244 articles from THURSDAY 2.4.2020

Spacewatch: Nasa SunRise mission to study solar storms

Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment aims to pinpoint places where giant particle storms are launched into spaceNasa has selected a new mission that will study how space weather forms on the sun and launches radiation storms into space.Called the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE), the mission consists of six small CubeSats that will provide three dimensional maps of solar...

Lockdown was supposed to be an introvert’s paradise. It’s not.

This was supposed to be the moment for introverts—the disaster preppers of our new, covid-ravaged social lives. Those who cherished their time alone at home were already experts at voluntary self-isolation. Once, backing out of happy hour at a bar to read a book made you a bad friend. Now it’s patriotic.  In a TikTok from early March with 1.8 million views, an introvert watches...

Gut communicates with the entire brain through cross-talking neurons

You know that feeling in your gut? We think of it as an innate intuition that sparks deep in the belly and helps guide our actions, if we let it. It's also a metaphor for what scientists call the 'gut-brain axis,' a biological reality in which the gut and its microbial inhabitants send signals to the brain, and vice versa.

Royal Mail staff 'lack sufficient protection' from coronavirus

Communication Workers Union estimates half of sorting offices have insufficient PPE and sanitiserMany Royal Mail sorting offices are not providing workers with sufficient protection from coronavirus infection, according to a trade union, which argues that some depots should close until staff are safe.The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents thousands of postal workers, told members...

NHS call on PM to ensure test centres are conveniently located

Concern that centres were too far from both work or home for those working in LondonCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNHS staff have called on Boris Johnson to ensure the new coronavirus testing centres are located conveniently for health workers and not in out of town sites such as Ikea car parks.Drive-in test centres for nurses and doctors were opened this week in...

A new way to fine-tune exotic materials: Thin, stretch and clamp

One way to change the properties of a material is to stretch it just a wee bit, so its atoms are farther apart but the bonds between them don't break. This extra distance affects the behavior of electrons, which determine whether the material is an insulator or a conductor of electricity, for instance.

Small laboratories join coronavirus testing effort after 'precious time wasted'

After initially pursuing a centralised policy, the government has now switched to a ‘Dunkirk-style’ effort utilising smaller research unitsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageScientists have complained that “precious time has been wasted” before the implementation of the government’s new, Dunkirk-style approach to boost Covid-19 testing.In the past week, the...

Experiments lead to slip law for better forecasts of glacier speed, sea-level rise

Backed by experimental data from a laboratory machine that simulates the huge forces involved in glacier flow, glaciologists have written an equation that accounts for the motion of ice that rests on the soft, deformable ground underneath unusually fast-moving parts of ice sheets. Models using the equation -- a 'slip law' -- could better predict how quickly glaciers are sliding, how much ice...

COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise, research shows

Scientists have announced a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. When tested in mice, the vaccine -- delivered through a fingertip-sized patch -- produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus.

3D reconstructions of individual nanoparticles

Want to find out how to design and build materials atom by atom? A new liquid phase electron microscopy will advance full control of nanoengineering. Whether a material catalyzes chemical reactions or impedes any molecular response is all about how its atoms are arranged. The ultimate goal of nanotechnology is centered around the ability to design and build materials atom by atom, thus allowing...

Turning cells into computers with protein logic gates

New artificial proteins have been created to function as molecular logic gates. Like their electronic counterparts in computers, these biochemical tools can be used to program the behavior of complex systems, such as gene regulation inside human T-cells. This new advance might improve the durability of future cell-based therapies.

The facial expressions of mice

Researchers have described different emotional facial expressions for mice. Similar to humans, the face of a mouse looks completely different when it tastes something sweet or bitter, or when it becomes anxious. With this new possibility to render the emotions of mice measurable, neurobiologists can now investigate the basic mechanisms of how emotions are generated and processed in the brain.

Smaller scale solutions needed for rapid progress towards emissions targets

Low-carbon technologies that are smaller scale, more affordable, and can be mass deployed are more likely to enable a faster transition to net-zero emissions, according to a new study. Innovations ranging from solar panels to electric bikes also have lower investment risks, greater potential for improvement in both cost and performance, and more scope for reducing energy demand -- key attributes...