289 articles from WEDNESDAY 25.11.2020

Powerful cyclone makes landfall in India

A powerful cyclonic storm hurtled into India's southern coast early Thursday, uprooting trees and packing strong winds and rains as tens of thousands of people took refuge in shelters.

Effect of odor on helpfulness in rats

Despite their reputation, rats are surprisingly sociable and regularly help each other out. Researchers have shown that a rat just has to smell another rat that is engaged in helpful behavior to increase their own helpfulness. This is the first study to show that just the smell of a cooperating rat is enough to trigger a helpful response.

Scientists solve the mystery behind an enigmatic organelle, the pyrenoid

Carbon is one of the main building blocks for life on Earth. It's abundant in our planet's atmosphere, where it's found in the form of carbon dioxide. Carbon makes its way into Earthlings' bodies mainly through the process of photosynthesis, which incorporates carbon dioxide into sugars that serve as components for important biomolecules and fuel the global food chain. About a third of this...

A hint of new physics in polarized radiation from the early universe

Using Planck data from the cosmic microwave background radiation, an international team of researchers has observed a hint of new physics. The team developed a new method to measure the polarization angle of the ancient light by calibrating it with dust emission from our own Milky Way. While the signal is not detected with enough precision to draw definite conclusions, it may suggest that dark...

Scientists discover potential method to starve the bacteria that cause tuberculosis

The infectious disease Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. While rates of TB in Canada have remained relatively static since the 1980s, the disease disproportionately affects Indigenous populations. With TB-causing bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, researchers and drug makers are eager to find new, more effective treatments.

Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

The ancient inhabitants of the American Southwest used around 11,500 feathers to make a turkey feather blanket, according to a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. The people who made such blankets were ancestors of present-day Pueblo Indians such as the Hopi, Zuni and Rio Grande Pueblos.

Scientists discover a motif that guides assembly of the algal pyrenoid

The next time you visit a lake or the seashore, take a deep breath. As you exhale, take a moment to be thankful for the little things: Specifically, for the microscopic, single-celled algae in the soil and waters all around you that are extracting the carbon dioxide you just exhaled and incorporating it into sugars that will eventually be used by every other organism in the biosphere. About 30% of...

Gray wolf population in peril unless Biden restores 'endangered species' protections

After decades of bitter legal feuds and culture war skirmishes over the fate of wild wolves in the United States, the Trump administration has tried to put a point at the end of the sentence. In stripping gray wolves of their Endangered Species Act protection across the country, the responsible federal agency went against both science and public opinion, and declared the species "biologically...

Fungus commits 'floral fraud' to fool insects into spreading it

The spores of some fungi can linger in the environment for months or years just waiting for something to spread them elsewhere, like a gust of wind, falling rain or a passing insect or animal. Not so with Fusarium xyrophilum, a fungus found growing on two types of yellow-eyed grass in the savannas of Guyana, South America, and reported in the December 2019 issue of Mycologia.

Offshore submarine freshwater discovery raises hopes for islands worldwide

Twice as much freshwater is stored offshore of Hawai'i Island than previously thought, revealed a new study with important implications for volcanic islands around the world. An extensive reservoir of freshwater within the submarine southern flank of the Hualalai aquifer was mapped by researchers with Hawai'i EPSCoR 'Ike Wai project, showing a way in which substantial volumes of freshwater are...

Obesity is not only the individual's responsibility

Analysis of survey results has revealed that in women, obesity is linked to various social and economic factors. In addition, this study is the first in Japan to illuminate the connection between abuse during childhood and obesity in adulthood. These results highlight the importance of taking these factors into account when implementing policies to tackle obesity.

A microscope for everyone: Researchers develop open-source optical toolbox

Modern microscopes used for biological imaging are expensive, are located in specialized laboratories and require highly qualified staff. To research novel, creative approaches to address urgent scientific issues—for example in the fight against infectious diseases such as COVID-19—is thus primarily reserved for scientists at well-equipped research institutions in rich countries. A young...

Keyhole wasps may threaten aviation safety

Over a period of 39 months, invasive keyhole wasps (Pachodynerus nasidens) at the Brisbane Airport were responsible for 93 instances of fully blocked replica pitot probes—vital instruments that measure airspeed—according to a study published November 25 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Alan House of Eco Logical Australia and colleagues. As noted by the authors, the results underscore the...

Offshore submarine freshwater discovery raises hopes for islands worldwide

Twice as much freshwater is stored offshore of Hawai'i Island than was previously thought, according to a University of Hawai'i study with important implications for volcanic islands around the world. An extensive reservoir of freshwater within the submarine southern flank of the Hualālai aquifer has been mapped by UH researchers with the Hawai'i EPSCoR 'Ike Wai project. The groundbreaking...