Scientists discover 'BioClay' for pest-free crops

Scientists discover 'BioClay' for pest-free crops

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 11 : Scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, have found a nano-sized degradable clay, an alternative to chemicals and pesticides, that protects plants from specific disease-causing pathogens.

Researcher Neena Mitter from University of Queensland in Australia said BioClay - an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemicals and pesticides - could be a game-changer for crop protection.

The study was recently published in Nature Plants.

"In agriculture, the need for new control agents grows each year, driven by demand for greater production, the effects of climate change, community and regulatory demands and toxicity and pesticide resistance," she said.

Scientists find shape matters when light meets atom

Scientists find shape matters when light meets atom

Washington D. C [US], Dec. 4 : In a recent study published in the Natures Communications journal, researchers have shown that a photon's shape also affects how it is absorbed by a single atom.

Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what you're looking at.

Some photons reflect off, reaching your eyes, others get absorbed. The main decider of which happens is the photon's energy - its colour.

But look closely at the moment that light meets matter, and there's more to be discovered. We don't often think of photons as being spread out in time and space and thus having a shape, but the ones in this experiment were some four meters long.

India joins CERN as associate member

Geneva [Switzerland), Nov.22 : The Geneva-headquartered European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has inked an an agreement with India that confirms the latter as the latest associate member state of the organisation.

CERN operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

An official release of the organisation said that India's inclusion as an associate member state follows CERN Council's adoption of the resolution to this effect on September 15, 2016.

For India, Sekhar Basu, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy signed the agreement, while Fabio Gianotti, Director General, signed it on behalf of CERN.

The signing of the agreement took place in Mumbai on Monday.

Researchers convert waste carbon dioxide into biofuel

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov. 21 : Carbon dioxide , the most troublesome greenhouse gas, cannot harm the climate anymore as a recent study uncovers new ways to turn the gas into biofuel.

The article has been published in Applied Catalysis B Environmental journal.

Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. With the effectuation of the Paris Agreement, there has been a rising interest on carbon capture and utilization (CCU).

The study, led by Professor Jae Sung Lee of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST uncovers new ways to make biofuel from carbon dioxide (CO2).

Study traces origin of respiratory muscle

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov. 21 : A recent study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences journal throws light on mammal-like reptile s, Caseids and their breathing pattern.

"Evolution has brought up some weird animals, such as the caseids." says Dr. Markus Lambertz, zoologist at the University of Bonn and the Museum Koenig.

Caseids are "mammal-like" reptiles that lived about 300-250 million years ago.

The barrel-shaped trunk got Dr. Lambertz' attention. How did these reptiles breathe? Exceptional joints impeded rib motility and allowed for only limited inhalation. Calculations revealed that the ventilatory system was not that effective, but still sufficient for a sedentary grazer.

Sponge-like bones as in osteoporosis

Scientists discover two new species of lizards

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.17 : Scientists have discovered two new species of lizards in the Andean highlands of Southern Chile.

The two reptiles, collected from areas of heroic past, were named after courageous tribal chiefs who have once fought against colonial Spaniards in the Arauco war. The study, conducted by a team of Chilean scientists, is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Jaime Troncoso-Palacios from Universidad de Chile and his team found both new species near a lake in a pre-Andean zone among deciduous vegetation. Following the examination of the collected specimens and further analysis of their mitochondrial DNA, performed by Dr. Alvaro A. Elorza from Universidad Andres Bello, Chile, the scientists concluded that they belong to species unknown to science.

'Princess Leia' brainwaves help store day memories: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov. 16 : While sleeping at night, electrical waves of brain activity circle around each side of your brain and are responsible for forming associations between different aspects of a day's memories, found The Salk Institute scientists.

The circular on the surface of your head might look like the twin hair buns of Star Wars' Princess Leia, says a study published in journal eLife.

"The scale and speed of Princess Leia waves in the cortex is unprecedented, a discovery that advances the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative," says Terrence Sejnowski, THE head of Salk's Computational Neurobiology Laboratory.

Scientists discover details about dinosaur-era birds' feather

Scientists discover details about dinosaur-era birds' feather

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.14 : If you are curious about the birds of dinosaur-era then there is good news as the scientists have recently discovered a new bohaiornithid bird specimen from the Early Cretaceous Period of China with remarkably preserved feathers.

Bohaiornithid birds belonged to enantiornithes, a group of avian dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago.

Our current knowledge of prehistoric plumage is limited, but the new findings provide valuable insights related to structure and colouration.

Pesticide exposure leads to changes in oral microbiome: Study

Pesticide exposure leads to changes in oral microbiome: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.14 : A recent study has found that pesticide exposure in farm workers from agricultural communities is linked with changes in the oral microbiome.

In the study, the investigators sampled oral swabs from 65 farm workers and 52 non-farm worker adults from the Yakima Valley (Washington) community agricultural cohort during the spring and summer (2005), when farm workers can undergo high pesticide exposures while working in recently sprayed orchards, thinning the fruit and pruning; and during winter (2006), when exposures are quite low.

Concurrently, they measured blood levels of organophosphate pesticides in the study subjects.

Male chimps spends time in grooming offspring: Study

Male chimps spends time in grooming offspring: Study

Washington D.C. [USA] Nov. 9: A recent study has found that male chimpanzees are more concerned about their own offspring than previously thought.

The research suggested that the male, associated with mothers of their offspring early in infancy and interacted with their infants more than expected.

The study comes on the backdrop of question that whether male chimpanzees could recognize their offspring.

Because males spending time with nursing mothers did not increase the likelihood that they would be the father of that mother's next infant, the findings support the paternal effort hypothesis, in which males associate more with mothers in order to protect their offspring, rather than curry favor with the female.

Dealing with climate change is more important than merely adapting to it, says Norway ambassador

New Delhi [India], Nov 5 : Norway's Ambassador to India Nils Ragnar Kamsvag recently shared Norway's experience on dealing with climate change at the International Conference on Climate Change, Water, Agriculture and Food Security held in Hyderabad.

Climate change adaptation is important, but dealing with climate change is more important. We have to try to limit the climate change and take radical steps internationally, stated Ambassador Kamsvag in his opening remarks at the conference.

In his remarks he shared Norway's experience on dealing with climate change. Norway has throughout history dealt with weather and climate in extreme forms. "Flooding, rain, waves, snow, wind - this is not new to us."

About 16,000 babies arrive early each year in US partially due to air pollution

About 16,000 babies arrive early each year in US partially due to air pollution

A latest analysis has estimated that the US premature births associated with air pollution cost over $4 billion annually in medical care and lost economic opportunity. Researchers examined air quality data and birth records and found that nearly 16,000 babies take premature birth partially because of air pollution.

The researchers calculated that yearly costs linked to these preemies include roughly $3.6 billion in lost wages and productivity because of physical and mental deficits linked to early arrivals and $760 million for extensive hospitalizations and use of medications for a long time.

Mind-based Therapy Proves Effective for Chronic Back Pain

Mind-based Therapy Proves Effective for Chronic Back Pain

A new research has suggested that mind-based therapy programs may prove beneficial in easing chronic back pain. Chronic back pain isn’t easy to deal with and after middle age, most of individuals suffering from back pain, face disability with varying degree.

Investigators found that patients who participated in such programs reported significant and long-lasting improvement in back pain compared to those who did not enroll for the research and opted to continue with their routine treatment.

Sleeping Disorders should be taken seriously

Sleeping Disorders should be taken seriously

Many people suffer from the problem of snoring and eventually getting up with an irritable mood in the morning. These are the common symptoms of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a type of sleeping disorder and must not be left unattended. If a person ignores these problems, it might result in high blood pressure and stroke, along with heart attacks and road accidents.

Sleep problems can also lead to depression and poor performance at work. Over 12 million people in the United States suffer from OSA, according to the American Sleep Association.

Astronomers push Hubble’s boundaries to zoom into most distant galaxy

Astronomers push Hubble’s boundaries to zoom into most distant galaxy

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope broke previous cosmic distance record when it zoomed into the most distant galaxy in the deepest reaches of the space. The remote galaxy is GN-z11, which existed mere 400 million years after the Big Bang. Hubble Space Telescope has been offering amazing capabilities to astronomers for the past 25 years. James Webb Telescope will offer even better resolution compared to Hubble.

The most distant galaxy located in the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) north field is about 25 times smaller than the earth’s Milky Way galaxy. The discovery is a result of a wide-range survey, which contains about tens of thousands of galaxies, by the Hubble telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Harvard Study explains How A Beetle Can Help Harvest Water from Atmosphere

Harvard Study explains How A Beetle Can Help Harvest Water from Atmosphere

To be better prepared for water scarcity in future, researchers are getting help from natural sources, including Namib Desert beetle. They believe a beetle, a cactus and a pitcher plant can tell how to harvest water from atmosphere.

A new study by researchers at Harvard University stated that a new material has been developed on the basis of the Namib Desert beetle’s bumps on its shell which may tell how water can be harvested. The study has been praised by many scientists who believe such methods can help save the world’s areas affected by droughts.

The new method developed by the researchers may tell how to use natural resources to generate water from condensation. The Harvard researchers believe the method could have real world impact.

Even 5% Weight Loss May Control Diabetes and Heart Disease in Obese

Even 5% Weight Loss May Control Diabetes and Heart Disease in Obese

Just 5% of body weight loss could take obese a long way to fight type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Acting on this insignificant proportion could play significant role in lives of people suffering from obesity. This is a new finding by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Earlier, it was suggested to reduce body weight by about 5 to 10% for good health. But now, the experts recommend something else. “Five percent is really a very reasonable goal for most obese patients to achieve, it’s much easier than 10%”, said senior author Dr. Samuel Klein of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Solar System Might Get Its Ninth Planet

Solar System Might Get Its Ninth Planet

The Research of Ben Bromley, a physics and astronomy professor, was published in a California Institute of Technology’s paper. The research speculates the possibility of the existence of an isolated planet that orbits the sun on an elongated path, with the planet likely to be thousands of times bigger than Pluto. Though this is not the first time that the possibility of another planet has been brought up, his study has increased the standards of the evidence that a large ’Planet X’ does exist somewhere in a distant location of the solar system.

NASA officially places order with SpaceX to take astronauts to ISS

NASA officially places order with SpaceX to take astronauts to ISS

Friday was indeed a big day for SpaceX as NASA has officially placed an order to it for a manned mission to the International Space Station in 2017. Similar contract was given to Boeing in May. Dragon spacecraft will be used to take astronauts and cargo to the ISS and will remain there for seven months and then would make a comeback on earth.

The announcement was not a surprise for SpaceX as NASA has already unveiled that it would be placing an order with SpaceX in this year. But it was a bit of relaxation for SpaceX, as it has faced a severe accident in June in which its Falcon 9 rocket fell apart.

In 2014, NASA has given contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to build rockets to carry astronauts to the ISS from 2017. For now, NASA is dependent on Russia to take its astronauts to the ISS.

Dramatic fossil find gives South Africa a reason to celebrate amid economic gloom

Dramatic fossil find gives South Africa a reason to celebrate amid economic

In the middle of economic gloom South Africa has got a dramatic fossil find as a reason to celebrate, but some experts have questioned its scientific significance. By contrast, the political significance is not doubtful.

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said they are happy that discoveries they never imagined have been found here. Last week, he shared the stage with scientists during the televised announcement of ‘Homo naledi’.

The discovery has been done in a cave 50 kms northwest of Johannesburg. It is Africa’s largest collection of hominin fossils, 15 individuals pieced together from more than 1,500 fragments.

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