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Tall tail: Morocco casts doubt on Mexico 'dinosaur' fragment
Authorities in Morocco said Monday they doubt the authenticity of an alleged dinosaur tail sold in Mexico, after launching a probe to see if it had been illegally exported from the North African country. Morocco's mines ministry said preliminary investigations showed the supposed dinosaur tail was likely restored from an assembly of vertebrae found isolated, not emanating from the same species. Last April, Morocco secured the return of the bones of an aquatic dinosaur which was withdrawn from an auction in Paris.
Facebook acknowledges social media's risks to democracy
Facebook acknowledged Monday that widespread use of social media can be harmful to democracy, while pledging to work to minimize these risks. He added that Facebook is constantly working to balance the value of openness and transparency with efforts to stop manipulation. Chakrabarti added that Facebook is also struggling with hate speech, and limiting the spread of violent propaganda while remaining an open platform.
3-D printing improves cell adhesion and strength of PDMS polymer
Most research is done using casting or micro molding, but this fabrication yields materials with weak mechanical properties and also weak cell adhesion. PDMS is used to make lab-on-a-chip devices, organ-on-a-chip devices, two- and three-dimensional cell culture platforms, and biological machines. Sylgard 184, an elastomer of PDMS, is not viscose enough to use in 3-D printing-the material simply flows out of the nozzle and puddles.
Big energy savings: Researchers build the world's smallest electro-optic modulator
Researchers at Oregon State University have designed and fabricated the world's smallest electro-optic modulator, which could mean major reductions in energy used by data centers and supercomputers. An electro-optic modulator plays the key role in fiber optic networks. Just as a transistor is a switch for electronic signals, an electro-optic modulator is a switch for optical signals. The new modulator is 10 times smaller and can potentially be 100 times more energy efficient than the best previous devices.
Small hydroelectric dams increase globally with little research, regulations
Tens of thousands of smaller hydroelectric dams exist around the world, and all indications suggest that the number could substantially increase in the future. These structures are small enough to avoid the many regulations large dams face, and are built more quickly and in much higher densities. As streams, rivers and watersheds absorb more small dams, however, surprisingly few scientific studies have considered their environmental impact, and policies or regulations are lacking or largely inconsistent.
New study: Industry conservation ethic proves critical to Gulf of Maine lobster fishery
A new study, led by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and colleagues at the University of Maine and NOAA, demonstrates how conservation practices championed by Maine lobstermen help make the lobster fishery resilient to climate change. Impacts of conservation The study shows how conservation efforts prepared the Gulf of Maine population for temperature changes. Researchers estimate that lobster population growth in the Gulf of Maine was more than double what it would have been without conservation measures.
Discrepancies between satellite and global model estimates of land water storage
Research led by The University of Texas at Austin has found that calculations of water storage in many river basins from commonly used global computer models differ markedly from independent storage estimates from GRACE satellites. We are now able to evaluate water storage changes from models with GRACE data, which suggests that the models may underestimate large water storage changes, both large declining and rising storage trends.
A better HIV test
A brief history of HIV testing By far the most common way to test for HIV infection is to look in a blood sample for antibodies, proteins that the immune system custom-builds to attack the virus and fight back against infection. If the sample contained HIV antibodies, their two arms would grab hold of the tagged HIV, bringing the two halves of the DNA together into a continuous strand. Importantly the test did not falsely detect HIV in the 22 additional HIV-negative participants.
'Legos of life': Deep dive into the 3-D structures of proteins reveals key building blocks
Rutgers scientists have found the Legos of life - four core chemical structures that can be stacked together to build the myriad proteins inside every organism - after smashing and dissecting nearly 10,000 proteins to understand their component parts. The four building blocks make energy available for humans and all other living organisms, according to a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The identification of four fundamental building blocks for all proteins is just a beginning.
New research holds promise of predicting snowpack even before the snow falls
This melting snow comes from snowpack, the high elevation reservoir of snow which melts in the spring and summer. Now, new NOAA research is showing we can predict snow levels in the mountains of the West in March some eight months in advance. Advances in global climate models and high quality ocean, atmospheric and land observations are helping us push the frontiers of snowpack prediction.
Emissions of volatile organic compounds higher than previously assumed
In the scientific journal PNAS, researchers from Innsbruck, Austria, present the world's first chemical fingerprint of urban emission sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). At the same time, the data suggest that the total amount of man-made VOCs globally is likely to be significantly higher than previously assumed. In the northern hemisphere, about half of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) originate from both man-made and natural sources.
The role of cranial modification in identity formation
In Ethnogenesis and Social Difference in the Andean Late Intermediate Period : A Bioarchaeological Study of Cranial Modification in the Colca Valley, Peru, published in Current Anthropology, Matthew C Velasco examines how the prevalence and evolution of cranial modification practices during the Late Intermediate Period influenced ethnic identity formation in Peru's Colca Valley. In the study, Velasco explores how head-shaping practices may have enabled political solidarity and furthered social inequality in the region.
Marine vegetation can mitigate ocean acidification, study finds
Their findings suggest that maintaining native seawater vegetation could locally lessen the acidifying effects of rising CO2 levels on marine animals who are sensitive to ocean pH, which has declined since preindustrial times. Our findings from sites spanning some 1,000 miles of coastline show that marine life plays a leading role in driving local pH conditions, Sorte said. Due to their findings, the authors recommend efforts to conserve marine plants and seaweeds in shoreline habitats, including where commercial seafood is harvested.
US approves land exchange for road through Alaska refuge
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed a land trade agreement Monday that could lead to construction of a road through a national wildlife refuge in Alaska, portraying the exchange as a people-versus-wildlife issue. Environmental groups have said they will fight to keep a road out of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and its internationally recognized habitat for migrating waterfowl.
Don't judge a snake by its colour
Now, a report in Herpetology Notes describes how an Indian coral snake resorts to mimicry to fool its predators. In its infant stage, the snake develops a bright red colouration with black stripes, similar to another venomous snake, Sinomicrurus macclellandi. Once the predator has learnt that red and black snakes are venomous, it will never touch any other species with the same colour pattern. To address this, the snake turns fully black in colour as it grows up, merging well with the surroundings.
Researchers reveal how microbes cope in phosphorus-deficient tropical soil
A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has uncovered how certain soil microbes cope in a phosphorus-poor environment to survive in a tropical ecosystem. Most tropical ecosystems endure long-term weathering that leaches phosphorus from soil. They collected soil samples at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama, an experimental field site with phosphorus-rich plots and unfertilized control plots.
Wild Sri Lankan elephants retreat from the sound of disturbed Asian honey bees
For the first time, researchers have shown that Asian elephants in Sri Lanka are scared of honey bees, much like their African counterparts. Dr Lucy King said: Asia has even higher levels of human-elephant conflict than Africa does and Asian elephants are approximately 10 times more endangered than African elephants. Udawalawe is a microcosm for the issues Asian elephants face, because it is practically encircled by agriculture and settlements.
How climate change weakens coral 'immune systems'
If this winter finds you stressed out and fighting a sinus infection, then you know something of what coral will endure in the face of climate change. Coral don't have immune systems like humans do, but the microbes living in and on their bodies can impart immune-like function. Grottoli's team tested two species of coral that are extremely common around the world, Acropora millepora, or staghorn coral, and Turbinaria reniformis, or yellow scroll coral.
Study may improve strategies for reducing nutrient runoff into Mississippi River
Every summer, the Gulf of Mexico is flooded with excess nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater treatment plants and farm fields along the Mississippi River basin. To address the issue, the US Environmental Protection Agency formed a task force and required 12 states to develop strategies to reduce agricultural runoff. In a new study, the researchers examine nutrient loss reduction strategies from three upper Midwestern states to help fill the gap.
Cryo-EM reveals critical protein-modifying complex and potential drug target
It works by adding sugars called glycans to proteins, influencing their shape and, as a result, their function. The determination of the atomic-level structure of OST is a breakthrough in glycobiology, said Huilin Li, Ph. D, a professor at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and senior author on a study describing OST's structure published today in Nature. As a key enzyme in the N-linked glycan biosynthesis pathway, OST is important in both health and disease.

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