Top Stories

Look inside your own pantry or fridge to find the top culprit of food waste

There is a good chance there are fresh vegetables in your refrigerator that will end up in the garbage instead of on your dinner plate.

Not that anyone goes to the grocery store with the intention of later throwing the food in the trash, but we all do it more often than we probably realize. Ruth Litchfield, a professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, says we waste about 20 pounds of food each month. And that is per person.

>> Read the Full Article

Lessons from a Tsunami Could Help Protect Seabirds in the Face of Rising Seas

In a study published Thursday, researchers evaluated the effects of sudden flooding from the Tohoku tsunami on more than 20 bird species nesting on the distant Pacific islands. The results shed light not only on how those birds weathered the dramatic rise in seas from the extreme event, but also how island wildlife may fare with the threat of rising sea levels and increased storm surges.  

Many seabird species have disappeared from human populated higher islands, and their worldwide distributions are now concentrated on the low-lying islands protected as Wildlife Refuges and Marine National Monuments.

>> Read the Full Article

University of Toronto anthropologist Malcolm Ramsay asks: Why didn't the lemur cross the road?

Something to Google today: mouse lemurs.

They weigh only about 50g and have big brown eyes. You may think you’re looking at a very cute rodent. You’re not.

>> Read the Full Article

Research Accelerates Quest for Quicker, Longer-lasting Electronics

In the world of electronics, where the quest is always for smaller and faster units with infinite battery life, topological insulators (TI) have tantalizing potential.

In a paper published today in “Science Advances,” Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Arizona State University report they have created a TI film just 25 atoms thick that adheres to an insulating magnetic film, creating a “heterostructure.” This heterostructure makes TI surfaces magnetic at room temperatures and higher, to above 400 Kelvin or more than 720 degrees Fahrenheit.

>> Read the Full Article

New 3D model predicts best planting practices for farmers

As farmers survey their fields this summer, several questions come to mind: How many plants germinated per acre? How does altering row spacing affect my yields? Does it make a difference if I plant my rows north to south or east to west? Now a computer model can answer these questions by comparing billions of virtual fields with different planting densities, row spacings, and orientations.

>> Read the Full Article

Genes, Ozone, and Autism: Increased risk for autism when genetic variation and air pollution meet

A new analysis shows that individuals with high levels of genetic variation and elevated exposure to ozone in the environment are at an even higher risk for developing autism than would be expected by adding the two risk factors together. The study is the first to look at the combined effects of genome-wide genetic change and environmental risk factors for autism, and the first to identify an interaction between genes and environment that leads to an emergent increase in risk that would not be found by studying these factors independently. A paper describing the research appears online in the journal Autism Research.

“Autism, like most human diseases, is complex,” said Scott B. Selleck, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and one of the leaders of the research team. “There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of genes involved and up until now -- with very few exceptions -- these have been studied independently of the environmental contributors to autism, which are real. Our team of researchers represents a merger of people with genetic expertise and environmental epidemiologists, allowing us for the first time to answer questions about how genetic and environmental risk factors for autism interact.”

>> Read the Full Article

NIST/CU Team Launches 'Comb and Copter' System to Map Atmospheric Gases

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado Boulder have demonstrated a new mobile, ground-based system that could scan and map atmospheric gas plumes over kilometer distances.

The system uses an eye-safe laser instrument to send light that “combs” the air to a flying multi-copter and analyzes the colors of light absorbed along the way to identify gas signatures in near-real time.

The “comb and copter” system may be useful to scan for leaks in oil and gas fields, study the mixing of auto emissions and other gases in the boundary between the Earth’s surface and the next layer of the atmosphere, or, with planned upgrades, detect pollutants or chemical threats and their sources.

>> Read the Full Article

Seismic Oil Exploration Kills Krill at Far Higher Rate, Study Finds

Seismic air guns commonly used in the search for undersea oil kill off far more zooplankton than once thought, according to a new study that raises questions about the effect of such seismic surveys on the health of ocean ecosystems.

>> Read the Full Article

Invention could slash energy consumption

An Egyptian inventor has successfully tested a safe electricity system for homes that eliminates the risk of electric shocks and reduces energy consumption significantly.

>> Read the Full Article

A Unique Amino Acid for Brain Cancer Therapy

Photodynamic therapy is often used to treat brain tumors because of its specificity—it can target very small regions containing cancerous cells while sparing the normal cells around it from damage. It works by injecting a drug called a photosensitizer into the bloodstream, where it gathers in cells, and then exposing the drug-filled cells to light. When the photosensitizer is exposed to this light, it emits what is known as a reactive oxygen species (ROS) that causes the cells to die. The method is precise because photosensitizers preferentially gather in cancerous cells over normal cells. As such, when they are exposed to the light, the normal cells will be spared from damage.

>> Read the Full Article