Earth

Sailors' yarns about the Kraken, a giant sea-monster lurking in the abyss, may have an element of truth.

In 1857, the Danish naturalist Japetus Steenstrup linked the tell tales of ships being dragged to the ocean floor to the existence of the giant squid: A ten-armed invertebrate, that is credibly believed to grow up to 13 meters and weigh over 900 kg.

Now, more than 160 years later, an international team of scientists have sequenced and annotated the genome of a giant squid.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are among the most common organisms on Earth. A research team led by the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Heidelberg University has now shown for the first time that Cyanobacteria produce relevant amounts of methane in oceans, inland waters and on land. Due to climate change, "Cyanobacteria blooms" increase in frequency and extent, amplifying the release of methane from inland waters and oceans to the atmosphere.

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down to almost absolute zero, while some materials keep their superconducting properties up to much higher temperatures. How this "high-temperature superconductivity" works and how it is possible to develop new materials that are superconductors even at normal room temperature is still one of the great mysteries of modern physics.

A team of physicists from McMaster University has developed a process to modify red blood cells so they can be used to distribute drugs throughout the body, which could specifically target infections or treat catastrophic diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's.

The modified red blood cells are designed to circulate in the body for several weeks at a time, seeking out specific targets including bacteria, tumours or organs.

Writing in Nature, researchers describe the first-time observation of 'self-organized criticality' in a controlled laboratory experiment. Complex systems exist in mathematics and physics, but also occur in nature and society. The concept of self-organized criticality claims that without external input, complex systems in non-equilibrium tend to develop into a critical state far away from a stable equilibrium. That way, they reinforce their own non-equilibrium.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Scientists studying fossils collected 35 years ago have identified them as the oldest-known scorpion species, a prehistoric animal from about 437 million years ago. The researchers found that the animal likely had the capacity to breathe in both ancient oceans and on land.

Experimental physicists have combined several measurements of quantum materials into one in their ongoing quest to learn more about manipulating and controlling the behavior of them for possible applications. They even coined a term for it-- Magneto-elastoresistance, or MER.

Scientists in condensed matter physics at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have a long history of investigating "weird" materials, according to Paul Canfield, Ames Lab physicist, Distinguished Professor and the Robert Allen Wright Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University.

Tropical Cyclone Claudia was dissipating in the Southern Indian Ocean when NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of storm as it flew overhead in its orbit around the Earth.

On Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. EST (2100 UTC) the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted in their final warning that Tropical Cyclone Claudia's maximum sustained winds were down to 35 knots (40 mph/65 kph). Claudia was far from land, near latitude 21.4 degrees south and longitude 104.8 degrees east, about 521 nautical miles west of Learmonth, Australia.

Fish sticks may be a tasty option for dinner, but are they good for the planet?

A new study of the climate impacts of seafood products reveals that the processing of Alaskan pollock into fish sticks, imitation crab, and fish fillets generates significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Post-catch processing generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

A new paper in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, published by Oxford University Press, finds that models which use terrain features offer both practical and theoretical advantages in identifying climate resilient habitats for migratory birds whose populations are impacted by climate change.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Composites made from self-assembling inorganic materials are valued for their unique strength and thermal, optical and magnetic properties. However, because self-assembly can be difficult to control, the structures formed can be highly disordered, leading to defects during large-scale production. Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan have developed a templating technique that instills greater order and gives rise to new 3D structures in a special class of materials, called eutectics, to form new, high-performance materials.

Could feces offer hope to survivors of spinal cord injuries?

It's a question University of Alberta physical therapy researcher Karim Fouad never thought he'd ask. But the expert in spinal cord injuries said the digestive tract could help explain the link between spinal injuries and changes in mental health, such as increased anxiety and depression.

Large-scale irrigation is one of the land management practices with the largest effect on climate conditions - and especially hot extremes - in various regions across the globe. Yet how the climatic effects of irrigation compare to those of global warming is largely unknown.

A new computer algorithm can predict in the early stages of pregnancy, or even before pregnancy has occurred, which women are at a high risk of gestational diabetes - according to a study by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science reported today in Nature Medicine. The study analyzed data on nearly 600,000 pregnancies available from Israel's largest health organization, Clalit Health Services. Based on these predictions, it may be possible to prevent gestational diabetes using nutritional and lifestyle changes.

Replacing the volatile and flammable liquid or polymer electrolytes now used in lithium-ion batteries with inorganic solid-state lithium-ionic ceramic conductors could significantly improve both safety and performance of the cells. Solid-state conductors would allow for novel cathode and anode chemistry, prevent the growth of Li-metal dendrites and push miniaturization.