129 articles from MONDAY 6.6.2022

Bacterial cellulose in kombucha enables microbial life under Mars-like conditions

An international research team including the University of Göttingen has investigated the chances of survival of kombucha cultures under Mars-like conditions. Kombucha is known as a drink, sometimes called tea fungus or mushroom tea, which is produced by fermenting sugared tea using kombucha cultures—a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Although the simulated Martian environment destroyed...

New panels want to talk ethics, rules of climate tinkering

Tinkering with the planet's air to cool Earth's ever-warming climate is inching closer to reality enough so that two different high-powered groups—one of scientists and one of former world leaders—are trying to come up with ethics and governing guidelines.

All wound up: A reversible molecular whirligig

Over the last few decades, researchers have built minuscule molecular machines that rotate or shuttle other molecules. However, it's difficult to determine the mechanical work and forces that these tiny contraptions produce, which is important when using them as nanorobots or in artificial muscles. Now, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers report molecular motors that twist...

Racially charged events spark classroom intervention

As we approach Juneteenth, a day marked each year to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, new research in the INFORMS journal Management Science finds that racially-charged events and protests over the past decade have a direct and positive effect on what children are learning in U.S. public school classrooms.

Human-triggered California wildfires are more severe than natural blazes

Human-caused wildfires in California are more ferocious than blazes sparked by lightning, a team led by scientists from the University of California, Irvine reported recently in the journal Nature Communications. The research could help scientists better understand fire severity and how likely a blaze is to kill trees and inflict long-term damage on an ecosystem in its path.

Sign languages change, too: The evolution of SELF in American Sign Language

A new study shows that American Sign Language (ASL) is more linguistically complex than previously understood. In particular, research appearing in the June 2022 issue of the journal Language, authored by Tory Sampson (UC San Diego) and Rachel Mayberry (UC San Diego), documents the emergence of the copula—a word meaning to be (e.g. is, was, are, were)—in ASL, something that has been overlooked...

How the wild jungle fowl became the chicken

Some content has been removed for formatting reasons. Please view the original article for the best reading experience. From chicken biryani to khao mun gai, chicken and rice is a winning combo worldwide. But the two are more inextricably linked than even chefs realized. A pair of new archaeological studies suggest that without rice, chickens may have never existed. The work...

Study explores the promises and pitfalls of evolutionary genomics

The second century Alexandrian astronomer and mathematician Claudius Ptolemy had a grand ambition. Hoping to make sense of the motion of stars and the paths of planets, he published a magisterial treatise on the subject, known as the Almagest. Ptolemy created a complex mathematical model of the universe that seemed to recapitulate the movements of the celestial objects he observed.

A novel all-optical switching method makes optical computing and communication systems more power-efficient

A group of photonics researchers at Tampere University have introduced a novel method to control a light beam with another beam through a unique plasmonic metasurface in a linear medium at ultra-low power. This simple linear switching method makes nanophotonic devices such as optical computing and communication systems more sustainable, requiring low intensity of light.

Study proposes mathematical tool to help understand fractal structure of quark-gluon plasma

Quark-gluon plasma (QGP) is a state of matter existing at extremely temperatures and densities, such as those that occur in collisions of hadrons (protons, neutrons and mesons). Under so-called "normal" conditions, quarks and gluons are always confined in the structures that constitute hadrons, but when hadrons are accelerated to relativistic velocities and made to collide with each other, as they...

Antagonistic interactions of plant defense compounds

A combined defense of different chemical defense substances could result in a negative interaction and mutual detoxification, according to researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in a new study, appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on the wild tobacco species Nicotiana attenuata and one of its specialized herbivores. Chemical analyses of frass revealed...

Chickens were first tempted down from trees by rice, research suggests

Close human contact only started about 3,500 years ago and birds were initially venerated, find archaeologistsChickens were originally tempted down from the trees and into domestication by rice, according to research.Chicken is one of the most popular foods in the world today, with more than one billion birds slaughtered annually in the UK alone. But researchers at the University of Exeter, the...

Study explores the promises and pitfalls of evolutionary genomics

A new study examines mathematical models designed to draw inferences about how evolution operates at the level of populations of organisms. The study concludes that such models must be constructed with the greatest care, avoiding unwarranted initial assumptions, weighing the quality of existing knowledge and remaining open to alternate explanations.

New study deepens understanding of how animals see, and what colors

Gathering vision data for hundreds of vertebrates and invertebrates, biologists have deepened scientists' understanding of animal vision, including the colors they see. The researchers determined that animals adapted to land are able to see more colors than animals adapted to water. Animals adapted to open terrestrial habitats see a wider range of colors than animals adapted to forests.

Cover crops not enough to improve soil after decades of continuous corn

Although about 20% of Illinois cropping systems are planted to continuous corn, it's nearly impossible to find fields planted this way for decades at a time. Yet long-term experiments, including over 40 years of continuous corn under different nitrogen fertilizer rates, provide incredible learning opportunities and soil management lessons for researchers and farmers alike.

Color-changing mouse model allows researchers to non-invasively study deep tissues

Biomedical and genetic engineers have developed a process to change the color of a mouse's tissue to better image its internal physiology. The approach will help researchers isolate and remove sources of strong background noise in biomedical images, giving them unprecedented access to observe, influence and image biological processes with a swiftly developing imaging technique called photoacoustic...