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Modified bacteria become a multicellular circuit

August 27, 2015 8:00 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Rice Univ. scientists have made a living circuit from multiple types of bacteria that prompts the bacteria to cooperate to change protein expression. The subject of a new paper in Science, the project represents the first time the Rice researchers have created a biological equivalent to a computer circuit that involves multiple organisms to influence a population.

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Intensity of desert storms may affect ocean phytoplankton

August 27, 2015 7:30 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Each spring, powerful dust storms in the deserts of Mongolia and northern China send thick clouds of particles into the atmosphere. Eastward winds sweep these particles as far as the Pacific, where dust ultimately settles in the open ocean. This desert dust contains, among other minerals, iron, an essential nutrient for hundreds of species of phytoplankton that make up the ocean’s food base.

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Attention-Grabbing Crows

August 26, 2015 10:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Researchers know about the New Caledonian crow’s ability to fashion hooked tools out of twigs and leaves, using them to harvest grubs. The areas where these grubs reside are often too narrow for the bird’s beak. Some have suggested the crow’s ability to craft tools surpasses the abilities of chimpanzees.

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New Image of Cosmic Butterfly

August 26, 2015 6:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

An amalgam of ghostly greens, blues and reds burst forth from the center of a bright white light, diamond-like in shape. The green emissions split off into opposite directions, forming two lobes shaped like butterfly wings. Inside, they house kaleidoscopic jet streams. As the lobes extend outwards into the vastness of space, the colors fade against the black.

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ORNL chemical sampling interface features simplicity, speed

August 26, 2015 5:30 pm | by Ron Walli, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

In mere seconds, a system developed at Oak Ridge National Laborator can identify and characterize a solid or liquid sample, providing a valuable tool with applications in material science, forensics, pharmaceuticals, biology and chemistry.

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Cellular contamination pathway for heavy elements identified

August 26, 2015 4:30 pm | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported a major advance in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive metals, opening up new avenues of research into strategies for remedial action in the event of possible human exposure to nuclear contaminants.

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Searching big data faster

August 26, 2015 3:30 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

For more than a decade, gene sequencers have been improving more rapidly than the computers required to make sense of their outputs. Searching for DNA sequences in existing genomic databases can already take hours, and the problem is likely to get worse.

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To the Wonder: Speculating Extraterrestrial Life

August 26, 2015 3:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Discovered in the 1880s in the Mediterranean Sea, the immortal jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) measures about 4.5 mm across. Small as a pinky nail, its transparent body shows a glowing red stomach. Ninety tentacles wistfully float by its side in the water.

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Supercomputers enlisted to shed light on photosynthesis

August 26, 2015 2:30 pm | by Univ. of the Basque Country | News | Comments

Computing enables scientists and engineers to analyze highly complex physical processes using simulation techniques. In this case, researchers in the UPV/EHU are collaborating with researchers from various universities to analyze the photosynthesis process basing themselves on various theories because the way in which plants absorb light remains a mystery.

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Earth’s mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015 1:30 pm | by Carnegie Institute of Science | News | Comments

New research from a team led by Carnegie’s Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the cosmos.

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Cells cling and spiral “like vines” in first 3-D tissue scaffold for plants

August 26, 2015 1:04 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

Miniscule artificial scaffolding units made from nanofiber polymers and built to house plant cells have enabled scientists to see for the first time how individual plant cells behave and interact with each other in a 3-D environment. These "hotels for cells" mimic the "extracellular matrix" which cells secrete before they grow and divide to create plant tissue.

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Coming Out of Its Shell: A Rare Nautilus Sighting

August 26, 2015 12:40 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Last month, Peter Ward, a professor at the Univ. of Washington’s Dept. of Biology, and Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, returned to Papau New Guinea’s Manus Island to see if a rare, shelled cephalopod still existed.

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Why platinum nanoparticles become less effective catalysts at small sizes

August 26, 2015 12:00 pm | by A*STAR | News | Comments

A*STAR scientists have used first-principles computer simulations to explain why small platinum nanoparticles are less effective catalysts than larger ones. Platinum nanoparticles are used in the catalysis of many reactions, including the important hydrogen evolution reaction used in fuel cells and for separating water into oxygen and hydrogen.

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Robotically steered flexible needles navigate in tissue

August 26, 2015 11:00 am | by Univ. of Twente | News | Comments

Robotically steered flexible needles can reach their intended target in tissue with sub-millimeter-level accuracy. This has been demonstrated by the doctoral research of Momen Abayazid, who is affiliated with the research institute MIRA of the Univ. of Twente. A major advantage of steering flexible needles is that one can avoid obstacles or sensitive tissues and can re-orient the path of the needle in real time as you insert the needle.

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Dying star suffers “irregular heartbeats”

August 26, 2015 10:00 am | by Univ. of Warwick | News | Comments

Some dying stars suffer from “irregular heartbeats,” research led by astronomers at the Univ. of Warwick has discovered. The research confirms rapid brightening events in otherwise normal pulsating white dwarfs, which are stars in the final stage of their lifecycles.

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