377 articles from THURSDAY 6.8.2020

Brain noise contains unique signature of dream sleep

Dream or REM sleep is distinguished by rapid eye movement and absence of muscle tone, but electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings are indistinguishable from those of an awake brain. Neuroscientists have now found an EEG signature of REM sleep, allowing scientists for the first time to distinguish dreaming from wakefulness through brain activity alone. This could help in determining the prognosis for...

Nasa Trojan asteroids mission on course for October 2021 launch

Lucy spacecraft has passed its system integration review and can now be assembled and testedNasa’s Lucy mission has passed a critical milestone in its development: all components of the spacecraft passed a system integration review (SIR) on 27 July, and it can now be assembled and tested in preparation for its October 2021 launch.If it succeeds in its mission, Lucy will be the first spacecraft...

OSIRIS-REx is one rehearsal away from touching asteroid Bennu

NASA's first asteroid sampling spacecraft is making final preparations to grab a sample from asteroid Bennu's surface. Next week, the OSIRIS-REx mission will conduct a second rehearsal of its touchdown sequence, practicing the sample collection activities one last time before touching down on Bennu this fall.

"Ample evidence" that Cape Hatteras beach closures benefit birds

The barrier islands of North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore are among the most popular recreational destinations on the Atlantic coast. Park managers strive to integrate the needs of wildlife with recreational use of the area's beaches, but in some cases, they impose restrictions on the latter in order to preserve the former—sometimes even completely closing portions of beaches to...

Study finds high levels of toxic pollutants in stranded dolphins and whales

Researchers examined toxins in tissue concentrations and pathology data from 83 stranded dolphins and whales from 2012 to 2018. They looked at 11 different animal species to test for 17 different substances. The study is the first to report on concentrations in blubber tissues of stranded cetaceans of atrazine, DEP, NPE and triclosan. It also is the first to report concentrations of toxicants in a...

Mix of contaminants in Fukushima wastewater, risks of ocean dumping

Nearly 10 years after the Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power, radiation levels have fallen to safe levels in all but the waters closest to the shuttered power plant. A new article looks at the many radioactive elements contained in the tanks and suggests that more needs to be done to understand the potential risks of releasing wastewater from the...

Study finds dedicated clinics can reduce impact of flu pandemic

A new study concludes that opening clinics dedicated specifically to treating influenza can limit the number of people infected and help to 'flatten the curve,' or reduce the peak prevalence rate. While the work focused on influenza, the findings are relevant for policymakers seeking ways to reduce impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Why shaving dulls even the sharpest of razors

Engineers have studied the simple act of shaving up close, observing how a razor blade can be damaged as it cuts human hair -- a material that is 50 times softer than the blade itself. They found that hair shaving deforms a blade in a way that is more complex than simply wearing down the edge over time.

A new tool for modeling the human gut microbiome

Engineers have designed a device that replicates the lining of the colon. With the device, they can grow human colon cells along with oxygen-intolerant bacteria that normally live in the human digestive tract and have been implicated in Crohn's disease.

Gerald Lincoln obituary

My friend Gerald Lincoln, the endocrinologist and naturalist who has died aged 75, devoted his life to unravelling the mysteries of nature.Brought up on a farm in Norfolk – the son of Gertrude (nee Holmes), a geography teacher, and Ernest Lincoln, a tenant farmer – he spent his childhood in the countryside, marvelling at wildlife. He also became an adept poacher, carrying toilet paper as an...