Earth

Early in the pandemic, it was expected that satellite imagery around the world would show cleaner air as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. But not all pollutants were taken out of circulation. For tiny airborne-particle pollution, known as PM 2.5, researchers using NASA data found that variability from meteorology obscured the lockdown signals when observed from space.

"Red flag" gun laws--which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from a person at risk of harming themselves or others--are gaining attention at the state and federal levels, but are under scrutiny by legislators who deem them unconstitutional. A new analysis by legal scholars at NYU School of Global Public Health describes the state-by-state landscape for red flag legislation and how it may be an effective tool to reduce gun violence, while simultaneously protecting individuals' constitutional rights.

Our planet's strongest ocean current, which circulates around Antarctica, plays a major role in determining the transport of heat, salt and nutrients in the ocean. An international research team led by the Alfred Wegener Institute has now evaluated sediment samples from the Drake Passage. Their findings: during the last interglacial period, the water flowed more rapidly than it does today. This could be a blueprint for the future and have global consequences. For example, the Southern Ocean's capacity to absorb CO2 could decrease, which would in turn intensify climate change.

With age, a diet lacking in the essential amino acid tryptophan -- which has a key role in our mood, energy level and immune response -- makes the gut microbiome less protective and increases inflammation body-wide, investigators report.

In a normally reciprocal relationship that appears to go awry with age, sufficient tryptophan, which we consume in foods like milk, turkey, chicken and oats, helps keep our microbiota healthy.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - When the summer sun blazes on a hot city street, our first reaction is to flee to a shady spot protected by a building or tree.

A new study is the first to calculate exactly how much these shaded areas help lower the temperature and reduce the "urban heat island" effect.

Researchers created an intricate 3D digital model of a section of Columbus and determined what effect the shade of the buildings and trees in the area had on land surface temperatures over the course of one hour on one summer day.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Using an unusually well-preserved subfossil jawbone, a team of researchers -- led by Penn State and with a multi-national team of collaborators including scientists from the Université d'Antananarivo in Madagascar -- has sequenced for the first time the nuclear genome of the koala lemur (Megaladapis edwardsi), one of the largest of the 17 or so giant lemur species that went extinct on the island of Madagascar between about 500 and 2,000 years ago.

In our future electrified world, the demand for battery storage is projected to be enormous, reaching to upwards of 2 to 10 terawatt-hours (TWh) of annual battery production by 2030, from less than 0.5 TWh today. However, concerns are growing as to whether key raw materials will be adequate to meet this future demand. The lithium-ion battery - the dominant technology for the foreseeable future - has a component made of cobalt and nickel, and those two metals face severe supply constraints on the global market.

A joint research team led by Prof. LIU Zhongmin, Prof. WEI Yingxu, and Prof. XU Shutao from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) revealed the mechanism underlying the formation of the first carbon-carbon (C-C) bond formation during the methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process.

This study was published in Chem on June 23.

Prof. ZHENG Anmin's group from Innovation Academy for Precision Measurement Science and Technology of CAS was also involved in the study.

A team of researchers developed a biomimetic mineralization of calcium carbonate using a multifunctional peptide template that can self-supply mineral sources, which in this case is a supply of carbonate ions, the precursor of calcium carbonate, and following the mechanism of biosynthesis of hard tissues by living organisms, called biomineralization, the ability to form hydrogels, which is modeled after the reaction environment of living organisms.

Profs. Okujima and Uno at Ehime University, in collaboration with Prof. Kobayashi at Shinshu University, reported the selective synthesis, the molecular structure, optical properties and electronic structure of cyclo[9]pyrrole, a ring-expanded porphyrin consisting of directly connected pyrrole rings.

As much as 20% of premature mortality can be attributed to poor urban and transport planning. Nevertheless, quantitative indicators to guide the integration of health components into urban design have been lacking. To address this gap, a team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation, has identified 10 principles--and corresponding indicators--to help urban planners incorporate public health into their work.

The Earth is a sphere, and it comprises spheres: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere -- in short, all of the cycles that interact to influence Earth's weather and climate. Now, to better research how the spheres interact and impact the planet, China is launching EarthLab in Beijing.

Pioneering research has shown marine ecosystems can start working again, providing important functions for humans, after being wiped out much sooner than their return to peak biodiversity.

The study, led by the University of Bristol and published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, paves the way for greater understanding of the impact of climate change on all life forms.

A rare genetic defect that affects the so-called ALG2 gene can cause serious metabolic diseases in humans. It does so through the defective formation of proteins and sugar molecules. Until now, its rareness and complexity made it difficult to study this congenital glycosylation disorder. A research team led by Prof.

Our homes and offices are only as solid as the ground beneath them. When that solid ground turns to liquid -- as sometimes happens during earthquakes -- it can topple buildings and bridges. This phenomenon is known as liquefaction, and it was a major feature of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, a magnitude 6.3 quake that killed 185 people and destroyed thousands of homes.