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Research shows nature can beat back scientific tinkering with genes of entire species
For decades, scientists have proposed various methods of genetically altering natural populations to solve problems that plague human beings. Good examples of that are pests in crops and insect-vectored diseases, like the Zika virus or dengue or malaria. Natural selection favors individuals lacking modified genes and purges a given genetic alteration within a population within a few generations. They show nature still has the edge over scientists hoping to solve human problems with GM organisms.
Click for candy: How online retailers boost impulse buys
When shoppers order from a website, the thinking is that they aren't as susceptible to tossing extra goodies into their carts. That's what candy maker Mars says it did in China, under a partnership with online retail giant Alibaba that helped it sell more gum. Mars said the array of impulse products presented to each shopper was determined by an algorithm, which drew from about 500 options. Last year, Hershey also started offering dessert recipes featuring its chocolates through online meal-kit company Chef'd.
Mount Etna, Europe's Most Active Volcano, Puts On a Show
The latest eruption, which began on Monday and is expected to last at least several more days, could be seen for miles. An especially large one in the 17th century changed the shape of Sicily's coastline with a huge outpouring of lava. More recent outbursts have tended to be smaller, but still dangerous enough to prompt evacuations of nearby villages and disrupt air traffic with plumes of smoke and ash.
Uber CEO apologizes after video shows him berating driver
Uber chief Travis Kalanick has apologized, acknowledging that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up, after a video showed him verbally abusing a driver for the service. In a message to Uber employees late Tuesday, Kalanick cited the widely circulated video and said he treated an Uber driver disrespectfully. In the dashcam video, Kalanick responded to a driver's complaint by saying, Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit.
Bee species with little known nesting-behavior observed to use plastic instead of leaves
Little is known about the nesting activities of some lineages of megachiline bees. Among their findings, published in the open access Journal of Hymenoptera Research, is a curious instance of a bee attempting to build brood cells using green pieces of plastic. While the former was seen carrying a freshly cut leaf, the latter seemed to have discovered a curious substitute in the form of green plastic.
Chiral metamaterial produces record optical shift under incremental power modulation
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have demonstrated an optical metamaterial whose chiroptical properties in the nonlinear regime produce a significant spectral shift with power levels in the milliwatt range. The researchers recently demonstrated properties of their chiral metamaterial, in which they spectrally modified two absorptive resonances by incrementally exposing the material to power intensities beyond its linear optical regime. With a 15 milliwatt change in excitation power, they measured a 10-nanometer spectral shift in the material's transmission resonances and a 14-degree polarization rotation.
Pulling the curtain back on the high cost of drugs
Extreme price hikes for a handful of pharmaceuticals in recent years have severely soured public sentiment toward the industry. Drugmakers are pushing back with a public relations campaign to highlight the new treatments they bring to the table. Rick Mullin, a senior editor at C&EN, notes that part of the industry's reputation problem is one of oversimplification.
Nanoinjection increases survival rate of cells
When biophysicists want to understand what is happening in living cells, they have to introduce fluorescent probes or other foreign molecules. To overcome this resistance when delivering fluorescent probes into the cells, he has developed the method of nanoinjection. His colleague Matthias Simonis tested the nanoinjection method on more than 300 cells and compared the results with those of microinjection. The main finding was that 92 per cent of the cells survived nanoinjection compared to 40 per cent for microinjection.
Jackfruit seeds could help ease looming cocoa bean shortage
Worldwide demand for this mouth-watering treat is outstripping the production of cocoa beans, its primary ingredient. In Brazil, the largest cocoa producer in the Americas, jackfruit seeds are considered waste. The researchers made 27 jackfruit seed flours by acidifying or fermenting the seeds prior to drying. The researchers conclude that jackfruit seeds are capable of producing chocolate aromas and are a potential replacement for the aroma of cocoa powder or chocolate.
Aging can be good for you (if you're a yeast)
Research from the Babraham Institute has shown that ageing can be beneficial - albeit so far only in yeast. In fact, changes that occur during ageing in yeast were shown to have potential benefits. As described in the latest issue of the journal Aging Cell, older yeast cells were able to grow more successfully than the younger cells when their food source was switched from glucose to galactose. As the cells age, the systems that enforce this specialisation start to break down.
Keep calm and measure cats' blood pressure
The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the veterinary division of International Cat Care, is highlighting some broadly similar concerns in our feline companions. Hypertension is a well-recognised condition in older cats, yet probably remains significantly underdiagnosed. The consequences can be severe, with target organ damage typically affecting the eyes, heart, brain and kidneys. This presents challenges, particularly as routine blood pressure monitoring is generally performed infrequently in cats.
Risky business-calculating climate change losses in major European coastal cities
For the first time, the report's authors adapted into their modelling methods for dealing with uncertainty well known in other fields of economics, such as financial economics. They successfully applied them to so called 'tail events' and their possible impacts in the chosen cities. By 2100 the expected annual losses in Istanbul could reach almost 10-billion USD, Odessa in the Ukraine could lose 6.5-billion USD annually and Rotterdam 5.5-billion.
Study examines pesticides' impact on wood frogs
A new study looks at how neonicotinoid pesticides affect wood frogs, which use surface waters in agricultural environments to breed and reproduce. Neonicotinoids are widely used insecticides that are applied to a variety of crops and are relatively persistent in the environment. The study found that some neonicotinoids may cause developmental delays in the frogs, but these are not necessarily detrimental. Additional studies are needed to investigative the direct and indirect effects of neonicotinoids on wood frogs and other amphibian populations.
Portable nanofiber device offers precise, point-and-shoot capability
Harvard researchers have developed a lightweight, portable nanofiber fabrication device that could one day be used to dress wounds on a battlefield or dress shoppers in customizable fabrics. The Disease Biophysics Group recently announced the development of a hand-held device that can quickly produce nanofibers with precise control over fiber orientation. In order to develop this kind of point-and-shoot device, we needed a technique that could produce highly aligned fibers with a reasonably high throughput.
A fine-tuned microscopy technique offers breakthrough imaging of melanoma
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with over 232,000 new cases and 55,000 deaths per year worldwide. The Evans group's research centers around the use of a high-resolution imaging technique called coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scatterings (CARS) microscopy, a variant of the more widely used Raman spectroscopy that enables chemically-specific imaging by means of detecting molecular vibrations. CARS microscopy is a coherent Raman tool that is akin to using a tuning fork to specifically detect molecular structures.
Team puts dark matter on the map
A Yale-led team has produced one of the highest-resolution maps of dark matter ever created, offering a detailed case for the existence of cold dark matter-sluggish particles that comprise the bulk of matter in the universe. We have mapped all of the clumps of dark matter that the data permit us to detect, and have produced the most detailed topological map of the dark matter landscape to date.
2017 forecast: Significant chance of earthquake damage in the Central and Eastern US
Despite the recent drop in earthquake rates, Oklahoma and southern Kansas still face a significant risk of induced earthquake damage in 2017, according to the USGS report published March 1 in the journal Seismological Research Letters. Ground shaking caused by a quake is considered damaging if it is strong enough to crack plaster and weak masonry. Oklahoma experienced three M 5+ earthquakes in 2016, including the magnitude 5.8 earthquake near Pawnee that was the largest earthquake ever recorded in the state.
Hunting for giant planet analogs in our own backyard
It is published by The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. Recent studies of an association of stars called TW Hya have revealed some of the first known isolated giant planet-sized objects in the neighborhood of our own Sun, about 100 light years away. This group contains a few dozen 10-million-year-old stars, all moving together through space. This function can be used to determine the distribution of mass in the group and to predict the number of undiscovered objects that might exist inside of it.
WMO verifies highest temperatures for Antarctic Region
The World Meteorological Organization announced today new verified record high- temperatures in Antarctica, an area once described as the last place on Earth. The temperatures range from the high 60s to the high teens, depending on the location they were recorded in Antarctica. The temperatures we announced today are the absolute limit to what we have measured in Antarctica, Cerveny said. Antarctica is so vast and varied the WMO committee of experts, convened by Cerveny, provided three temperature measurements for the Antarctic.
Partnership yields better instrumentation and enables better knowledge about complex fluids
The common feature of all these conundrums are non-Newtonian fluids, whose mechanical properties change depending on the level and type of force applied to them. Despite their ubiquitous use, these and other complex fluids are challenging to engineer because the relationships between microscopic behavior and flow properties are difficult to observe, said Helgeson. The knowledge generated by this type of instrumentation will have wide applications in academic and industrial research.

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