Thursday, November 24, 2016

Science X Newsletter Thursday, Nov 24

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for November 24, 2016:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

New study shows why heme-copper oxidases prefer copper over iron

For platinum catalysts, tiny squeeze gives big boost in performance

Should parents lie to children about Santa?

Antarctic explorers help make discovery—100 years after their epic adventures

Slow as molasses? Sweet but deadly 1919 disaster explained

Toyota says new technology means longer battery life

Dino-killing crater shows clues about Ice Age sea level

Computer glitch blamed for European Mars lander crash

How parents divide their duties: Unexpected diversity in socially synchronized rhythms of shorebirds

Secret phenotypes: Disease devils in invisible details

A new perovskite could lead the next generation of data storage

First steps to neutralizing Zika: How highly potent antibody neutralizes Zika infection discovered

Endangered Australasian marsupials are ancient survivors of climate change

Brain activity predicts the force of your actions

Brain mechanisms in drug addiction—new brain pathways revealed

Astronomy & Space news

Computer glitch blamed for European Mars lander crash

A tiny lander that crashed on Mars last month flew into the Red Planet at 540 kilometres (335 miles) per hour instead of gently gliding to a stop, after a computer misjudged its altitude, scientists said.

Shear brilliance: Computing tackles the mystery of the dark universe

Scientists from The University of Manchester working on a revolutionary telescope project have harnessed the power of distributed computing from the UK's GridPP collaboration to tackle one of the Universe's biggest mysteries – the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

What does empty space sound like? We need your help to find out

We know that there is sound on planets and moons in the solar system – places where there's a medium through which sound waves can be transmitted, such as an atmosphere or an ocean. But what about empty space? You may have been told definitively that space is silent, maybe by your teacher or through the marketing of the movie Alien – "In space no one can hear you scream". The common explanation for this is that space is a vacuum and so there's no medium for sound to travel through.

Image: Antenna market opening

A 5 m-diameter antenna, designed for orbital operations, seen after a test deployment. Large reflectors are increasingly required for telecommunications, science and Earth observation missions.

UWA Zadko Telescope helps reconstruct 'Barbarian' asteroids

The University of Western Australia's Zadko Telescope has been used by an international team to reconstruct the shape of a rare 'Barbarian' asteroid (space rock).

Vita: next Space Station mission name and logo

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli will be launched to the International Space Station next year for his third spaceflight. The name and logo for his mission were announced today.

Technology news

Toyota says new technology means longer battery life

Toyota Motor Corp. has developed a new way of observing the movements of tiny particles in batteries used to power electric vehicles—an advance it says will help boost their cruise range by 10 percent to 15 percent.

Chinese travel site to buy Britain's Skyscanner

China's biggest online travel service is buying Skyscanner in a deal that values the British travel search site at 1.4 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).

Cyber security college to open at Britain's Bletchley Park

Britain's next generation of cyber security experts will be taught at Bletchley Park, where Nazi codes were cracked during World War II, the head of the new college announced on Thursday.

3Qs: What a sham(e)—how to filter out fake news

The spread of fake online news has become a hot topic of conversation, particularly in the wake of the presidential election. According to a BuzzFeed news analysis, the top-performing fake election news stories posted on Facebook in the final three months of the presidential campaign generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets like NBC News and The New York Times. And the vast majority of those stories were identified as either pro-Donald Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton.

Sensing the stresses in advanced composite structures

Advanced composites such as glass fibre reinforced polymers (GFRPs) are light, stiff, strong, durable materials that can be flexibly shaped to build large load-bearing structures. New research using data logged from sensors on a GFRP structure at the 2016 Serpentine Architecture Programme in London has found it is possible to observe stresses from real advanced composite structures.

Facebook's accidental 'death' of users reminds us to plan for digital death

The accidental "death" of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and millions of other Facebook users is a timely reminder of what happens to our online content once we do pass away.

How much should air traffic controllers trust new flight management systems?

With airfares at their lowest point in seven years and airlines adding capacity, this year's Thanksgiving air travel is slated to be 2.5 percent busier than last year. Between Nov. 18 and 29, 27.3 million Americans are expected to take to the skies.

Electric balaclava to avert chest infections in cold weather

Researchers have developed a smart balaclava which warms oxygen before it's inhaled to reduce the risk of athletes contracting chest infections in winter.

Researchers discover most winter boots are too slippery to walk safely on icy surfaces

A team of researchers from the iDAPT labs at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network are dedicated to keeping Canadians safer this winter by offering evidence-based ratings on footwear that may reduce the risk of slips and falls on ice. The team has developed the first test of its kind in the world - the Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) Testing Method - to validate slip resistant footwear on icy surfaces using real people in a simulated winter environment.

Opinion: The UK government wants to control porn viewing habits

The British government has already won the power to record everything we access on the internet. Now it wants to have a say over what we are and aren't allowed to look at online.

Finland plans to phase out coal by 2030 (Update)

In a move to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Finland on Thursday announced plans to phase out coal within 14 years, cut oil imports by half and substantially increase the number of electric cars on the roads—partly to meet targets set by the European Union.

Toshiba pure hydrogen cell system takes to the sea

Toshiba Corporation Energy System and Solutions Company has demonstrated the versatility of hydrogen power by integrating Toshiba's pure hydrogen fuel cell system into an experimental vessel, "Raicho N". The boat, 14 meters long and with a cruising speed of 8 knots, was developed as part of a joint research project by NREG Toshiba Building, a group company of Nomura Real Estate Group, and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.

How much wind energy can be generated in your area? Check EMHIRES

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has produced a dataset of wind energy production (EMHIRES) at national, regional and local level across the EU, by the hour for the last 30 years, based on existing wind farms. The detailed information provided by EMHIRES will improve the assessment of wind energy generation possibilities and help policy-makers devise better energy frameworks for consumers, the energy market and the planet, as foreseen by the EU's Energy Union strategy.

VTT creates the world's first hyperspectral iPhone camera

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has created the world's first hyperspectral mobile device by converting an iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor. This will bring the new possibilities of low-cost spectral imaging to consumer applications. Consumers will be able to use their mobile phones for example to sense food quality or monitor health.

Medicine & Health news

Should parents lie to children about Santa?

Shops are bursting with toys, mince pies are on the menu and radios are blasting out Christmas tunes—so it's time for another festive favourite: lying to children.

First steps to neutralizing Zika: How highly potent antibody neutralizes Zika infection discovered

As Zika spreads throughout the world, the call for rapid development of therapeutics to treat Zika rings loud and clear. Taking a step further in identifying a possible therapeutic candidate, a team of researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS), in collaboration with scientists from the University of North Carolina, have discovered the mechanism by which C10, a human antibody previously identified to react with the Dengue virus, prevents Zika infection at a cellular level.

Brain activity predicts the force of your actions

Researchers have found a link between the activity in nerve clusters in the brain and the amount of force generated in a physical action, opening the way for the development of better devices to assist paralysed patients.

Brain mechanisms in drug addiction—new brain pathways revealed

UNSW researchers have identified new brain pathways linked to addiction and shown that by manipulating them, drug seeking behaviour and motivation for alcohol can be reduced.

Power poses don't help and could potentially backfire, study shows

The idea behind power poses, that if you stand in a "powerful" position, broad posture, hands on hips, shoulders high and pushed back, you will suddenly feel psychologically and physiologically stronger, is intuitively appealing, especially for people without much confidence. The problem is that it's simply not true, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers Coren Apicella, an assistant professor in the psychology department in the School of Arts & Sciences, and Kristopher Smith, a fourth-year psychology Ph.D. student.

Practice testing protects memory against stress

Learning by taking practice tests, a strategy known as retrieval practice, can protect memory against the negative effects of stress, report scientists from Tufts University in a new study published in Science on Nov. 25.

Human cells with a 'built-in circuit' help prevent tumour growth

Researchers at the University of Southampton have engineered cells with a 'built-in genetic circuit' that produces a molecule that inhibits the ability of tumours to survive and grow in their low oxygen environment.

Consuming high amounts of saturated fats linked to increased heart disease risk

Consuming high amounts of four major saturated fatty acids—found in red meat, dairy fat, butter, lard, and palm oil—may increase risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Their findings also suggest that replacing these fats with healthier fats, whole grains, and plant proteins may reduce coronary heart disease risk.

Alcohol may increase risk of some types of stroke but not others

Light and moderate alcohol consumption of up to two drinks per day is associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke but seems to have no effect on a person's risk of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine. High-to-heavy drinking was found to be associated with increased risk of all stroke types.

Current evidence does not support vitamin D supplements to prevent disease

Current evidence does not support the use of vitamin D supplements to prevent disease, conclude researchers in The BMJ today.

Retinitis pigmentosa gene discovery may reveal a new route to inherited blindness

Researchers at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital with funding from Fight for Sight, in collaboration with a team from Baylor College of Medicine in the USA, have discovered a new retinitis pigmentosa gene. The team used gene editing to confirm that faults in receptor expression enhancer protein 6 (REEP6) cause 'rod' photoreceptor cell degeneration. Their results point to a biochemical pathway that was previously unknown to be important for the retina.

Why kids younger than 12 don't need OTC cough and cold remedies

The common cold season is here, and if you have children, you will likely feel their suffering from these annoying upper respiratory tract viral infections. Children experience more colds, about six to 10 annually, than adults. With each cold producing symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and mild fever lasting up to seven to 10 days, it may seem that children are nearly continuously sick.

Macrophage-dependent IL-1beta production induces cardiac arrhythmias in diabetic mice

One of the most serious complications of diabetes, heart arrhythmias, is now on its way to be prevented and combated. Researchers from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in partnership with investigators from University of Bonn, Universidad del Pais Vasco, Universidad de La Plata, FIOCRUZ and UNICAMP, show how the disease affects the heart and how the process can be reversed with two promising drugs. The findings have just been published in the October issue of the journal Nature Communications.

Over-confidence about condom skills puts festival goers at risk

A milestone survey* of young people attending a NSW music festival has found that while most of those interviewed felt confident about their condom usage, a significant number had used condoms inconsistently or incorrectly, resulting in high annual rates of condom failures during intercourse.

Coping with stress from others during the holidays

For many of us, the holiday season can give rise to extra stress. We may feel the weight of hectic schedules, financial strain and more people crammed into less space. Some may strive for an unrealistic ideal of holiday happiness and feel the stress of falling short. Tragic national and global events may cast a shadow, and we may be unnerved by warnings to exercise caution during this busy travel season.

Young people make a link between pornography and their harmful sexual behaviour

Young people who had sexually abused other children said that helping them to manage pornography and improving their sexuality education could have helped prevent their abusive behaviour. The findings represent the rarely-captured voices of young people who sexually abuse, in a policy briefing paper released today by the University of Melbourne.

People living with dementia boosted by new guide to care

People with dementia and their carers can ask for the care they deserve with confidence after the launch of a new guide to their care rights.

Study: Daily routines impact childhood development

Though maintaining consistent schedules is challenging for many parents, a new study shows it can benefit children in the long run.

UWA Nobel Laureate develops drug to prevent food allergies

A new drug which "fine tunes" the immune system is being developed to help prevent asthma and allergies to foods such as peanuts and shellfish.

You should talk about politics this Thanksgiving—here's why, and how

After one of the most divisive presidential elections in American history, many of us may be anxious about dinner-table dialogue with family and friends this Thanksgiving. There is no denying that the way we communicate about politics has fundamentally changed with the proliferation of technology and social media. Twitter bots, fake news and echo chambers are just a few of the highlights from this election season. Much of how we're conversing online can't – and shouldn't – be replicated around the family table. We are getting out of practice at conducting meaningful, respectful conversation.

Expert offers tips on how to manage diabetes during the holidays

For many people, November serves as the beginning of the holiday season and with it comes lots of good food, from turkey to pies. However, November also is Diabetes Awareness Month, and one Baylor College of Medicine expert offers tips on how to manage diabetes throughout the holiday season.

Scientists develop diagnostic tool for Familial Mediterranean Fever

Researchers at VIB and Ghent University have developed a tool to diagnose Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF). Particularly common among Mediterranean populations, this genetic disease is characterized by inflammation, fever and severe pain. Because of its complex diagnosis, patients often remain untreated for many years, which can eventually lead to kidney failure. In collaboration with Ghent University Hospital and Antwerp University Hospital, VIB and Ghent University are now planning clinical trials to further validate immunodiagnosis of FMF. The study is published in the leading scientific journal PNAS.

Who is the fairest of them all? Research reveals we hold a rose-tinted view of our own morality

Recent research published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science has shown that when evaluating their own morality, people will almost always judge themselves as morally superior to the average person.

Researchers define how cancer cell of origin controls invasive and metastatic properties of tumor cells

Researchers at the Université libre de Bruxelles, ULB define for the first time how the cancer cell of origin controls invasive and metastatic properties of tumor cells.

Are your kids thankful?

(HealthDay)—Thanksgiving is the perfect time for parents to teach their children about gratitude, an expert says.

Review links PPI use with risk of fundic gland polyps

(HealthDay)—Long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use is associated with increased risk of fundic gland polyps (FGPs), and may be associated with gastric cancer, according to a review published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Survey IDs factors influencing physician recruitment

(HealthDay)—Factors that influence whether an internal medicine physician will accept a position include opportunities for improved work-life balance as well as compensation, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Initial hospital contact for alcohol issues predicts cirrhosis

(HealthDay)—An initial hospital contact for alcohol problems is a significant predictor of alcoholic liver cirrhosis, particularly for patients 40 to 59 years and those diagnosed with harmful use or dependence, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in Hepatology.

Acute kidney injury is risk factor for delirium, coma

(HealthDay)—For critically ill adults, acute kidney injury is a risk factor for delirium and coma, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Confirmed cases of chikungunya soar in Brazil

Brazil's Health Ministry says that cases of chikungunya are soaring this year in Latin America's biggest country.

Could a simple text message help new mums get into shape?

New mums who are keen to lose weight but struggle to find the time are being urged to take part in a research project which could see them benefit from simple exercises and motivational text messages.

Why are black men missing from prostate cancer research?

Black men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than other demographics, yet black men are consistently underrepresented in research studies, say researchers from King's College London in a new paper published in ecancermedicalscience.

For Syria's displaced dental care comes on wheels

There's not much room to manoeuvre in Muhannad Qabtur's dental clinic at a camp for displaced Syrians near the Turkish border, because his spotless facility is run from a camper van.

Biology news

How parents divide their duties: Unexpected diversity in socially synchronized rhythms of shorebirds

Parents need to synchronize the care for their offspring. This leads to extreme and unexpected diversity in how parents attend their nest in shorebirds, finds an international team led by Max Planck researchers. Some pairs switched duties 20 times a day, while in others one parent sat on the nest for up to 50 hours. The key factor underlying this variation is risk of predation, not risk of starvation. Surprisingly, the rhythm of nest attendance often did not follow the 24-h day.

Secret phenotypes: Disease devils in invisible details

When a microscopic lab worm grows an eye-popping oddity, scientists locate the mutated gene that caused it. It's truly interesting. Yet, more important findings, medically relevant ones, may be hiding in traits invisible to the eye, even with the best microscope.

Scientists propose 10 policies to protect vital pollinators

Pesticide regulation, diversified farming systems and long-term monitoring are all ways governments can help to secure the future of pollinators such as bees, flies and wasps, according to scientists.

Upward mobility boosts immunity in monkeys

The richest and poorest Americans differ in life expectancy by more than a decade. Glaring health inequalities across the socioeconomic spectrum are often attributed to access to medical care and differences in habits such as smoking, exercise and diet.

Toxoplasma's balancing act explained

The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is a silent success. It infects up to 95% of people in many regions of the world, and most of them never know it, due to the parasite's artful manipulation of its host's immune response. Toxoplasma keeps the immune response low enough so that it can thrive, but high enough so that its human hosts generally live healthy lives and can incubate parasites. Scientists at EMBL and the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB, an INSERM - CNRS - Université Grenoble-Alpes research centre) have uncovered one of the ways it maintains this balance, in a paper published today in Structure.

Following a frog's evolutionary movements

A common species of Asian tree frog may actually be two separate species according to new genetic data collected by an international group of scientists. If the two groups of frogs are confirmed to be different species, assigning their scientific names may require searching historical records of foreign explorers in Japan during the 1800s.

Scientists go big with first aquatic species map for US West

It sounds like a big fish story: a plan to create a biodiversity map identifying thousands of aquatic species in every river and stream in the western U.S.

Puggles snuggle down in Sydney after rare echidna zoo births

Sydney's Taronga Zoo is celebrating its first successful echidna births in 30 years with three healthy babies, known as puggles, from three different mums hatching within days of each other.

Denial of invasive species threat worries scientists

Scientists believe a new battlefront is opening in science denialism and this time the target is the science of invasive alien species and the fight to protect some of the world's rarest species and most unique ecosystems.

Intestinal cells stave off bacteria by purging

Though purging is not prescribed as often as it was centuries ago, intestinal cells known as enterocytes frequently resort to this age-old remedy. Researchers from the Immune Response and Development in Insects (CNRS), Molecular Immunorheumatology (INSERM / Université de Strasbourg), and PAM Food Science and Microbiological Processes (AgroSup Dijon / Université de Bourgogne) laboratories have demonstrated that enterocytes attacked by pathogenic bacteria rapidly purge themselves of most of their contents. This protects them from infection and leads to a drastic though temporary thinning of the intestinal lining, or epithelium. This work, published on November 23 in Cell Host & Microbe, may eventually shed light on inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease.

Now we can edit life itself, we need to ask how we should use such technology

Imagine a world where mosquitoes no longer pass on the deadly malaria parasite, where invasive species such as cane toads are wiped out from Australia, and agri-chemical resistant pests revert back to their original susceptible state.

Ending with discards can speed up the mortality of endangered marine birds in the Mediterranean

The accidental catch of marine birds by long liners can skyrocket, at least in the short run, with the prohibition of discarding catches, set by the European Union, according to an article published in the journal Scientific Reports by a team led by Professor Jacob González-Solís, from the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences and the Biodiversity Research Institute of the University of Barcelona (IRBio).

Tissue damage is key for cell reprogramming

Cell reprogramming does not happen exactly as we thought. In the pages of the journal Science, a team from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has shown that tissue damage is a relevant factor for cells to go back to an embryonic state.

Size matters when it comes to forages fed to beef cattle

Just how much forage does a ruminant need if a ruminant does need forage?

Cattle roaming freely on Bangladesh streets increase health and environmental hazards

A research article recently published in Bangladesh Journal of Animal Sciences discusses the public health and environmental hazards of livestock rearing in urban areas. The article is made available online via Bangladesh Journals Online (BanglaJOL), supported by INASP.

Spain: Ecologists protest over threats to Donana nature park

Environmentalists are displaying hundreds of colorful origami birds outside the Spanish Parliament to demand greater government action to protect a national park that provides habitat for migrating birds.

16,000 turkeys killed in Germany to stop spread of bird flu

Authorities in northern Germany have killed 16,000 turkeys and ordered 92,000 chickens slaughtered after detecting an outbreak of bird flu.

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