Earth

ORLANDO, Fla., April 3, 2019 -- Wood may seem more at home in log cabins than modern architecture, but a specially treated type of timber could be tomorrow's trendy building material. Today, scientists report a new kind of transparent wood that not only transmits light, but also absorbs and releases heat, potentially saving on energy costs. The material can bear heavy loads and is biodegradable, opening the door for its eventual use in eco-friendly homes and other buildings.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 3, 2019 -- Science-fiction writers have long envisioned human¬-machine hybrids that wield extraordinary powers. However, "super plants" with integrated nanomaterials may be much closer to reality than cyborgs. Today, scientists report the development of plants that can make nanomaterials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and the application of MOFs as coatings on plants. The augmented plants could potentially perform useful new functions, such as sensing chemicals or harvesting light more efficiently.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 3, 2019 -- Lead leaching from pipes into the water supply is a serious public health concern. And if water sources or treatment regimens are changed, the new chemistry can cause water distribution systems that were previously safe to begin releasing toxic lead, as the crisis in Flint, Michigan, demonstrated a few years ago. Today, scientists will describe a cost-effective and quick method that could overcome these problems and make lead pipes safe for carrying drinking water.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.--In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, West Virginia University neuroscientists linked white light at night--the kind that typically illuminates hospital rooms--to inflammation, brain-cell death and higher mortality risk in cardiac patients.

The central goal of nanotechnology is the manipulation of materials on an atomic or molecular scale, especially to build microscopic devices or structures. Three-dimensional cages are one of the most important targets, both for their simplicity and their application as drug carriers for medicine. DNA nanotechnology uses DNA molecules as programmable "Legos" to assemble structures with a control not possible with other molecules.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, have developed skin-inspired electronics to conform to the skin, allowing for long-term, high-performance, real-time wound monitoring in users.

"We eventually hope that these sensors and engineering accomplishments can help advance healthcare applications and provide a better quantitative understanding in disease progression, wound care, general health, fitness monitoring and more," said Matthew Brown, a PhD student at Binghamton University.

Biodiversity hotspot Madagascar is one of the world's biggest islands, and home to some of its biggest insects. Now German scientists have discovered two new species of giant stick insect, living only in the dry forests of Madagascar's northernmost tip.

One giant female measures a whopping 24cm - but it is the smaller males that are most striking. At sexual maturity these daredevils abandon their stick-like camouflage for dazzling blue or many-colored shining armor.

ORLANDO, Fla., March 31, 2019 -- As current antibiotics dwindle in effectiveness against multidrug-resistant pathogens, researchers are seeking potential replacements in some unlikely places. Now a team has identified bacteria with promising antibiotic activity against known pathogens -- even dangerous organisms, such as the microbe that causes MRSA infections -- in the protective mucus that coats young fish.

ORLANDO, Fla., March 31, 2019 -- Aiming a laser beam at an aircraft isn't a harmless prank: The sudden flash of bright light can incapacitate the pilot, risking the lives of passengers and crew. But because attacks can happen with different colored lasers, such as red, green or even blue, scientists have had a difficult time developing a single method to impede all wavelengths of laser light. Today, researchers report liquid crystals that could someday be incorporated into aircraft windshields to block any color of bright, focused light.

A team of researchers at Ehime University revealed the binding affinities of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to Baikal seal peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) using in vitro and in silico approaches. The finding was published on January 16 in the highly reputed environmental science journal, Environmental Science and Technology.