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Does the gas in galaxy clusters flow like honey?

We have seen intricate patterns that milk makes in coffee and much smoother ones that honey makes when stirred with a spoon. Which of these cases best describes the behavior of the hot gas in galaxy clusters? By answering this question, a new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has deepened our understanding of galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity.

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Quantum music to my ears

It sounds like an old-school vinyl record, but the distinctive crackle in the music streamed into Chris Holloway's laboratory is atomic in origin. The group at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, spent a long six years finding a way to directly measure electric fields using atoms, so who can blame them for then having a little fun with their new technology?

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Size matters: New data reveals cell size sparks genome awakening in embryos

Transitions are a hallmark of life. When dormant plants flower in the spring or when a young adult strikes out on their own, there is a shift in control. Similarly, there is a transition during early development when an embryo undergoes biochemical changes, switching from being controlled by maternal molecules to being governed by its own genome. For the first time, a team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found in an embryo that activation of its genome does not happen all at once, instead it follows a specific pattern controlled primarily by the various sizes of its cells. The researchers published their results this week as the cover story in Developmental Cell.

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Wearable device reveals how seals prepare for diving

A wearable non-invasive device based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can be used to investigate blood volume and oxygenation patterns in freely diving marine mammals, according to a study publishing June 18 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by J. Chris McKnight of the University of St. Andrews, and colleagues. The results provide new insights into how voluntarily diving seals distribute blood and manage the oxygen supply to their brains and blubber, yielding important information about the basic physiological patterns associated with diving.

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New insight from Great Barrier Reef coral provides correction factor to climate records

Newly developed geological techniques help uncover the most accurate and high-resolution climate records to date, according to a new study. The research finds that the standard practice of using modern and fossil coral to measure sea-surface temperatures may not be as straightforward as originally thought. By combining high-resolution microscopic techniques and geochemical modeling, researchers are using the formational history of Porites coral skeletons to fine-tune the records used to make global climate predictions.

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Dark centers of chromosomes reveal ancient DNA

Geneticists exploring the dark heart of the human genome have discovered big chunks of Neanderthal and other ancient DNA. The results open new ways to study both how chromosomes behave during cell division and how they have changed during human evolution.

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Feeling the strain: Shear effects in magnetoelectric switching

The high resolution and wealth of data provided by an experiment at Diamond can lead to unexpected discoveries. The piezoelectric properties of the ceramic perovskite PMN-PT (0.68Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3–0.32PbTiO3) are widely used in commercial actuators, where the strain that is generated varies continuously with applied voltage. However, if the applied voltage is cycled appropriately then there are discontinuous changes of strain. These discontinuous changes can be used to drive magnetic switching in a thin overlying ferromagnet, permitting magnetic information to be written electrically. An international team of researchers used beamline I06 to investigate a ferromagnetic film of nickel when it served as a sensitive strain gauge for single-crystal PMN-PT. Their initial interpretation of the results suggested that ferroelectric domain switching rotated the magnetic domains in the film by the expected angle of 90°, but a closer examination revealed the true picture to be more complex.

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Dinosaur bones are home to microscopic life

Bad news, Jurassic Park fans—the odds of scientists cloning a dinosaur from ancient DNA are pretty much zero. That's because DNA breaks down over time and isn't stable enough to stay intact for millions of years. And while proteins, the molecules in all living things that give our bodies structure and help them operate, are more stable, even they might not be able to survive over tens or hundreds of millions of years. In a new paper published in eLife, scientists went looking for preserved collagen, the protein in bone and skin, in dinosaur fossils. They didn't find the protein, but they did find huge colonies of modern bacteria living inside the dinosaur bones.

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Pakistani Politicians Go Viral After Cat Filter Turns Live Conference into a Comedy

Political press conferences don’t usually enjoy much success on social media, but an official address by Pakistani regional minister Shaukat Yousafzai gained international attention last week after someone accidentally turned on the cat filter on Facebook Live, turning Yousafzai and other party members into adorable kittens. Politician Shaukat Yousafzai and his colleagues in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf […]

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A warming Midwest increases likelihood that farmers will need to irrigate

If current climate and crop-improvement trends continue into the future, Midwestern corn growers who today rely on rainfall to water their crops will need to irrigate their fields, a new study finds. This could draw down aquifers, disrupt streams and rivers, and set up conflicts between agricultural and other human and ecological needs for water, scientists say.

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Speeding up the journey toward clean energy through photocatalyst optimization

Osaka University researchers have studied the photocatalytic activity of oxyhalide materials and were able to demonstrate a relationship between parameters measured by time-resolved microwave conductivity (TRMC) and oxygen generation. Using the relationship, they optimized the processing temperature for the synthesis of the photocatalyst PbBiO2Cl, resulting in a three-fold improvement in the apparent quantum efficiency compared with previous reports. It is hoped that the findings will allow for high throughput screening and efficient photocatalyst development.

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New Earth-like exoplanets discovered around red dwarf Teegarden star

An international team led by the University of Göttingen (Germany) with participation by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) have discovered, using the CARMENES high-resolution spectrograph at the Calar Alto Observatory (Almería) two new planets like the Earth around one of the closest stars within our galactic neighbourhood.

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Study sheds light on gauge invariance in ultrastrong-coupling cavity quantum electrodynamics

In quantum electrodynamics, the choice of gauge (i.e. specific mathematical formalism used to regulate degrees of freedom) can greatly influence the form of light-matter interactions. Interestingly, however, the "gauge invariance" principle implies that all physical results should be independent from a researcher's choice of gauge. The quantum Rabi model, which is often used to describe light-matter interactions in cavity-QED, has been found to violate this principle in the presence of ultrastrong light-matter coupling, and past studies have attributed this failure to the finite-level truncation of the matter system.

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Another brown dwarf in the system? Study investigates properties of HD 206893

Aiming to constrain the orbit and dynamical mass of the brown dwarf in the HD 206893 system, an international team of astronomers has investigated the host star and its companion using a combination of observing techniques. Results of this observational campaign suggest the presence of another massive object in the system, most likely a brown dwarf. The findings are detailed in a paper published June 7 on arXiv.org.

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3-D cranial reconstruction elucidates the evolution of new world monkeys

Researchers have used computed tomography (CT) scanning to examine and reconstruct cranial fossils belonging to two extinct species of monkey, Caipora bambuiorum and Cartelles coimbrafilhoi. The fossils were found almost 30 years ago in a cave complex in Bahia, Brazil, located in the Caatinga, a semiarid biome that occupies part of Brazil's Northeast Region.

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ALMA finds earliest example of merging galaxies

Researchers using ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) observed signals of oxygen, carbon, and dust from a galaxy in the early Universe 13 billion years ago. This is the earliest galaxy where this useful combination of three signals has been detected. By comparing the different signals, the team determined that the galaxy is actually two galaxies merging together, making it the earliest example of merging galaxies yet discovered.

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