Science News

1.5°C pathways can still be achieved, combining fairness and global climate protection

Global warming can still be limited to 1.5°C by 2100 while ensuring that the poor are not hit hardest by climate policies and climate impacts. This is achieved by immediately introducing broad carbon pricing together with re-distributive policies using carbon pricing revenues and further measures to reduce energy consumption, accelerate technological transitions, and transform the land sector.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:53:02 EST

10 billion year, 50,000 light-year journey to black hole

A star near the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy originated outside of the Galaxy according to a new study. This is the first time a star of extragalactic origin has been found in the vicinity of the super massive black hole.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:52:19 EST

New theory unites Einstein's gravity with quantum mechanics

The prevailing assumption has been that Einstein's theory of gravity must be modified, or 'quantized', in order to fit within quantum theory. This is the approach of two leading candidates for a quantum theory of gravity, string theory and loop quantum gravity. But a new theory challenges that consensus and takes an alternative approach by suggesting that spacetime may be classical -- that is, not governed by quantum theory at all. 
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:51:56 EST

More than a meteorite: New clues about the demise of dinosaurs

What wiped out the dinosaurs? A meteorite plummeting to Earth is only part of the story, a new study suggests. Climate change triggered by massive volcanic eruptions may have ultimately set the stage for the dinosaur extinction, challenging the traditional narrative that a meteorite alone delivered the final blow to the ancient giants.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:51:15 EST

Dark galactic region nicknamed 'The Brick' explained with Webb telescope findings

Using the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers spot unexpected source of carbon monoxide ice at galactic region surprisingly devoid of stars.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:51:12 EST

Researchers have cracked the cellular code on protein folding, offering hope for new therapeutic avenues for many diseases

While we often think of diseases as caused by foreign bodies -- bacteria or viruses -- there are hundreds of diseases affecting humans that result from errors in cellular production of its proteins. A team of researchers recently leveraged the power of cutting-edge technology, including an innovative technique called glycoproteomics, to unlock the carbohydrate-based code that governs how certain classes of proteins form themselves into the complex shapes necessary to keep us healthy.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:50:53 EST

Himalayan glaciers react, blow cold winds down their slopes

Himalayan Glaciers fight back to preserve themselves, but for how long? An international team of researchers explains a stunning phenomenon: rising global temperatures have led Himalayan glaciers to increasingly cool the air in contact with the ice surface. The ensuing cold winds might help cool the glaciers and preserve the surrounding ecosystems. The results were found across the Himalayan range.
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:50:48 EST

Crocodile family tree mapped: New light shed on croc evolution

Around 250 million years ago, 700 species of reptiles closely related to the modern-day crocodile roamed the earth, now new research reveals how a complex interplay between climate change, species competition and habitat can help explain why just 23 species of crocodile survive today.     
Mon, 04 Dec 2023 13:50:45 EST

Human behavior guided by fast changes in dopamine levels

A new study shows that dopamine release in the human brain plays a crucial role in encoding both reward and punishment prediction errors. This means that dopamine is involved in the process of learning from both positive and negative experiences, allowing the brain to adjust and adapt its behavior based on the outcomes of these experiences.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 17:32:08 EST

Ghostlike dusty galaxy reappears in James Webb Space Telescope image

Astronomers studying images from the James Webb Space Telescope have identified an object as a 'dusty star-forming galaxy' from nearly 1 billion years after the Big Bang. They have also discovered more than a dozen additional candidates, suggesting these galaxies might be three to 10 times as common as expected. If that conclusion is confirmed, it suggests the early universe was much dustier than previously thought.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 17:31:59 EST

'Bone biographies' reveal lives of medieval England's common people -- and illuminate early benefits system

Researchers give medieval Cambridge residents the 'Richard III treatment' to reveal hard-knock lives of those in the city during its famous university's early years. Study of over 400 remains from a hospital cemetery shows spectrum of medieval poverty, and suggests that some of Cambridge University's earliest scholars ended up in penury.   
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:37:17 EST

One of the largest magnetic storms in history quantified: Aurorae covered much of the night sky from the Tropics to the Polar Regions

An international multidisciplinary team consisting of solar physicists, geophysicists, and historians from nine countries analysed observations of an extreme solar-terrestrial storm reported in historical records from February 1872. Their findings confirm that a moderate sunspot group triggered one of the largest magnetic storms ever recorded, almost covering the entire night sky with colourful aurorae in both hemispheres. If such an extreme storm occurred today, it would severely disrupt modern technological infrastructure. Their study emphasizes the importance of looking at historical records in light of modern scientific knowledge.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:37:14 EST

Meteorites likely source of nitrogen for early Earth

Micrometeorites originating from icy celestial bodies in the outer Solar System may be responsible for transporting nitrogen to the near-Earth region in the early days of our solar system.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:37:06 EST

A new possible explanation for the Hubble tension

The universe is expanding. How fast it does so is described by the so-called Hubble-Lemaitre constant. But there is a dispute about how big this constant actually is: Different measurement methods provide contradictory values. This so-called 'Hubble tension' poses a puzzle for cosmologists. Researchers are now proposing a new solution: Using an alternative theory of gravity, the discrepancy in the measured values can be easily explained -- the Hubble tension disappears.
Fri, 01 Dec 2023 12:36:26 EST

Scientists build tiny biological robots from human cells

Scientists have created tiny moving biological robots from human tracheal cells that can encourage the growth of neurons across artificial 'wounds' in the lab. Using patients' own cells could permit growth of Anthrobots that assist healing and regeneration in the future with no nead for immune suppression.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 18:42:49 EST

Genomic study sheds light on how carnivorous Asian pitcher plants acquired signature insect trap

Scientists sequenced the genome of the East Asian pitcher plant, Nepenthes gracilis, a species of carnivorous plant related to Venus flytraps, as well as sundews, beets and spinach.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 18:42:14 EST

Discovery of planet too big for its sun throws off solar system formation models

The discovery of a planet that is far too massive for its sun is calling into question what was previously understood about the formation of planets and their solar systems.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 14:54:35 EST

Rocky planets can form in extreme environments

Astronomers have provided the first observation of water and other molecules in the highly irradiated inner, rocky-planet-forming regions of a disk in one of the most extreme environments in our galaxy. These results suggest that the conditions for terrestrial planet formation can occur in a possible broader range of environments than previously thought. 
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 14:54:08 EST

A mixed origin made maize successful

Maize is one of the world's most widely grown crops. It is used for both human and animal foods and holds great cultural significance, especially for indigenous peoples in the Americas. Yet despite its importance, the origins of the grain have been hotly debated for more than a century. Now new research shows that all modern maize descends from a hybrid created just over 5000 years ago in central Mexico, thousands of years after the plant was first domesticated.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 14:54:03 EST

Lost brain function restored in mice after stroke

Researchers have succeeded in restoring lost brain function in mouse models of stroke using small molecules that in the future could potentially be developed into a stroke recovery therapy.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:32:07 EST

The waxy surface protecting plants might hold the key to developing stronger crops

Researchers have discovered that the waxy protective barrier around plants might play a role in sending chemical signals to other plants and insects.  
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:31:09 EST

Inoculation against diseased fields

Farmland often harbors a multitude of pathogens which attack plants and reduce yields. A research team has now shown that inoculating the soil with mycorrhizal fungi can help maintain or even improve yields without the use of additional fertilizers or pesticides. In a large-scale field trial, plant yield increased by up to 40 percent.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:31:04 EST

Durable plastic pollution easily, cleanly degrades with new catalyst

Found in fishing nets, carpet, clothing, Nylon-6 is a major contributor to plastic pollution, including ocean pollution. Now, chemists have developed a new catalyst that quickly, cleanly and completely breaks down Nylon-6 in a matter of minutes -- without generating harmful byproducts. Even better: The process does not require toxic solvents, expensive materials or extreme conditions, making it practical for everyday applications. In experiments, the new process recovered 99% of the polymer's building blocks, which can then be upcycled into higher-value products.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:30:54 EST

Climate: Why disinformation is so persistent

Melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, extreme heat waves: the consequences of climate change are more visible than ever, and the scientific community has confirmed that humans are responsible. Yet studies show that a third of the population still doubts or disputes these facts. The cause is disinformation spread by certain vested interests. To try and prevent this phenomenon, a team has developed and tested six psychological interventions on nearly 7,000 participants from twelve countries. The research highlights the extremely persuasive nature of disinformation and the need to strengthen our efforts to combat it.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:30:49 EST

Twin research indicates that a vegan diet improves cardiovascular health

A recent trial of identical twins comparing vegan and omnivore diets found that a vegan diet improves overall cardiovascular health.
Thu, 30 Nov 2023 11:30:42 EST

A new bacterial species from a hydrothermal vent throws light on their evolution

A new bacterial species discovered at the deep-sea hydrothermal vent site 'Crab Spa' provides a deeper understanding of bacterial evolution.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 23:44:40 EST

Brittle stars can learn just fine -- even without a brain

We humans are fixated on big brains as a proxy for smarts. But headless animals called brittle stars have no brains at all and still manage to learn through experience, new research reveals. These shy marine creatures have no brain to speak of -- just nerve cords running down each of their five wiggly arms. But that seems to be enough to learn by association, researchers report.    
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 17:42:14 EST

A study unveils the link between musical preferences and our inner moral compass

A new study provides compelling evidence that music preferences can serve as a window into an individual's moral values. It has uncovered an important link between music and morality, paving the way for a deeper understanding of the psychological dimensions of our musical experiences.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 17:42:02 EST

An astronomical waltz reveals a sextuplet of planets

Astronomers have found a key new system of six transiting planets orbiting a bright star in a harmonic rhythm. This rare property enabled the team to determine the planetary orbits which initially appeared as an unsolvable riddle.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:25:37 EST

Clever dosage control mechanism of biallelic genes

Researchers have uncovered a mechanism that safeguards the biallelic expression of haploinsufficient genes, shedding light on the importance of having two copies of each chromosome. A study identified the epigenetic regulator MSL2 an 'anti-monoallelic' factor that maintains biallelic gene dosage. This discovery not only reveals a communication system between parental alleles but also points to potential therapeutic strategies for diseases associated with haploinsufficient genes.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:25:32 EST

Soccer heading linked to measurable decline in brain function

New research links soccer heading -- where players hit the ball with their head -- to a measurable decline in the microstructure and function of the brain over a two-year period.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:25:26 EST

Building blocks for life could have formed near new stars and planets

While life on Earth is relatively new, geologically speaking, the ingredients that combined to form it might be much older than once thought. The simplest amino acid, carbamic acid, could have formed alongside stars or planets within interstellar ices. The findings could be used to train deep space instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope to search for prebiotic molecules in distant, star-forming regions of the universe.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:24:48 EST

New astrophysics model sheds light on additional source of long gamma-ray bursts

Cutting-edge computer simulations combined with theoretical calculations are helping astronomers better understand the origin of some of the universe's most energetic and mysterious light shows -- gamma-ray bursts, or GRBs. The new unified model confirms that some long-lasting GRBs are created in the aftermath of cosmic mergers that spawn an infant black hole surrounded by a giant disk of natal material.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:24:20 EST

Landscape dynamics determine the evolution of biodiversity on Earth

A landmark study into the geological timescale distribution of sediment and nutrients over 500 million years shows that species biodiversity on Earth is driven by landscape dynamics.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:24:01 EST

Astronomers discover disc around star in another galaxy

In a remarkable discovery, astronomers have found a disc around a young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy neighboring ours. It's the first time such a disc, identical to those forming planets in our own Milky Way, has ever been found outside our galaxy. The new observations reveal a massive young star, growing and accreting matter from its surroundings and forming a rotating disc.
Wed, 29 Nov 2023 11:23:53 EST

How do you make a robot smarter? Program it to know what it doesn't know

Engineers have come up with a new way to teach robots to know when they don't know. The technique involves quantifying the fuzziness of human language and using that measurement to tell robots when to ask for further directions. Telling a robot to pick up a bowl from a table with only one bowl is fairly clear. But telling a robot to pick up a bowl when there are five bowls on the table generates a much higher degree of uncertainty -- and triggers the robot to ask for clarification.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 17:28:42 EST

Composition of asteroid Phaethon

Asteroid Phaethon, which is five kilometers in diameter, has been puzzling researchers for a long time. A comet-like tail is visible for a few days when the asteroid passes closest to the Sun during its orbit. However, the tails of comets are usually formed by vaporizing ice and carbon dioxide, which cannot explain this tail. The tail should be visible at Jupiter's distance from the Sun.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:59 EST

How shifting climates may have shaped early elephants' trunks

Researchers have provided new insights into how ancestral elephants developed their dextrous trunks.  A study of the evolution of longirostrine gomphotheres, an ancestor of the modern day elephant, suggests moving into open-land grazing helped develop their coiling and grasping trunks.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:42 EST

What if Alexa or Siri sounded more like you? Study says you'll like it better

One voice does not fit all when it comes to virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, according to researchers who examined how customization and perceived similarity between user and voice assistant (VA) personalities affect user experience. They found a strong preference for extroverted VAs -- those that speak louder, faster and in a lower pitch. They also found that increasing personality similarity by automatically matching user and VA voice profiles encouraged users to resist persuasive information.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:36 EST

A gamma-ray pulsar milestone inspires innovative astrophysics and applications

Scientists have announced the discovery of nearly 300 gamma ray pulsars.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:34 EST

Solar activity likely to peak next year

Researchers have discovered a new relationship between the Sun's magnetic field and its sunspot cycle, that can help predict when the peak in solar activity will occur. Their work indicates that the maximum intensity of solar cycle 25, the ongoing sunspot cycle, is imminent and likely to occur within a year.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:28 EST

Understanding subjective beliefs could be vital to tailoring more effective treatments for depression and ADHD

Taking into account whether people believe they are receiving a real treatment or a fake one (placebo) could provide better insights that could help improve interventions for conditions such as depression and ADHD. 
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:24 EST

First multi-chamber heart organoids unravel human heart development and disease

Heart disease kills 18 million people each year, but the development of new therapies faces a bottleneck: no physiological model of the entire human heart exists -- so far. A new multi-chamber organoid that mirrors the heart's intricate structure enables scientists to advance screening platforms for drug development, toxicology studies, and understanding heart development.
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:20 EST

Antarctic glacier retreating rapidly

Scientists are warning that apparently stable glaciers in the Antarctic can 'switch very rapidly' and lose large quantities of ice as a result of warmer oceans.    Their finding comes after glaciologists used satellites to track the Cadman Glacier, which drains into Beascochea Bay, on the west Antarctic peninsula.  
Tue, 28 Nov 2023 13:23:17 EST

Future floods: Global warming intensifies heavy rain -- even more than expected

The intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall increases exponentially with global warming, a new study finds. The analysis shows that state-of-the-art climate models significantly underestimate how much extreme rainfall increases under global warming -- meaning that extreme rainfall could increase quicker than climate models suggest.
Mon, 27 Nov 2023 13:24:46 EST

Early-stage stem cell therapy trial shows promise for treating progressive MS

An international team has shown that the injection of a type of stem cell into the brains of patients living with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is safe, well tolerated and has a long-lasting effect that appears to protect the brain from further damage.
Mon, 27 Nov 2023 13:24:33 EST

'Dolomite Problem': 200-year-old geology mystery resolved

For 200 years, scientists have failed to grow a common mineral in the laboratory under the conditions believed to have formed it naturally. Now, researchers have finally pulled it off, thanks to a new theory developed from atomic simulations. Their success resolves a long-standing geology mystery called the 'Dolomite Problem.' Dolomite -- a key mineral in the Dolomite mountains in Italy, Niagara Falls, the White Cliffs of Dover and Utah's Hoodoos -- is very abundant in rocks older than 100 million years, but nearly absent in younger formations. The lessons learned from the Dolomite Problem can help engineers manufacture higher-quality materials for semiconductors, solar panels, batteries and other tech.  
Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:51:11 EST

'Strange metal' is strangely quiet in noise experiment

Experiments have provided the first direct evidence that electricity seems to flow through 'strange metals' in an unusual liquid-like form.
Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:47:14 EST

Particulate pollution from coal associated with double the risk of mortality than PM2.5 from other sources

Exposure to fine particulate air pollutants from coal-fired power plants (coal PM2.5) is associated with a risk of mortality more than double that of exposure to PM2.5 from other sources, according to a new study. Examining Medicare and emissions data in the U.S. from 1999 to 2020, the researchers also found that 460,000 deaths were attributable to coal PM2.5 during the study period -- most of them occurring between 1999 and 2007, when coal PM2.5 levels were highest.
Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:47:11 EST

Telescope Array detects second highest-energy cosmic ray ever

In 1991, an experiment detected the highest-energy cosmic ray ever observed. Later dubbed the Oh-My-God particle, the cosmic ray’s energy shocked astrophysicists. Nothing in our galaxy had the power to produce it, and the particle had more energy than was theoretically possible for cosmic rays traveling to Earth from other galaxies. Simply put, the particle should not exist. On May 27, 2021, the Telescope Array experiment detected the second-highest extreme-energy cosmic ray. The newly dubbed Amaterasu particle deepens the mystery of the origin, propagation and particle physics of rare, ultra-high-energy cosmic rays.
Thu, 23 Nov 2023 16:47:08 EST

Hybrid transistors set stage for integration of biology and microelectronics

Researchers create transistors combining silicon with biological silk, using common microprocessor manufacturing methods. The silk protein can be easily modified with other chemical and biological molecules to change its properties, leading to circuits that respond to biology and the environment.
Wed, 22 Nov 2023 19:23:01 EST

From the first bite, our sense of taste helps pace our eating

When you eagerly dig into a long-awaited dinner, signals from your stomach to your brain keep you from eating so much you'll regret it -- or so it's been thought.
Wed, 22 Nov 2023 12:20:56 EST

Neanderthals were the world's first artists, research reveals

Recent research has shown that engravings in a cave in La Roche-Cotard (France), which has been sealed for thousands of years, were actually made by Neanderthals. The findings reveal that the Neanderthals were the first humans with an appreciation of art.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 22:46:42 EST

Ultra-processed foods and higher risk of mouth, throat and esophagus cancers

Eating more ultra-processed foods (UPFs) may be associated with a higher risk of developing cancers of upper aerodigestive tract (including the mouth, throat and esophagus), according to a new study.  The authors of this international study, which analyzed diet and lifestyle data on 450,111 adults who were followed for approximately 14 years, say obesity associated with the consumption of UPFs may not be the only factor to blame.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 22:09:59 EST

NASA's Webb reveals new features in heart of Milky Way

The latest image from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope shows a portion of the dense center of our galaxy in unprecedented detail, including never-before-seen features astronomers have yet to explain. The star-forming region, named Sagittarius C (Sgr C), is about 300 light-years from the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:55:11 EST

'Triple star' discovery could revolutionize understanding of stellar evolution

A ground-breaking new discovery could transform the way astronomers understand some of the biggest and most common stars in the Universe.  Research by PhD student Jonathan Dodd and Professor René Oudmaijer, from the University's School of Physics and Astronomy, points to intriguing new evidence that massive Be stars -- until now mainly thought to exist in double stars -- could in fact be 'triples'.  The remarkable discovery could revolutionise our understanding of the objects -- a subset of B stars -- which are considered an important 'test bed' for developing theories on how stars evolve more generally. 
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:54:17 EST

First comprehensive look at effects of 2020-2021 California megafires on terrestrial wildlife habitat

In 2020 and 2021, California experienced fire activity unlike anything recorded in the modern record. When the smoke cleared, the amount of burned forest totaled ten times more than the annual average going back to the late 1800s. We know that wildlife in western forests evolved with changing habitat and disturbances like wildfire. Each species responds differently, some benefiting from openings, others losing critical habitat. What we don't know is how increasing fire severity at large scales is impacting their habitat and survival, because many species are not adapted to these types of 'megafires.'
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:54:14 EST

Sophisticated swarming: Bacteria support each other across generations

When bacteria build communities, they cooperate and share nutrients across generations. Researchers have been able to demonstrate this for the first time using a newly developed method. This innovative technique enables the tracking of gene expression during the development of bacterial communities over space and time.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:53:40 EST

Our brains are not able to 'rewire' themselves, despite what most scientists believe, new study argues

Contrary to the commonly-held view, the brain does not have the ability to rewire itself to compensate for the loss of sight, an amputation or stroke, for example, say scientists. The researchers argue that the notion that the brain, in response to injury or deficit, can reorganize itself and repurpose particular regions for new functions, is fundamentally flawed -- despite being commonly cited in scientific textbooks. Instead, they argue that what is occurring is merely the brain being trained to utilize already existing, but latent, abilities.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:53:35 EST

Babies as young as four months show signs of self-awareness

Babies as young as four months old can make sense of how their bodies interact with the space around them, according to new research.
Tue, 21 Nov 2023 17:53:25 EST

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