Science News

Sea snail venom offers possibilities of designing human ailments drugs

Sea snail venom offers possibilities of designing human ailments drugs

Port Blair [India], April 21 : In a first of its kind study, peptides, from the venom of cone snails, have been identified that opens up possibilities of drug research for several human ailments.

The study was conducted by a team of Indian scientists from Port Blair-based National Institute of Ocean Technology, NIOT and Indian Institute of Science, IISc, Bangalore.

They identified short peptides with six amino acids, which globally, is the first small contryphan identified so far.

Tropical Cyclone Cook moves past New Caledonia, finds NASA

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr. 11 : Tropical Cyclone Cook formed in the Southern Pacific Ocean and on Sunday, April 9, 2017 and moved across the island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific Ocean on early on April 10. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP Satellite passed over Cook as it was making landfall.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of Cook on April 10 at 0254 UTC (April 9 at 10:54 p.m. EST). That was about one hour before the storm's center made landfall in central New Caledonia. The image showed a cloud-filled eye surrounded by powerful thunderstorms. A large band of thunderstorms feeding into the center blanketed the islands of Vanuatu.

Lowland amphibians at higher risk from future climate warming

Lowland amphibians at higher risk from future climate warming

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr. 10 : A new study of Peruvian frogs living at a wide variety of elevations -- from the Amazon floodplain to high Andes peaks -- lends support to the idea that lowland amphibians are at higher risk from future climate warming.

That's because the lowland creatures already live near the maximum temperatures they can tolerate, while high-elevation amphibians might be more buffered from increased temperatures, according to a study by University of Michigan ecologist Rudolf von May and his colleagues published online April 6 in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

What lies beneath the surface? Here is the answer

What lies beneath the surface? Here is the answer

Washington D.C [USA], Apr. 8 : Walking down a grassy field, have you ever wondered that what lies beneath the surface?

We finally have an answer to that question.

A web of plant roots interacts symbiotically with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi that extend their hyphae from the root system further into the earth, accessing nutrients such as phosphates to give to the plant in return for carbohydrates.

The study was published in journal Current Biology.

Taking a much closer look inside root cortical cells, we will find dynamic, branching fungal structures called arbuscules where the two organisms can exchange their goods.

'Improved' wireless communication systems come closer to reality

'Improved' wireless communication systems come closer to reality

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr. 1 : A team of scientists has paved the way for ultrafast and reconfigurable on-chip wireless communication systems with unmatched advantages in compactness, low power consumption and low fabrication complexity.

Researchers from the University of Sydney made a breakthrough achieving radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales on a chip-scale optical device.

Radio frequency (RF) is a particular range of electromagnetic wave frequencies, widely used for communications and radar signals. The work should impact the current wireless revolution.

Satellite galaxies at edge of Milky Way coexist with dark matter

Satellite galaxies at edge of Milky Way coexist with dark matter

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 31 : A new research has ruled out a challenge to the accepted standard model of the universe and theory of how galaxies form by shedding new light on a problematic structure.

The vast polar structure, a plane of satellite galaxies at the poles of the Milky Way, is at the center of a tug-of-war between scientists who disagree about the existence of mysterious dark matter, the invisible substance that, according to some scientists, comprises 85 percent of the mass of the universe.

The paper bolsters the standard cosmological model, or the Cold Dark Matter paradigm, by showing that the vast polar structure formed well after the Milky Way and is an unstable structure.

More trees, less global warming? Not exactly

More trees, less global warming? Not exactly

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 31 : Trees are considered as one of our biggest natural allies in the war against global warming, but in a new twist, scientists have found that the army of green is spewing out methane.

The University of Delaware study is one of the first in the world to show that tree trunks in upland forests actually emit methane rather than store it, representing a new, previously unaccounted source of this powerful greenhouse gas.

Methane is about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide, with some estimates as high as 33 times stronger due to its effects when it is in the atmosphere.

Here`s how birds of a feather communicate while flocking together

Here`s how birds of a feather communicate while flocking together

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A team of researchers has shed some light on how flying birds communicate with each other.

Zebra finches are social songbirds that use distance calls to establish contact with one another, similar to the way humans use speech to communicate.

Although it has been demonstrated that these birds can determine the identity of a caller as far away as 256 meters (or about 830 feet), it is not clear how their brain extracts this information from the call, which becomes degraded and loses intensity relative to the background noise as it travels through the environment.

Soon, we'll be watching videos from NASA's next-gen Orion in ultra-HD

Soon, we'll be watching videos from NASA's next-gen Orion in ultra-HD

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : Astronauts may soon be able to communicate faster to and from space as NASA's advanced laser communications system called LEMNOS has brought speedy connections closer to the reality.

Imagine being able to watch 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) video as humans take their first steps on another planet. Or imagine astronauts picking up a cell phone and video-conferencing their family and friends from 34 million miles away, just the same as they might on Earth. LEMNOS, Laser-Enhanced Mission and Navigation Operational Services, may make these capabilities and more a reality in the near future.

Reusable carbon nanotubes, the next-gen water filter?

Reusable carbon nanotubes, the next-gen water filter?

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A new class of carbon nanotubes may soon become the next-generation clean-up crew for toxic sludge and contaminated water, a new study suggested.

Enhanced single-walled carbon nanotubes offer a more effective and sustainable approach to water treatment and remediation than the standard industry materials, silicon gels and activated carbon, according to researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Authors John-David Rocha and Reginald Rogers demonstrated the potential of this emerging technology to clean polluted water. Their work applies carbon nanotubes to environmental problems in a specific new way that builds on a nearly two decades of nanomaterial research. Nanotubes are more commonly associated with fuel-cell research.

Monsoon in 2017 to remain below normal: Forecast

Monsoon in 2017 to remain below normal: Forecast

New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 : Looks like summer will be yet more unbearable this year, atleast the present weather condition makes us believe so.

Establishing this belief, Skymet Weather too has recently stated that monsoon, in 2017, is likely to remain below normal.

It is predicted to be at 95 percent (with an error margin of +/-five percent) of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm for the four-month period from June to September.

The report further says that monsoon probabilities for JJAS are:

- Zero percent chance of excess (seasonal rainfall that is more than 110 percent of LPA),

- 10 percent chance of above normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 105 to 110 percent of LPA),

Experiencing Aurora Australis 'alters' passengers' lives!

Experiencing Aurora Australis 'alters' passengers' lives!

London [UK], Mar. 24 : Following a huge explosion of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun's corona, Tasmania's skyline has been aglow in recent days - with vivid purple and green lights illuminating the horizon.

A few passengers, aboard the first commercial flight to witness the Aurora Australis, landed in New Zealand and the 130 star-struck passengers have taken to social media to share their experience.

The duration of the flight was eight-hours and it took off from the South Island on Thursday, flying to a latitude of 62 degrees south to view of the aurora.

A new species of terrestrial crab found in Hong Kong

A new species of terrestrial crab found in Hong Kong

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.23 : What the CRAB!

The scientists have found a new species of terrestrial crab, climbing trees on the eastern coast of Hong Kong.

The species is described in the open access journal ZooKeys.

All specimens spotted during the survey have been collected at a height of approximately 1.5 - 1.8 m, walking on the bark of the branches at ebbing and low tides.

The characteristics of the newly found species are squarish predominantly dark brown carapace, very long legs and orange chelipeds.

The species is less than a centimetre long, with the studied specimens measuring between eight and nine millimetres, irrespective of their sex.

The chelipeds of the males appear stout, while in females they are distinctly leaner.

Restoring Pluto's planetary identity in crisis

Restoring Pluto's planetary identity in crisis

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 18 : A decade after Pluto was ousted from the planet lineup, a supporter of the now dwarf planet is fighting to restore its title.

Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet.

So, he said, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth's moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of "planet."

NASA's Van Allen Probes uncovers 'relativistic' electrons

NASA's Van Allen Probes uncovers 'relativistic' electrons

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 16 : Earth's radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet,were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behaviour is still not completely understood.

Now, new observations from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission show that the fastest, most energetic electrons in the inner radiation belt are not present as much of the time as previously thought.

The results show that there typically isn't as much radiation in the inner belt as previously assumed, which is good news for spacecraft flying in the region.

Did you know spiders eat 800 million tonnes of prey every year?

Did you know spiders eat 800 million tonnes of prey every year?

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 15 : A study shows that global spider population - with a weight of around 25 million tonnes - wipes out an estimated 400-800 million tonnes of prey every year, thus making an essential contribution to maintain the ecological balance of nature.

According to Zoologists at the University of Basel in Switzerland and Lund University in Sweden, more than 90 percent of the prey is insects and springtails (Collembola) and furthermore, large tropical spiders occasionally prey on small vertebrates - frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, birds and bats - or feed on plants.

The study was published in the journal 'The Science of Nature'.

World's oldest plant fossil discovered in India

World's oldest plant fossil discovered in India

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 15 : A team of researchers has discovered fossils of 1.6 billion-year-old probable red algae in India, indicating that advanced multicellular life evolved on earth much earlier than previously thought.

The study, appeared in the open access journal PLOS Biology, found two kinds of fossils resembling red algae - first type is thread-like, the other one consists of fleshy colonies - in uniquely well-preserved sedimentary rocks at Chitrakoot in Central India.

The scientists were able to see distinct inner cell structures and so-called cell fountains, the bundles of packed and splaying filaments that form the body of the fleshy forms and are characteristics of red algae.

New find paves way for 'brain-like' computers

New find paves way for 'brain-like' computers

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 13 : Turns out, brain is 10 times more active than previously measured.

This UCLA finding could change scientists' understanding of how the brain works and could lead to new approaches for treating neurological disorders and for developing computers that "think" more like humans.

The research focused on the structure and function of dendrites, which are components of neurons, the nerve cells in the brain. Neurons are large, tree-like structures made up of a body, the soma, with numerous branches called dendrites extending outward.

'Fishing out' radioactive elements from nuclear waste

'Fishing out' radioactive elements from nuclear waste

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 13 : According to a recent study, arsenic molecules might be used to "fish out" the most toxic elements from radioactive nuclear waste - a breakthrough that could make the decommissioning industry even safer and more effective.

The University of Manchester's Elizabeth Wildman reported the first examples of thorium with multiple bonds to arsenic to exist under ambient conditions on multi-gram scales where before they had only been prepared on very small scales at temperatures approaching that of interstellar space (3-10 Kelvin).

"Nuclear power could potentially produce far less carbon dioxide than fossil fuels, but the long-lived waste it produces is radioactive and needs to be handled appropriately," said Wildman.

NASA spacecraft's close call with Martian moon Phobos

NASA spacecraft's close call with Martian moon Phobos

New Delhi [India], Mar. 4 : NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), which is in its second year of studying the Red Planet's atmosphere, was recently forced to perform unscheduled maneuver to avert a space-wreck.

In its first collision avoidance maneuver, MAVEN spacecraft carried out a rocket motor burn that boosted its velocity by 0.4 meters per second (less than 1 mile per hour) to steer clear of Mars' moon Phobos, NASA reported.

The correction was small, but it was enough for the spacecraft to avoid the crater-filled moon by about 2.5 minutes.




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