291 articles from WEDNESDAY 1.7.2020

Beacon from the early universe

Often described as cosmic lighthouses, quasars are luminous beacons that can be observed at the outskirts of the Universe, providing a rich topic of study for astronomers and cosmologists. Now scientists have announced the discovery of the second-most distant quasar ever found, at more than 13 billion lightyears from Earth.

Giant leap in diagnosing liver disease

Scientists have created a novel microbiome-based diagnostic tool that, with the accuracy of the best physicians, quickly and inexpensively identifies liver fibrosis and cirrhosis over 90 percent of the time in human patients. The non-invasive method relies on an algorithm to analyze patient stool samples -- which contains traces of what lives in the gut -- and could lead to improved patient care...

Higher concentration of metal in Moon's craters provides new insights to its origin

Life on Earth would likely not be possible without the Moon; it keeps our planet's axis of rotation stable, which controls seasons and regulates our climate. However, there has been considerable debate over how the Moon was formed. The popular hypothesis contends that the Moon was formed by a Mars-sized body colliding with Earth's upper crust which is poor in metals. But new research suggests the...

Higher concentration of metal in Moon's craters provides new insights to its origin

Life on Earth would not be possible without the Moon; it keeps our planet's axis of rotation stable, which controls seasons and regulates our climate. However, there has been considerable debate over how the Moon was formed. The popular hypothesis contends that the Moon was formed by a Mars-sized body colliding with Earth's upper crust which is poor in metals. But new research suggests the Moon's...

Researchers investigate the influence of insect and microalgae feeds on meat quality

Worldwide there is a growing demand for animal products for human nutrition, despite vegan and vegetarian diets becoming more popular in Western countries. Changing diets necessitate a substantial amount of protein as an input for animal production. Future protein feedstuffs will need to become independent of arable land in order to avoid further land use changes, such as deforestation.

Consumption of products derived from vulnerable wildlife species pervasive in Laos

A new study of wildlife consumption in northern Laos by San Diego Zoo Global researchers found widespread use of products made from sun bears, Asiatic bears and serows—goat-like mammals found throughout Asia—among other vulnerable species. The findings indicate that efforts are needed to reduce the unsustainable harvest of bears and serows, in particular, "before this demand becomes a...

Energy-saving servers: Data storage 2.0

Whether it's sending the grandparents a few pictures of the kids, streaming a movie or music, or surfing the Internet for hours, the volume of data our society generates is increasing all the time. But this comes at a price, since storing data consumes huge amounts of energy. Assuming that data volumes continue to grow in future, the related energy consumption will also increase by several orders...

Data that could stop new Covid-19 waves in England being withheld, say councils

Exclusive: local leaders say they are not getting test results needed to prevent fresh outbreaksCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCrucial data that could help prevent fresh local waves of coronavirus is being withheld from some of the places most in danger of further lockdowns, the Guardian has been told.Council leaders said on Wednesday they were either not getting...

Oxford offers best hope for Covid-19 vaccine this year, MPs told

University is leading rivals but first drugs may not work fully, says vaccine taskforce chairCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOxford University is leading the world in developing a vaccine against Covid-19 and offers the best chance of having something protective against the virus as we go into winter, MPs have been told.Kate Bingham, chair of the UK vaccine taskforce,...

I feel fine: fans of world-ending films 'coping better with pandemic'

Researchers say apocalyptic movies prepare people for Covid-19 and make them more resilientCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageFor those of you who whiled away hours on the sofa watching society crumble in the face of marauding zombies, deadly aliens and infectious diseases – it’s time to reap the rewards.Psychologists have found evidence that fans of apocalyptic...

Crystal wars: Research may lead to more efficient crystal engineering methods

A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo and Fudan University has studied the process of crystallization when more than one structural arrangement is possible. By reducing the noise from random fluctuations, they found that transient precursors of the various crystalline orderings coexist and compete with each other. This work may help lead to more efficient crystal engineering methods.

Level of media coverage for scientific research linked to number of citations

An analysis of over 800 academic research papers on physical health and exercise suggests that the level of popular media coverage for a given paper is strongly linked to the attention it receives within the scientific community. P. Sage Anderson and colleagues at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, report these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on July 1, 2020.

The Guardian view on local lockdowns: share the data faster | Editorial

The UK government needs to be more rigorous and transparent with information if regional outbreaks of Covid-19 are to be containedIn the game of whack-a-mole, the target pops up in one location and, once hammered down, appears immediately somewhere else. The defining features of the exercise are randomness and futility, which makes it an unfortunate metaphor for Boris Johnson to use for his...

Influence of insect and microalgae feeds on meat quality

Worldwide there is growing demand for animal products for human nutrition, despite the popularity of plant-based diets. This means more feed is needed for animals. Future feedstuffs will need to be produced without exacerbating deforestation. Insects and microalgae are up-and-coming sectors to meet protein demands for humans and animals. Therefore, researchers nvestigated whether these alternative...

A simpler way to make sensory hearing cells

Scientists are whispering the secrets of a simpler way to generate the sensory cells of the inner ear. Their approach uses direct reprogramming to produce sensory cells known as 'hair cells,' due to their hair-like protrusions that sense sound waves.

Global heating will make it much harder for tropical plants to germinate, study finds

Temperatures will be too hot for the seeds of one in five plants by the year 2070, Australian researcher saysGlobal heating will make it much harder for tropical plants around the world to germinate with temperatures becoming too hot for the seeds of one in five plants by the year 2070, according to a new study.Global heating will impact the ability of more than half of all tropical plants to...

Ministers shifting blame to Public Health England for Covid-19 errors, say experts

Former health officials say the government is unfairly laying fault at the door of PHEExperts have accused ministers of shifting the blame for their own mistakes during the coronavirus crisis on to Public Health England, amid speculation that the agency may be scrapped.Downing Street on Wednesday failed to guarantee that PHE will survive in its present form as an executive agency of the Department...

Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies

Scientists have shown how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger). This study highlights the need to overthink current deployment and management of chemical pest control for more sustainable agriculture.

Coordinating complex behaviors between hundreds of robots

Researchers propose a new approach to finding an optimal solution for controlling large numbers of robots collaboratively completing a set of complex linear temporal logic commands called STyLuS*, for large-Scale optimal Temporal Logic Synthesis, that can solve problems massively larger than what current algorithms can handle, with hundreds of robots, tens of thousands of rooms and highly complex...

Materials scientists drill down to vulnerabilities involved in human tooth decay

Researchers have cracked one of the secrets of tooth decay. The materials scientists are the first to identify a small number of impurity atoms in human enamel that may contribute to the material's strength but also make it more soluble. They also are the first to determine the spatial distribution of the impurities with atomic-scale resolution. The discovery could lead to a better understanding...