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Scientists solve decades-old cell biology puzzle

June 19, 2015 9:55 am | by European Molecular Biology Laboratory | News | Comments

Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg have solved a question that has puzzled cell biologists for decades: How does the protein machine that allows cells to swallow up molecules during endocytosis function? Endocytosis is the process by which cells engulf molecules and draw them inside the cell where they perform different functions.

Climate change won’t reduce winter deaths

June 19, 2015 9:12 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

In a study that contradicts the received wisdom on health impacts of climate change, scientists say that we shouldn’t expect substantial reduction in winter deaths as a result of global warming. This new research is published in Environmental Research Letters.

X-ray imaging reveals secrets in battery materials

June 19, 2015 8:47 am | by Liezel Labios, Univ. of California, San Diego | Videos | Comments

In a new study, researchers explain why one particular cathode material works well at high voltages, while most other cathodes do not. The insights, published in Science, could help battery developers design rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that operate at higher voltages.

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Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage

June 19, 2015 8:19 am | by Melody Pupols, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | News | Comments

The materials in most of today’s residential rooftop solar panels can store energy from the sun for only a few microseconds at a time. A new technology developed by chemists at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks, an advance that could change the way scientists think about designing solar cells.

Brain receptor found to affect cocaine addiction

June 19, 2015 7:47 am | by Cathy Wilde, Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. at Buffalo have discovered a previously unknown neural pathway that can regulate changes made in the brain due to cocaine use, providing new insight into the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.

Adapting nanoscience imaging tools to study ants’ heat-deflecting adaptations

June 19, 2015 7:41 am | by Alasdair Wilkins, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

The tiny hairs of Saharan silver ants possess crucial adaptive features that allow the ants to regulate their body temperatures and survive the scorching hot conditions of their desert habitat. According to a new research paper, the unique triangular shape and internal structure of the hairs play a key role in maintaining the ant’s average internal temperature below the critical thermal maximum of 53.6 C (128.48 F).

Recalling happier memories can reverse depression

June 19, 2015 7:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have shown that they can cure the symptoms of depression in mice by artificially reactivating happy memories that were formed before the onset of depression. The findings offer a possible explanation for the success of psychotherapies in which depression patients are encouraged to recall pleasant experiences.

Wine-making shortcut gives bubbly a fruitier aroma

June 18, 2015 4:24 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The best sparkling wines take months to ferment to perfection. In recent years, many winemakers have turned to commercial yeast products to give this process a boost. How they ultimately affect bubbly has been an open question, but now scientists have stepped in to find out. They report their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Galactic crashes fuel quasars

June 18, 2015 4:19 pm | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

When galaxies collide, bright things happen in the universe. Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.

Simplifying the recycling of rare-earth magnets

June 18, 2015 4:13 pm | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Despite their ubiquity in consumer electronics, rare-earth metals are, as their name suggests, hard to come by. Mining and purifying them is an expensive, labor-intensive and ecologically devastating process. Researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania have now pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of two of these metals, neodymium and dysprosium.

Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home

June 18, 2015 1:55 pm | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body's immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues. Unlike other methods of making carbon nanoparticles, the new approach generates the particles in a few hours and uses only a handful of ingredients, including store-bought molasses.

Liquid Gold

June 18, 2015 12:30 pm | by George Karlin-Neumann, the Digital Biology Center at Bio-Rad Laboratories | Articles | Comments

Blood is the great aggregator of the body’s physiology. Many tumors slough off fragments of DNA into the bloodstream, which can be detected with a minimally invasive blood draw using advanced DNA tests—also known as a liquid biopsy. One of the challenges preventing liquid biopsy from becoming a clinical reality has been reliably finding the cancerous DNA in the vast sea of healthy DNA.

Study suggests active volcanism on Venus

June 18, 2015 11:30 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have found some of the best evidence yet that Venus, Earth’s nearest neighbor, is volcanically active. In combing through data from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission, the scientists found transient spikes in temperature at several spots on the planet’s surface. The hotspots, which were found to flash and fade over the course of just a few days, appear to be generated by active flows of lava on the surface.

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On the road to needle-free medicine

June 18, 2015 10:45 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Needle injections have been around since 1657 and remain a key delivery method for many drugs, including vaccines that have prevented countless illnesses. But for patients that require daily pricks or for people in remote locations, the syringe model has major drawbacks. An article in Chemical & Engineering News looks at potential alternatives, their successes and their roadblocks.

To give cancer a deadly fever, NIST explores better nanoparticle design

June 18, 2015 10:15 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Heat may be the key to killing certain types of cancer, and new research from a team including NIST scientists has yielded unexpected results that should help optimize the design of magnetic nanoparticles that can be used to deliver heat directly to cancerous tumors.

New tool on horizon for surgeons treating cancer patients

June 18, 2015 9:30 am | by Ron Walli, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Surgeons could know while their patients are still on the operating table if a tissue is cancerous, according to researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, a team led by ORNL's Vilmos Kertesz describes an automated droplet-based surface sampling probe that accomplishes in about 10 min what now routinely takes 20 to 30 min.

Scientists create computational algorithm for fact-checking

June 18, 2015 8:32 am | by Indiana Univ. | News | Comments

Network scientists at Indiana Univ. have developed a new computational method that can leverage any body of knowledge to aid in the complex human task of fact-checking. In the first use of this method, the scientists created a simple computational fact-checker that assigns "truth scores" to statements concerning history, geography and entertainment, as well as random statements drawn from the text of Wikipedia.

A new look at surface chemistry

June 18, 2015 8:24 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

For the first time in the long and vaunted history of scanning electron microscopy, the unique atomic structure at the surface of a material has been resolved. This landmark in scientific imaging was made possible by a new analytic technique developed by a multi-institutional team of researchers.

Mantis shrimp inspires new body armor

June 18, 2015 8:15 am | by Sean Nealon, Univ. of California, Riverside | Videos | Comments

The mantis shrimp is able to repeatedly pummel the shells of prey using a hammer-like appendage that can withstand rapid-fire blows by neutralizing certain frequencies of “shear waves,” according to new research. The club is made of a composite material containing fibers of chitin, the same substance found in many marine crustacean shells and insect exoskeletons but arranged in a helicoidal structure that resembles a spiral staircase.

A simple yet clever way to boost chip speeds

June 18, 2015 8:08 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

A typical computer chip includes millions of transistors connected with an extensive network of copper wires. Although chip wires are unimaginably short and thin compared with household wires, both have one thing in common: In each case, the copper is wrapped within a protective sheath. For years a material called tantalum nitride has formed a protective layer around chip wires.

Humans’ built-in GPS is our 3-D sense of smell

June 18, 2015 7:57 am | by Yasmin Anwar, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information, new research shows. While humans may lack the scent-tracking sophistication of, say, a search-and-rescue dog, we can sniff our way, blindfolded, toward a location whose scent we’ve smelled only once before.

Scientists film shock waves in diamond

June 18, 2015 7:50 am | by Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY | News | Comments

Researchers have used ultra-short pulses of x-rays to film shock waves in diamonds. The study headed by DESY scientists opens up new possibilities for studying the properties of materials. Thanks to the extremely bright and short x-ray flashes, the researchers were able to follow the rapid, dynamic changes taking place in the shock wave with a high spatial, as well as a high temporal, resolution.

Nanorobots swim through blood to deliver drugs

June 18, 2015 7:39 am | by American Chemical Society | Videos | Comments

Someday, treating patients with nanorobots could become standard practice to deliver medicine specifically to parts of the body affected by disease. But merely injecting drug-loaded nanoparticles might not always be enough to get them where they need to go. Now scientists are reporting in Nano Letters the development of new nanoswimmers that can move easily through body fluids to their targets.

NASA: International satellite studying oceans stops working

June 17, 2015 8:04 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

NASA says an international satellite studying the world's oceans has stopped working after four years. The space agency said Wednesday that the Argentine-built satellite ceased operations last week after a hardware failure. The satellite carried a NASA instrument called Aquarius that measured the concentration of dissolved salt at the sea surface.

Preventing fires in next-generation lithium batteries

June 17, 2015 1:00 pm | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

In a study that could improve the safety of next-generation batteries, researchers discovered that adding two chemicals to the electrolyte of a lithium metal battery prevents the formation of dendrites—"fingers" of lithium that pierce the barrier between the battery's halves, causing it to short out, overheat and sometimes burst into flame.

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