291 articles from WEDNESDAY 1.7.2020

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...

Smart structures: Structural cells of the body control immune function

Researchers analyzed the epigenetic and transcriptional regulation in structural cells. They found widespread activity of immune genes, suggesting that structural cells are deeply involved in the body's response to pathogens. Moreover, the study uncovered an epigenetic potential that pre-programs structural cells to engage in the immune response against pathogens. These findings highlight an...