Top Stories

Quality of life with those with advanced cancer improved through walking
February 17, 2017 01:54 PM - University of Surrey

Walking for just 30 minutes three times per week could improve the quality of life for those with advanced cancer, a new study published in the BMJ Open journal has found.

River Rapids Boost Species Diversity
February 17, 2017 01:29 PM - American Museum of Natural History

Museum researchers working in the lower Congo River have long been impressed by the remarkable biodiversity of the region—and curious as to what drives it.

Drones Are Turning Civilians Into an Air Force of Citizen Scientists
February 17, 2017 01:19 PM - Anna Vlasits for Wired

Last winter, as meteorologists warned of a monster El Niño, researchers at the Nature Conservancy in California prepared to mobilize. El Niño promised to bring in king tides that would raise the sea level by as much as one foot above normal during high tide, causing flooding along the coastline that researchers could study as a preview of climate change-induced sea level rise. But when a king tide arrives, it floods lots of pockets along the coastline at once. So they decided to try a new, distributed surveillance strategy: commercial drones, co-opted from a gung-ho statewide network of citizen scientists.

Four-Stroke Engine Cycle Produces Hydrogen from Methane and Captures CO2
February 17, 2017 10:46 AM - Georgia Institute of Technology

When is an internal combustion engine not an internal combustion engine? When it’s been transformed into a modular reforming reactor that could make hydrogen available to power fuel cells wherever there’s a natural gas supply available.

By adding a catalyst, a hydrogen separating membrane and carbon dioxide sorbent to the century-old four-stroke engine cycle, researchers have demonstrated a laboratory-scale hydrogen reforming system that produces the green fuel at relatively low temperature in a process that can be scaled up or down to meet specific needs. The process could provide hydrogen at the point of use for residential fuel cells or neighborhood power plants, electricity and power production in natural-gas powered vehicles, fueling of municipal buses or other hydrogen-based vehicles, and supplementing intermittent renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics.

The reasons for our left or right-handedness
February 17, 2017 10:38 AM - Ruhr University Bochum

Unlike hitherto assumed, the cause is not to be found in the brain.

It is not the brain that determines if people are right or left-handed, but the spinal cord. This has been inferred from the research results compiled by a team headed by private lecturer Dr Sebastian Ocklenburg, Judith Schmitz, and Prof Dr H. C. Onur Güntürkün. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and from South Africa, the biopsychologists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have demonstrated that gene activity in the spinal cord is asymmetrical already in the womb. A preference for the left or the right hand might be traced back to that asymmetry.

“These results fundamentally change our understanding of the cause of hemispheric asymmetries,” conclude the authors. The team report about their study in the journal “eLife”.

 

NIST Quest for Climate-Friendly Refrigerants Finds Complicated Choices
February 17, 2017 10:23 AM - National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have just completed a multiyear study to identify the “best” candidates for future use as air conditioning refrigerants that will have the lowest impact on the climate.

Unfortunately, all 27 fluids NIST identified as the best from a performance viewpoint are at least slightly flammable, which is not allowed under U.S. safety codes for most end uses. Several fluids among the list of refrigerants are highly flammable, including propane, the fuel for outdoor grills.

Land Elevation Changes Due to Groundwater Withdrawals Indicate Regional Shifts in Houston-Galveston Area
February 17, 2017 09:15 AM - United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Extensive groundwater withdrawals have caused the loss of land-surface elevation, or subsidence, in parts of the Houston-Galveston region in Texas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey annual report.

Researchers Design Facial Recognition System as a Less Invasive Approach to Tracking Lemurs in the Wild
February 17, 2017 08:41 AM - George Washington University

A team of researchers has developed a new computer-assisted recognition system that can identify individual lemurs in the wild by their facial characteristics and ultimately help to build a database for long-term research on lemur species. The scientists hope this method has the potential to redefine how researchers track endangered species in the wild. 

How untreated water is making our kids sick
February 17, 2017 07:17 AM - Florida State University

A Florida State University researcher has drawn a link between the impact of climate change and untreated drinking water on the rate of gastrointestinal illness in children.

Underwater seagrass beds dial back polluted seawater
February 16, 2017 05:27 PM - Melissa Osgood via Cornell University

“The seagrass appear to combat bacteria, and this is the first research to assess whether that coastal ecosystem can alleviate disease associated with marine organisms,” said lead author Joleah Lamb of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, where she is a Nature Conservancy NatureNet fellow.

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