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Living room conservation: Gaming and virtual reality for insect and ecosystem conservation

In the real world, Spanish needles (Bidens alba) is considered a weed in South Florida. However, it is an excellent nectar source for butterflies. Credit: Alban Delamarre Gaming and virtual reality (VR) could bridge the gap between urban societies and nature, thereby paving the way to insect conservation by the means of education, curiosity and…

Asteroids help scientists to measure the diameters of faraway stars

When an asteroid passes in front of a star, the resulting diffraction pattern (here greatly exaggerated) can reveal the star's angular size. Credit: DESY, Lucid Berlin Using the unique capabilities of telescopes specialised on cosmic gamma rays, scientists have measured the smallest apparent size of a star on the night sky to date. The measurements…

General anesthesia hijacks sleep circuitry to knock you out

In a new Duke finding, general anesthesia drugs were shown to induce unconsciousness by activating a tiny cluster of cells at the base of the brain called the supraoptic nucleus (shown in red), while the rest of the brain remains in a mostly inactive state (shown in blue). Credit: Duke University The discovery of general…

Thermodynamic magic enables cooling without energy consumption

Theoretically, this experimental device could turn boiling water to ice, without using any energy. Credit: Andreas Schilling, UZH Physicists at the University of Zurich have developed an amazingly simple device that allows heat to flow temporarily from a cold to a warm object without an external power supply. Intriguingly, the process initially appears to contradict…

A universal framework combining genome annotation and undergraduate education

Workflow describing various steps in the manual annotation of protein-coding genes. Credit: Prashant Hosmani As genome sequencing becomes cheaper and faster, resulting in an exponential increase in data, the need for efficiency in predicting gene function is growing, as is the need to train the next generation of scientists in bioinformatics. Researchers in the lab…

The secret to a stable society? A steady supply of beer doesn’t hurt

The team worked with Peruvian brewers to recreate the ancient chicha recipe used at Cerro Baul. Credit: Donna Nash A thousand years ago, the Wari empire stretched across Peru. At its height, it covered an area the size of the Eastern seaboard of the US from New York City to Jacksonville. It lasted for 500…

Decline in measles vaccination is causing a preventable global resurgence of the disease

This is an illustration of the virus which causes measles. Credit: CDC/ Allison M. Maiuri, MPH, CHES In 2000, measles was declared to be eliminated in the United States, when no sustained transmission of the virus was seen in this country for more than 12 months. Today, however, the United States and many other countries…

Features that make lizards appealing to potential mates are resilient to stress

The blue and black badges on a male lizard's chin and abdomen help attract potential mates and fend off competitors. A new study by researchers at Penn State reveals that low levels of stress-associated hormones do not affect badge color or behaviors used to show off badges, suggesting that these traits are resilient to stress.…

Exploring what happens inside fires and explosions

UCF Associate professor Subith Vasu and doctoral student Zachary Loparo in UCF's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research, developed a new technique to examine the molecular details of fire. Credit: Karen Norum, UCF The inside of a fire might be the last place one would explore, but…

Behavioral disorders in kids with autism linked to reduced brain connectivity

Averaged across all study participants with autism and disruptive behavior, these are the regions of the brain with reduced connectivity to the amygdala, displayed here on a standardized template. Credit: Karim Ibrahim/Sukhodolsky Lab More than a quarter of children with autism spectrum disorder are also diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorders. For the first time, Yale…

High performance solid-state sodium-ion battery

Forming compatible interfaces between cathode active materials and solid electrolytes is important for high-performance all-solid-state batteries. The organic cathode demonstrated here is (electro)chemically and mechanically compatible with a sulfide electrolyte. Its moderate redox potential enables the reversible formation of a resistive active material-electrolyte interface. Credit: University of Houston Solid-state sodium-ion batteries are far safer than…

BRB-seq: The quick and cheaper future of RNA sequencing

This is an illustration of the BRB-seq method. Credit: B. Deplancke/EPFL RNA sequencing is a technique used to analyze entire genomes by looking at the expression of their genes. Today, such genome-wide expression analyses are a standard tool for genomic studies because they rely on high-throughput technologies, which themselves have become widely available. Nonetheless, RNA…

These beetles have successfully freeloaded for 100 million years

Detailed photos of the beetle's morphology through its amber encasement. Credit: Courtesy of the Parker laboratory / eLife Almost 100 million years ago, a tiny and misfortunate beetle died after wandering into a sticky glob of resin leaking from a tree in a region near present-day Southeast Asia. Fossilized in amber, this beetle eventually made…

A history of the Crusades, as told by crusaders’ DNA

This image shows the bones of the Crusaders found in a burial pit in Sidon, Lebanon. Credit: Claude Doumet-Serhal History can tell us a lot about the Crusades, the series of religious wars fought between 1095 and 1291, in which Christian invaders tried to claim the Near East. But the DNA of nine 13th century…

TESS finds its first Earth-sized planet

This is an artist's conception of HD 21749c, the first Earth-sized planet found by NASA's Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS), as well as its sibling, HD 21749b, a warm sub-Neptune-sized world. Credit: Illustration by Robin Dienel, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science A nearby system hosts the first Earth-sized planet discovered by NASA's Transiting…

Giant tortoises migrate unpredictably in the face of climate change

Galapagos giant tortoises are sometimes called gardeners of the Galapagos because they are responsible for long-distance seed dispersal. Their migration is key for many tree and plant species' survival. Credit: Photo courtesy of Guillame Bastille-Rousseau Galapagos giant tortoises, sometimes called Gardeners of the Galapagos, are creatures of habit. In the cool dry season, the highlands…

Electric skyrmions charge ahead for next-generation data storage

Simulation of a single polar skyrmion. Red arrows signify that this is a left-handed skyrmion. The other arrows represent the angular distribution of the dipoles. Credit: Xiaoxing Cheng, Pennsylvania State University; C.T. Nelson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Berkeley Lab When you toss a ball, what hand do you use? Left-handed people naturally…

Morphing origami takes a new shape, expanding use possibilities

A new type of origami can morph from one pattern into a different one, or even a hybrid of two patterns, instantly altering many of its structural characteristics. Credit: Allison Carter Origami-based structures have been used to create deployable solar arrays for space, adaptable acoustic systems for symphony halls and even crash protection systems for…

Fish under threat release chemicals to warn others of danger

Fathead minnows engage in normal feeding behaviour until they sense chemicals indicating danger from others, causing them to shoal tightly together. Credit: Katherine Fedoroff Fish warn each other about danger by releasing chemicals into the water as a signal, research by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has found. The USask researchers discovered that wild fish…

Data mining digs up hidden clues to major California earthquake triggers

A historic image of quake damage in Long Beach, California, 1933. Credit: W.L. Huber, USGS A powerful computational study of southern California seismic records has revealed detailed information about a plethora of previously undetected small earthquakes, giving a more precise picture about stress in the earth's crust. A new publicly available catalog of these findings…

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