ScienceWatch.TV

JBookmarks

Add to: JBookmarks Add to: Facebook Add to: Webnews Add to: Buzka Add to: Windows Live Add to: Icio Add to: Ximmy Add to: Oneview Add to: Kledy.de Social Bookmarking Add to:  FAV!T Social Bookmarking Add to: Favoriten.de Add to: Seekxl Add to: BoniTrust Add to: Power-Oldie Add to: Bookmarks.cc Add to: Newskick Add to: Newsider Add to: Linksilo Add to: Readster Add to: Yigg Add to: Linkarena Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icoi.us Add to: Reddit Add to: Jumptags Add to: Upchuckr Add to: Simpy Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Netscape Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Blogmarks Add to: Diigo Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Blinkbits Add to: Ma.Gnolia Add to: Smarking Add to: Netvouz Add to: Folkd Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Blinklist Information

Science News Reports

Of catalysts and chirality: Highly-selective growth of structure-specific single-walled carbon nanotubes
(Phys.org) —Carbon – the chemical basis of all known life and an element known as far back as the 8th century BC – exists in a range of forms, or allotropes, with remarkably diverse properties. (Diamond, for
Read More 16 Hits 0 Ratings
Test of equivalence principle searches for effects of spin-gravity coupling
(Phys.org) —Einstein's equivalence principle states that an object in gravitational free fall is physically equivalent to an object that is accelerating with the same amount of force in the absence of gravity. This
Read More 20 Hits 0 Ratings
Particle, meet wave: Optical qubit technique squeezes photons to bridge discrete and continuous quantum regimes
(Phys.org) —While quantum states are typically referred to as particles or waves, this is not actually the case. Rather, quantum states have complementary discrete particlelike and continuous wavelike properties that
Read More 91 Hits 0 Ratings
Study suggests cloud computing can make business more green
A case study published in The International Journal of Business Process Integration and Management demonstrates that the adoption of integrated cloud-computing solutions can lead to significant cost savings for businesses, as
Read More 11 Hits 0 Ratings
Planning for an electron-ion collider at Brookhaven
By adding an electron ring and other accelerator components to its existing Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, New York, US, would create a high-energy electron-ion collider (EIC) to
Read More 14 Hits 0 Ratings
Tackling complexity and scale at eResearch NZ 2014
eResearch NZ 2014 was recently held at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand. This was the fifth year of the conference, which once again brought together a wide range of researchers and high-performance computing
Read More 12 Hits 0 Ratings
Which happened first: Did sounds form words, or words form sentences?
The origins of language is, in some ways, more complicated to study than the origins of other biological traits because language does not fossilize or leave behind physical traces the way that bones and tissues do.
Read More 36 Hits 0 Ratings
Venus-flytrap-like gripper could capture individual cells in the human body
(Phys.org) —No two biological cells are exactly the same. Even a small biopsied tumor sample contains cells with large variations in their proliferation rate, potential for metastasis, drug responsiveness, etc. However,
Read More 33 Hits 0 Ratings
Main result of Facebook emotion study: less trust in Facebook
A new study that manipulated emotional messages on Facebook gets a big thumbs-down from Facebook users, and may also amplify a public distrust of behavioral research that has been fed by decades of deceptive laboratory
Read More 20 Hits 0 Ratings
Dead-ant wall protects young spider wasps 06 July 2014, 22.30 Science
Dead-ant wall protects young spider wasps
A newly discovered species of wasp (D) leaves its eggs in cavities (A) protected by dead ants (B and C). Merten Ehmig (A, B), Michael Staab (C, D)  When members of one family of wasps, Pompilidae, are adults, they feast on
Read More 20 Hits 0 Ratings
MRI scans reveal how the brain tells the body to pee
 Your daily roundup of research news Ashley Yeager Brain scans of men taken before, during and after they urinate show that the insula, thalamus, brainstem and prefrontal cortex (red) are associated with
Read More 24 Hits 0 Ratings
Dramatic retraction adds to questions about stem cell research
 SEEING DOUBLE  Scientists now doubt their own earlier claims about an easy method to make stem cells. Among the errors identified in their papers were two pictures of a single embryo created from STAP cells (green)
Read More 33 Hits 0 Ratings
Enzyme separates healthy and unhealthy obesity
 Your daily roundup of research news Ashley Yeager Science Ticker EMail Print Facebook Reddit Google+ Guest post by Tina Hesman Saey Obesity is usually a gateway condition to other diseases, such as diabetes.
Read More 16 Hits 0 Ratings
Rare planet circles just one of a pair of stars
 THREE’S A CROWD  A frozen, rocky planet orbits one of a pair of faint red stars (center and right), roughly 3,300 light-years away, as seen in an artist’s illustration.  EMail Print Facebook Reddit
Read More 25 Hits 0 Ratings
Photo Timeline: How the Earth Formed 29 June 2014, 15.19 Science
Photo Timeline: How the Earth Formed
Earth has been plagued by mass extinctions since the Cambrian Period, but the biggest in the fossil record was in the Permian Period 252 million years…Read More » ago. More than 90 percent of life died in just 60,000 years,
Read More 33 Hits 0 Ratings
Natural Medicine is Great, but Chemists Can Make It Even Better (Op-Ed)
Take one plant, tweak it a little… Credit: Cifor, CC BY-NC-ND This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed &
Read More 36 Hits 0 Ratings
Catching Hyenas on Camera (Op-Ed) 29 June 2014, 15.19 Science
Catching Hyenas on Camera (Op-Ed)
If the brown hyena took a selfie. Credit: Louisa Richmond This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. I spent
Read More 36 Hits 0 Ratings
Animal Sex: How Koalas Do It 29 June 2014, 15.19 Science
Animal Sex: How Koalas Do It
Koalas may seem like lazy marsupials, spending up to 22 hours a day snoozing, but when it comes to mating these lethargic animals can become vicious. Credit: covenant/Shutterstock.com With a diet based on eucalyptus
Read More 32 Hits 0 Ratings
New to Google Earth: Ancient Flying Reptiles 29 June 2014, 15.19 Science
New to Google Earth: Ancient Flying Reptiles
The pterosaur Thalassodromeus sethi would have soared the skies above what is now Brazil some 110 million years ago, dwarfing other creatures with its 14-foot-long (4.3 meters) wingspan. Credit: ©AMNH 2014 Want to find
Read More 39 Hits 0 Ratings
Westerners sleep more than people from Eastern nations
EARLY RISERS  Sleep schedules vary from country to country, with social demands like work and study providing the primary incentives to stay up (sleep times shown above in darker blue). J.C. Lo et al/Frontiers in Neurology
Read More 34 Hits 0 Ratings
Animal sex lives exposed in 'Nature's Nether Regions'
Nature’s Nether Regions Menno Schilthuizen Viking, $28.95 If you want to enjoy eating lightly cooked calamari, skip down two paragraphs. And avoid page 20 of evolutionary biologist Schilthuizen’s charming and potentially
Read More 131 Hits 0 Ratings
To ID birds, try facial recognition 29 June 2014, 15.18 Science
To ID birds, try facial recognition
SAY CHEESE  The Birdsnap program maps birds’ bodies to identify species, such as a bohemian waxwing shown, in photos taken from different angles. themadbirdlady/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Birding just got easier. No need to
Read More 25 Hits 0 Ratings
Magnetic bubbles could shield astronauts from radiation
 SHIELDS UP  A small magnet in a laboratory deflects a jet of particles by forming a thin electric skin. The same principle could be applied to create deflector shields that protect spacecraft from solar
Read More 24 Hits 0 Ratings
‘Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field’ is a biography of brilliance
Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon Prometheus Books, $25.95 On April 3, 1846, Charles Wheatstone was about to present the Friday evening lecture at
Read More 20 Hits 0 Ratings
Relaxation and repulsion helps viruses pack DNA
The molecular motor that folds and packs DNA into a virus is at its most efficient when the DNA shows some self-repulsion. That is the surprising finding of researchers based in the US – it was previously thought that such
Read More 40 Hits 0 Ratings
Physicists seek to cut helium costs 27 June 2014, 16.44 Science
Physicists seek to cut helium costs
The American Physical Society (APS) has kick-started a pilot programme that is designed to provide helium at affordable prices for US academic researchers who need only small amounts of the element. The APS plan will involve
Read More 33 Hits 0 Ratings
Diamond defect images magnetic domain walls 27 June 2014, 16.44 Science
Diamond defect images magnetic domain walls
Researchers in France have discovered a new way to image magnetic domain walls on the nanoscale in ultrathin ferromagnetic films – something that has been difficult to do until now. Using a point-like defect in diamond
Read More 42 Hits 0 Ratings
Couple emerges from trio of supermassive black holes
A trio of closely orbiting supermassive black holes has been spotted in a galaxy nearly 4.2 billion light-years away. The discovery was made by an international team of astronomers, which points out that such triple systems
Read More 42 Hits 0 Ratings
Dwarf planet could illuminate the dark sector 27 June 2014, 16.44 Science
Dwarf planet could illuminate the dark sector
A dwarf-planet candidate called UX25 and its tiny satellite could provide the first evidence of a new cosmological model that includes antigravity, say Alberto Vecchiato and Mario Gai of the Astrophysical Observatory of Turin
Read More 50 Hits 0 Ratings
Spiral-shaped 'light fan' adds new twist to laser-driven plasma accelerators
(Phys.org) —For the past few decades, physicists have been studying the phenomenon of "twisted light," which is light that is twisted like a corkscrew along its axis of travel. Due to the twisting, the light waves at
Read More 26 Hits 0 Ratings
Proof of life: Reevaluating oldest known Archean trace fossil for indications of early biology
(Phys.org) —In the hunt for early life, geobiologists seek evidence of ancient microbes in the form of trace fossils – geological records of biological activity – embedded in lavas beneath the ocean floor.
Read More 23 Hits 0 Ratings
From barrels to biology: Scientists develop cost-competitive bioderived polymers for a post-petroleum future
(Phys.org) —The advantages of sustainable, biodegradable, carbon-neutral and bioderived renewable polymers – that is, synthetic polymers based on biomolecules produced by living organisms – are reflected in the
Read More 24 Hits 0 Ratings
Could Ebola Spread to the United States? 27 June 2014, 16.43 Science
Could Ebola Spread to the United States?
The Ebola virus Credit: CDC/ Frederick Murphy The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is now the largest in history, but how likely is it to spread to the United States or other countries around the world? It's
Read More 14 Hits 0 Ratings
Car Airbag Leaves Canvas Imprint on Girl's Eyes
Under a blue light, fluorescein staining of the eye reveals an imprint of the nylon mesh pattern of the airbag cover on the corneal surface of the right eye. Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2014. A teen
Read More 23 Hits 0 Ratings
Big Earthquakes Double in 2014, But They're Not Linked
Earthquakes larger than magnitude-7 since 2000. Credit: USGS If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you're right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the
Read More 23 Hits 0 Ratings
Lose Weight and Boost Nutrition with This Common Grain
Credit: Lilyana Vynogradova | Shutterstock How often do you eat rice? It could be time to add some more of this grain to your diet.   People who eat white or brown rice daily are more likely to have adequate levels of
Read More 17 Hits 0 Ratings
Why Eating Fruits and Veggies Won't Make You Thin
Credit: monticello/Shutterstock.com Eating more fruits and vegetables is a generally a good idea, but this alone isn't likely to help you lose weight, a new review of studies suggests. Researchers analyzed previous
Read More 23 Hits 0 Ratings
Hot Koalas, Disco Clams And Other Amazing Images From This Week
When it's hot out, your body loses more water. That may not be a big deal if you have a bottle of water handy, but it's a pretty big deal to a koala, whose body is covered in thick fur. To stay cool in hot weather, koalas press
Read More 17 Hits 0 Ratings
Ask Anything: Would Cannibalism Make You Fat? 27 June 2014, 16.43 Science
Ask Anything: Would Cannibalism Make You Fat?
Taken as a whole, a cooked cadaver would yield about 81,500 calories’ worth of food, says James Cole, a lecturer on human origins at the University of Brighton in England. But that’s only if you wolfed down every part
Read More 14 Hits 0 Ratings
Genetically Altered Bacteria Prevent Mice From Getting Fat
By feeding mice a genetically modified version of E. coli, a bacterium that naturally lives in human and mice guts, scientists were able to prevent the animals from gaining as much weight as mice not given the treatment.
Read More 15 Hits 0 Ratings
Is Global Warming Creating Penguin Winners And Losers?
Planetary temperatures warmed up naturally thousands of years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. Some Antarctic penguin populations flourished under the changes. 11,000 years later, however, some Adélie and chinstrap
Read More 13 Hits 0 Ratings
The World's Smallest Elephant Shrew Discovered
In a remote area of northwest Namibia, scientists found a rust-colored shrew, which hides amongst the area's reddish volcanic rocks. Further analysis found that it was a new species, and the smallest of a group of animals
Read More 7 Hits 0 Ratings
Satellite Images Show Massive Reduction In US Air Pollution
Good news--there is much less nitrogen dioxide in the air over the United States than there was a decade ago, as can be seen in this remarkable animated satellite image. The images were produced by data collected by the Ozone
Read More 10 Hits 0 Ratings
The ultramodern scientist: 2013 Google Science Fair grand prize winner
Eric Chen, a 17-year-old senior at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, California, US, recently won not one, but three major science competitions. His project combined supercomputer modeling with experimental research to speed
Read More 11 Hits 0 Ratings
Open access in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania — making research more relevant to the world
Open access is a powerful solution to the barriers that researchers in developing and transition countries face. ‘The Open access: knowledge sharing and sustainable scholarly communication in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
Read More 13 Hits 0 Ratings
Researchers piece together how virus causes human cancers
Although most individuals are exposed to cancer-causing types of HPV — that could potentially lead to cancer of the head and neck, uterine cervix, or the anogenital region — the majority never develop
Read More 11 Hits 0 Ratings
International Supercomputing Conference '14 27 June 2014, 16.43 Science
International Supercomputing Conference '14
Read More 174 Hits 0 Ratings
NASA unveils space suit fit for Mars 27 June 2014, 16.43 Science
NASA unveils space suit fit for Mars
 SUIT UP  NASA’s newly revealed Z-2 space suit is the second mock-up of a suit that NASA hopes will eventually protect explorers walking on Mars or drilling into an asteroid. EMail Print Facebook Reddit
Read More 21 Hits 0 Ratings
Star-eating star spotted 27 June 2014, 16.43 Science
Star-eating star spotted
SNACK TIME  Thorne-Żytkow Objects probably start out as binary stars, shown in this illustration. A supergiant eventually engulfs its neutron star companion (right). A star in a neighboring galaxy might have swallowed
Read More 14 Hits 0 Ratings
A new view of dinosaurs, a clearer view of lunar origins
Dinosaurs have undergone any number of scientific makeovers in the last few decades. When I was young, they were depicted as lumbering, over-sized lizards, “cold-blooded” and drab. That simplistic image was eventually
Read More 9 Hits 0 Ratings
Online causes may attract more clicks than commitments
The Save Darfur Cause on Facebook had all the makings of a slam dunk cyber success. More than a million people joined the social media site’s digital movement a few years ago to save the people of Sudan’s Darfur region
Read More 15 Hits 0 Ratings
Ant lions hunt despite sealed lips 27 June 2014, 16.43 Science
Ant lions hunt despite sealed lips
WAITING ON LUNCH  Ant lion species that hunt in sand traps have evolved extreme eating habits that prevent grit from infiltrating their food. Larah McElry/Flicker (CC BY-NC 2.0) View the video Ant lions are ferocious
Read More 11 Hits 0 Ratings
Qubits team up to detect errors 21 June 2014, 19.00 Science
Qubits team up to detect errors
For the tiny units of quantum information known as qubits, teamwork pays off. So say researchers based in Austria and Spain, who have stitched together a record seven qubits in a way that enables detection of errors in any of
Read More 75 Hits 0 Ratings
Shutdown of nuclear-waste site threatens neutrino lab
An explosion and a series of radioactive leaks have forced the closure of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which is located in a salt mine near Carlsbad, New Mexico, US. The incident has put a temporary halt to the
Read More 81 Hits 0 Ratings
Germany set to pull out of €2bn radio telescope
The head of the €2bn Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is confident that the project will go ahead, despite Germany saying that it will pull out of the project in 12 months' time. In a press conference held in Sicily today,
Read More 60 Hits 0 Ratings
Is D-Wave's quantum computer actually a quantum computer?
A team of quantum-computing experts in the US and Switzerland has published a paper in Science that casts doubt over the ability of the D-Wave Two quantum processor to perform certain computational tasks. The paper, which
Read More 54 Hits 0 Ratings
Electrons' magnetic interactions isolated at long last
A measurement of the extremely weak magnetic interaction between two single electrons has been carried out by an international team of physicists. Using experimental techniques first developed for quantum-information and
Read More 56 Hits 0 Ratings
Entangled clocks could provide accurate world time standard
Plans for a global network of atomic clocks that are synchronized using quantum entanglement have been unveiled by physicists in the US. The resulting universal time standard would be more accurate than is currently possible
Read More 66 Hits 0 Ratings
New test may provide 'smoking gun' for modified gravity
(Phys.org) —Since 1916, general relativity has provided a description of gravity that can explain many observations, including objects in free fall, gravitational lensing by massive objects, and black holes. Despite the
Read More 46 Hits 0 Ratings
Mongolian Death Worm: Elusive Legend of the Gobi Desert
By Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor   |   June 21, 2014 12:13am ET An artist's conception of the Mongolian Death Worm. Credit: KUCO/Shutterstock.com It sounds like a fantastic, lethal creature that might
Read More 32 Hits 0 Ratings
After Sandy, New York Plans to Rebuild by Blue-Green Design (Op-Ed)
A new look for Lower Manhattan. Credit: RBD Press This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. When
Read More 50 Hits 0 Ratings
Picasso's Ghost: Mysterious Man Found Hidden in Famous Painting
Infrared of Pablo Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901). Credit: The Phillips Collection, copyright 2008. WASHINGTON — Pablo Picasso's famous painting of a bathing woman in a blue room carries a secret: High-tech scans have
Read More 29 Hits 0 Ratings
Night Sky Photos: International Earth & Sky Photo Contest Winners
Taken from Norway's Lofoten Islands on March 15, 2014, this photo, entitled "Reflected Aurora" by Alex Conu, took home second place in the "Against the…Read More » Lights" category. Here, the aurora swirls above a
Read More 18 Hits 0 Ratings
Swirling Aurora, Zodiacal Light Win Top Prizes in Night Sky Photo Contest
The Big Dipper is framed in light rays above Cibiana Pass in this image taken by Giorgia Hofer from the Dolomites in the northern Italian Alps. The image won first place overall and in the "Against the Lights" category in
Read More 29 Hits 0 Ratings
Stephanie Kwolek, Kevlar Inventor, Dead At 90 21 June 2014, 18.59 Science
Stephanie Kwolek, Kevlar Inventor, Dead At 90
It's hard to calculate the lives saved by Stephanie Kwolek. She started working as chemist for DuPont in 1946. In 1965 Kwolek invented Kevlar, the strong and lightweight fibers that go into bulletproof vests, among other
Read More 29 Hits 0 Ratings
LED Train Paintings And Other Amazing Images From This Week
LED Train Paintings With its varied architecture and picturesque views of the Danube River, Budapest is one of the top tourist destinations in Eastern Europe. And when it comes to celebrating holidays, the city's transport
Read More 26 Hits 0 Ratings
What Are Your Picks For The Best In Cli-Fi? 21 June 2014, 18.59 Science
What Are Your Picks For The Best In Cli-Fi?
Dan Bloom of The Wrap writes that he is organizing new annual film award: the “Cliffies,” given for excellence in “cli-fi” movies, as in climate fiction. Problem is, few movies about global warming or its impacts
Read More 22 Hits 0 Ratings
Are Fish As Intelligent As Crows, Chimps... Or People?
Whether they're caught in the wild or raised in captivity, fish are a major food souce worldwide. Nearly 5 billion people worldwide got 15 percent of the animal protein in their diets from fish in 2011; for another 2.9
Read More 14 Hits 0 Ratings

Earth News Reports

New street art by Hanksy 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
New street art by Hanksy
Hanksy, who got his artist name by spoofing Banksy’s art while including Tom Hanks in it, published some new work on his website. No more Tom Hanks in it, but many pop culture icons and celebrity can be found on the
Read More 136 Hits 0 Ratings
Motion silhouette: a book with animated shadows 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
Motion silhouette: a book with animated shadows
You already know about pop-out books, but Motion Silhouette is a new kind of book. Created by Japanese designers Megumi Kajiwara and Tatsuhiko Niijima, it has pop-out paper cutouts that come to life when you play with a
Read More 140 Hits 0 Ratings
8 geeky jokes that will make you chuckle 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
8 geeky jokes that will make you chuckle
Sometimes designers just need to relax and laugh a little. These images should help you with that. 1. Talking to art students A cruel, but kind of realistic joke. 2. Coding in college and for your job In theory there is no
Read More 141 Hits 0 Ratings
SEKAI: miniature ecosystems on the back of animals 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
SEKAI: miniature ecosystems on the back of animals
Maico Akiba, an artist from Japan, is more famous for the “100 years later” project, a series of objects painted to look like a hundred years old. However, the project that caught my attention is
Read More 124 Hits 0 Ratings
The Inter Milan’s logo redesign came with an over-the-top press release
The popular Italian soccer team, the Inter Milan, recently unveiled a redesign of its logo. To be honest, it would be better to talk about a realign of the logo, with a simplification of shapes and a more modern look-and-feel.
Read More 144 Hits 0 Ratings
Illustrated stamps about environmental issues 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
Illustrated stamps about environmental issues
Maxime Francout is a French graphic designer with a real talent for illustration. He proved it again with his series of stamps that illustrate some environmental issues. Several of the stamps illustrations use some analogies
Read More 141 Hits 0 Ratings
The Print Designer Pack, only for 7 days 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
The Print Designer Pack, only for 7 days
Design better packaging, flyers, promotional materials and more with the Print Designer Pack. Whatever the brief, this pack has a file to bring your next project to life. You’ve got 7 days to stock up on this swag of goodies
Read More 135 Hits 0 Ratings
5 design tips for startups 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
5 design tips for startups
Building up a startup takes a lot of hard work. Of course, you’ll find startup resources by Pakwired, but you still need to work your ass off to get started. In this post you will find some advice on how to approach the
Read More 142 Hits 0 Ratings
3D printed medieval armor for Barbie dolls 15 July 2014, 20.33 Green Architecture
3D printed medieval armor for Barbie dolls
If you find Barbie to be transmitting the worst kind of stereotypes about women, you may enjoy this project. Lao Zheng has been creating detailed 3D printed medieval armors for Barbie dolls. The Kickstarter project, named Faire
Read More 139 Hits 0 Ratings
Popinjay’s Hand-Embroidered Bags Lift Pakistani Women From Poverty
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: Banana-Fiber Sanitary Pad Offers Inexpensive Solution for Rwandan Women Popinjay’s Hand-Embroidered Bags Lift Pakistani Women From Poverty by Helen Morgan , 07/15/14   filed under: Eco-Fashion
Read More 146 Hits 0 Ratings

Horoscope by Question Kit

 

Future News Reports

Obama's War Against US Energy Independence:  Give Away Oil Rich Alaskan Islands to Russia!
  By Joe Miller The Obama administration, despite the nation’s economic woes, effectively killed the job-producing Keystone Pipeline last month. The Arab Spring is turning the oil production of Libya and other Arab
Read More 2364 Hits 0 Ratings
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials Visit http://www.osbitpower.com for further information OSBIT Power (OP), Siemens Wind Power and Statoil have successfully completed offshore
Read More 2136 Hits 0 Ratings
North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost 12 January 2012, 02.01 Administrator Energy
North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost
        North America’s EV charging infrastructure may soon see significant improvements, thanks to a recent agreement between Eaton Corporation and Coulomb Technologies. Under the deal, Eaton’s Level II and
Read More 1997 Hits 0 Ratings
Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source? 28 May 2011, 01.34 Administrator Energy
Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source?
      Have scientists already unknowingly discovered the source for all atomic energy reactions, and could the discovery of the gravitomagnetic field be the ultimate energy source?  What if our understandings on how
Read More 4546 Hits 2 Ratings
Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation 25 September 2011, 16.27 Administrator Energy
Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation
Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet Physicist Antonio Ereditato poses before presenting the result of an experiment, which found a subatomic particle, the neutrino, seemed to move faster than the speed of
Read More 2934 Hits 0 Ratings
STEORN ORBO  FREE ENERGY:  What's Next a Self Charging Unit for your Electric Car?
Steorn's Free Energy Orbo -- From Permanent Magnets to Solid State Systems   My associate, Hank Mills composed this for PESN, Saturday, February 12, 2011 6:17 Steorn is a small company based in Dublin, Ireland. For
Read More 4870 Hits 1 Rating
Cold Fusion, Releases Energy from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field 16 January 2011, 09.17 Administrator Energy
Cold Fusion, Releases Energy  from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field
Cold Fusion "In Bologna we did it" By Ilaria VENTURI, La Republica News, Bolona, Italy For the first time in Italy, in front of experts, the process was carried out using nickel and hydrogen. It 's the way to achieve
Read More 3672 Hits 0 Ratings
Abu Dhabi Media Zone to generate renewable energy through its façade
Eco Factor: Sustainable development to generate renewable solar energy. Bernard Tschumi Architects have re-imagined their master plan for the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone, by incorporating several environmentally-friendly
Read More 2763 Hits 0 Ratings

FUTURE NEWS NETWORK


Change The World!


Latest Published Articles

Science

Share


Of catalysts and chirality: Highly-selective growth of structure-specific single-walled carbon nanotubes PDF Print E-mail

(Phys.org) —Carbon – the chemical basis of all known life and an element known as far back as the 8th century BC – exists in a range of forms, or allotropes, with remarkably diverse properties. (Diamond, for example, is transparent and extremely hard tetrahedral lattice that conducts electricity poorly but is an excellent thermal conductor. Graphite, on the other hand – a moderate electrical conductor – is a soft, black, flaky solid formed from sheets of flat hexagonal lattices known as graphene.) Among carbon's allotropes, carbon nanotubes are cylindrical graphene-based nanostructures with properties central to many fields of materials science and technology. In particular, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are carbon nanotubes whose properties change with their chirality – that is, the arrangements of the carbon atoms, which is based on tube diameter and wrapping angle as specified by what is known as their (n,m) value. These variants behave either as electrical conductors or semiconductors with different bandgaps (the energy range in a solid where no electron states can exist), making them extremely desirable for nanoelectronics applications. While this characteristic depends on the SWVTs all being in chiral form or the other, it has historically been very difficult to selectively grow one form alone, with the highest selectivity of 55% being achieved using carefully-chosen particles as catalysts in the chemical vapor deposition synthesis growth process. Recently, however, scientists at Peking University, Beijing have used tungsten-based bimetallic alloy nanocrystals as catalysts to directly produce single-chirality (that is, either left- or right-handed) SWNTs at a greater than 92% purity. By so doing, the researchers say, their results set the stage for complete control over SWNT chirality growth, and thereby further SWNT application development.

Prof. Yan Li discussed the paper she and her co-authors published in Nature with Phys.org. "The properties of SWNTs are totally determined by their , or chirality – and in many applications, it's required that materials present uniform properties," Li tells Phys.org. As an example, she says that when using SWNTs to build field effect transistors (FETs), it's always hoped that all SWNTs have the identical structure, thereby exhibiting the same performance. "However," Li adds, "chirality-controlled growth has been a great challenge in the field for twenty years – but we've developed a new strategy to realize the goal."

Li notes that there are two factors important for reducing the alloying temperature: tungsten and cobalt atoms being already well-mixed in the precursor, and the particles being of nanoscale dimensions. Accordingly, their strategy is based on a new family of catalysts – tungsten-based alloy nanocatalysts – for growth. "These catalysts maintain their crystallized structure under the very high temperatures needed for carbon nanotube growth, and also exhibit a very unique structure that serves as a carbon nanotube template." The tungsten-based alloy forms at extremely high temperature – normally well above 2000°C –necessitating special facilities, since it is extremely difficult to perform this procedure using standard laboratory equipment – and in addition, Li points out, it is difficult to control the size, structure and morphology of the resultant alloy under such conditions. "We used a precursor molecular cluster† to obtain tungsten-cobalt (W–Co) alloy nanoparticle nanocatalysts at the moderate temperature of ~1000°C," Li says, "which made SWNT production much easier."

The key to solving this two decade-old chirality-controlled SWNT growth challenge was, stated simply, a new idea. "Though extensive effort has been made exploring chirality-selective SWNT growth, no efficient approach had been developed. This is partially due to our not having sufficient insight into the SWNT growth mechanism," she explains. "Indeed, it's quite difficult to collect enough information in situ during the nanotube growth process – but it's this very information that can help us to understand the mechanism. Fueled by my more than ten years' experience in SWNT growth, I had a novel idea about using catalysts to guide the structure of SWNTs."

While researchers have been vigorously investigating the use of catalysts to template SWNTs structure – as evidenced by the many papers published in this area – success has proven elusive. "We succeeded," Li adds, "because we have two significantly different ideas – namely, we recognized that catalysts with high melting points are necessary for using the catalyst as structural template; we found the right recipe to obtain catalysts with high melting points; we realized that the unique structure of the catalyst is essential to achieving high selectivity and specificity. Moreover, as inorganic chemists we've long known about molecular clusters, their characteristics and how to prepare them – so the idea using molecular clusters as the precursor for W-Co alloy nanoparticles came naturally to us, resulting in our designing the new pathway for preparing W-Co alloy nanoparticles."

In their paper, the scientists say that since using high-melting-point alloy nanocrystals with optimized structures as catalysts has demonstrably allowed production of single-chirality nanotubes at an abundance of >92%, they expect that their results will pave the way for total chirality control in SWNT growth, thereby promoting the development of SWNT applications. "Based-on our understanding about the SWNT growth mechanism and the experimental data we already have," Li says, "we're confident that our strategy of growing SWNTs with desired structure and chirality using catalysts with designed structure and high stability can become a standard approach." Moreover, tungsten, cobalt, iron, and nickel are abundant, inexpensive metals, and their carbon source is ethanol, so production costs can be low – an obvious advantage for future commercialization.

Scheme showing identical (12,6) nanotubes grown from W-Co alloy nanocatalysts. Credit: Yan Li

One of the most exciting potential applications is in electronics. Li points out that the 2009 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) selected carbon-based nanoelectronics – Including carbon nanotubes and graphene – as promising technologies targeting commercial demonstration in the next 10-15 year horizon, and so to receive additional resources and detailed road mapping. "For the large-scale application of SWNTs in nanoelectronics," Li points out, "SWNTs with identical structure are desired. Our method of growing SWNTs with identical structure is therefore a very important part of the development of carbon nanotube-based electronics."

Citing another example, Li notes that Prof. Lianmao Peng and his team have shown1 that SWNTs can be used to achieve efficient photovoltage multiplication in SWNT-based solar cells. She notes that structure-identical SWNTs can also be used in such devices, so if the nanotubes are used, solar cells with accurately adjusted photovoltage can be obtained. "There are definitely much more potential applications," Li adds. Now we have SWNT samples with identical structure, we can explore more interesting properties and possible applications that we could never before imagine."

Li also mentions their use of Vienna Ab-initio Simulation Package for self-consistent density functional theory simulations. "Simulation provides insights not readily available through experimental data alone. It can also help theorists understand the mechanism of various processes."

Moving forward, Li says, the scientists are focused on three key steps:

• Designing more catalysts to produce SWNTs with a wider range of chiralities

• Further optimizing the process to improve chirality selectivity, and therefore purity

• Exploring bulk synthesis

Beyond their own field, Li tells Phys.org, there are other areas of research that might benefit from their study. "In alloy metallurgy, our idea of using some special precursor to dramatically reduce the alloying temperature may be adopted because it may remarkably reduce energy consumption – and the lower-process temperature can greatly ease materials and control systems requirements for production apparatus. In addition, using alloy catalysts of unique structure to produce molecules with a predesigned structure can be widely used in chemical synthesis. Finally," Li concludes, "our methods for characterizing SWNT chirality composition can be used in basic carbon nanotube research."

Explore further: Chirality-controlled growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes

More information: Chirality-specific growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes on solid alloy catalysts, Nature 510, 522–524 (26 June 2014), doi:10.1038/nature13434

Related:

† Na15[Na3,{Co(H2O)4}6{WO(H2O)}3(P2W12O48)3]nH2O, denoted as {W39Co6Ox}
1Helicity-dependent single-walled carbon nanotube alignment on graphite for helical angle and handedness recognition, Nature Communications 4:2205 (29 July 2013), doi:10.1038/ncomms3205

© 2014 Phys.org



Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Wordpress | rfid blocking wallet sleeves
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Test of equivalence principle searches for effects of spin-gravity coupling PDF Print E-mail

(Phys.org) —Einstein's equivalence principle states that an object in gravitational free fall is physically equivalent to an object that is accelerating with the same amount of force in the absence of gravity. This principle lies at the heart of general relativity and has been experimentally tested many times. Now in a new paper, scientists have experimentally demonstrated a conceptually new way to test the equivalence principle that could detect the effects of a relatively new concept called spin-gravity coupling.

The study, by M. G. Tarallo, et al., is published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

"Testing the , or the equivalence of inertial mass and gravitational mass, means testing the validity of one of the fundamental principles of general relativity," coauthor Guglielmo Tino, Professor at the University of Florence, INFN, told Phys.org. "In our experiment, we use a quantum sensor to investigate gravitational interaction; this allowed us to search for new effects."

As the researchers explain, there are a variety of ways to test the equivalence principle. These methods include studying the motion of moons and planets, the use of torsion balances, and—more recently—atom interferometry.

In the new study, the researchers have for the first time tested the equivalence principle by comparing the gravitational interaction for a bosonic particle to that of a fermionic particle. For the purpose of the experiment, the important difference between the two particles is that the bosonic particle (a strontium-88 isotope) has no , while the fermionic particle (a strontium-87 isotope) has a half-integer spin.

In order to determine how the differences in spin might affect a particle's gravitational interaction, the researchers performed tests to measure each isotope's acceleration due to gravity. These tests consist of confining atomic wave packets in a vertical laser standing wave, and then using a quantum effect involving delocalization to measure the effects of gravity. The new method improves the measurement precision by more than an order of magnitude over previous methods.

The results of the experiments enabled the researchers to set an upper limit of 10-7 on the boson-to-fermion ratio. The researchers also searched for a dependence of gravity acceleration of strontium-87 isotope on the spin direction, but found no evidence for it.

"There are theoretical models predicting that spin and gravity should couple; that is, depending on its spin a particle should behave in different ways in a gravitational field," Tino said. "We found no evidence for that. Since we compared an atom with spin with one without spin, this is a rather stringent test. Also, in our experiment one atom is a boson and the other is a fermion and, again, we found no difference in their behavior in a ."

The results could have future applications in connection with optical clocks made of strontium, which have already demonstrated impressive stability and accuracy. In the future, it may also be possible to perform an experiment in space using a strontium optical clock and a strontium interferometer to perform stringent tests of and gravity.

"Our result reported in this paper, as well as the one we recently published on the measurement of the gravitational constant with atoms (G. Rosi, et al.), shows the great potential of quantum sensors based on ultracold atoms and atom interferometry to investigate gravity," Tino said. "We want to try new schemes to increase the sensitivity of the atom interferometer; this would allow us to perform still more stringent tests and search for new effects."

Explore further: Scientists find a practical test for string theory

More information: — M. G. Tarallo, et al. "Test of Einstein Equivalence Principle for 0-Spin and Half-Integer-Spin Atoms: Search for Spin-Gravity Coupling Effects." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.023005
Also at arXiv:1403.1161 [physics.atom-ph]

— G. Rosi, et al. "Precision measurement of the Newtonian gravitational constant using cold atoms." Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13433

© 2014 Phys.org



Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Wordpress | rfid blocking wallet sleeves
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Particle, meet wave: Optical qubit technique squeezes photons to bridge discrete and continuous quantum regimes PDF Print E-mail

(Phys.org) —While quantum states are typically referred to as particles or waves, this is not actually the case. Rather, quantum states have complementary discrete particlelike and continuous wavelike properties that emerge based on the experimental or observational context. In other words, when used to describe quantum states the terms particle and wave are convenient but inaccurate metaphors. This is an important consideration in quantum computing, where photons are used as units of quantum information known as quantum bits, or qubits, which due to quantum superposition (and therefore unlike classical bits) can simultaneously exist in two states. That said, current attempts to devise quantum computers that process photonic qubits universally using particle detectors to count photons and optical circuits to capture quantum wave evolution have been stymied by the fact that ancilla states – fixed qubit states used in reversible quantum computing as input to a gate to give that gate a more specific logic function – consist of many highly-entangled photons, thereby exceeding experimental capabilities. (Entanglement is a uniquely-quantum state in which two or more interacting particles are said to be hypercorrelated – meaning that the state of each individual particle cannot be described independently, and that a change in a property of one particle is instantly reflected in its entangled partner regardless of the distance separating them.)

Recently, however, scientists at The University of Tokyo demonstrated for the first time a two-way conversion between a particlelike single-photon state and a wavelike superposition of coherent states by applying quantum squeezing/unsqueezing as a gate, deriving Gaussian (coherent) operations that are applicable to nonclassical, non-Gaussian quantum states and therefore expanding the hybrid quantum-information processing optical toolbox. (In general, a squeezed coherent state is a in which the uncertainty principle is saturated. Achieved using a number of methods1, squeezed light is a state in which quantum noise is reduced. Specifically, in a squeezed sate the electric field noise paradoxically falls below that of the vacuum state – a phenomenon that has classical counterpart.) Moreover, the researchers say that their so-called squeezing gate will lead to new applications while forming the basis of a new class of optical quantum processors capable of integrating particlelike and wavelike quantum states.

Prof. Akira Furusawa discussed the paper that he and his co-authors published in Physical Review Letters with Phys.org – including the main challenges in successfully applying a quantum optical squeezing operation upon non-Gaussian quantum states, thereby demonstrating a two-way conversion between a particlelike single-photon state and a wavelike superposition of coherent states. "Previous approaches using direct squeezing operations for nonclassical non-Gaussian states were very difficult because such states are very fragile to losses – and direct squeezing operations inevitably have losses," Furusawa tells Phys.org. "In our approach, the squeezing operation is not direct. Instead, we first prepare a squeezed vacuum by using a conventional optical parametric oscillator and then teleport the squeezing operation to fragile nonclassical non-Gaussian states through linear optics, which have almost no losses."

In quantum teleportation2, qubits (specifying, for example, a photon's precise state) are transmitted between quantum-entangled locations via classical communication systems. "In this case, the essential resource is entanglement between the ancillary squeezed vacuum and nonclassical non-Gaussian states, which are created by a beam splitter with no losses," Furusawa notes. "Our successful teleportation of the squeezing operation to a single-photon state and Schrödinger's-cat" – that is, superposition – "state is the first example of deterministic quantum gate teleportation."

Experimental quantum states for the conversion from particle to wave. The leftmost column shows the input single-photon state, while the other three columns show the output states for a squeezing parameter γ of 0.26, 0.37, and 0.67, from left to right. (a) Quadrature distributions over a period. (b) Wigner functions. (c) Photon number distributions and photon number representation of density matrices. The minimum value of −0.22 for the input Wigner function becomes, respectively, −0.15, −0.12, and −0.06, after the conversion. Credit: Y. Miwa et al., Phys. Rev. Lets., July 2, 2014

Another first the researchers achieved was using universal and reversible low-loss broadband squeezing to access for the first time a complete set of deterministic Gaussian operations applicable to nonclassical, non-Gaussian states. "A complete set of deterministic Gaussian operations consists of displacement, rotation, and squeezing in phase space," Furusawa explains. "Displacement can be realized by using an optical modulator and a beam splitter, and rotation by controlling optical path length. Therefore, both operations are very easy to apply – even to nonclassical non-Gaussian states.

The last piece of the complete set is squeezing, where we succeeded – also for the first time."

Experimental quantum states for the conversion from wave to particle. The left column shows the input coherent-state superposition, while the right column shows the output state for a squeezing parameter γ of −0.26. (a) Quadrature distributions over a period. (b)Wigner functions. (c) Photon number distributions and photon number representation of density matrices. The minimum value of −0.16 for the input Wigner function becomes −0.10 after the conversion. Credit: Y. Miwa et al., Phys. Rev. Lets., July 2, 2014

In short, the scientists' key result – demonstrating the very powerful capability of deterministic quantum gate teleportation – allows non-Gaussian operations that can, in principle, be used to build the elusive universal quantum computer. "We want to hybridize the discrete and continuous quantum protocols to build an efficient and robust quantum computer," Furusawa confirms. "The advantage of using qubit protocols is the robustness coming from the digital processing-like finite dimensionality, while the advantage of continuous-variable protocols is efficiency, because they can allow us to make deterministic operations. (Furusawa points out that it remains an open question if this hybridization has implications for ongoing efforts to integrate quantum mechanics and general relativity, which are described using discrete and continuous mathematics, respectively.)

The paper also describes the notable finding that allows the entire Fock space to be used when processing single photons, thereby possibly helping to construct quantum gates and error correction codes for logical qubits. (The Fock space is a mathematical method for articulating the quantum states of a variable, or a non-specified number of identical particles, from a single particle Hilbert space, which is a generalization of Euclidean space.) "Specifically," says Furusawa, "we're now thinking about constructing quantum gates and error correction codes with the hybrid protocol."

Depiction of eight carbon allotropes. (a) diamond; (b) graphite; (c) lonsdaleite; (d-f) fullerenes: C60 (Buckminsterfullerene), C540, C70; (g) amorphous carbon; (h) single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT). Credit: Wikimedia. Created by Michael Ströck (mstroeck). CC BY-SA 3.0

Furusawa adds that the deterministic Gaussian operations accessed made possible by their broadband squeezer will directly lead to applications in this area. "Firstly," he illustrates, "we can construct a quantum non-demolition (QND) gate – in which a measured observable's uncertainty does not increase as the quantum system evolve – that corresponds to a qubit controlled NOT (CNOT) gate." Quantum CNOT gates can be used to simulate any quantum circuit to an arbitrary degree of accuracy, as well as to create and dismantle entangled, or EPR (after the 1935 paper3 by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen), . "Secondly, since the QND gate is a universal entangling gate, it allows more complicated quantum gate teleportation."

In addition, Furusawa tells Phys.org, their next target is a particlelike/wavelike hybrid CNOT gate based on non-Gaussian teleportation. "We're also thinking about applying this technology to optical communications – especially a quantum mechanically optimal receiver."

Explore further: Entanglement between particle and wave-like states of light resembles Schrodinger's cat experiment

More information: Exploring a New Regime for Processing Optical Qubits: Squeezing and Unsqueezing Single Photons, Physical Review Letters 113, 013601 (Published 2 July 2014), doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.013601

Related:

1Squeezed light, arXiv:1401.4118v1 [quant-ph]
2Quantum Teleportation and Entanglement by Akira Furusawa and Peter van Loock, Wiley-VCH (2011), ISBN-13:978-3527409303 (Hardcopy), ASIN:B00BP7S3X8 (Kindle), ISBN:9783527635306 (Google EBook)
3Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete? Physical Review 47, 777 (15 May 1935), doi:10.1103/PhysRev.47.777

© 2014 Phys.org



Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Wordpress | rfid blocking wallet sleeves
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Study suggests cloud computing can make business more green PDF Print E-mail

A case study published in The International Journal of Business Process Integration and Management demonstrates that the adoption of integrated cloud-computing solutions can lead to significant cost savings for businesses, as well as large reductions in the size of an organization's carbon footprint.

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Planning for an electron-ion collider at Brookhaven PDF Print E-mail

By adding an electron ring and other accelerator components to its existing Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, New York, US, would create a high-energy electron-ion collider (EIC) to help explain what makes matter stick together.

Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) has led nuclear scientists to develop new tools that reveal the interactions of quarks and gluons inside protons and neutrons. For researchers at Brookhaven, these new tools could be further enhanced by the EIC. The EIC would be unique among such facilities worldwide, due to the 5- to 10-billion-electron-volt (GeV) electron ring inside the RHIC tunnel.

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Tackling complexity and scale at eResearch NZ 2014 PDF Print E-mail

eResearch NZ 2014 was recently held at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand. This was the fifth year of the conference, which once again brought together a wide range of researchers and high-performance computing experts from across the country, as well as from further afield. 

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Designing offshore platforms that are safer and better for the environment PDF Print E-mail

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Which happened first: Did sounds form words, or words form sentences? PDF Print E-mail

The origins of language is, in some ways, more complicated to study than the origins of other biological traits because language does not fossilize or leave behind physical traces the way that bones and tissues do. However, there are other ways to study the origins of language, such as watching children learn to speak, analyzing genetics, and exploring how animals communicate.

A recent review of animal communication in particular has yielded an intriguing discovery: while structured animal call sequences (for example, birdsong) are widespread, it is very rare that meaningless sounds produced by animals form meaningful sequences, as they do in human languages. This observation, combined with supporting evidence from human languages, has led linguists to suggest that (the structure and rules of language, such as sentence structure) may have evolved before phonemes (the meaning-differentiating sounds that do not themselves have meaning).

The researchers, Katie Collier, et al., at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, have published a review paper on this idea that syntax evolved before phonology in a recent issue of the Proceedings of The Royal Society B. In their study, the researchers also hypothesize that syntax is a cognitively simpler process than phonology.

Building blocks of language

Collier, a PhD student at the University of Zurich, explains exactly what phonology and syntax are.

"A simple example for phonology would but the way the phonemes /k/, /a/ and /t/ that have no meaning in themselves and are used in many different words come together to form the word 'cat,'" Collier told Phys.org. "Syntax is the next layer where meaningful words come together into larger meaningful structures, such as 'the cat ate the mouse.' Phonology and syntax describe the way sounds form words and then words form sentences, rather than referring to the sounds and sentences themselves."

At first, the idea that syntax evolved before phonology seems counterintuitive, and it's true that it goes against the traditional linguistic view that phonology is simpler than syntax.

"It may seem counterintuitive, but it is not quite as simple as saying sentences evolved before grunts," Collier explained. "Animal calls or grunts most probably existed before 'sentences.' Most of these calls do not have meaning in the way that human words have meaning. A few have what we call functional reference, where they seem to denote an external object or event, such as a leopard for example. However, these calls cannot be decomposed into smaller sounds. They come as a single unit, unlike our words that are made up of several sounds that are reused in many different words. This is why we argue that there are no known examples of phonology in animal communication. On the other hand, as discussed in our paper, several species seem to combine these referential calls together to obtain new meanings in a similar way to very simple sentences in human language, which is why we argue that they may have a form of rudimentary syntax.

"I suppose a very simple way of looking at it would be to say that some animal species have 'words' that they can combine into 'sentences,' but their 'words' are simpler, less flexible than ours, made out of one block, rather than several reusable ones."

Monkey syntax

In their paper, the researchers reviewed a wide range of evidence that seems to support the origins of syntax before phonology. In the primate world, two species of monkeys—Campbell monkeys and putty-nosed monkeys—demonstrate this idea in slightly different ways. Both species have two main predators, leopards and crowned eagles, and both species give specific calls when they detect these predators. Campbell monkeys call "krak" at a leopard sighting and "hok" for an eagle sighting. For putty-nosed monkeys, the calls are "pyow" for leopard and "hack" for eagle.

While it's interesting that these monkeys seem to have specific "words" for different things, what's more interesting to linguists is that the monkeys modify these words to mean something different yet related. For example, the Campbell monkeys add the suffix "-oo" to both "words." The "krak-oo" call is given to any general disturbance, while the "hok-oo" call is given to any disturbance in the canopy. The researchers explain that the "-oo" suffix is analogous to the suffix "-like," changing the meaning of the call from "leopard" to "leopard-like (disturbance)." Due to how it combines two meaningful sounds to create a new meaning, this structure is an example of a rudimentary syntax.

The way that putty-nosed monkeys alter their calls is more complicated. Whereas "pyow" means "leopard" and "hack" means "eagle," a sequence of two or three "pyows" followed by up to four "hacks" means "let's go," causing the group to move. There are a few different explanations for how this sequence may have originated. One possibility is that the sequence may be an idiom, where the original sequence may have meant "leopard and eagle," later becoming "danger all over," followed by "danger all over, therefore let's go," and finally just "let's go." A second possibility is that "pyow" and "hack" may have more abstract meanings, such as "move-on-ground" and "move-in-air," and their meanings change depending on the context of the situation. Although neither explanation demonstrates with certainty that the putty-nosed monkeys structure their calls with a syntax, the sequences leave that possibility open.

Emerging human language

Further evidence in support of the idea that syntax evolved before phonology in comes from analyzing a variety of human languages themselves, including sign languages. As far as linguists know, all human languages have syntax, but not all have phonology. The Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL) used by a small society in the Negev region of Israel is an emerging language that has been around for less than 75 years. Interestingly, it does not have phonology. For the ABSL, this means that a single object can be represented by a variety of hand shapes. However, the ABSL still has syntax and grammatical regularity, as demonstrated by the existence of rules for combining signs. Perhaps the presence of syntax but not phonology suggests that syntax originates first in the evolution of a young language, and perhaps also that it is simpler than phonology.

When looking at this hypothesis more closely, many aspects of it make sense. From a cognitive perspective, syntax may be simpler to process than phonology because it is easier to remember a few general rules than many phonemes. Having syntax allows speakers to express many concepts with only a few . As language develops further, and still more concepts need to be communicated, phonology emerges to provide a larger vocabulary. The evolution of phonology may also be strongly influenced by cultural, rather than biological, evolutionary processes. The researchers hope to further develop these ideas in the future.

"To support our hypothesis that syntax evolved before phonology, a lot of work can still be done," Collier said. "Many systems are still very little understood or described and the more we learn about them, the more we can adjust and refine our hypothesis. From the linguistic side of things, studying more emerging languages (mainly sign languages) would show if there is a pattern for syntax to develop before phonology in human languages."

Explore further: Aphasia and bilingualism: Using one language to relearn another

More information: Katie Collier, et al. "Language evolution: syntax before phonology?" Proceedings of The Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0263

© 2014 Phys.org



Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Wordpress | rfid blocking wallet sleeves
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Venus-flytrap-like gripper could capture individual cells in the human body PDF Print E-mail

(Phys.org) —No two biological cells are exactly the same. Even a small biopsied tumor sample contains cells with large variations in their proliferation rate, potential for metastasis, drug responsiveness, etc. However, because of the large size of the tools used to analyze the cells, data collected from tissue samples is often averaged over a multitude of cells. As such, it may not accurately represent the behavior of individual cells of interest. Since analyzing individual cells is very important for designing effective treatments, researchers are working on ways to capture single cells, and lots of them at once.

In a new study published in Nano Letters, researchers from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the US Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland, have designed and fabricated tiny self-folding grippers that can capture individual under in vitro and potentially in vivo environments. The grippers can be mass produced, with perhaps 100 million on a 12-inch wafer, and potentially directed to a specific part of the body to capture specific types of cells. Somewhat like the way in which a Venus flytrap captures its prey, the self-folding grippers enclose their arms around , though without killing them. In experiments, the researchers demonstrated that the grippers can capture mouse fibroblast cells in vitro, as well as .

"We believe this is an important step towards a goal of capturing and analyzing single cells within the same device in a high-throughput manner under both in vitro and in vivo conditions," David H. Gracias, Professor at The Johns Hopkins University, told Phys.org.

This gripper is not the first device that can capture individual cells. Currently, a wide range of techniques such as optical and microfluidic traps, flow cytometry (in which a laser is used to suspend cells in a stream of fluid), microwells and even miniature robotic devices are available for in vitro single-cell analysis. However, these techniques face problems such as losing their grip on cells or requiring wires and tethers that restrict mobility, limiting their use.

(a--e) Optical and (f, g) SEM images of single cell grippers. Credit: Malachowski, et al. ©2014 American Chemical Society

The self-folding gripper developed in the new study overcomes these problems because it has the ability to grip cells using only energy from the release of stress in its own materials, without the need for wires, tethers, or batteries. The gripping mechanism occurs because the gripper's "hinges" are made of a pre-stressed SiO/SiO2 bilayer. The hinges are connected to a rigid body and arms made of only SiO. When exposed to a saline solution, the underlying sacrificial layer releases the arms and causes them to curl upward and close around a cell. As biocompatible and bioresorbable materials, thin films of both SiO and SiO2 dissolve in biological fluids over time.

The researchers showed that, using photolithography, the grippers could be fabricated in sizes ranging from 10 to 70 µm from tip to tip when open, which is an appropriate size range to grasp a variety of . Grippers could be made to fold at angles ranging from 90° to 115° by controlling the bilayer film thickness. Because the grippers have slit openings at the intersection of the arms, nutrients, waste, and other biochemicals can easily flow to and from the cells. Experiments confirmed that the grippers did not kill the cells, although some cells did conform to the shape of the grippers. Because the grippers are optically transparent, they are ideal for imaging the entrapped cells using optical microscopes. Although the timing of the grippers closing cannot currently be controlled, the researchers explain that in the future it may be possible to enable them to respond to and close around specific chemicals.

"Right now the grippers close spontaneously on release from the substrate, so the capture is statistical," Gracias said. "Elsewhere we have shown with larger grippers that a polymer trigger can be added to make such tools responsive to temperature and even enzymes such as proteases. So the single cell grippers could also be potentially made responsive to single cells when coated with the appropriate recognition elements."

Optical images of red blood cells trapped in 35-micrometer grippers. Credit: Malachowski, et al. ©2014 American Chemical Society

Because the grippers are so small, they have the potential to be used in many parts of the body. For example, they could pass through narrow conduits within the circulatory, central nervous, and urogenital systems. For these in vivo uses, the grippers could be guided by ferromagnetic elements, and patterned biomarkers on them could be used to target specific diseased cells. For in vitro uses, guiding could also be achieved by doping the grippers with magnetic elements such as nickel, and using magnetic fields to move the . Overall, the tiny tools have the potential to forge large improvements in many areas of medicine, which the researchers plan to continue to work on.

"On the in vitro side we are trying to develop a high-throughput assay for capture and analysis of single cells using optical and electrical modalities on a chip," Gracias said. "On the in vivo side, we would like to explore the possibility for biopsy and cell-specific capture in hard-to-reach places in vivo."

Explore further: Innovative soft robotics technology spawns new products

More information: Kate Malachowski, et al. "Self-Folding Single Cell Grippers." Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/nl500136a

© 2014 Phys.org



Powered By WizardRSS.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Wordpress | rfid blocking wallet sleeves
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Main result of Facebook emotion study: less trust in Facebook PDF Print E-mail

A new study that manipulated emotional messages on Facebook gets a big thumbs-down from Facebook users, and may also amplify a public distrust of behavioral research that has been fed by decades of deceptive laboratory studies.

Psychologists secretly toyed with Facebook users’ emotions in 2012, published their findings last month and got scorched by a social media firestorm they never saw coming.

What goes around comes around.

The researchers wanted to see if emotions spread through online social networks. Apparently, negative emotions spread really fast on the Internet. Congratulations, guys, you’re on to something.

Public anger has appropriately focused on scientists’ ethical breach in covertly trying to manipulate people’s moods. A team led by social psychologist and Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer altered the emotional content of postings in daily news feeds — the primary forums for seeing what one’s Facebook friends have posted — during one week for 0.04 percent of users. That’s 698,003 individuals.

When friends’ positive posts were surreptitiously weeded out of news feeds to varying extents, people wrote slightly fewer positive posts and more negative posts. The reverse occurred when friends’ negative posts were unknowingly removed. In both groups, people produced an average of one fewer emotional word, per thousand words, over the following week. This effect was statistically small but could have big consequences across the many interpersonal connections in a massive social web, Kramer’s team concluded in the June 17 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

By creating an account, Facebook users endorse an online statement that gives the site permission to use their personal information for research. To the researchers, that constituted informed consent for the study.  

There’s much to be disturbed by here. No one knows how many people read the online statement or, if they did, understood its implications. The definition of informed consent for members of online communities has barely been addressed by ethicists and scientists.

Academic panels that assess the ethics of research on people, called institutional review boards, offer no easy answers for digital investigators. IRBs have yet to develop guidelines for obtaining informed consent in online studies. And it’s not clear whether university IRBs can regulate collaborations between university scientists and commercial enterprises. Even the journal that published the new study agrees that it is “a matter of concern that the collection of the data by Facebook may have involved practices that were not fully consistent with the principles of obtaining informed consent and allowing participants to opt out.”

An unannounced change to the digital code controlling what gets posted on Facebook users’ news feeds may be an “implicit violation” of the site’s contract with users who expect something else entirely, says psychologist Ralph Hertwig of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Some users may view news feeds as random collections of recent posts. Others might regard news feeds as the “best” new posts. That would be worth studying.

Hertwig has long criticized social psychologists’ penchant for deceiving college students and others in the name of science (SN Online: 10/22/10). The most infamous such experiment occurred more than 50 years ago, when volunteers administered what they thought were real electrical shocks to an unseen person who wasn’t really shocked but could be heard screaming in mock agony. A 2010 study had participants complete a fake questionnaire. Experimenters falsely told volunteers they had expressed a preference for counterfeit products and then gave them expensive sunglasses labeled as counterfeits. The researchers’ aim was to show that people who wear knock-off items feel phony and become more likely to cheat.  

Students who are tricked in lab experiments and debriefed afterward — as required by the American Psychological Association — frequently lose their trust in researchers and spread the word to other potential research subjects about psychologists’ devious ways, Hertwig argues. Psychologists end up not knowing whether they’re manipulating study participants or getting played by them.

Trust in researchers gets tainted on a much larger scale by well-intentioned ruses pulled on massive online communities, Hertwig says. Fallout from the new Facebook study may cause users to drop their accounts, monitor the content of their posts, refuse to participate in future studies involving no trickery and otherwise make life difficult for investigators. Kramer’s paper doesn’t address this issue.  

Concerns that the researchers actually altered Facebook users’ emotions are misplaced, Hertwig adds. The statistical effect of their manipulation on the number of positive and negative words in posts is “ridiculously small.” And there is no evidence that what they did changed social networks or altered anyone’s emotional state — at least until people realized that they had been hoodwinked.

At a time when psychologists are admirably trying to improve their statistical and research practices, the new Facebook study hammers home the need to think carefully about how deceptive investigations can corrode public trust in science.

Follow me on Twitter: @Bruce_Bower

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Dead-ant wall protects young spider wasps PDF Print E-mail

A newly discovered species of wasp (D) leaves its eggs in cavities (A) protected by dead ants (B and C).

Merten Ehmig (A, B), Michael Staab (C, D) 

When members of one family of wasps, Pompilidae, are adults, they feast on floral nectar. But they’re known as “spider wasps” because they get their start in life by growing on the body of a paralyzed spider.

Within that family, wasps in the genus Deuteragenia construct special nests for those spider-feeding youngsters, with several chambers separated by thin walls of plant material, resin or soil.

The final, outermost chamber is usually empty — except for nests constructed by one species recently discovered in southeast China. These wasps, nicknamed “bone-house wasps,” fill that last chamber with deceased ants, Michael Staab of the University of Freiburg in Germany and colleagues report July 2 in PLOS ONE. They are the only species known to use whole-body ants for constructing a nest.

Staab and colleagues collected 829 nests of cavity-nesting wasps as part of a survey in southeast China. The nests belonged to 18 different species of wasps, but 73 of the nests were slightly different — they had a final chamber filled with ants. And when the scientists reared the young from those nests, they realized they had found a species never before described. They named it Deuteragenia ossarium because the wall of dead ants reminded them of an ossuary, where humans are buried.

The ant walls contained an average of five and up to 13 ants. The wasps weren’t too picky when it came to the species of ants chosen for construction, though: The researchers found nine different ant species — and as many as four different species in one cell — among the 26 chambers they examined. The most common species was Pachycondyla astuta, an abundant, large ant with a powerful sting.

It’s likely that the wall of dead ants helps to deter potential predators, the researchers say. (Most of us would probably be deterred by a wall of dead things, after all.) But that’s not necessarily because of the sight of such a monstrosity. Instead, the volatile compounds emanating from the ants may provide some sort of chemical defense or camouflage for the nests.

The choice of P. astuta may be particularly wise because the wasps wouldn’t need many of the large ants to fill a chamber and because they are common. “Potential predators may have had contact with the species before and therefore avoid the species-specific scent,” Staab and colleagues write.

Considering both the dead ants and the spiders, that’s quite a body count for a species that feasts only on flowers when full grown.

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
MRI scans reveal how the brain tells the body to pee PDF Print E-mail



Your daily roundup of
research news
Ashley Yeager

Brain scans of men taken before, during and after they urinate show that the insula, thalamus, brainstem and prefrontal cortex (red) are associated with successfully initiating the bodily function.

BodyParts3D/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.1 JP)

Guest post by Laura Sanders

An adventurous brain scanning study reveals how the brain can turn a bladder shy. The results, published June 26 in Cerebral Cortex, may ultimately point to treatments for people with lower urinary tract dysfunction.

While lying inside an MRI tube, 22 men attempted to urinate into an external catheter. Fifteen men rose to the challenge, while 7 were unable to go. Brain regions associated with successful urination initiation included the insula, thalamus, brainstem and prefrontal cortex. Activity in these regions peaked just before the participant began urinating and then fell as urination began, researchers found. 

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Dramatic retraction adds to questions about stem cell research PDF Print E-mail



SEEING DOUBLE  Scientists now doubt their own earlier claims about an easy method to make stem cells. Among the errors identified in their papers were two pictures of a single embryo created from STAP cells (green) that had been represented as depictions of two different embryos (large image with placenta, inset without placenta). 

H. Obokata et al/Nature 2014

Rising doubts about easy-to-make stem cells have hit a crescendo: The researchers who claimed to have discovered STAP cells have pulled their papers from the journal Nature. The scientists say that mistakes in the work now make them question the existence of such cells. The original publication described making STAP stem cells simply by stressing mature cells with a squeeze or with a brief plunge in acid.

Other scientists worry that the combination of early enthusiasm about the papers quickly followed by revelations of misconduct will mar the reputation of stem cell research.

“We apologize for the mistakes,” the team of STAP cell researchers writes in the July 3 Nature. “These multiple errors impair the credibility of the study as a whole and we are unable to say without doubt whether the [STAP cell] phenomenon is real.”

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Enzyme separates healthy and unhealthy obesity PDF Print E-mail



Your daily roundup of
research news
Ashley Yeager

Science Ticker

Guest post by Tina Hesman Saey

Obesity is usually a gateway condition to other diseases, such as diabetes. But about a quarter of obese people remain healthy. Now, Alexander Jais of the Medical University of Vienna report July 3 in Cell that an enzyme called heme oxygenase-1 promotes inflammation and draws the line between healthy and unhealthy obesity.

Obese people who had more of the enzyme in their livers and fat tissue had more inflammation and were more likely to be diabetic than obese people with little of the enzyme in their tissues. Experiments with mice confirm the finding and suggest that inhibiting the enzyme might promote better health in obese people.

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Rare planet circles just one of a pair of stars PDF Print E-mail



THREE’S A CROWD  A frozen, rocky planet orbits one of a pair of faint red stars (center and right), roughly 3,300 light-years away, as seen in an artist’s illustration. 

Cheongho Han, Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea

Astronomers have discovered a frozen, rocky planet orbiting one of a pair of faint red stars. Researchers reported the discovery in the July 4 Science.

It’s not the first planet found orbiting one star in a binary, but it is the first to be discovered with microlensing, the temporary brightening of light from a more distant star. This stellar pair is also much more compact than most other binary systems with planets. And it’s the first planet-hosting binary where both stars are M dwarfs, which make up roughly three-quarters of the stars in the galaxy.

Since roughly half of sunlike stars are part of a pair, such duos are a potentially fertile ground for planet hunters. Planets that orbit binary stars can also help astronomers understand how planets form in unusual environments.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Photo Timeline: How the Earth Formed PDF Print E-mail

Earth has been plagued by mass extinctions since the Cambrian Period, but the biggest in the fossil record was in the Permian Period 252 million years…Read More » ago. More than 90 percent of life died in just 60,000 years, researchers think, compared with 85 percent of life during the dinosaur-killing extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago. However, the primary suspect in the Permian die-off isn't a meteorite impact but a giant volcanic eruption in Siberia. Scientists think the massive lava flood created toxic greenhouse gas conditions. Chemical elements in old rocks also record mass extinctions due to climate change, such as 450 million years ago, when more than 75 percent of marine species died during a major ice age.    Less «
Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Natural Medicine is Great, but Chemists Can Make It Even Better (Op-Ed) PDF Print E-mail

medicine, natural remedy
Take one plant, tweak it a little…
Credit: Cifor, CC BY-NC-ND

This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

For years humans have searched for medicines in nature. While some seek “natural cures” in order to avoid chemicals, in truth everything is made up of chemistry. But as humans, we’re very good at manipulating what we find in nature – either through intention or accident.

Penicillin: the antibiotic game changer

The late American anthropologist George Armelagos showed 30 years ago that the inhabitants of ancient Nubia made their beer by fermenting grain that contained streptomyces bacteria, which produces the antibiotic tetracycline. This in turn led to very low levels of infectious disease in the population.

But it wasn’t until the accidental discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and work done by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain in 1940 that led to the treatment of many wounded soldiers in World War II that the story of modern antibiotics really began.

There are many different molecules in the penicillin family – for example, Penicillin G, the substance made by Florey and Chain, contains 41 atoms. But all of them have the same core made up of two rings of atoms – mainly carbon atoms – fused together. Different molecules have different properties. One drawback of penicillin G was that it was broken up by stomach acid and could only be administered by injection.

But penicillin is manufactured by fermentation, and chemists found that they could produce penicillins with slightly different structures by changing the chemicals added to the fermenting broth. Different structures allowed researchers to produce penicillin, for example, that was stable to acid and allowed it to be taken by mouth.

It also subsequently became possible to mass-produce 6-aminopenicillanic acid – the molecule at the heart of the penicillin structure – and to then add side-chains of extra atoms to design a particular penicillin, like one that could tolerate threatening bacteria enzymes. This process is known as semi-synthesis – using the molecular structure from a natural source before adding “finishing touches”.

After the discovery of penicillin, there was intense interest in finding new antibiotics. The discovery of a molecule called chlorotetracycline (Aureomycin) in a sample of Missouri soil in 1945 led to a whole family of tetracycline antibiotics. These now semi-synthetic products include doxycycline, effective against Lyme disease and anthrax.

Invermectin: the golf course find

The 1970s yielding another important discovery from a microorganism named Streptomyces avermectinius, found in a soil sample from a seaside golf course by Japanese scientists. From this they isolated a molecule called avermectin, which proved active against numerous parasites. Still not satisfied, researchers made small tweaks to its structure to make it even more active. By dint of adding just two hydrogen atoms (to a carbon-carbon double bond) they created ivermectin.

Ivermectin is a tremendous success story in the treatment of river blindness (onchocerciasis), a scourge of communities in tropical regions in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. This disease is due to a parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus and is spread by certain black flies. A single dose of ivermectin every six months for the life cycle of the worms can keep the parasite at bay.

Artemisinin: standing the test of time (just)

An even greater scourge of sub-Saharan Africa is malaria, and the great discovery in the past half-century has been artemisinin, obtained from the Chinese herb Artemisia annua. Artemisinin itself is not easily absorbed by the body so chemists have slightly altered its molecular structure and created new molecules – this is semi-synthesis at work again.

These have very similar structures to artemisinin but are more effective agents called arteether or artesunate. The latter of these can be administered intravenously for rapid action so is used against acute cerebral malaria where the disease spreads rapidly to the brain and can be fatal within three days.

But chemists can’t be complacent – the genes of the malaria parasite have shown an ability to adapt to become resistant to artemisinin. And as one of the most effective remaining antimalarial drugs, resistance is a serious problem.

Aspirin: the daddy of semi-synthetic

And the daddy of all semi-synthetic drugs is aspirin. Back in the 18th century, an Oxfordshire clergyman named Edward Stone pioneered the use of willow bark in treating fevers; the bark contained a molecule called salicin, which in the body is transformed into the active compound, salicylic acid.

By the 1870s, salicylic acid itself was being used to treat fevers and pain, but digestive problems and ulcers were associated with its use. So chemists working for the German company Bayer converted it to acetylsalicylic acid, known today as aspirin, and that rapidly became the medicine of choice as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller.

Nature is the best synthetic chemist there is. It creates unbelievable molecules – both penicillin and artemisinin contain groupings of atoms that chemists thought could not exist – but they show that chemists can still improve on nature’s bounty and make amazing molecules that work even better in treating human ailments.

Simon Cotton does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google +. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science.

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
Catching Hyenas on Camera (Op-Ed) PDF Print E-mail

Brown hyena, conservation, camera trap photos
If the brown hyena took a selfie.
Credit: Louisa Richmond

This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

I spent a few years in South Africa searching for the elusive brown hyaena. The aim of the study was to assess the differences in the distribution and abundance of brown hyaena between protected and unprotected farmland areas in South Africa.

The driving force behind the project designed by researchers at Nottingham Trent University was the unprecedented rate of declining global biodiversity caused by an increasing human population. Many medium- to large-sized carnivores have come into direct conflict with humans, leading to localised extinctions.

Louisa Richmond-Coggan, camera traps

Louisa Richmond-Coggan captured by her own camera trap.
Credit: Louisa Richmond-Coggan

Under threat

One species that is implicated in human wildlife conflict is the brown hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea). Brown hyaenas are classified as “Near Threatened”, with an estimated 2,500 free ranging animals remaining in South Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature suggests that brown hyaenas are under threat from human persecution and habitat loss, and that a greater understanding of its distribution and abundance is needed throughout its geographic range.

The brown hyaena is a solitary and nocturnal carnivore that lives in clans and forages alone often over large distances. It is predominantly a scavenger and only an opportunistic ineffective hunter. However, farmers perceived the brown hyaena to be a livestock killer.

Louisa Richmond-Coggan, camera traps

Credit: Louisa Richmond-Coggan

This misconception has lead to the indiscriminate and unjustified persecution of the species. The scavenging brown hyaenas provide an ecosystem service by cleaning up the carcasses as they eat everything including the skin and bones. These factors mean that of all South Africa’s large carnivores, it has the ecological attributes to allow co-existence with humans within the unprotected farmlands.

My project was tasked with gathering this abundance data and I set up a study area in the north of the country which incorporated Madikwe Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa. These two reserves contain the “Big five” – African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White or Black rhinoceros – and are viewed as a safe haven for brown hyaena. Surrounding these two protected areas is unprotected farmland where a mixture of game, livestock and agricultural farming take place and where brown hyaena are persecuted.

Camera traps

To gather information on the abundance of brown hyaena, I turned to camera traps. Wildlife surveys have been greatly enhanced by the development of camera traps. A key factor is the capture, confirmation and monitoring of rare and elusive species particularly when the species is located across large remote areas.

lion, camera trap picture, conservation

Trapped by motion-sensing camera.
Credit: Louisa Richmond-Coggan

The method doesn’t impact on the environment or the animals and produces little disturbance to the survey area or individual target animals. The benefit is that they not only capture the target species but others animals too, providing valuable information on a range of species with no extra surveying effort.

Cameras can quickly determine the presence and absence of species and in some cases discover new species, such as giant sengi in Tanzania. They have also helped rediscover species thought to be locally extinct or outside their known geographical range.

Jackal, conservation, camera trap picture

Jackal.
Credit: Louisa Richmond-Coggan

Camera traps are excellent tools that have grown in popularity with conservation ecologists. However, every camera trap needs to be set up, monitored and visited regularly. For me this meant hours of driving on dirt tracks across the farmland and protected areas to reach the designated camera trap sites, come rain or shine.

In the farmland acquiring permission to gain access to private land was critical. I built up relationships with the local community by attending local farmers meetings and agriculture shows. Throughout my project I was living with an Afrikaans farming family who provided me with a lot of help as they introduced me to their friends and fellow farmers.

leopard, camera trap photo, conservation

Credit: Louisa Richmond-Coggan

In order to maximise the capture rate I needed to understand my target species. For example, the brown hyaena use roads as territorial boundaries and mark their territory through latrines at road junctions making these ideal sites for placing camera traps.

At the start of the project when I was putting cameras up there was a lot of trial and error involved, which normally ended with many empty photographs of grass moving in the wind. I never lost the excitement and anticipation that came from picking up the memory card from the camera, slotting it into the laptop and then getting to see which animals, if any, had been captured.

Uncovering the secrets

A total of 800 camera trap nights produced nearly 35,000 images, of which 10,000 were made up of carnivores ranging from the large ones, such as lion, leopard, spotted hyaena, brown hyaena, wild dog, to the medium-sized, such as honey badger, jackal, civet, serval, caracal, and the small ones, such as African wild cat, bat eared fox, aardwolf, common genet, slender and banded mongoose.

Wild dogs, conservation, camera trap photo

Wild dogs.
Credit: Louisa Richmond-Coggan

Using remote camera traps, the study found that the relative abundance of brown hyaena was four times lower in farmland areas than in the protected areas. Another significant finding was that small- and medium-sized carnivores showed higher relative abundances in the farmland areas.

Low levels of brown hyaena abundance means that conservation efforts should be focused in the unprotected farmland areas, so that not only brown hyaenas but all carnivores survive and thrive in the long-term.


Next, read this: Scientists at work: the ups and downs of getting grumpy bears to have sex

Louisa Richmond-Coggan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on FacebookTwitter and Google +. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science.

Share
  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Science  |  
 
«StartPrev12345678910NextEnd»

Page 1 of 86
FNN Home Science
English (United Kingdom)
Human DNA Is Not A Document, It's An App: Emily Willingham, Forbes Yesterday, scientists at the University of Washington announced what they characterized as an important breakthrough in our understanding of the nature of DNA. L...
Deluxe News Pro - Copyright 2009,2010 Monev Software LLC

ERS Broadcast Networks

ERS Broadcast Networks - Links