62 articles from THURSDAY 24.11.2022

To stop new viruses jumping across to humans, we must protect and restore bat habitat

Bats have lived with coronaviruses for millennia. Details are still hazy about how one of these viruses evolved into SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID in humans. Did it go directly from bats to humans or via another animal species? When? And why? If we can't answer these questions for this now-infamous virus, we have little hope of preventing the next pandemic.

Eight glasses of water a day excessive for most people, study suggests

‘One size fits all’ guidance could lead to 20m litres of drinking water being wasted each day in UK, scientists sayA recommendation to drink eight glasses of water a day is likely to be excessive for most people, according to scientists.The suggestion has become accepted wisdom and often appears in health guidance. The latest work, however, the most rigorous study to date on water turnover,...

Increased grazing pressure threatens the most arid rangelands

A new study published in Science reports results from the first-ever global field assessment of the ecological impacts of grazing in drylands. An international research team has found that grazing can have positive effects on ecosystem services, particularly in species-rich rangelands, but these effects turn to negative under a warmer climate.

A light-powered catalyst could be key for hydrogen economy

Rice University researchers have engineered a key light-activated nanomaterial for the hydrogen economy. Using only inexpensive raw materials, a team from Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics, Syzygy Plasmonics Inc. and Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment created a scalable catalyst that needs only the power of light to convert ammonia into clean-burning hydrogen...

Overfished lobster found to grow bigger in protected areas

A team of researchers at the University of Agder's, Center for Coastal Research, working with a colleague at the Institute of Marine Research, both in Norway, has found that when protected areas for lobsters are established in overfished parts of the sea, the lobsters tend to grow bigger. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of lobsters...

Possible organic compounds found in Mars crater rocks

A study published in Science analyses multiple rocks found at the bottom of Jezero Crater on Mars, where the Perseverance rover landed in 2020, revealing significant interaction between the rocks and liquid water. Those rocks also contain evidence consistent with the presence of organic compounds.

A study offers new insights into the record 2021 Western North America heat wave

The heat wave that hammered western North America in late June and early July 2021 was not just any midsummer event. Over nine days, from British Columbia through Washington and Oregon and beyond, it exceeded average regional temperatures for the period by 10 degrees C (18 F), and on single days in some locales, by an astounding 30 C, or 54 F. Among many new daily records, it set a new national...

A single fiber actuator inspired by human muscles

To effectively replicate the movements of humans and animals, robots should integrate muscle-like structures. These artificial muscles should attain an optimal performance across all relevant actuation parameters, including energy density, strain, stress, and mechanical strength.

A parasite makes wolves more likely to become pack leaders

Toxoplasma gondii is sometimes called the “mind control” parasite: It can infect the brains of animals and mess with their behavior in ways that may kill the host but help ensure the parasite’s spread. But now, researchers have found that infected wolves may actually benefit from those mind-altering tricks. A Toxoplasma infection, they found, makes wolves...

Tracing changes to the human diet during the transition from hunting to agriculture

A large team of researchers affiliated with a host of institutions across Italy has used DNA found in the dental calculus of ancient peoples to help trace changes to the human diet during the transition from hunting to agriculture in Italy over thousands of years. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes their study of calcified plaque found on the teeth...