Top Stories

Exploring the Ground Truth: NASA's Twin Study Investigates Metabolites

You may think you’re just an average Joe, but according to your metabolomics data your body is percolating some expressive information about your daily life.

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Custom robots in a matter of minutes

Even as robots become increasingly common, they remain incredibly difficult to make. From designing and modeling to fabricating and testing, the process is slow and costly: Even one small change can mean days or weeks of rethinking and revising important hardware.

But what if there were a way to let non-experts craft different robotic designs — in one sitting?

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are getting closer to doing exactly that. In a new paper, they present a system called “Interactive Robogami” that lets you design a robot in minutes, and then 3-D print and assemble it in as little as four hours.
 

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High-resolution modeling assesses impact of cities on river ecosystems

New mapping methods developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help urban planners minimize the environmental impacts of cities’ water and energy demands on surrounding stream ecologies.

In an analysis published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an ORNL-led team used high-resolution geospatial modeling to quantify the effects of land, energy, and water infrastructures on the nation’s rivers and streams. 

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Blood Test for Colitis Screening Could Reduce Dependence on Colonoscopy

A fast, simple blood test for ulcerative colitis using infrared spectroscopy could provide a cheaper, less invasive alternative for screening compared to colonoscopy, which is now the predominant test, according to a study between the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.

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Amid environmental change, lakes surprisingly static

In recent decades, change has defined our environment in the United States. Agriculture intensified. Urban areas sprawled. The climate warmed. Intense rainstorms became more common. But, says a new University of Wisconsin–Madison study, while those kinds of changes usually result in poor water quality, lakes have surprisingly stayed the same.

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Data mining finds more than expected beneath Andean Plateau

Seismologists investigating how Earth forms new continental crust have compiled more than 20 years of seismic data from a wide swath of South America’s Andean Plateau and determined that processes there have produced far more continental rock than previously believed.

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Peas that like it hot

Farmers across the world produce between 10 and 13 million tons of field pea every year. That makes it a top legume crop, just behind dry beans and chickpeas.

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NASA's Aqua Satellite spots Typhoon Hato's Landfall in China

NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Typhoon Hato just hours after it made landfall in southeastern China. 

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Sub-tropical corals vulnerable, new study shows

The vulnerability and conservation value of sub-tropical reefs south of the Great Barrier Reef - regarded as climate change refuges – has been highlighted in a new study.

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On the other hand, the immune system can also CAUSE cancer

Infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer and a subset of head and neck cancers worldwide. A University of Colorado Cancer Center paper describes a fascinating mechanism that links these two conditions – viral infection and cancer. The link, basically, is a family of enzymes called APOBEC3. These APOBEC3 enzymes are an essential piece of the immune system’s response to viral infection, attacking viral DNA to cause disabling mutations. Unfortunately, as the paper shows, especially the action of family member APOBEC3A can spill over from its attack against viruses to induce DNA mutations and damage in the host genome as well. In other words, this facet of the immune system designed to scramble viral DNA can scramble human DNA as well, sometimes in ways that cause cancer.

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