292 articles from THURSDAY 1.7.2021

Earth's cryosphere is shrinking by 87,000 square kilometers per year

The global cryosphere—all of the areas with frozen water on Earth—shrank by about 87,000 square kilometers (about 33,000 square miles, an area about the size of Lake Superior) per year on average between 1979 and 2016, as a result of climate change, according to a new study. This research is the first to make a global estimate of the surface area of the Earth covered by sea ice, snow cover and...

Cleaner air has boosted US corn and soybean yields, research shows

A key factor in America's prodigious agricultural output turns out to be something farmers can do little to control: Clean air. A new Stanford-led study estimates pollution reductions between 1999 and 2019 contributed to about 20 percent of the increase in corn and soybean yield gains during that period—an amount worth about $5 billion per year.

Imaging spectroscopy can predict water stress in wild blueberry fields

Imaging spectroscopy can help predict water stress in wild blueberry barrens, according to a new study. Researchers deployed a drone with a spectrometer to photograph wild blueberry fields, then process the images to measure reflected light spectra from plants for properties that would help them estimate water potential. Incorporating data from the images into models allowed them predict water...

How information beyond the genetic sequence is encoded in plant sperm

Hereditary information is passed from parent to offspring in the genetic code, DNA, and epigenetically through chemically induced modifications around the DNA. New research has uncovered a mechanism which adjusts these modifications, altering the way information beyond the genetic code is passed down the generations.

Spatial patterns of gene transcripts captured across single cells of mouse embryo

A new technique called sci-Space, combined with data from other technologies, could lead to four-dimensional atlases of gene expression across diverse cells during embryonic development of mammals. Such atlases would map how the gene transcripts in individual cells reflect the passage of time, cell lineages, cell migration, and location on the developing embryo. They would also help illuminate the...

The first commercially scalable integrated laser and microcomb on a single chip

Fifteen years ago, an electrical and materials professor pioneered a method for integrating a laser onto a silicon wafer. The technology has since been widely deployed in combination with other silicon photonics devices to replace the copper-wire interconnects that formerly linked servers at data centers, dramatically increasing energy efficiency -- an important endeavor at a time when data...

Catalyzing the conversion of biomass to biofuel

Zeolites are extremely porous materials: Ten grams can have an internal surface area the size of a soccer field. Their cavities make them useful in catalyzing chemical reactions and thus saving energy. An international research team has now made new findings regarding the role of water molecules in these processes. One important application is the conversion of biomass into biofuel.

Using AI to predict 3D printing processes

Metal additive manufacturing (AM) experiments are slow and expensive. Engineers are using physics-informed neural networks to predict the outcomes of complex processes involved in AM. The team trained the model on supercomputers using experimental and simulated data. They recreated the dynamics of two benchmark experiments in metal AM. The method could lead to fast prediction tools for AM in the...

The key role of astrocytes in cognitive development

Researchers have now uncovered their crucial role in closing the period of brain plasticity that follows birth, finding them to be key to the development of sensory and cognitive faculties. Over the longer term, these findings will make it possible to envisage new strategies for reintroducing brain plasticity in adults, thereby promoting rehabilitation following brain lesions or neurodevelopmental...

COVID-19 aggravates antibiotic misuse in India, study finds

Antibiotic sales soared during India's first surge of COVID-19, suggesting that the drugs were inappropriately used to treat mild and moderate COVID-19 infections, according to new research. The excessive usage is especially concerning because antibiotic overuse increases the risk for drug-resistant infections -- not just in India, but worldwide.