189 articles from TUESDAY 19.9.2023

Can ancient irrigation canals water thirsty crops in Morocco today?

Editor’s note: This article was reported before the devastating earthquake in Morocco on 8 September. It isn’t yet known how the earthquake affected the underground tunnels described here. Underground tunnels, or khettara , have been shuttling water through Morocco’s harsh landscapes for millennia , allowing communities...

Synthetic biology tool comprehensively reveals gene regulatory networks in E. coli

The intricate interplay of gene expression within living cells is akin to a well-orchestrated symphony, with each gene playing its part in perfect harmony to ensure cells function as they should. At the heart of this symphony are transcription factors (TFs), molecular maestros that regulate the expression of genes by binding to specific DNA sequences known as promoters.

Researcher examines benefits, harms and ethics of online crowdfunding

Would you help a complete stranger in desperate need of money, based solely on their social media posts? Simon Fraser University professor and bioethicist Jeremy Snyder examines the complex dimensions of this question in his new book, "Appealing to the Crowd: The Ethical, Political, and Practical Dimensions of Donation-Based Crowdfunding" (Oxford University Press, 2023), which highlights how...

Environmental assessments should factor in ecological connectivity, say researchers

There is a growing call among researchers, funding bodies and developers to integrate considerations of ecological connectivity in environmental assessments (EAs) of proposed development projects. This refers to the degree to which a natural landscape remains unbroken by a development project, be it a road, mine, transmission line or hydro dam. These projects have the potential to impede wildlife...

Glacier Loss Day indicates record breaking glacier melt

The Hintereisferner, located at the back of the Tyrolean Ötztal, has been closely monitored for more than 100 years, and there have been continuous records of its mass balance since 1952. This makes it one of the best-studied glaciers in the Alps and has been key to glacier and climate research at the University of Innsbruck for decades.

‘Surprising and super cool.’ Quantum algorithm offers faster way to hack internet encryption

In 1994, Peter Shor created one of the first practical uses for a quantum computer: hacking the internet. Shor, an applied mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), showed how a quantum computer could be exponentially faster than a classical computer at finding the prime number factors of large numbers. Those primes are used as the secret keys that secure most...

NASA needs you to observe Uranus and Neptune this week

The New Horizons spacecraft is perhaps most famous for revealing the icy world Pluto in 2015, flying by the distant dwarf planet and sending back stunning imagery of a dynamic world. But the spacecraft’s mission was far from over. This week, New Horizons and the Hubble Space Telescope are teaming up to observe Uranus andContinue reading "NASA needs you to observe Uranus and Neptune this week"...

Weakening of the relationship between winter precipitation over southern China and the Asian–Pacific Oscillation

Pacific Oscillation (APO), a dominant mode of atmospheric variability characterized by a seesaw variation in the upper-tropospheric temperature between Asia and the North Pacific, plays important roles in the atmospheric circulation and climate of East Asia. A recent study using state-of-the-art climate models projected a weakening of the winter APO in the expected warmer world of the second half...

Does a brain in a dish have moral rights?

No longer limited to the realm of science fiction, bio-computing is here, so now is the time to start considering how to research and apply this technology responsibly, an international group of experts says.

Using a gyroscope to measure variations in Earth's rotation

A team of scientists has developed a novel way to measure variations in the Earth's rotation. In their paper published in the journal Nature Photonics, the team explains how their new approach works and how well it did when tested. Caterina Cimminelli and Giusepeppe Brunetti have published a News & Views piece in the same journal that discusses the main study's findings.