Jumat, 31 Oktober 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News


Running robots of future may learn from world's best two-legged runners: Birds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:41 PM PDT

With an eye toward making better running robots, researchers have made surprising new findings about some of nature's most energy efficient bipeds -- running birds. Their skills may have evolved from the time of the dinosaurs and they may now be superior to any other bipedal runners -- including humans.

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Scientists have created a new kind of ion channel based on short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live cell membranes to form tiny pores that transport water, protons, small ions and DNA. These carbon nanotube "porins" have significant implications for future health care and bioengineering applications.

Scientists generate first human stomach tissue in lab with stem cells

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:56 AM PDT

Scientists used pluripotent stem cells to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory -- creating an unprecedented tool for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes. Scientists used human pluripotent stem cells -- which can become any cell type in the body -- to grow a miniature version of the stomach.

Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes are activated overall.

Planet-forming lifeline discovered in a binary star system

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scientists have detected a streamer of dust and gas flowing from a massive outer disk toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disk of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago.

In autoimmune diseases affecting millions, researchers pinpoint genetic risks, cellular culprits

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Scores of autoimmune diseases afflicting one in 12 Americans -- ranging from type 1 diabetes, to multiple sclerosis (MS), to rheumatoid arthritis, to asthma -- mysteriously cause the immune system to harm tissues within our own bodies. Now, a new study pinpoints the complex genetic origins for many of these diseases, a discovery that may lead to better diagnosis and ultimately to improved treatments.

Scientists make enzyme that could help explain origins of life

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 11:12 AM PDT

Mimicking natural evolution in a test tube, scientists have devised an enzyme with a unique property that might have been crucial to the origin of life on Earth.

Parasite-schizophrenia connection: One-fifth of schizophrenia cases may involve the parasite T. gondii

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat feces, are still viewed with skepticism. A new study used epidemiological modeling methods to determine the proportion of schizophrenia cases that may be attributable to T. gondii infection. The work suggests that about one-fifth of cases may involve the parasite.

Supersonic laser-propelled rockets: Hybrid approach may help power rockets, launch satellites, push future aircraft past Mach 10

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Researchers have described a new system that integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft which can increase the speed of the gas flow out of the system to supersonic speeds while reducing the amount of burned fuel.

Projecting a robot's intentions: New spin on virtual reality helps engineers read robots' minds

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT's Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who's pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter. As the robot considers its options, its "thoughts" are projected on the ground: A large pink dot appears to follow the pedestrian — a symbol of the robot's perception of the pedestrian's position in space.

Liberal or conservative? Reactions to disgust are a dead giveaway

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 09:45 AM PDT

The way a person's brain responds to a single disgusting image is enough to reliably predict whether he or she identifies politically as liberal or conservative. As we approach Election Day, the researchers say that the findings come as a reminder of something we all know but probably don't always do: 'Think, don't just react.'

New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 06:54 AM PDT

A multidisciplinary engineering team developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.

Evolution of competitiveness: Scientists explain diversity in competitiveness

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 05:40 AM PDT

Virtually all organisms in the living world compete with members of their own species. However, individuals differ strongly in how much they invest into their competitive ability. Some individuals are highly competitive and eager to get access to high-quality resources, while others seem to avoid competition, instead making prudent use of the lower-quality resources that are left over for them. Moreover, the degree of competitiveness in animal and human societies seems to fluctuate considerably over time. A new study sheds some new light on these findings.

Heavy drinking in adolescence associated with lasting brain changes, animal study suggests

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:41 PM PDT

Heavy drinking during adolescence may lead to structural changes in the brain and memory deficits that persist into adulthood, according to an animal study. The study found that, even as adults, rats given daily access to alcohol during adolescence had reduced levels of myelin -- the fatty coating on nerve fibers that accelerates the transmission of electrical signals between neurons.

High milk intake linked with higher fractures and mortality, research suggests

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 06:40 PM PDT

A high milk intake in women and men is not accompanied by a lower risk of fracture and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death, suggests observational research. Women who drank more than three glasses of milk a day had a higher risk of death than women who drank less than one glass of milk a day.

DNA sequences used to look back in time at key events in plant evolution

Posted: 28 Oct 2014 09:26 AM PDT

Scientists have revealed important details about key transitions in the evolution of plant life on our planet. From strange and exotic algae, mosses, ferns, trees and flowers growing deep in steamy rainforests to the grains and vegetables we eat and the ornamental plants adorning our homes, all plant life on Earth shares over a billion years of history.
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