Top Stories

Investigating the Enigma of Clouds and Climate Change
August 17, 2017 08:30 AM - Yale Environment 360

Clouds perform an important function in cooling the planet as they reflect solar energy back into space. Yet clouds also intensify warming by trapping the planet’s heat and radiating it back to earth. As fossil fuel emissions continue to warm the planet, how will this dual role played by clouds change, and will clouds ultimately exacerbate or moderate global warming?

NASA Protects Its Super Heroes From Space Weather
August 17, 2017 08:28 AM - NASA/Johnson Space Center

It’s not a bird or a plane but it might be a solar storm. We like to think of astronauts as our super heroes, but the reality is astronauts are not built like Superman who gains strength from the sun. In fact, much of the energy radiating from the sun is harmful to us mere mortals.

Navigation and spatial memory — brain region newly identified to be involved
August 17, 2017 08:19 AM - University of Lethbridge

Research conducted in a collaboration between Drs. Dun Mao, a researcher in Dr. Bruce McNaughton’s lab at the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, and Steffen Kandler, a researcher in Professor Vincent Bonin’s lab at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) in Belgium, has found neural activity patterns that may assist with spatial memory and navigation.

Their study, Sparse orthogonal population representation of spatial context in the retrosplenial cortex, has been published in Nature Communications.

Neonics Put Bumblebees at Risk of Extinction, Study Reveals
August 17, 2017 07:58 AM - University of Guelph

Bumblebees are less able to start colonies when exposed to a common neonicotinoid pesticide, according to a new University of Guelph study.

Prof. Nigel Raine has discovered that exposure to thiamethoxam reduces the chances of a bumblebee queen starting a new colony by more than one-quarter.

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide
August 16, 2017 04:55 PM - Rice University

Rice University materials scientists have created a light foam from two-dimensional sheets of hexagonal-boron nitride (h-BN) that absorbs carbon dioxide.

They discovered freeze-drying h-BN turned it into a macro-scale foam that disintegrates in liquids. But adding a bit of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) into the mix transformed it into a far more robust and useful material.

The foam is highly porous and its properties can be tuned for use in air filters and as gas absorption materials, according to researchers in the Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan.

Their work appears in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children
August 16, 2017 04:49 PM - University of California – Berkeley

Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

In a study of children in the Salinas Valley’s agricultural community, researchers found significant associations between elemental sulfur use and poorer respiratory health. The study linked reduced lung function, more asthma-related symptoms and higher asthma medication use in children living about a half-mile or less from recent elemental sulfur applications compared to unexposed children.

Changing Tides: Lake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead
August 16, 2017 04:37 PM - US Geological Survey

Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.

Reduced stocking of Chinook salmon, however, would still support a substantial population of this highly desirable recreational salmon species, which is a large contributor to the Great Lakes multi-billion-dollar recreational fishery.

“Findings from our study can help managers determine the most viable ways to enhance valuable recreational fisheries in Lake Michigan, especially when the open waters of the lake are declining in productivity,” said Yu-Chun Kao, an MSU post-doctoral scientist and the lead author of the report.

Print No Evil: Three-Layer Technique Helps Secure Additive Manufacturing
August 16, 2017 01:56 PM - Georgia Institute of Technology

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing, is replacing conventional fabrication processes in critical areas ranging from aerospace components to medical implants. But because the process relies on software to control the 3-D printer, additive manufacturing could become a target for malicious attacks – as well as for unscrupulous operators who may cut corners.

Smart electrical grids more vulnerable to cyber attacks
August 16, 2017 01:39 PM - Elsevier

Electricity distribution systems in the USA are gradually being modernized and transposed to smart grids, which make use of two-way communication and computer processing. This is making them increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. In a recent paper in Elsevier’s International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection, Dr. Sujeet Shenoi and his colleagues from the Tandy School of Computer Science, University of Tulsa, US, have analyzed these security issues. Their report provides crucial keys to ensuring the security of our power supply.

"Sophisticated cyberattacks on advanced metering infrastructures are a clear and present danger," Dr. Shenoi pointed out. Such attacks affect both customers and distribution companies and can take various forms, such as stealing customer data (allowing a burglar to determine if a residence is unoccupied, for instance), taking power from particular customers (resulting in increased power bills), disrupting the grid and denying customers power on a localized or widespread basis.

Hypothermia After Stroke Reduces Dynamin Levels and Neuronal Cell Death
August 16, 2017 01:14 PM - Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

A new study has shown that following brain ischemia caused by cerebral blockage in mice both immediate and delayed reduction in body temperature helped limit cell death and levels of a protein called dynamin. These results, which suggest that dynamin may have a role in—and be a potential drug target for—stroke-related neuronal cell death, are reported in Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal website until September 16, 2017.

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