal disruption rate). (Spoiler Alert! An advanced theoretical model yielded results that are even more inconsistent with observations, leading the team to hypothesize that the disruption of stars in galactic nuclei may occur without our knowledge.) 

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