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Updated: 3 hours 51 min ago

Big Picture Science

5 hours 16 min ago
Neural dust: tiny particles being designed to interface with the human brain

Ask a Scientist: Why do some scientists commercialize their research?

5 hours 16 min ago
Ask a Scientist: Why do some scientists commercialize their research?

Slowing antibiotic resistance with EnteroSword

5 hours 16 min ago

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Danial Nasr Azadani, John Ramirez and Reavelyn Pray from Del Mar College, Texas, won first place at the National Science Foundation’s 2017 Community College Innovation Challenge. Their project, "Slowing Antibiotic Resistance with EnteroSword," advocates the use of tailor-made viruses that target bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics.

Image credit: NSF/Bill Petros

A mosquito's secret weapon: a light touch and strong wings

5 hours 16 min ago

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Scientists have found the key to mosquitoes’ stealth takeoffs: They barely push off when making a fast getaway, but instead rely on strong and rapid wing beats to quickly get aloft without anyone noticing. The technique is in stark contrast to other insects, like flies, that push off first and then start beating their wings frantically, often tumbling uncontrollably in the process. That strong takeoff gives away their location, however, allowing us to swat them more easily than we can swat a mosquito. Mosquitoes are able to make stealthy takeoffs with an empty belly or one filled with a blood meal, which nearly doubles their weight. The researchers cycled through 600 mosquitoes as the team perfected its setup to film mosquito takeoffs with three high-speed cameras shooting at 125,000 frames per second.

Image credit: National Science Foundation

The Science Show

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:00am
Extreme changes extremely fast in the Arctic

Keratin, pigment, proteins from 54 million-year-old sea turtle show survival trait evolution

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:00am

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Researchers from North Carolina State University, Lund University in Sweden and the University of Hyogo in Japan have retrieved original pigment, beta-keratin and muscle proteins from a 54 million-year-old sea turtle hatchling. The work adds to the growing body of evidence supporting persistence of original molecules over millions of years and also provides direct evidence that a pigment-based survival trait common to modern sea turtles evolved at least 54 million years ago. Tasbacka danica is a species of sea turtle that lived during the Eocene period, between 56 and 34 million years ago. In 2008, an extremely well-preserved T. danica hatchling was recovered from the Für formation in Jutland, Denmark. The shells of modern sea turtle hatchlings are dark colored--this pigmentation gives them protection from aerial predators (such as seagulls) as they float on the ocean surface to breathe. The T. danica hatchling specimen appeared to share this coloration with its living counterparts. According to the study’s co-author, the findings suggest "that coloration was used for physiology as far back as the Eocene, in the same manner as it is today."

Image credit: Johan Lindgren

How we determine who's to blame

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:00am

Shaping animal, vegetable and mineral

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:00am

Timberrr! Could new structural designs withstand earthquakes?

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:00am
Timberrr! Could new structural designs withstand earthquakes?

What about a pumpkin-colored zombie shrimp for your Halloween costume?

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 3:00am

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Just in time for Halloween, a new study reveals that pumpkin-colored zombies may be running rampant through your local salt marsh. The research isn’t quite as spooky as it sounds. These zombies aren’t flesh-eating humanoids of the "Walking Dead" variety, but tiny shrimp infected by a microscopic parasite. Even so, their growing abundance in nutrient-fueled salt marshes may well portend future threats to humankind. The study builds on a long-term experiment in which researchers have been adding nitrogen to a New England salt marsh each year since 2004. The researchers’ goal is to investigate how these key coastal ecosystems respond to nutrient-rich runoff from fertilized fields, wastewater treatment plants and other human sources.

Image credit: D.S. Johnson/Virginia Institute of Marine Science

The Discovery Files

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 3:00am
New optical device to detect drugs, bomb-making chemicals and more

NSF Science Now: Episode 53

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 3:00am
NSF Science Now: Episode 53

Exploring blue mussel populations in Downeast Maine

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 3:00am

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In 2013, the Yund Lab based at the Downeast Institute, in collaboration with the Xue Lab at the University of Maine, the Etter Lab and the Hannigan Lab (both out of the University of Massachusetts, Boston) began a four-year, National Science Foundation-funded project to study the population dynamics of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in Downeast Maine. The Xue Lab is creating a model that predicts, based on ocean currents, where mussel larvae released from known beds will end up settling to become new adults. One prediction, based on known oceanography of the Gulf of Maine and the Eastern Maine Coastal Current, is that the northeastern populations are seeded mostly from up-shelf sources, whereas southwestern populations have a lot of local retention.

Image credit: Skylar Bayer/Downeast Institute