December 26, 2012

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Princeton’s Nanomesh Triples Solar Cell Efficiency

Credit: Jumanji Solar

Researchers at Princeton University have used nanotechnology to develop a nanotechnological mesh that increases efficiency over organic solar cells nearly threefold. The scientists published their findings in the journal Optics Express¹. The team was able to reduce reflexivity and capture more of the light that isn’t reflected. The resulting solar cell is thinner, less reflective […]

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December 24, 2012

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Only About 1,000 Yangtze Finless Porpoises Remain

Finless Porpoise at Miyajima Aquarium, Japan. Credit: ori2uru/Flickr

A six-week survey of the Yangtze River’s middle and lower stretches by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) in Wuhan and the conservation group WWF in China has concluded that the Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis) are being driven to the brink of extinction by fishing, pollution and other human activities. […]

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December 24, 2012

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Toxic Algal Blooms Could be Boosted by Climate Change

Pseudo-nitzschia is among the species that produce toxins and cause harmful algal blooms. Credit: Courtesy of Raphael Kudela, UCSC

Physical and chemical conditions in the oceans cause populations of algae to wax and wane in cycles. Harmful algae consist of only a few species of diatoms, dinoflagellates, and cyanobacteria. Researchers are wondering what the role of climate change is in the algal blooms that have been seen in the last years. Some harmful algae […]

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December 24, 2012

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Depression is the Top Disability Among US & Canadian Teens

Credit: Shuttershock

According to a new study led by researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, depression has surpassed asthma as the largest contributor to ‘years lived with disabilities’ for youths aged 10 -14. The scientists published their findings in the journal The Lancet¹. The estimation of […]

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December 24, 2012

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Masers as Evolutionary Indicators for Star Formation

methanol masers

SAO astronomers provide the first unambiguous evidence that Class I masers may be excited by both young (hot core) and older (UC H II) MYSOs within the same protocluster. Astronomers have come to realize that the process of star formation, once thought to consist essentially of just the simple coalescence of material by gravity, occurs […]

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December 24, 2012

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Urine Used as Fertilizer to Boost Crop Yields

Roshan Shrestha of UN-HABITAT inaugurates urine bank in Siddhipur, Nepal. Credit: Flickr/Sustainable sanitation

Last year, in Sotang, Nepal, the Dzi Foundation helped build over 1,000 toilets for the nearly 6,500 residents of the village. The villagers were given the option of using a regular squatting pan or a dual-hole pan, which allowed for the collection of urine to be used as a fertilizer. Urine is mostly water, mixed […]

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December 24, 2012

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Area of Monkey Brain Keeps Tally of Altruistic Acts

altruism-monkey

Steve Chang and his colleagues from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, have discovered that monkeys have a specific area in their brains to keep track of altruistic acts. This might help researchers understand the mechanisms underlying normal social behavior in primates and humans, and could even provide insight about autism spectrum disorder. The scientists […]

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December 24, 2012

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Pannoniasaurus inexpectatus, The First Freshwater Mosasaur Discovered

Discovered in August 2010, the mosasaur Platecarpus was a marine lizard, like most other mosasaurs so far discovered. Credit: Illustration by Stephanie Abramowciz, NHM Dinosaur Institute

A new species of mosasaur was discovered in Hungry, providing the first evidence that mosasaurs lived in both freshwater and marine environments. The scientists published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE¹. The first mosasaur was discovered in 1764, and since then, thousands of specimens have been discovered. Until now, paleontologists had no evidence that […]

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December 24, 2012

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy IC 2233

spiral galaxy IC 2233

This new image from Hubble shows spiral galaxy IC 2233, which is one of the flattest galaxies known and is located about 40 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Lynx. Like finding a silver needle in the haystack of space, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this beautiful image of the […]

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December 23, 2012

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MALBAC Offers More Efficient Way to Sequence DNA

single-cell-genomics-efficient

Sequencing DNA is nothing new, but it’s much harder to sequence the DNA of a single cell. In order to get enough DNA for sequencing, usually thousands or millions of cells are required. Finding out which mutations are in which cells is extremely difficult, making the mutations present in only a few cells, like early […]

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December 22, 2012

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Curing Boredom

bored-baby

Many normal situations have the potential to be unbelievably boring. Boredom is more than just one of life’s minor irritations; it has been linked to drug use, alcoholism, problematic gambling and compulsive behavior. It has even been tied to potentially lethal errors in job execution since bored personnel preform less reliably than people engaged in […]

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December 22, 2012

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Appendicitis Could Be Diagnosed By Speed Bumps

speed-bump-appendicitis

Driving over speed bumps could help doctors diagnose whether patients are suffering from acute appendicitis. The scientists published their findings in the journal BMJ. The link between pain induced by speed bumps and appendicitis was already suspected, but this study is the first to produce evidence for this idea. Asking patients whether the pain worsened […]

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