Sci/tech

Ancient Jars Found in Judea Reveal Earth's Magnetic Field is Fluctuating, Not Diminishing
February 14, 2017 03:21 PM - American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Albert Einstein considered the origin of the Earth's magnetic field one of the five most important unsolved problems in physics. The weakening of the geomagnetic field, which extends from the planet's core into outer space and was first recorded 180 years ago, has raised concern by some for the welfare of the biosphere.

The Most Remote Place on Earth is Also One of the Most Polluted
February 14, 2017 03:17 PM - Yale Environment 360

Scientists have discovered high levels of extremely toxic chemicals in the most remote place on earth — the 36,000-foot-deep Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, according to new research published in the journal Natural Ecology and Evolution.

Marine biologists used fish traps and robotic submarines to collect crustaceans from the trench’s seafloor and then measured the level of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in each specimen.

Sunlight or bacteria? Scientists investigate what breaks down permafrost carbon
February 14, 2017 02:01 PM - Kathleen Haughney via Florida State University

A Florida State University researcher is delving into the complexities of exactly how permafrost thawing in the Earth’s most northern regions is cycling back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and further fueling climate change.

Answer: It has a lot to do with tiny little bugs called microbes and little to do with sunlight.

Assistant Professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Robert Spencer and a team of researchers traveled to Siberia from 2012 to 2015 to better understand how thawing permafrost affected the carbon cycle. They specifically investigated how the vast amounts of carbon stored in this permafrost transferred to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Genes in albino orchids may hold clues to parasitic mechanism used by non-photosynthetic plants
February 14, 2017 10:49 AM - Kobe University

How do plants give up photosynthesis and become parasites? A research team in Japan are using comprehensive analysis of gene expression in albino and green orchids to investigate the evolution of parasitic plant.

SFU technology puts 'touch' into long-distance relationships
February 14, 2017 10:46 AM - Simon Fraser University

Long-distance couples can share a walk, watch movies together, and even give each other a massage, using new technologies being developed in Carman Neustaedter’s Simon Fraser University lab. 

Stanford researchers measure African farm yields using high-resolution satellites
February 14, 2017 08:42 AM - Stanford University

Stanford researchers have developed a new way to estimate crop yields from space, using high-resolution photos snapped by a new wave of compact satellites.

The approach, detailed in the Feb. 13 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help estimate agricultural productivity and test intervention strategies in poor regions of the world where data are currently extremely scarce.

Descent into a Frozen Underworld
February 14, 2017 08:38 AM - NASA

Mt. Erebus is at the end of our world -- and offers a portal to another.

It's our planet's southernmost active volcano, reaching 12,448 feet (3,794 meters) above Ross Island in Antarctica. Temperatures at the surface are well below freezing most of the year, but that doesn't stop visits from scientists: Erebus is also one of the few volcanoes in the world with an exposed lava lake. You can peer over the lip of its main crater and stare straight into it.

Descent into a Frozen Underworld
February 14, 2017 08:38 AM - NASA

Mt. Erebus is at the end of our world -- and offers a portal to another.

It's our planet's southernmost active volcano, reaching 12,448 feet (3,794 meters) above Ross Island in Antarctica. Temperatures at the surface are well below freezing most of the year, but that doesn't stop visits from scientists: Erebus is also one of the few volcanoes in the world with an exposed lava lake. You can peer over the lip of its main crater and stare straight into it.

New Method to Detect Ultrasound with Light
February 13, 2017 04:50 PM - Julianne Hill

A tiny, transparent device that can fit into a contact lens has a bright future, potentially helping a range of scientific endeavors from biomedicine to geology.

Researchers engineer "Thubber", a stretchable rubber that packs a thermal conductive punch, for heated garments and robot muscles
February 13, 2017 04:45 PM - Lisa Kulick

Carmel Majidi and Jonathan Malen of Carnegie Mellon University have developed a thermally conductive rubber material that represents a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

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