Top Stories

Charting a better future for Africa
June 22, 2017 11:05 AM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Almost 25 percent of the world’s malnourished population lives in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where more than 300 million people depend on maize (corn) for much of their diet. The most widely-produced crop by harvested area in SSA, maize is also highly sensitive to drought. Because maize in this region is grown largely on rainfed rather than irrigated land, any future changes in precipitation patterns due to climate change could significantly impact crop yields. Assessing the likely magnitude and locations of such yield changes in the coming decades will be critical for decision makers seeking to help their nations and regions adapt to climate change and minimize threats to food security and to rural economies that are heavily dependent on agriculture.

Australian origin likely for iconic New Zealand tree
June 22, 2017 10:51 AM - University of Adelaide

Ancestors of the iconic New Zealand Christmas Tree, P?hutukawa, may have originated in Australia, new fossil research from the University of Adelaide suggests.

How protons move through a fuel cell
June 22, 2017 10:47 AM - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton conductivity is crucial for the latter; protons, i.e. positively charged hydrogen ions, are formed from hydrogen, which is used to power the fuel cell. Empa physicist Artur Braun and Qianli Chen, a doctoral student at ETH Zurich, conducted neutron scattering experiments on the Swiss Spallation Neutron Source (SINQ) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) that document the mobility of protons in the crystal lattice. In the process, they observed that the proton movements in ceramic fuel cells obey far more complex laws than previously assumed: The movement of the protons takes place according to the so-called polaron model, as the researchers recently reported in the renowned journal Nature Communications.

New Screen Coating Makes Reading in Sunlight a Lot Easier. The Secret? Moth Eyes.
June 22, 2017 10:39 AM - The Optical Society

Screens on even the newest phones and tablets can be hard to read outside in bright sunlight. Inspired by the nanostructures found on moth eyes, researchers have developed a new antireflection film that could keep people from having to run to the shade to look at their mobile devices.

Critical gaps in our knowledge of where infectious diseases occur
June 22, 2017 10:35 AM - Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

Today Scientists have called for action. The scientific journal Nature ecology & evolution have published a joint statement from scientists at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen and North Carolina State University. The scientists call attention to a serious lack of data on the worldwide distribution of disease-causing organisms. Without this knowledge, predicting where and when the next disease outbreak will emerge is hardly possible. Macroecologists hold the expertise to create the needed data network and close the knowledge gaps.

Can the tobacco and fossil fuel industries be compared?
June 22, 2017 08:21 AM - University of Calgary

Are there similarities between the tobacco industry and the fossil fuel industry when it comes to legal liability? Could, for example, energy companies that rely on fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases be held accountable for the damage caused by climate change? Two researchers in the Faculty of Law have set out to answer these important questions.

NOAA, USGS and partners predict third largest Gulf of Mexico summer dead zone ever
June 22, 2017 08:20 AM - USGS

Federal scientists forecast that this summer’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – will be approximately 8,185 square miles, or about the size of New Jersey.

This would be the third largest dead zone recorded since monitoring began 32 years ago – the average Gulf dead zone since then has been 5,309 square miles.

Trash-Picking Seagulls Poop Hundreds of Tons of Nutrients
June 22, 2017 07:27 AM - Duke University

At least 1.4 million seagulls feed at landfills across North America, which aside from the nuisance it might pose, is also a threat to the health of nearby waters, a new Duke University study finds.

A lover's touch eases pain as heartbeats, breathing sync, CU study says
June 21, 2017 02:21 PM - University of Colorado Boulder

Fathers-to-be, take note: You may be more useful in the labor and delivery room than you realize.

That’s one takeaway from a study released last week that found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates.

“The more empathic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching,” said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder.

The study of 22 couples, published in the journal Scientific Reports last week, is the latest in a growing body of research on “interpersonal synchronization,” the phenomenon in which individuals begin to physiologically mirror the people they’re with.

PNNL helping to design tomorrow's exascale supercomputers
June 21, 2017 02:14 PM - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Supercomputers help design automobiles and aircraft, create new medical drugs and discover the mysteries of the universe. Now, in a column for the Tri-City Herald, the director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Steve Ashby, introduces a new national collaboration to take supercomputers to the next level of performance.

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