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Upward mobility has fallen sharply in US: study
Greater inequality in the distribution of growth is largely to blame, said the findings in the US journal Science. Absolute income mobility has fallen across the entire income distribution, with the largest declines for families in the middle class. The smallest declines occurred in states such as Massachusetts, New York and Montana, said the study. In our view, faster growth is necessary but not sufficient to restore higher intergenerational income mobility, they wrote.
Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics
The findings, now online, will be published in the American Chemical Society's ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, a leading journal in green chemistry and engineering. The study's authors are all affiliated with the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) based at the University of Delaware. When blended to make nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), it becomes the key component in hoses, seals and the rubber gloves ubiquitous to medical settings.
Team identifies genetic target for growing hardier plants under stress
The function of a plant's roots go well beyond simply serving as an anchor in the ground. Plants that overexpressed one of these regulators thrived despite being deprived of a key nutrient, phosphorous. This methodology also allowed the team to examine the secondary structure, or folding, of all of the cells' RNA transcripts. To test whether this trait affected the plant's ability to grow, they cultivated the GRP8-overexpressing plants in phosphorous-depleted soil.
Sex, lies and physics: 'Genius' drama is Einstein tell-all
Also credit Ron Howard, who brought another complex scientist to the screen in A Beautiful Mind, the 2001 Academy Award-winning film about troubled mathematician John Nash. The series opens with Rush's Einstein and a young woman in the throes of passion. We were looking for the drama in the story and willing to deal with Einstein, warts and all. There's a kind of courage required for Einstein to have given us everything he gave us, in addition to the transformative work in physics.
'Celestial Sleuth' credits Messier with discovery 238 years after the fact
Today, Messier is remembered for his catalog of 110 deep-sky objects, of which the Ring Nebula is listed as M57. This patch of light was round and was located between g & b Lyrae, Messier wrote in his notes. Messier recorded careful measurements of the Ring Nebula's location, proving that he first observed the nebula before anyone else. In the 18th century, however, discover more commonly meant to simply discern something, a use that is almost obsolete today.
Heavy precipitation speeds carbon exchange in tropics
New research by the University of Montana and its partner institutions gives insight into how forests globally will respond to long-term climate change. Their new work suggests that climate-change driven increases in rainfall in warm, wet forests are likely to cause increased plant growth. The article, Temperature and rainfall interact to control carbon cycling in tropical forests, is online.
Citizens can productively change politics by taking the law to court
Citizen lawsuits can actually promote compromise between lawmakers and influence decisions to pay for public goods like clean water, air, and health care. The way I approached the problem was to ask how Congress would make distributive decisions without the input down the road of citizens in courts, Dumas said. In anticipation of this process, legislators who might otherwise seek a hardline find themselves in a weaker bargaining position.
Cassini completes final-and fateful-Titan flyby
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn's hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet. Cassini transmitted its images and other data to Earth following the encounter. The flyby also put Cassini on course for its dramatic last act, known as the Grand Finale. With this flyby we're committed to the Grand Finale, said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL.
Simple technique produces stronger polymers
Plastic, rubber, and many other useful materials are made of polymers-long chains arranged in a cross-linked network. Now, the same researchers have found a simple way to reduce the number of loops in a polymer network and thus strengthen materials made from polymers. Using this approach, they were able to cut the number of loops in half, in a variety of different polymer network structures.
France probes Peugeot over emissions cheating
France on Monday opened a judicial enquiry into allegations carmaking giant PSA cheated on diesel pollution tests in the latest twist in a huge emissions scandal which hit the industry in 2015. The carmaker vowed to defend its interests as a spokesman insisted PSA respects regulations in all countries where it operates. The spokesman added its vehicles had never been equipped with emissions detection software enabling it to cheat pollution readings.
Converting coal would help China's smog at climate's expense
China's conversion of coal into natural gas could prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. That smog, with particles a mere 2.5 microns in diameter, frequently blankets Beijing and major urban areas in China's densely populated eastern provinces. Technology to turn coal into other fuels dates to Germany's Nazi regime, which used it to bolster diesel supplies during World War II. Gan said China instead should invest more in wind and solar plants, which produce neither carbon nor smog.
Fossils may be earliest known multicellular life: study
If verified as both fungal and multicellular, the 2.4 billion-year-old microscopic creatures-whose slender filaments are bundled together like brooms-could also be the earliest known specimens of the branch of life to which humans belong, they reported in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. The bubbles were filled with hundreds of exquisitely preserved filaments that just screamed 'life', he wrote by email. The creatures unveiled in the new study existed in what is called the deep biosphere, beneath land and sea.
Study finds Samsung's S8 phones more prone to screen cracks
They also appear to break more easily, according to tests run by SquareTrade, a company that sells gadget-repair plans. The nearly all-glass design of Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus makes them beautiful, SquareTrade said, but also extremely susceptible to cracking when dropped from any angle. Samsung says advanced orders for the S8 were 30 percent higher than that for the Galaxy S7 phones.
Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
These events, called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs), last less than a millisecond and produce gamma rays with tens of millions of times the energy of visible light. Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) detects TGFs occurring within about 500 miles of the location directly beneath the spacecraft. What the scientists have learned so far is that TGFs from tropical systems do not have properties measurably different from other TGFs detected by Fermi.
Examining the role of the microbiome in the effectiveness of colorectal cancer treatment
FUDR is a commonly used drug to treat colorectal cancer. One of these drugs was the antimetabolite FUDR, used to treat colon cancer. Genetic screens were then used to determine which bacterial genes are responsible for increasing or decreasing drug efficiency in C elegans. This isn't a model that indisputably demonstrates a therapeutic finding but the implications are quite interesting nonetheless, said Walhout.
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
The work was done, the researchers said, with an eye toward finding ways of making the chemical industry more environmentally sustainable. The researchers showed that the catalyst could also be used to create another compound, quinazoline, which is used in a variety of anti-cancer drugs. The new catalyst also is able to make the benzoxazole compounds using starting materials that are more environmentally benign than those generally used.
Starvation prompts body temperature, blood sugar changes to tolerate next food limitation
Rats that have experienced past episodes of limited food resources make physiological adaptations that may extend their lives the next time they are faced with starvation. Researchers from St Mary's University in Texas severely limited food intake in adult rats on three separate occasions during their lifetime. During the first two periods of starvation, the animals lost 20 percent of their body mass.
West Virginia groundwater not affected by fracking, but surface water is
Fracking has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, but accidental spills of fracking wastewater may pose a threat to surface water in the region, according to a new study led by scientists at Duke University. We did find that spill water associated with fracked wells and their wastewater has an impact on the quality of streams in areas of intense shale gas development.
Banded mongooses target family members for eviction
Banded mongooses target close female relatives when violently ejecting members from their social groups, University of Exeter scientists have found. Most animals are less aggressive towards family members, but dominant members of banded mongoose groups target relatives. The reason for this surprising behaviour is that unrelated mongooses are more likely to fight back - making it more difficult to evict them. As dominant banded mongooses need to evict rival females to reduce competition for their own offspring, their best strategy is to target close relatives.
Was that climate change? Linking extreme weather to global warming
After an unusually intense heatwave, downpour or drought, Noah Diffenbaugh and his research group inevitably receive phone calls and emails asking whether human-caused climate change played a role. Getting an accurate answer is important for everything from farming to insurance premiums, to international supply chains, to infrastructure planning. In the past, scientists typically avoided linking individual weather events to climate change, citing the challenges of teasing apart human influence from the natural variability of the weather.

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