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Latest University of Illinois Stories

Rare Fungus Kills Endangered Rattlesnakes In Southern Illinois
2012-02-22 04:22:09

A small population of rattlesnakes that already is in decline in southern Illinois faces a new and unexpected threat in the form of a fungus rarely seen in the wild, researchers report. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus), a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, suffers from habitat loss and environmental stresses wherever it is found, said University of Illinois comparative biosciences visiting instructor and wildlife...

2012-02-21 10:56:49

Geologists are hoping to learn a great deal about geologic carbon sequestration from injecting 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into sandstone 7,000 feet beneath Decatur, Ill. And they're hoping the public learns a lot from the endeavor, too. The Illinois Basin — Decatur Project (IBDP) began its injection, the first million-ton demonstration from an industrial source in the U.S., in November 2011. Over the next three years, the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, led...

Tiny Grasshopper-like Insect Found Roaming Around In Belize
2012-02-16 08:27:52

Entomologists from the University of Illinois have discovered a new species of grasshopper-like insect in the tropical rainforests of Belize, apparently the first of its family to be found, naming it in commemoration of an ancient Mayan people who once lived in the region. The tiny hopper, Ripipteryx mopana, was discovered in the Toledo District in Belize. It was named after a tribe of Mayans known as the Mopan people. R. mopana measures less than 0.2 inches (5mm) long and is the...

2012-02-06 22:20:04

Researchers have found a way to study how our brains assess the behavior — and likely future actions — of others during competitive social interactions. Their study, described in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to use a computational approach to tease out differing patterns of brain activity during these interactions, the researchers report. “When players compete against each other in a game, they try to make a mental model of...

2012-01-18 15:06:34

A program designed to boost cognition in older adults also increased their openness to new experiences, researchers report, demonstrating for the first time that a non-drug intervention in older adults can change a personality trait once thought to be fixed throughout the lifespan. Personality psychologists describe openness as one of five major personality traits. Studies suggest that the other four traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and extraversion) operate...

Computer Model Optimizes Biofuel Operations
2012-01-18 05:00:56

Research into biofuel crops such as switchgrass and Miscanthus has focused mainly on how to grow these crops and convert them into fuels. But many steps lead from the farm to the biorefinery, and each could help or hinder the growth of this new industry. A new computer model developed at the University of Illinois can simplify this transition, researchers say. The model can run millions of simulations, optimizing operations to bring down costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions or achieve...

2012-01-09 11:33:16

Those making land use decisions to reduce the harmful effects of climate change have focused almost exclusively on greenhouse gases — analyzing, for example, how much carbon dioxide is released when a forest is cleared to grow crops. A new study in Nature Climate Change aims to present a more complete picture — to incorporate other characteristics of ecosystems that also influence climate. "We know that forests store a lot of carbon and clearing a forest releases carbon dioxide...

Scientists Create Self-Healing Electronic Chips
2011-12-22 13:35:25

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign say they are a step closer to developing electronic chips that heal themselves. The scientists created a circuit that heals itself when cracked by using a liquid metal that restored conductivity. They said their work could eventually lead to longer-lasting gadgets, as well as helping out in spacecrafts “Rather than having to build in redundancies or to build in a sensory diagnostics system, this material is designed...

2011-12-20 21:31:16

When one tiny circuit within an integrated chip cracks or fails, the whole chip — or even the whole device — is a loss. But what if it could fix itself, and fix itself so fast that the user never knew there was a problem? A team of University of Illinois engineers has developed a self-healing system that restores electrical conductivity to a cracked circuit in less time than it takes to blink. Led by aerospace engineering professor Scott White and materials science and...


Word of the Day
omphalos
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.
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