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Latest National Academy of Sciences Stories

2012-08-02 13:46:02

It's relatively easy to collect massive amounts of data on microbes. But the files are so large that it takes days to simply transmit them to other researchers and months to analyze once they are received. Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a new computational technique, featured in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that relieves the logjam that these "big data" issues create. Microbial communities living in soil or the ocean...

New Coating Boots Out Biofilms For Good
2012-07-30 16:23:35

Slippery technology shown to prevent more than 99 percent of harmful bacterial slime from forming on surfaces Biofilms may no longer have any solid ground upon which to stand. A team of Harvard scientists has developed a slick way to prevent the troublesome bacterial communities from ever forming on a surface. Biofilms stick to just about everything, from copper pipes to steel ship hulls to glass catheters. The slimy coatings are more than just a nuisance, resulting in decreased energy...

2012-07-26 14:29:23

Viral evolution and host protein levels predict rapid disease progression Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified several factors in people infected with the hepatitis C virus that may predict whether the unusually rapid progression of disease from initial infection to severe liver conditions, such as cirrhosis, will occur. Knowing whether a patient's condition is likely to deteriorate quickly could help physicians decide on the best course of treatment. The...

2012-07-18 01:14:06

Managers who have more -- and more subtle — tools may be able to generate more profit from a sustainable fishery than they can using marine protected areas alone As spatial planning is used increasingly to manage fisheries and other ocean resources, researchers are working to determine the best ways to use and refine the various spatial management tools. Among them are marine protected areas (MPAs), one of the most common methods, which limit or entirely curtail fishing in a given...

New Therapeutic Option Derived From Cord Blood Cells
2012-07-16 15:02:22

Protocol may open new avenues for cell-replacement therapies for neurological conditions For more than 20 years, doctors have been using cells from blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after childbirth to treat a variety of illnesses, from cancer and immune disorders to blood and metabolic diseases. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a new way-using a single protein, known as a transcription factor-to convert cord blood (CB) cells...

Let Fungus Reproduce
2012-07-16 14:27:40

New biogeochemical understanding of manganese oxidation lends insight to environmental remediation Harvard-led researchers have discovered that an Ascomycete fungus that is common in polluted water produces environmentally important minerals during asexual reproduction. The key chemical in the process, superoxide, is a byproduct of fungal growth when the organism produces spores. Once released into the environment, superoxide reacts with the element manganese (Mn), producing a highly...

Eyes In The Sky
2012-07-11 13:12:17

UI researchers develop technique to help pollution forecasters see past clouds Until now, scientists who study air pollution using satellite imagery have been limited by weather. Clouds, in particular, provide much less information than a sunny day. University of Iowa scientists have created a technique to help satellites "see" through the clouds and better estimate the concentration of pollutants, such as soot. The finding is important, because, like GPS systems, clouds block...

2012-07-10 10:27:29

Diels and Alder won the Nobel; now UCLA's Kendall Houk makes the movie In 1928, chemists Otto Diels and Kurt Alder first documented diene synthesis, a chemical reaction important for synthesizing many polymers, alkaloids and steroids. Their work on this mechanism, which came to be known as the Diels—Alder reaction, won them the 1950 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Since then, the iconic reaction has become the most commonly used and studied mechanism in organic chemistry. But what...

2012-07-09 17:19:27

Rice University study details exactly how nanotubes bend and break What´s 100 times stronger than steel, weighs one-sixth as much and can be snapped like a twig by a tiny air bubble? The answer is a carbon nanotube – and a new study by Rice University scientists details exactly how the much-studied nanomaterials snap when subjected to ultrasonic vibrations in a liquid. “We find that the old saying ℠I will break but not bend´ does not hold at the micro- and...

2012-07-09 10:55:42

A team of scientists has created an "MRI" of the Sun's interior plasma motions, shedding light on how it transfers heat from its deep interior to its surface. The result, which appears in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, upends our understanding of how heat is transported outwards by the Sun and challenges existing explanations of the formation of sunspots and magnetic field generation. The work was conducted by researchers from NYU's Courant Institute of...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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