Culture

In a Policy Forum, Charlie Wilson and colleagues explore the potential advantages of "granular" energy technologies - small-scale, lower-cost and modular technologies - for accelerating the low-carbon transformation of our global energy system. Opposed to the mainstream "bigger is better" upscaling of technology and infrastructure, Wilson et al. present new data and analyses demonstrating the benefits of granular energy technologies.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology are the first to describe different emotional facial expressions for mice. Similar to humans, the face of a mouse looks completely different when it tastes something sweet or bitter, or when it becomes anxious. With this new possibility to render the emotions of mice measurable, neurobiologists can now investigate the basic mechanisms of how emotions are generated and processed in the brain.

In a study published this week in Science, Université de Montreal researchers report key structural and biochemical differences among a class of anti-cancer drugs known as PARP inhibitors. These distinguishing differences were linked to differing capacities of PARP inhibitors to kill cancer cells. The research resolves a long-standing and perplexing quandary over differences between the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors used in cancer clinics.

What do you see in the picture above (Figure 1)? Merely a precisely-drawn three-dimensional picture of nanoparticles? Far more than that, nanotechnologists will say, due to a new study published in the journal Science. Whether a material catalyzes chemical reactions or impedes any molecular response is all about how its atoms are arranged. The ultimate goal of nanotechnology is centered around the ability to design and build materials atom by atom, thus allowing scientists to control their properties in any given scenario.

Researchers know that people are motivated to be vegetarian for different reasons -- the most common in western cultures being health, the environment and animal rights. But how compelling are these different factors for nonvegetarians?

University of California, Davis, researchers in the Department of Psychology surveyed 8,000 people of various ages and ethnicities, in two languages, in both the United States and Holland, to help determine why nonvegetarians decide to become vegetarian.

A paradox for advocacy efforts

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, working with Spanish, French, and German colleagues, have determined and analyzed the high-resolution structure of a protein from the recently discovered heliorhodopsin family. Microbial rhodopsins play a key role in optogenetics -- a technique that uses light to control nerve and muscle cells in living tissue. The findings were published in PNAS.

An international team, including Arizona State University researcher Gary Schwartz, have unearthed the earliest known skull of Homo erectus, the first of our ancestors to be nearly human-like in their anatomy and aspects of their behavior.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has already resulted in mass layoffs in several industries, other essential industries will instead face critical workforce shortages, according to a new report. Social distancing, school and daycare closures, and measures to protect those people who are most at-risk limit the pool of workers firms can draw upon. How important will these constraints turn out to be, especially in essential industries?

The oldest known animals and plants preserved in amber from Southern Gondwana are reported in Scientific Reports this week. Gondwana, the supercontinent made up of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica and Australia, broke away from the Pangea supercontinent around 200 million years ago. The findings further our understanding of ecology in Australia and New Zealand during the Late Triassic to mid-Paleogene periods (230-40 million years ago).

Branching allows plants to occupy space in 3D, an innovation considered essential for their adaption. Stem cells are key to this process because they promote the establishment of new growth axes. But where do these stem cells come from?

New research led by investigators from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) helps answer this question.

A new study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, has found that clean cooking with liquified petroleum gas (LPG) could avert 28,000 premature deaths and reduce global temperatures through successful implementation of a new national household energy strategy in Cameroon.

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 -- Cold brew may be the hottest trend in coffee-making, but not a lot is known about how this process alters the drink's chemical characteristics. Scientists now report that the content of potentially health-promoting antioxidants in coffee brewed without heat can significantly differ from a cup of joe prepared with the same beans in the traditional way, particularly for dark roasts.

Cover crop impacts on soil properties depends on cover crop productivity. Planting cover crops early and in a diverse mix of species could be an option to boost biomass production and enhance benefits to soils. However, the impacts of early planting and species mixes on soil properties are not well understood.

A newly developed wireless biologging network (WBN) enables high-resolution tracking of small animals, according to a study published April 2 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Simon Ripperger of the Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, and colleagues. As noted by the authors, WBNs could close an important gap in biologging: the fully automated tracking and proximity-sensing of small animals, even in closed habitats, at high spatial and temporal resolution.

You wait ages for a pterosaur and then four come along at once.

Hot on the heels of a recent paper discovering three new species of pterosaur, University of Portsmouth palaeobiologists have identified another new species - the first of its kind to be found on African soil.

Pterosaurs are the less well-known cousins of dinosaurs. They had adept flying ability - some as large as a fighter jet and others as small as a model aeroplane.