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Pollution from Asia Linked to High Mercury Levels in Pacific Fish

Pollution from Asia Linked to High Mercury Levels in Pacific Fish | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Getting India and China reduce their mercury emissions will likely lead to healthier fish in the Pacific. A new study has found that mercury levels in fish that are caught off the coast of Hawaii are high due to toxins released from Asian countries.
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Related article > Is Fukushima Radiation Contaminating Tuna, Salmon and Herring On the West Coast of North America?

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/is-fukushima-radiation-contaminating-tuna-salmon-and-herring-on-the-west-coast-of-north-america/5346942

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Fragments of Science
The history, present and future and nature of science and their relationship
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A better understanding of cell to cell communication

A better understanding of cell to cell communication | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Researchers of the ISREC Institute at the School of Life Sciences, EPFL, have deciphered the mechanism whereby some microRNAs are retained in the cell while others are secreted and delivered to neighboring cells.
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NASA Releases Photo Of The Mysterious 'Floating Hills' Of Pluto

NASA Releases Photo Of The Mysterious 'Floating Hills' Of Pluto | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The hills are potentially miles long and can be found in Pluto's now famous "heart" region. They're believed to be giant icebergs floating in a sea of frozen nitrogen.
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Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

Graphene is strong, but is it tough? | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed the first known statistical theory for the toughness of polycrystalline graphene, which is made with chemical vapor deposition, and found that it is indeed strong, but more importantly, its toughness -- or resistance to fracture -- is quite low.
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Turbulent times: When stars approach

Turbulent times: When stars approach | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Using new methods, astrophysicists from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), Germany, simulate the common-envelope phase of binary stars, discovering dynamic irregularities that may help to explain how supernovae evolve. They used and adapted the AREPO code for hydrodynamic simulations . It solves the equations on a moving mesh that follows the mass flow, and thus enhances the accuracy of the model.
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How bacteria invented gene editing

How bacteria invented gene editing | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Gene editing is much more common in nature than you might think. It actually has ancient roots
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Carbon dioxide captured from air converted directly to methanol fuel for the first time

Carbon dioxide captured from air converted directly to methanol fuel for the first time | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Scientists have developed a method of converting the carbon dioxide in the air around us (not concentrated) directly into methanol, a fuel source.
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Determining the age of a star just got a bit harder

Determining the age of a star just got a bit harder | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
It is already hard work to determine the age of a star, and now it just got a bit harder. New research suggests that there is no apparent correlation between the speed at which a star rotates and it’s age--at least not for old stars.
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JPL researchers report on new tool to provide even better Landsat images

JPL researchers report on new tool to provide even better Landsat images | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A team from the Jet Propulsion Lab describe in Optical Engineering a new imaging spectrometer design that could enable improved images from NASA's Landsat, for better understanding of phenomena, and environments as diverse as coral reefs, urbanization, tropical deforestation, and glaciers. The journal is published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.
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Turning good vibrations into energy

Turning good vibrations into energy | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
A project at The Ohio State University is testing whether high-tech objects that look a bit like artificial trees can generate renewable power when they are shaken by the wind -- or by the sway of a tall building, traffic on a bridge or even seismic activity.
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Neural networks adapt to the presence of a toxic HIV protein

Neural networks adapt to the presence of a toxic HIV protein | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) afflict approximately half of HIV infected patients.

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Nearly half of HIV infected patients suffer from impaired neurocognitive function. The HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) is an important contributor to HIV neuropathogenesis because it is a potent neurotoxin that continues to be produced despite treatment with antiretroviral therapy.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that Tat altered the activity of networked neurons and that the network adapted to the presence of the toxin. The research article entitled, "HIV-1 Tat-Induced Changes in Synaptically-Driven Network Activity Adapt During Prolonged Exposure" is featured in the journal 'Current HIV Research'.

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Switching light with a silver atom

Switching light with a silver atom | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

Researchers working under Juerg Leuthold, Professor of Photonics and Communications, have created the world's smallest integrated optical switch. Applying a small voltage causes an atom to relocate, turning the switch on or off.

The quantity of data exchanged via communications networks around the globe is growing at a breathtaking rate. The volume of data for wired and mobile communications is currently increasing by 23% and 57% respectively every year. It is impossible to predict when this growth will end. This also means that all network components must constantly be made more efficient.

These components include so-called modulators, which convert the information that is originally available in electrical form into optical signals. Modulators are therefore nothing more than fast electrical switches that turn a laser signal on or off at the frequency of the incoming electrical signals. Modulators are installed in data centres in their thousands. However, they all have the disadvantage of being quite large. Measuring a few centimetres across, they take up a great deal of space when used in large numbers.


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Scientists make eco-friendly batteries out of leaves

Scientists make eco-friendly batteries out of leaves | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

Scientists at the University of Maryland have a new recipe for batteries: Bake a leaf, and add sodium. They used a carbonized oak leaf, pumped full of sodium ...

 

The lower side of the maple leaf is studded with pores for the leaf to absorb water. In this new design, the pores absorb the sodium electrolyte. At the top, the layers of carbon that made the leaf tough become sheets of nanostructured carbon to absorb the sodium that carries the charge.

"The natural shape of a leaf already matches a battery's needs: a low surface area, which decreases defects; a lot of small structures packed closely together, which maximizes space; and internal structures of the right size and shape to be used with sodium electrolyte," said Fei Shen, a visiting student in the department of materials science and engineering and the other main author of the paper.

"We have tried other natural materials, such as wood fiber, to make a battery," said Liangbing Hu, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering. "A leaf is designed by nature to store energy for later use, and using leaves in this way could make large-scale storage environmentally friendly."

The next step, Hu said, is "to investigate different types of leaves to find the best thickness, structure and flexibility" for electrical energy storage. The researchers have no plans to commercialize at this time.


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The strain allows to control the magnetic properties of individual iron atom

The strain allows to control the magnetic properties of individual iron atom | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The iron Fe2+ atom embedded in a semiconductor exhibits a single non-degenerate ground state of zero magnetic moment. A team of scientists from the University of Warsaw has just shown that by using sufficiently large strain it is possible to tailor the energy spectrum of the iron atom to obtain doubly degenerate (magnetic) ground state. Such a state can be utilized for storage and processing of the quantum information.
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From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
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Breakthrough in generating embryonic cells that are critical for human health

Breakthrough in generating embryonic cells that are critical for human health | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Critical for human development and health, neural crest cells arise early in the development of vertebrates. They migrate extensively inside the embryo, and differentiate to give rise to a wide array of diverse derivatives. Accessing these cells, however, is difficult. Work done by a research team led by a UC Riverside biomedical scientist now provides a fast, simple and cost-effective method to generate neural crest cells, facilitating research in basic sciences and clinical applications alike.
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Lithium battery catalyst found to harm key soil microorganism

Lithium battery catalyst found to harm key soil microorganism | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones has been shown to impair a key soil bacterium. The study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota is an early signal that the growing use of the new nanoscale materials used in the rechargeable batteries that power portable electronics and electric and hybrid vehicles may have untold environmental consequences.
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Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices

Organic crystals allow creating flexible electronic devices | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
The researchers from the Faculty of Physics of the Moscow State University have grown organic crystals that allow creating flexible electronic devices.
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The Deep-Frozen Flying Saucer - ALMA finds unexpectedly cold grains in planet-forming disc

The Deep-Frozen Flying Saucer - ALMA finds unexpectedly cold grains in planet-forming disc | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
ESO, European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere

The international team, led by Stephane Guilloteau at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France, measured the temperature of large dust grains around the young star 2MASS J16281370-2431391 in the spectacular Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, about 400 light-years from Earth.

This star is surrounded by a disc of gas and dust -- such discs are called protoplanetary discs as they are the early stages in the creation of planetary systems. This particular disc is seen nearly edge-on, and its appearance in visible light pictures has led to its being nicknamed the Flying Saucer.

The astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe the glow coming from carbon monoxide molecules in the 2MASS J16281370-2431391 disc. They were able to create very sharp images and found something strange -- in some cases they saw a negative signal! Normally a negative signal is physically impossible, but in this case there is an explanation, which leads to a surprising conclusion."

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Biomolecule's behavior under artificial conditions more natural than expected

Biomolecule's behavior under artificial conditions more natural than expected | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Researchers often analyze isolated biomolecules in test tubes, and it is doubtful if the results can be applied to densely-packed cells. A team from Bochum, Dortmund and Greifswald monitored the folding of an RNA structure in the living cell and compared the results with those of test tube analyses.
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3D model teases out physics of wrinkly brain

3D model teases out physics of wrinkly brain | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Wrinkles on the surface of the brain form through buckling in weak spots that develop as the foetal brain grows, a team of researchers working with 3D model of the brain find.
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A 'gap in the armor' of DNA may allow enzyme to trigger cancer-causing mutations

A 'gap in the armor' of DNA may allow enzyme to trigger cancer-causing mutations | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Research from Indiana University published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has identified a genetic mechanism that is likely to drive mutations that can lead to cancer.
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'Holy grail' bacteria for crop farming debunked by scientists

'Holy grail' bacteria for crop farming debunked by scientists | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

The proposed ability of a bacteria strain, which could have supplied nitrogen to crops without artificial fertilisers, has now been disproven. Crops depend on a supply of nitrogen for their growth.

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Ancient rocks of Tetons formed by continental collisions

Ancient rocks of Tetons formed by continental collisions | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Plate tectonics were operating in what is now western Wyoming long before the collisions that created the Himalayas starting 40 million years ago.
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The sinister beauty of plant cells

The sinister beauty of plant cells | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it

(Robert Dash's subjects are stomata — plant pores that take carbon dioxide in and push oxygen and water out. Though his subjects are barely a fraction of the size of a pinhead, they pack a world of wonder. 

Dash uses a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to produce the micrographs. But first he must prepare the plant specimen — stems, leaves, and flowers that are no larger than a grain of rice — through an elaborate process that involves drying them out and coating them with a light mist of gold or palladium so that they conduct electricity. "Once in the SEM," Dash says, "it is not light but a beam of electrons which scans the sample and creates an image."

Dash admits he's drawn to the images that suggest eyes and mouths. "These symbolize an intelligence and cleverness of a significant life form that we interact with daily, but know so little about," he says. "I'm fascinated by the intelligence of plants."

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New UMD Study Zeros in on Plate Tectonics' Start Date

New UMD Study Zeros in on Plate Tectonics' Start Date | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
Study suggests that plate tectonics—the dynamic processes that formed Earth’s mountains, volcanoes and continents—began about 3 billion years ago. 

 

“Because the evolution of continental crust is linked to many major geological processes on Earth, this work may provide a basis for a variety of future studies of Earth history,” Tang said. “For example, weathering of this magnesium-rich crust may have affected the chemistry of the ancient ocean, where life on Earth evolved. As for the onset of plate tectonics, I don’t think this study will close the argument, but it certainly adds a compelling new dimension to the discussion.”

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MIT wins design competition for Elon Musk's Hyperloop

MIT wins design competition for Elon Musk's Hyperloop | Fragments of Science | Scoop.it
MIT student engineers won a competition to transform SpaceX and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk' idea into a design for a Hyperloop to move pods of people at high speed.
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