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Breaking science news and articles on global warming, extrasolar planets, stem cells, bird flu, autism, nanotechnology, dinosaurs, evolution -- the latest discoveries in astronomy, anthropology, biology, chemistry, climate and environment, computers, engineering, health and medicine, math, physics, psychology, technology, and more -- from the world's leading universities and research organizations.
Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

4 hours 15 min ago
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter -- more than we think.

New Eocene fossil data suggest climate models may underestimate future polar warming

9 hours 40 min ago
A new international analysis of marine fossils shows that warming of the polar oceans during the Eocene, a greenhouse period that provides a glimpse of Earth's potential future climate, was greater than previously thought.

Scientists discover 'Legos of life'

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 23:55
Scientists have found the “Legos of life” – four core chemical structures that can be stacked together to build the myriad proteins inside every organism – after smashing and dissecting nearly 10,000 proteins to understand their component parts. The four building blocks make energy available for humans and all other living organisms, according to a new study.

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:47
A new method to create synthetic neurons allows researchers to investigate how the human brain makes metabolic building blocks essential for the survival of all living organisms. A new study describes a core enzyme involved in the synthesis of these building blocks, called purines, and how the enzyme might change during infection by herpes simplex virus.

Big energy savings: Building the world's smallest electro-optic modulator

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:46
Researchers at have designed and fabricated the world's smallest electro-optic modulator, which could mean major reductions in energy used by data centers and supercomputers.

Inverse-design approach leads to metadevices

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:46
Scientists have used inverse design principles and a 3-D printer to create highly efficient broadband metadevices at millimeter-wave frequencies that could prove revolutionary for consumer products, defense, and telecommunications.

Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:45
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle. What if the investments and lessons learned from HIV could be used to improve care for those with other serious chronic conditions?

Ancient rice heralds a new future for rice production

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:08
Growing in crocodile infested billabongs in the remote North of the country, Australia's wild rice has been confirmed as the most closely related to the ancient ancestor of all rices. The unique genetics of the Australian rice may help breed disease resistance and climate adaptation into rice modern production species.

Sound waves used to advance optical communication

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:08
Researchers have demonstrated that sound waves can be used to produce ultraminiature optical diodes that are tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip. These devices, called optical isolators, may help solve major data capacity and system size challenges for photonic integrated circuits, the light-based equivalent of electronic circuits, which are used for computing and communications.

Engineers design artificial synapse for 'brain-on-a-chip' hardware

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:08
Engineers have designed an artificial synapse in such a way that they can precisely control the strength of an electric current flowing across it, similar to the way ions flow between neurons. The team has built a small chip with artificial synapses, made from silicon germanium. In simulations, the researchers found that the chip and its synapses could be used to recognize samples of handwriting, with 95 percent accuracy.

Climate engineering, once started, would have severe impacts if stopped

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
Facing a climate crisis, we may someday spray sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to form a cloud that cools the Earth, but suddenly stopping the spraying would have a severe global impact on animals and plants, according to the first study on the potential biological impacts of geoengineering, or climate intervention.

New Caledonian crows extract prey faster with complex hooked tools

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
Biologists have discovered why some crows 'craft' elaborate hooked tools out of branched twigs.

Climate change and snowmelt -- turn up the heat, but what about humidity?

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
Changes in humidity may determine how the contribution of snowpack to streams, lakes and groundwater changes as the climate warms. Surprisingly, cloudy, gray and humid winter days can actually cause the snowpack to warm faster, increasing the likelihood of melt during winter months when the snowpack should be growing, the authors report. In contrast, under clear skies and low humidity the snow can become colder than the air, preserving the snowpack until spring.

Pathway opens to minimize waste in solar energy capture

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
Researchers have made an important discovery with significant implications for the future of solar cell material design.

Digging deep into distinctly different DNA

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
A new discovery has deepened our understanding of the genetic mutations that arise in different tissues, and how these are inherited. Researchers found the rates of genetic mutations in mitochondrial DNA vary across differing tissue types, with the highest rate occurring in reproductive cells.

Combined nutrients and warming massively increase methane emissions from lakes

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
Shallow lakes in agricultural landscapes will emit significantly greater amounts of methane, mostly in the form of bubbles (ebullition) in a warmer world, which is a potential positive feedback mechanism to climate warming. Submerged plants are key predictors of methane ebullition. The combination of warming with the loss of plants appears to transform shallow lakes into methane bubbling machines.

First evidence of winds outside black holes throughout their mealtimes

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
New research shows the first evidence of strong winds around black holes throughout bright outburst events when a black hole rapidly consumes mass. The study sheds new light on how mass transfers to black holes and how black holes can affect the environment around them.

Kicking an old can of worms -- the origin of the head in annelids

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:07
Researchers have described an exceptionally well-preserved new fossil species of bristle worm called Kootenayscolex barbarensis. Discovered from the 508-million-year-old Marble Canyon fossil site in the Burgess Shale in Kootenay National Park, the new species helps rewrite our understanding of the origin of the head in annelids, a highly diverse group of animals which includes today's leeches and earthworms.

Lab-made hormone may reveal secret lives of plants

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:06
A new synthetic hormone promises to tease apart the many different roles of the plant hormone auxin and could lead to a new way to ripen fruit.

Wild Sri Lankan elephants retreat from sound of disturbed Asian honey bees

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:01
A new study using playbacks, has for the first time shown that Asian elephants in Sri Lanka are scared of honey bees, much like their African counterparts. The study showed that Asian elephants responded with alarm to the bee simulations. They also retreated significantly further away and vocalized more in response to the bee sounds compared to controls.