Science News

Science News

Science News

Bringing deep learning to big screen animation

Modern films and TV shows are filled with spectacular computer-generated sequences computed by rendering systems that simulate the flow of light in a three-dimensional scene and convert the information into a two-dimensional image. But computing the thousands of light rays (per frame) to achieve accurate color, shadows, reflectivity and other light-based characteristics is a labor-intensive, time-consuming and expensive undertaking. An alternative is to render the images using only a few light rays.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 8:11 pm

Isotopes in prehistoric cattle teeth suggest herding strategies used during the Neolithic

Analysis of strontium isotopes in teeth from Neolithic cattle suggest that early Europeans used different specialized herding strategies.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:33 pm

Dawn of the cosmos: Seeing galaxies that appeared soon after the Big Bang

Astronomers have discovered 23 young galaxies, seen as they were 800 million years after the Big Bang.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:33 pm

Soft wearable robotic suit promotes normal walking in stroke patients, opening new approaches to gait re-training and rehabilitation

Exosuits can be used to improve walking after stroke, say researchers. This is a critical step in de-risking exosuit technology towards real-world clinical use.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:33 pm

Explaining why perovskite solar cells are more efficient

Experimenters with a powerful 'electron camera' have discovered that light whirls atoms around in perovskites, potentially explaining the high efficiency of these next-generation solar cell materials and providing clues for making better ones.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:16 pm

Robot-driven device improves crouch gait in children with cerebral palsy

3.6 out of 1,000 children in the US are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Their symptoms can include abnormal gait patterns such as crouch gait, characterized by excessive flexion of the hips, knees, or ankles. A pilot study demonstrates a robotic training method that improves posture and walking in children with crouch gait by enhancing their muscle strength and coordination.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 6:16 pm

Strange electrons break the crystal symmetry of high-temperature superconductors

Scientists have found surprising electron behavior that may help unravel the ever-elusive mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity -- a phenomenon in which electrical current flows freely without resistance through a material at unusually high temperatures relative to those of conventional superconductors.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:21 pm

Brain cells found to control aging

Scientists have found that stem cells in the brain's hypothalamus govern how fast aging occurs in the body. The finding, made in mice, could lead to new strategies for warding off age-related diseases and extending lifespan.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:21 pm

Gamma-ray burst captured in unprecedented detail

Gamma-ray bursts are among the most energetic and explosive events in the universe. They are also short-lived, lasting from a few milliseconds to about a minute. This has made it tough for astronomers to observe a gamma-ray burst in detail. Using a wide array of ground- and space-based telescope observations, astronomers constructed one of the most detailed descriptions of a gamma-ray burst to date.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:21 pm

How body may detect early signs of cancer

Fresh insights into how cells detect damage to their DNA -- a hallmark of cancer -- could help explain how the body keeps disease in check. Scientists have discovered how damage to the cell's genetic material can trigger inflammation, setting in motion processes to remove damaged cells and keep tissues healthy.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:20 pm

Scientists regenerate retinal cells in mice

Scientists have succeeded in regenerating functional retinal cells in adult mice. Like humans, mice cannot repair damage to their retinas. However, because zebrafish can, researchers created in mice a version of the fish gene responsible for turning Muller glia into retinal cells if eye injury occurs. Researchers found way to prevent the gene's activity from being blocked as the mice got older. The new interneurons formed connections and reacted normally to signals from light-detecting cells in the retina.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:20 pm

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices

Scientists have demonstrated how living cells can be induced to carry out computations in the manner of tiny robots or computers.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 5:17 pm

How plant architectures mimic subway networks

3-D laser scanning has been used to understand how plants optimize their growth, explains a new report.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 4:54 pm

Traces of adaptation and cultural diversification found among early North American stone tools

Using new 3-D methods to analyze stone projectile points crafted by North America's earliest human inhabitants, scientists have found that these tools show evidence of a shift toward more experimentation about 12,500 years ago, following hundreds of years of consistent stone-tool production. The findings provide clues into changes in social interactions during a time when people are thought to have been spreading into new parts of North America.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 4:03 pm

NASA sees Irwin before it weakened to a Tropical Storm

Irwin was still a hurricane when the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite passed over the Eastern Pacific Ocean on July 25. Eighteen hours later, Irwin weakened to a tropical storm.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:44 pm

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement

Theoretical physicists led by Professor Kurt Binder and Dr. Arash Nikoubashman at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany have used computer simulations to study the arrangement of stiff polymers in spherical cavities. These confined systems play an important role for a wide range of applications, such as the fabrication of nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery and for tailored nanomaterials. Furthermore, the investigated systems can give crucial insights into the inner workings of biological problems where confinement effects are crucial, such as the packaging of double-stranded DNA in bacteriophage capsids and the self-assembly of actin filaments in cells.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:42 pm

Compound shows promise in treating melanoma

While past attempts to treat melanoma failed to meet expectations, an international team of researchers are hopeful that a compound they tested on both mice and on human cells in a petri dish takes a positive step toward creating a drug that can kill melanoma cancer cells without harming nearby healthy cells.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:09 pm

New bird that humans drove to extinction discovered in Azores

Inside the crater of a volcano on Graciosa Island in the Azores archipelago, in the Atlantic Ocean, an international team of researchers has discovered the bones of a new extinct species of songbird, a bullfinch which they have named Pyrrhula crassa. The remains were found in a small cavity through which time ago the lava flowed. This bird disappeared a few hundreds of years ago due to human colonization of the islands and the introduction of invasive species.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:09 pm

Delaying bariatric surgery until higher weight may result in poorer outcomes

Obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery were more like to achieve a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30 one year after surgery if they had a BMI of less than 40 before surgery, according to a study.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:09 pm

What are risk factors for melanoma in kidney transplant recipients?

Kidney transplant patients appear to be at a greater risk of developing melanoma than the general population and risk factors include being older, male and white, findings that corroborate results demonstrated in other studies, according to a new article.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 3:09 pm

Sharks revealed as the great protectors of seagrass

Sharks, marine scientists say, are often misunderstood, described as ravenous man-eaters. In reality, sharks are critically important to the health of the world's oceans, yet a quarter of all shark species are threatened with extinction.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:47 pm

How scientists redesign DNA codes

Scientists are working to create yeast that operates with custom-made DNA.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:43 pm

New approach to hitting the gym: Optimizing weight and endurance training

Sports scientists are warning that fatigue from weight training can carry over to endurance training and the two activities must be better coordinated to maximize athletes' performance.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Adjusting fertilizers vital in claypan ag soils

New research could help claypan farmers improve yields while saving costs.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Taking technology to the next level

Physicists have developed a new hybrid integrated platform, promising to be a more advanced alternative to conventional integrated circuits. The researchers demonstrated their approach is mass manufacturable, making it possible to integrate the platform into everyday electronic equipment like smartphones. For end users this technical advance means it may lead to faster internet on their next-generation electronic devices.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Lake Baikal: Protection of a unique ecosystem

Researchers are studying the impact of climate change and environmental toxins on the lake's fauna. They addressed the question of how Baikal amphipods that fulfill important ecological functions in the lake react to pollutants in the water.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Chatting coordinates heterogeneity in bacteria

Bacterial populations can, under certain conditions, react in a coordinated manner to chemical messages produced by a minority of their members, as a new theoretical study carried out by biophysicists shows.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Why some people are so sure they're right, even when they are not

Two studies examine the personality characteristics that drive dogmatism in the religious and nonreligious. In both groups, higher critical reasoning skills were associated with lower levels of dogmatism. But these two groups diverge in how moral concern influences their dogmatic thinking.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Managers often fail to use or understand their own data on customer satisfaction

Despite the millions companies spend to gather information about customer satisfaction, senior managers often fail to understand those customers' expectations.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:30 pm

Talking to yourself in the third person can help you control emotions

The simple act of silently talking to yourself in the third person during stressful times may help you control emotions without any additional mental effort than what you would use for first-person self-talk -- the way people normally talk to themselves.  
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Cultural flexibility was key for early humans to survive extreme dry periods in southern Africa

The early human techno-tradition, known as Howiesons Poort, associated with Homo sapiens who lived in southern Africa about 66,000 to 59,000 years ago indicates that during this period of pronounced aridification they developed cultural innovations that allowed them to significantly enlarge the range of environments they occupied.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Competition for survival signals maintains immune balance

Although scarce, the recently discovered innate lymphoid cells vie with T cells for a shared source of interleukin-7, which helps them to survive. These findings could deepen our understanding of immune memory in vaccine and aging.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Biomarkers for identifying tumor aggressiveness

Future early-stage colon cancer patients could benefit from specific genetic tests that forecast their prognosis and help them make the right decision regarding chemotherapy. Two of the biomarkers are the MACC1 gene, high levels of which promote aggressive tumor growth and the development of metastasis, and a defective DNA mismatch repair (dMMR) system, which plays a role in tumor formation. Life expectancy is longer for patients with dMMR tumors and with low MACC1 gene activity.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Large-mouthed fish was top predator after mass extinction

The food chains recovered more rapidly than previously assumed after Earth's most devastating mass extinction event about 252 million years ago as demonstrated by the fossilized skull of a large predatory fish called Birgeria americana discovered by paleontologists from the University of Zurich in the desert of Nevada.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Diffusion dynamics play an essential role in regulating stem cells and tissue development

New work describes vital aspects of diffusion processes in tissue development, including the roles that molecular diffusion gradients have on stem cell signaling pathways along with new modeling tools that describe gradients of nutrients and signaling factors in three-dimensional tissue constructs.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Do all people experience similar near-death-experiences?

New research examines how frequently and in what order different aspects of self-reported near-death-experiences occur. By analyzing written first-hand accounts of near-death-experiences, the researchers looked at whether specific aspects of these experiences tend to occur in the same order for different people. They found that even though some events are more common, and some are more likely to follow one another, near-death-experiences tend to be unique to the individual in terms of chronology.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

'Are we there yet?' Explaining ADHD science to children

Researchers reported their latest brain research on ADHD in a scientific journal targeting -- and peer-reviewed by -- children.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Humans identify emotions in the voices of all air-breathing vertebrates

Amphibians, reptiles, mammals -- all of them communicate via acoustic signals. And humans are able to assess the emotional value of these signals. The authors interpreted their findings as evidence that there might be a universal code for the vocal expression and perception of emotions in the animal kingdom.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Solar scientists rough up silicon panels to boost light capture

Scientists enhance conversion efficiency of crystalline Si solar cells by effectively preventing reflection loss, passivating a submicron silicon structure, and adding a rough nanoscale surface texture using simple and inexpensive processes.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Atlantic/Pacific ocean temperature difference fuels US wildfires

A new study shows that difference in water temperature between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans together with global warming impact the risk of drought and wildfire in southwestern North America.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

'Magic Bench' lets users see, hear and feel animated characters

Sit on Disney Research's Magic Bench and you may have an elephant hand you a glowing orb. Or you might get rained on. Or a tiny donkey might saunter by and kick the bench. It's a combined augmented and mixed reality experience, but not the type that involves wearing a head-mounted display or using a handheld device. Instead, the surroundings are instrumented rather than the individual, allowing people to share the 'magical' experience as a group.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:29 pm

Longer-lasting fragrance is just a shampoo away, thanks to peptides

Many people select their shampoo based on smell. Unfortunately, that scent usually doesn't last long on hair. Now, one team reports a new way to help the fragrance 'stick' to hair longer.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:28 pm

Adjusting fertilizers vital in claypan ag soils

All soils are not equal. Rich loams support the world's most productive agricultural regions, including swaths of the American Midwest. But in some parts of the Midwest, including areas in Missouri and Illinois, claypan soils dominate. And where claypans reign, problems for producers abound. New research from the University of Missouri could help claypan farmers improve yields while saving costs.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:26 pm

Chatting coordinates heterogeneity

Bacterial cells communicate with one another by using chemical signal molecules, which they synthesize and secrete into their surroundings. By this means, the behavior of an entire population can be controlled and coordinated. Biophysicists led by Professor Erwin Frey, who holds the Chair of Biological and Statistical Physics at LMU, have now shown theoretically how this can be accomplished even when only a subset of cells actually emits the requisite signals. The new findings appear in the online journal eLife.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:25 pm

New law could shore up US helium supply

Helium is essential for MRIs, the fiber optics that deliver images to our TVs, scientific research and of course, party balloons. In the past decade, helium prices have sky-rocketed due to supply shortages. But if small updates are made to an old law, the U.S. could boost its domestic helium output and help keep critical medical tests and electronics running, reports Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:25 pm

Research at Lake Baikal—for the protection of a unique ecosystem

Lake Baikal, with its exceptional species diversity and unique wildlife, is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. As part of the Helmholtz Russia Research Group LaBeglo, UFZ researchers are studying the impact of climate change and environmental toxins on the lake's fauna. In a recent study, together with researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the University of Irkutsk, they addressed the question of how Baikal amphipods that fulfil important ecological functions in the lake react to pollutants in the water.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:24 pm

Identifying major transitions in human cultural evolution

Over the past 10,000 years human cultures have expanded from small groups of hunter-gatherers to colossal and complexly organized societies. The secrets to how and why this major cultural transition occurred have largely remained elusive. In an article published on July 24 by Russell Gray and Joseph Watts in PNAS they outline how advances in computational methods and large cross-cultural datasets are beginning to reveal the broad patterns and processes underlying our cultural histories.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:23 pm

Longer-lasting fragrance is just a shampoo away, thanks to peptides

Many people select their shampoo based on smell. Unfortunately, that scent usually doesn't last long on hair. Now, one team reports in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces a new way to help the fragrance "stick" to hair longer.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:19 pm

Managers often fail to use or understand their own data on customer satisfaction

Despite the millions companies spend to gather information about customer satisfaction, senior managers often fail to understand those customers' expectations.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:07 pm

Researchers develop new platform making next-generation electronic devices more advanced

Physicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) developed a new hybrid integrated platform, promising to be a more advanced alternative to conventional integrated circuits. The researchers demonstrated their approach is mass manufacturable, making it possible to integrate the platform into everyday electronic equipment like smartphones. For end users this technical advance means it may lead to faster internet on their next-generation electronic devices.
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Posted: July 26, 2017, 2:05 pm

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