233 articles from TUESDAY 12.11.2019

Deep neural networks speed up weather and climate models

A team of environmental and computation scientists is using deep neural networks, a type of machine learning, to replace the parameterizations of certain physical schemes in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model, an extremely comprehensive model that simulates the evolution of many aspects of the physical world around us.

New collection showcases cutting-edge techniques in insect morphology and systematics

While the field of morphology—the study of the form and function of organisms—is centuries old, the last two decades have brought incredible leaps forward through the emergence of new technologies and genetic research methods. And the impact of these advances has been revolutionary for the scientists working to untangle the vast biodiversity and evolutionary paths of the world of insects.

Larger than life: Augmented ants

An ant the size of a lion isn't as far-fetched as you would think. From as small as a sesame seed to the size of a big cat, ants come in all sizes—in augmented reality, at least.

Whale shark hot spot offers new conservation insights

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whale sharks are considered endangered, which means the species has suffered a population decline of more than 50% in the past three generations. The whale shark is only two classifications from being extinct. Improvements and conservation efforts are in place, but there is still a long way to go to protect these gentle...

Songbirds sing species-specific songs

The generation of species-specific singing in songbirds is associated with species-specific patterns of gene activity in brain regions called song nuclei, according to a study published November 12 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Kazuhiro Wada of Hokkaido University in Japan, and colleagues. According to the authors, the findings could be a promising step toward a better understanding...

Widespread misinterpretation of gene expression data

Reproducibility is a major challenge in experimental biology, and with the increasing complexity of data generated by genomic-scale techniques this concern is immensely amplified. RNA-seq, one of the most widely used methods in modern molecular biology, allows in a single test the simultaneous measurement of the expression level of all the genes in a given sample. New research publishing November...

Scientist who takes on firms causing wildfires wins John Maddox prize

Bambang Hero Saharjo has received death threats for testifying against companiesA scientist who takes on the companies responsible for massive wildfires across Indonesia has won the prestigious John Maddox prize for standing up for science in the face of harassment, intimidation and lawsuits.Bambang Hero Saharjo, a fire forensics specialist at Bogor Agricultural University, gathers evidence for...

With Mars methane mystery unsolved, Curiosity serves scientists a new one: Oxygen

For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists have measured the seasonal changes in the gases that fill the air directly above the surface of Gale Crater on Mars. As a result, they noticed something baffling: oxygen, the gas many Earth creatures use to breathe, behaves in a way that so far scientists cannot explain through any known chemical processes.

‘Ultima Thule’ no more: New Horizons’ space snowman is named Arrokoth

The snowman-shaped object that NASA's New Horizons probe flew past nearly a year ago on the solar system's icy fringe now has a Native American name: Arrokoth, a word that means "sky" in the Powhatan/Algonquian language. Arrokoth replaces earlier labels for the Kuiper Belt object, including the numerical designation 2014 MU69 and the nickname Ultima Thule, which turned out to be...

Surveying the Building Blocks of the Solar System

This blog post originated in the 2018 Science Mission Directorate Science and Technology Report. PROJECT High-Performance In Situ Dust Analyzer (Hyperdust) KEY POINTS Hyperdust’s unique ion optics design combines the ability to provide high-performance composition measurements with the aperture that is needed to detect a statistically significant number of particles in space over a...

Carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

New research reveals that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as a coating can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing, spectroscopy, water transport, or harvesting surfaces. When water is dropped on a CNT forest, the CNTs repel the water, and it forms a sphere. However, when flipped over, the drop does not fall to the ground but rather clings to the surface.

People doing their bit for fish and moths | Letters

Dave Morris on the collective power of research and Alastair Leake on the decline in moth populationsThe efforts of campaigners to highlight important issues can often be overlooked by a historical approach that focuses on individuals, often academics or politicians. An example is in the obituary of the biologist Victoria Braithwaite (Obituary, 9 November), which asserts that “until the early...

Don’t let don’t-knows triumph at the polls | Brief letters

Boarding schools | Wellington college fees | Steve McQueen’s Year 3 project | Spike Milligan’s election advice | Shared ancestry | Parliamentary disillusionGeorge Monbiot’s article on boarding schools (Journal, 7 November) will have been a painful read for many, and may well have been painful for him to write. As a director for Boarding School Survivors Support (BSSS), I read of experience...

Finding the factors that most influence the steel corrosion in reinforced concrete

Since the Egyptian pyramids and the Roman Coliseum were built, mankind has been searching for an affordable, versatile building material, that can be easily manufactured and transported, and, above all, which is durable. Concrete, a mixture of water, cement and different kinds of minerals and rocks, has all these characteristics, which is why it is currently the most-used material in all sorts of...

leukemia diagnostics: AI-driven single blood cell classification

For the first time, researchers show that deep learning algorithms perform similar to human experts when classifying blood samples from patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Their proof of concept study paves the way for an automated, standardized and on-hand sample analysis in the near future.