259 articles from TUESDAY 16.6.2020

Plantlife: one man went to mow … but maybe he should wait

Lawns that are only cut once a month can give low-growing plants a chance to flower, letting insects thriveLawn mowers are back in action now that June is wet and the grass is growing again after the spring drought, but it’s worth mowing less often to let wildflowers and their insect pollinators thrive.A survey by volunteers for the charity Plantlife found that 80% of lawns supported the...

New ideas in the search for dark matter

Since the 1980s, researchers have been running experiments in search of particles that make up dark matter, an invisible substance that permeates our galaxy and universe. Coined dark matter because it gives off no light, this substance, which constitutes more than 80 percent of matter in our universe, has been shown repeatedly to influence ordinary matter through its gravity. Scientists know it is...

Research reveals the chemistry behind the bombardier beetle's extraordinary firepower

If you want to see one of the wonders of the natural world, just startle a bombardier beetle. But be careful: when the beetles are scared, they flood an internal chamber with a complex cocktail of aromatic chemicals, triggering a cascade of chemical reaction that detonates the fluid and sends it shooting out of the insect's spray nozzle in a machine-gun-like pulse of toxic, scalding-hot vapor. The...

'Relaxed' T cells critical to immune response

Like finding that needle in the haystack every time, your T cells manage what seems like an improbable task: Quickly finding a few invaders among the many imposters in your body to trigger its immune response.

The nexus between economic inequality and social welfare

Equity (or, its counterpart, inequity) plays a fundamental role in the evaluation of the different dimensions of social welfare. But how can we consider and compare its different dimensions? These issues are in fact traditionally considered and compared across individuals—be it within national boundaries or across countries, but also over time, when we consider the distribution of resources over...

Coal-burning in Siberia led to climate change 250 million years ago

A team of researchers led by Arizona State University (ASU) School of Earth and Space Exploration professor Lindy Elkins-Tanton has provided the first ever direct evidence that extensive coal burning in Siberia is a cause of the Permo-Triassic Extinction, the Earth's most severe extinction event. The results of their study have been recently published in the journal Geology.

Cattle vs. hippopotamus: Dung in rivers of the savannah

In many regions of the world, populations of large mammalian herbivores have been displaced by cattle breeding—for example, in Kenya, hippos by large herds of cattle. This can change aquatic ecosystems due to significant differences in the amount and type of dung input. Researchers from the University of Eldoret in Kenya, the University of Innsbruck and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater...

UK coronavirus: Johnson hails 'breakthrough' of cheap steroid that helps prevent Covid-19 deaths — as it happened

PM leads daily briefing; former PMs condemn merger of FCO and DfID; Johnson makes U-turn on free school meals after Rashford campaignBoris Johnson’s press conference - SummaryWhat PM’s vivid language says about his attitude to foreign policyNo 10 announces U-turn on free school meals over summer holidaysDeath rate in London now below seasonal average, says ONSCoronavirus global updatesSee all...

New papers describe discoveries at MBARI's long-term deep-sea research site off California

For 30 years, MBARI ecologist Ken Smith and his colleagues have studied deep-sea communities at a research site called Station M, located 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) below the ocean's surface and 290 kilometers (180 miles) off the coast of Central California. A recent special issue of the journal Deep-Sea Research features 16 new papers about research at Station M by scientists from around the world....

Coronavirus 'breakthrough': Boris Johnson announces cheap steroid will help treat patients – video

Boris Johnson has claimed the biggest breakthrough yet in treating patients with coronavirus has been made by a team of British scientists after the biggest controlled trial of treatments in the world. Dexamethasone, a cheap steroid, is widely available for use in the NHS alreadySteroid found to help prevent deaths of sickest coronavirus patientsUK coronavirus live: Johnson hails 'breakthrough' of...

Newly discovered plant gene could boost phosphorus intake

Researchers have discovered an important gene in plants that could help agricultural crops collaborate better with underground fungi -- providing them with wider root networks and helping them to absorb phosphorus. The discovery has the potential to increase agricultural efficiency and benefit the environment.

The smallest motor in the world

A research team has developed a molecular motor which consists of only 16 atoms and rotates reliably in one direction. It could allow energy harvesting at the atomic level. The special feature of the motor is that it moves exactly at the boundary between classical motion and quantum tunneling -- and has revealed puzzling phenomena to researchers in the quantum realm.