62 articles from FRIDAY 3.7.2020

First evidence of snake-like venom glands found in amphibians

Caecilians are limbless amphibians that can be easily mistaken for snakes. Though caecilians are only distantly related to their reptilian cousins, researchers describe specialized glands found along the teeth of the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), which have the same biological origin and possibly similar function to the venom glands of snakes. As such, caecilians may represent the oldest...

Scientific 'red flag' reveals new clues about our galaxy

Figuring out how much energy permeates the center of the Milky Way—a discovery reported in the July 3 edition of the journal Science Advances—could yield new clues to the fundamental source of our galaxy's power, said L. Matthew Haffner of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

UK buys £400m stake in bankrupt satellite rival to EU Galileo system

Investment with India made in US firm OneWeb after Brexit locks UK out of Europe’s satellite navigation systemThe UK government has pledged to invest $500m (£400m) in bankrupt satellite company OneWeb, giving it a stake in a business that provides broadband from space.The government, which has proven so far unwilling to take stakes in major British companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic,...

'Fang'tastic: Biologists report snake-like dental glands in amphibians

Utah State University biologist Edmund 'Butch' Brodie, Jr. and colleagues from São Paulo's Butantan Institute report the first known evidence of oral venom glands in amphibians. Their research, supported by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, appears in the July 3, 2020, issue of iScience.

Toward super-fast motion of vortices in superconductors

An international team of scientists from Austria, Germany, and Ukraine has found a new superconducting system in which magnetic flux quanta can move at velocities of 10 to 15 km/s. This opens access to investigations of the rich physics of non-equilibrium collective systems and renders a direct-write Nb-C superconductor as a candidate material for single-photon detectors. The results are published...

Histone H3-H4 tetramer found to be a copper reductase enzyme

A team of researchers at the University of California has found that the histone H3-H4 tetramer is a copper reductase enzyme. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes two experiments they carried out that showed that histones are involved in reducing copper inside of cells. Johannes Rudolph and Karolin Luger with the University of Colorado at Boulder have published a...

Researchers propose novel method for plasmonic structural color generation

A research group led by Prof. Cao Hongtao at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has developed a novel direct growth method of vertically orientated nanocavity arrays to generate plasmonic structural colors, which feature wide gamut, improved color saturation, excellent stability in ambient condition and mass-production...

The sixth sense of animals: An early warning system for earthquakes?

Even today, nobody can reliably predict when and where an earthquake will occur. However, eyewitnesses have repeatedly reported that animals behave unusually before an earthquake. In an international cooperation project, researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz/Radolfzell and the Cluster of Excellence Center for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior at the...

Is coronavirus really in retreat in the UK?

Key questions about Covid-19 answered as lockdowns ease across the four nationsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEngland is approaching a significant relaxation of lockdown on Saturday, while in Scotland, outdoor cafes and beer gardens will begin to reopen from Monday. But with rises in infection cropping up around the UK is Covid-19 really on the wane? Continue...

Wiring a new path to scalable quantum computing

Last year, Google produced a 53-qubit quantum computer that could perform a specific calculation significantly faster than the world's fastest supercomputer. Like most of today's largest quantum computers, this system boasts tens of qubits—the quantum counterparts to bits, which encode information in conventional computers.

Heatwave trends accelerate worldwide

The first comprehensive worldwide assessment of heatwaves down to regional levels has revealed that in nearly every part of the world heatwaves have been increasing in frequency and duration since the 1950s.

Making food beautiful—and toxic

Toxic chemicals are being used by food sellers across sub-Saharan Africa to improve the look of meat and fish, scientists and food inspectors say, putting the health of millions at risk.

Harvesting hydrogen from nanogardens

Easily produced, nature-like nanostructures of cobalt phosphide are highly effective catalysts for the electrolysis of water, according to research performed by chemist Ning Yan and his team at the University of Amsterdam's Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences together with co-workers from the School of Physics and Technology at Wuhan University, China. In a paper featured on the front...

How to get rid of the coffee-stain effect

The coffee-stain effect is a well-known effect in physics and daily life in which a dark-colored edge remains when a fluid containing particles evaporates. This is caused by an "avalanche" of particles moving to the outer edge, University of Twente scientists showed in a past study. In inkjet and 3-D printing, this is an undesired effect. Now, researchers have demonstrated that the effect can be...

Governments working with one hand tied when it comes to data on vulnerable groups

A new discussion paper published in Policy Sciences by two Leiden researchers claims that governments are working with one hand tied when it comes to data on vulnerable groups. At the core of this paper is the idea that even though the volume of data has increased in recent years, the quality of the data in combination with potential known or unknown data gaps limits government's ability to create...

Civil society groups that mobilized around COVID-19 face important choices

Civil society groups have played an important role in responding to the COVID-19 social crisis in South Africa. Examples include the "community action networks" in Cape Town and Gauteng, as well as similar initiatives in more rural areas, such as the Eastern Cape. They also include extraordinary crisis response efforts by pre-existing NGOs, such as Boost Africa and Umgibe, and novel social...

Researchers solve a 60-year-old puzzle about a superhard material

Skoltech researchers, together with their industrial colleagues and academic partners, have cracked a 1960s puzzle about the crystal structure of a superhard tungsten boride that can be extremely useful in industrial applications, including drilling technology. The research, supported by Gazpromneft Science & Technology Center, was published in the journal Advanced Science.

Image: Hubble captures one galaxy, two asteroids

At first sight, this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope portrays the sparkling stars of AGC111977, a dwarf galaxy located around 15 million light years away and visible in the lower left part of the image. Other galaxies appear sprinkled across the frame, along with foreground stars from our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Enhancing the performance of solar cells with 'graphene armor'

A team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has come up with a novel electrode that could greatly improve the stability of perovskite solar cells (PSCs), the most promising candidate for the next generation solar cells due to their low cost and high power conversion efficiency. This is because inserting a protection layer between the metal-based electrode and the perovskite film can prevent...

Using DNA in the water tell us how many fish are there

River water, lake water, and seawater contain DNA belonging to organisms such as animals and plants. Ecologists have begun to actively analyze such DNA molecules, called environmental DNA, to assess the distribution of macro-organisms. Challenges yet remain, however, in quantitative applications of environmental DNA.

Toward lasers powerful enough to investigate a new kind of physics

In a paper that made the cover of the journal Applied Physics Letters, an international team of researchers has demonstrated an innovative technique for increasing the intensity of lasers. This approach, based on the compression of light pulses, would make it possible to reach a threshold intensity for a new type of physics that has never been explored before: quantum electrodynamics phenomena.

Are we making spacecraft too autonomous?

When SpaceX’s Crew Dragon took NASA astronauts to the ISS near the end of May, the launch brought back a familiar sight. For the first time since the space shuttle was retired, American rockets were launching from American soil to take Americans into space. Inside the vehicle, however, things couldn’t have looked more different. Gone was the sprawling dashboard of lights and switches...

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Your questions answered on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting or spreading Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageYes. Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in...

How life on Earth could help us find life on Mars

In our continuing search for other life in the universe, one place has always looked promising—Mars. It is a rocky planet like Earth, orbiting the same star, and at a distance where water could have been present on the planet.

'I'm cautiously optimistic': Imperial's Robin Shattock on his coronavirus vaccine

Team is using new approach that could be cheap and scalable and become the norm within five yearsProf Robin Shattock would have liked slightly longer to develop the revolutionary approach to vaccines that he is pretty sure will not only save lives in the Covid-19 pandemic but become the norm for vaccine development within five years.His team at Imperial College were working on Ebola and Lassa...