The detection of gravitational waves produced by the collision of two black holes over 1 billion light years away confirms Einstein's vision of our Universe.... Read more »
Abbott, B., Abbott, R., Abbott, T., Abernathy, M., Acernese, F., Ackley, K., Adams, C., Adams, T., Addesso, P., Adhikari, R.... (2016) Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger. Physical Review Letters, 116(6). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102
by Anna Schneider For the iconic monarch butterfly, the shorter days in fall mean it’s time to pack up and head south to a warmer climate! Just like clockwork, the Eastern population of monarch butterflies makes a 2000 mile journey to their winter paradise roosts in central Mexico. The journey in itself is one of the greatest migrations among all animals. But here’s the catch: none of these butterflies has made this trip before. Several generations of monarchs have come and gon........ Read more »
Gegear, R., Foley, L., Casselman, A., & Reppert, S. (2010) Animal cryptochromes mediate magnetoreception by an unconventional photochemical mechanism. Nature, 463(7282), 804-807. DOI: 10.1038/nature08719
Guerra, P., Gegear, R., & Reppert, S. (2014) A magnetic compass aids monarch butterfly migration. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5164
Merlin, C., Gegear, R., & Reppert, S. (2009) Antennal Circadian Clocks Coordinate Sun Compass Orientation in Migratory Monarch Butterflies. Science, 325(5948), 1700-1704. DOI: 10.1126/science.1176221
Although lizards mostly scurry on all fours, certain species can run on two legs when the mood strikes. What's the benefit to this human-like running style? For one thing, it seems to let lizards get over obstacles without slowing down. They just have to make sure not to tip over.
Georgia Southern University biologist Lance McBrayer and graduate student Seth Parker studied running in a handsome little reptile called Sceloporus woodi, or the Florida scrub lizard. McBrayer says there's been... Read more »
Parker, S., & McBrayer, L. (2016) The effects of multiple obstacles on the locomotor behavior and performance of a terrestrial lizard. Journal of Experimental Biology. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.120451
Greenland has long held sea-level rise at bay, absorbing melted water into spongy upper layers. But new research has found that icy covers to these layers are preventing water absorption and driving water into the oceans.... Read more »
Machguth, H., MacFerrin, M., van As, D., Box, J., Charalampidis, C., Colgan, W., Fausto, R., Meijer, H., Mosley-Thompson, E., & van de Wal, R. (2016) Greenland meltwater storage in firn limited by near-surface ice formation. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2899
Think about the last time you stood squinting in front of a full-length mirror, trying to decide whether the colors in your outfit went together. Now imagine you're a reptile, and you wouldn't even understand a mirror if you saw one, but somehow you need to find a rock that matches your skin color. Otherwise you might get eaten by a bird today. Oh, and the skin color you need to match is on your back.
Certain lizards in Greece manage to pull this off every day, though how they do it is a ... Read more »
Marshall, K., Philpot, K., & Stevens, M. (2016) Microhabitat choice in island lizards enhances camouflage against avian predators. Scientific Reports, 19815. DOI: 10.1038/srep19815
A commentary in Nature proposes a complete overhaul of how we treat our wastewater. Among the benefits would be new energy-producing industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!... Read more »
Carbon fees are a tremendous policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what is their effect on other public health missions, like providing cleaner cookware to the poor in developing countries. We take a look at new research designing policy to meet both public health needs.... Read more »
Cameron, C., Pachauri, S., Rao, N., McCollum, D., Rogelj, J., & Riahi, K. (2016) Policy trade-offs between climate mitigation and clean cook-stove access in South Asia. Nature Energy, 1(1), 15010. DOI: 10.1038/nenergy.2015.10
Thanks to the Internet, amateur volunteers known as "citizen scientists" can readily donate their time and effort to science--in fields ranging from medicine to zoology to astrophysics. The astrophysics project Space Warps offers a compelling example of why citizen science has become such a popular tool and how valuable it can be.
... Read more »
Marshall, P., Verma, A., More, A., Davis, C., More, S., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M., Snyder, C., Wilcox, J., Baeten, E.... (2015) SPACE WARPS - I. Crowdsourcing the discovery of gravitational lenses. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1171-1190. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2009
More, A., Verma, A., Marshall, P., More, S., Baeten, E., Wilcox, J., Macmillan, C., Cornen, C., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M.... (2015) SPACE WARPS- II. New gravitational lens candidates from the CFHTLS discovered through citizen science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1191-1210. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1965
Previous research has suggested that the Amazon could reach a tipping point when rainforest gives way to a grassy savannah. Could this really happen? A new modeling study suggests the diversity of the Amazon could prevent such a drastic change.... Read more »
Levine NM, Zhang K, Longo M, Baccini A, Phillips OL, Lewis SL, Alvarez-Dávila E, Segalin de Andrade AC, Brienen RJ, Erwin TL.... (2015) Ecosystem heterogeneity determines the ecological resilience of the Amazon to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26711984
In "Star Trek", a transporter can teleport a person from one location to a remote location without actually making the journey along the way. Such a transporter has fascinated many people. Quantum teleportation shares several features of the transporter and is one of the most important protocols in quantum information.... Read more »
Li, T., & Yin, Z. (2016) Quantum superposition, entanglement, and state teleportation of a microorganism on an electromechanical oscillator. Science Bulletin. DOI: 10.1007/s11434-015-0990-x
Quantum gravity appears today as the Holy Grail of physics. This is so far detached from any possible experimental result but with a lot of attentions from truly remarkable people anyway. In some sense, if a physicist would like to know in her lifetime if her speculations are worth a Nobel prize, better to work […]... Read more »
Farina, A., Frasca, M., & Sedehi, M. (2013) Solving Schrödinger equation via Tartaglia/Pascal triangle: a possible link between stochastic processing and quantum mechanics. Signal, Image and Video Processing, 8(1), 27-37. DOI: 10.1007/s11760-013-0473-y
Using mathematical models, scientists have ‘looked’ into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry — these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets.... Read more »
Niu, H., Oganov, A., Chen, X., & Li, D. (2015) Prediction of novel stable compounds in the Mg-Si-O system under exoplanet pressures. Scientific Reports, 18347. DOI: 10.1038/srep18347
A recent study looking at the impact of USDA-recommended diets on the environment has received significant media attention. Some of these reports have been a bit misleading, so read here to learn the details about this important study that should impact US dietary policy!... Read more »
Tom, M., Fischbeck, P., & Hendrickson, C. (2015) Energy use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas emissions for current food consumption patterns and dietary recommendations in the US. Environment Systems and Decisions. DOI: 10.1007/s10669-015-9577-y
Two days ago, CERN presented their new results at 13 TeV to the World. Of course, collected data so far are not enough for conclusive results but the these are exciting anyway. The reason is that both the collaborations, CMS and ATLAS, see a bump at around 750 GeV in the decay. Summing up the results […]... Read more »
Marco Frasca. (2015) A theorem on the Higgs sector of the Standard Model. arxiv. arXiv: 1504.02299v2
Researchers are proposing a new "hydricity" concept aimed at creating a sustainable economy by not only generating electricity with solar energy but also producing and storing hydrogen from superheated water for round-the-clock power production.... Read more »
Emre Gencer, Dharik S. Mallapragada, Francois Marechal, Mohit Tawarmalani. (2015) Round-the-clock power supply and a sustainable economy via synergistic integration of solar thermal power and hydrogen processes. Proceedings of the natural sciences academy of the United States of America. info:/http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/12/09/1513488112.abstract
Water and energy policy have long been separate despite the deep link between energy production and freshwater consumption. Here we discuss a new study examining this link with policy implications about how to prevent resource scarcity.... Read more »
Holland RA, Scott KA, Flörke M, Brown G, Ewers RM, Farmer E, Kapos V, Muggeridge A, Scharlemann JP, Taylor G.... (2015) Global impacts of energy demand on the freshwater resources of nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(48). PMID: 26627262
Why send a message back in time, but lock it so that no one can ever read the contents? Because it may be the key to solving currently intractable problems. It turns out that an unopened message can be exceedingly useful. This is true if the experimenter entangles the message with some other system in the laboratory before sending it.... Read more »
Yuan, X., Assad, S., Thompson, J., Haw, J., Vedral, V., Ralph, T., Lam, P., Weedbrook, C., & Gu, M. (2015) Replicating the benefits of Deutschian closed timelike curves without breaking causality. npj Quantum Information, 15007. DOI: 10.1038/npjqi.2015.7
World leaders meet in Paris this week to agree to legally binding agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In honor of this historic conference, I take a look at a few stories around the world about how climate change already influences our global civilization.... Read more »
Rivero-Calle, S., Gnanadesikan, A., Del Castillo, C., Balch, W., & Guikema, S. (2015) Multidecadal increase in North Atlantic coccolithophores and the potential role of rising CO2. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8026
A rather panoramic view of the heavy metal arena encompassing various aspects of science and psychology. ... Read more »
Jesse L. Silverberg, Matthew Bierbaum, James P. Sethna, & Itai Cohen. (2013) Collective Motion of Moshers at Heavy Metal Concerts. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.228701. arXiv: 1302.1886v1
You know when you're out walking with a big horde of your friends and you come to a chasm you can't step across, so a bunch of you clasp each other's limbs and make yourselves into a bridge for the rest to walk on?
Eciton army ants do this. And they're not the only ants that build incredible structures out of their strong, near-weightless bodies. Weaver ants make chains between leaves by holding onto each other's waists. Fire ants cling together to form rafts and survive floodin........ Read more »
Reid CR, Lutz MJ, Powell S, Kao AB, Couzin ID, & Garnier S. (2015) Army ants dynamically adjust living bridges in response to a cost-benefit trade-off. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26598673
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