Category: Science News

Climate Change May Be Speeding Up Ocean Circulation

Winds are picking up worldwide, and that is making the surface waters of the oceans swirl a bit faster, researchers report. A new analysis of the ocean’s kinetic energy, measured by thousands of floats around the world, suggests that surface ocean circulation has been accelerating since the early 1990s. Some...

Drones Help Scientists Weigh Whales At Sea

Weighing a whale is a beast of a challenge. Scientists who study these majestic mammals can’t just hoist them out of the water and plop them onto some scale. But researchers now have a method to estimate a whale’s weight without disturbing it. The approach uses drone imagery of the animals at...

Sleep May Jumpstart The Brain’s Power Washing System

Sleep May Jumpstart The Brain’s Power Washing System

During sleep, waves of fresh fluid wash over the brain every 20 seconds, a new study finds. These slow, rhythmic blasts may help explain why sleep is so important for brain health. Studies in mice have shown that the waves can wash away proteins that build up between brain cells....

Generating Electricity from the Cold Night Sky

Generating Electricity from the Cold Night Sky

A new device works like a solar panel, except it doesn’t harvest energy from the sun. It captures energy from the cold night sky. A prototype of the device produced enough electricity at night to power a small light bulb. A bigger version might one day light rooms or charge phones. It...

A proposed space telescope would use Earth’s atmosphere as a lens

A proposed space telescope would use Earth’s atmosphere as a lens

Telescopes keep getting bigger — and more expensive. But what if there were a better way? One astronomer has suggested a possible work-around: Turn the entire Earth into a telescope lens by using the planet’s atmosphere to bend and focus light. When light from stars hits Earth’s atmosphere, the light bends, or...

Latest Claim of Turning Hydrogen into A Metal May Be the Most Solid Yet

Latest Claim of Turning Hydrogen into A Metal May Be the Most Solid Yet

Physicists are crushing it — hydrogen, that is. Squeezing the chemical element to extremely high pressure transforms it into a metal, a trio of researchers claims. The purported metallic hydrogen appeared at a pressure more than 4 million times that of Earth’s atmosphere, the scientists report June 13 at arXiv.org. If confirmed,...

Many of the world’s rivers are flush with dangerous levels of antibiotics

Many of the world’s rivers are flush with dangerous levels of antibiotics

In a massive survey of rivers across 72 countries, researchers found antibiotics at 66 percent of 711 sites sampled. Many of the most drug-polluted waterways were in Asia and Africa, where there hadn’t been much data until now. Environmental pollution from antibiotics is one driver of microbial drug resistance, which...

How scientists traced a uranium cube to Nazi Germany’s nuclear reactor program

How scientists traced a uranium cube to Nazi Germany’s nuclear reactor program

The mysterious cube arrived in the summer of 2013. Physicist Timothy Koeth had agreed to go to a parking lot for an unspecified delivery. Inside a blue cloth sack, swathed in paper towels, he found a small chunk of uranium. It was about 5 centimeters across, with “a white piece...

The first picture of a black hole opens a new era of astrophysics

The first picture of a black hole opens a new era of astrophysics

This is what a black hole looks like. A world-spanning network of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope zoomed in on the supermassive monster in the galaxy M87 to create this first-ever picture of a black hole. “We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture...

Mosquitoes can hear up to 10 meters away

Mosquitoes can hear up to 10 meters away

Mosquitoes can hear over distances much greater than anyone suspected, according to researchers at Cornell and Binghamton University. Their findings were published in the journal Current Biology. Until now, scientists believed that organisms required eardrums for long-range hearing, and that the feathery antennae with fine hairs that mosquitoes and some insects...

Your Gut Is Directly Connected to Your Brain

Your Gut Is Directly Connected to Your Brain

The human gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells—it’s practically a brain unto itself. And indeed, the gut actually talks to the brain, releasing hormones into the bloodstream that, over the course of about 10 minutes, tell us how hungry it is, or that we shouldn’t have...

Big Data Reveals Hints of How, When and Where Mental Disorders Start

Big Data Reveals Hints of How, When and Where Mental Disorders Start

Psychiatric disorders’ many complexities have stymied scientists looking for clear genetic culprits. But a new giant dataset holds clues to how, when and where these brain disorders begin. Called PsychENCODE, the project’s first large data release has revealed intricate insights into the behavior of genes and the stretches of genetic...

The number of calories you burn while resting depends on the time of day

The number of calories you burn while resting depends on the time of day

Timing is everything. Even how many calories a person burns while at rest depends on the hour. People burn about 129 more calories when resting in the afternoon and evening than in the early morning. But morning is better for burning carbohydrates, while fats are more likely to be burned...

Artificial-intelligence-could-improve-predictions-for-where-quake-aftershocks-will-hit

Artificial intelligence could improve predictions for where quake aftershocks will hit

A new artificial intelligence is turning its big brain to mapping earthquake aftershocks. Scientists trained an artificial neural network to study the spatial relationships between more than 130,000 main earthquakes and their aftershocks. In tests, the AI was much better at predicting the locations of aftershocks than traditional methods that many seismologists...

Smart Windows Could Block Brightness And Harness Light

Who needs curtains? One day, you could block out afternoon glare and heat with changeable windows that absorb sunshine to charge your electronics. A high-tech prototype panel described online January 22 in Nature Materials, switches between transparent pane and dark-tinted solar cell. The layer in the panel that’s responsible for soaking up...