Top Stories

Trump's wall puts wildlife at risk

Building the wall that Donald Trump has ordered on January 25th, as one of his first actions as US president, will put on risk more than 50 animal species that share the ecosystem along the border between the United States and Mexico, scientists from various countries have warned.
 
Since 2006, 1,100 kilometers of barriers covering more than 30 per cent of the border between the countries have been built. The newest executive order commands the “immediate construction of a physical wall”, stating that ‘wall’ means “a physical barrier, continuous and impassable”.

>> Read the Full Article

The Dangers Behind Fast Food Packaging

We’ve all known for a long time that eating fast food is bad for you. It’s greasy, fatty, high in sodium and the calorie count is obscene. Now comes news that even the packaging that food comes in might be dangerous to your health.

A new study found dangerous chemical compounds in almost half of the 400 fast food containers it tested from 27 fast food franchises. Packaging tested in this study came from the Big Four: McDonald’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks and Yum! Brands, Inc., which operates Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and WingStreet.

The substances in question are perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). That’s the same stuff that once was used to make Dupont’s Teflon before it had to be removed from the market. It’s also used in carpeting, furniture, clothing and cosmetics because of its water-repellant and stain-resistant qualities. We’re exposed to it every day.

>> Read the Full Article

Geochemist Breathes New Life into “Great Oxidation Event”

A researcher in the College of Arts and Sciences is providing fresh insights into the “Great Oxidation Event” (GOE), in which oxygen first appeared in the Earth’s atmosphere more than 2.3 billion years ago.
 

>> Read the Full Article

NASA Finds Planets of Red Dwarf Stars May Face Oxygen Loss in Habitable Zones

The search for life beyond Earth starts in habitable zones, the regions around stars where conditions could potentially allow liquid water – which is essential for life as we know it – to pool on a planet’s surface. New NASA research suggests some of these zones might not actually be able to support life due to frequent stellar eruptions – which spew huge amounts of stellar material and radiation out into space – from young red dwarf stars.

>> Read the Full Article

Penn Researchers Are Among the First to Grow a Versatile Two-dimensional Material

University of Pennsylvania researchers are now among the first to produce a single, three-atom-thick layer of a unique two-dimensional material called tungsten ditelluride. Their findings have been published in 2-D Materials.

Unlike other two-dimensional materials, scientists believe tungsten ditelluride has what are called topological electronic states. This means that it can have many different properties not just one.

>> Read the Full Article

Svalbard's electric power could come from hydrogen

The energy supply to Longyearbyen, midway between continental Norway and the North Pole, is a hot topic in the climate debate.

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and the administrative centre of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Today, Longyearbyen obtains its electric power and district heating from its coal power plant, the only one in Norway.

>> Read the Full Article

Recycling yogurt waste to produce electricity, nutrients and more dairy foods

America’s appetite for Greek yogurt has skyrocketed over the past decade. But for every container of Greek yogurt consumed, you could fill two or three more with the acid whey it produces. The cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, takes a look at the interesting ways scientists are making use of the byproduct.

>> Read the Full Article

Hidden lakes drain below West Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier

Thwaites Glacier on the edge of West Antarctica is one of the planet’s fastest-moving glaciers. Research shows that it is sliding unstoppably into the ocean, mainly due to warmer seawater lapping at its underside.

But the details of its collapse remain uncertain. The details are necessary to provide a timeline for when to expect 2 feet of global sea level rise, and when this glacier’s loss will help destabilize the much larger West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Recent efforts have used satellites to map the underlying terrain, which affects how quickly the ice mass will move, and measure the glacier’s thickness and speed to understand the physics of its changes.

>> Read the Full Article

A Middleweight Black Hole is Hiding at the Center of a Giant Star Cluster

All known black holes fall into two categories: small, stellar-mass black holes weighing a few Suns, and supermassive black holes weighing millions or billions of Suns. Astronomers expect that intermediate-mass black holes weighing 100 - 10,000 Suns also exist, but so far no conclusive proof of such middleweights has been found. Today, astronomers are announcing new evidence that an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) weighing 2,200 Suns is hiding at the center of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae.

>> Read the Full Article

Case Western Reserve University researcher discovers fish uses sneaking behavior as stealth mating strategy

Humans aren’t the only species that resort to a little subterfuge

While a dominant male fish from northern Mexico mates with a female, a small fella bides his time in the offing. Suddenly, the little guy darts in ahead of Mr. Big and plants his seeds on freshly laid eggs.

>> Read the Full Article