Science and Technology

New Zealand one of few island nations with potential to produce enough food in a nuclear winter, researchers say

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
New Zealand is one of only a few island nations that could continue to produce enough food to feed its population in a nuclear winter, researchers have found.

Biosensor could lead to new drugs, sensory organs on a chip

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
A synthetic biosensor that mimics properties found in cell membranes and provides an electronic readout of activity could lead to a better understanding of cell biology, development of new drugs, and the creation of sensory organs on a chip capable of detecting chemicals, similar to how noses and tongues work.

Video game playing causes no harm to young children's cognitive abilities, study finds

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Despite old fears that bad effects follow excessive video game playing or questionable game choices, researchers found those factors mattered little, if any, in children's brain health. The bad news? Video games assumed to be effective learning tools showed no meaningful effects, either.

Codebreakers crack secrets of Mary Queen of Scots' lost letters

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Secret, coded letters penned by Mary Queen of Scots while she was imprisoned in England by her cousin Queen Elizabeth I have been uncovered by a multidisciplinary team of international codebreakers. Launched on the anniversary of Mary's execution, study reveals 50 new letters in cipher -- with some still believed missing -- shedding new light on her captivity.

The new prostate cancer blood test with 94 per cent accuracy

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Researchers have helped develop a new blood test to detect prostate cancer with greater accuracy than current methods. New research shows that the Prostate Screening EpiSwitch (PSE) blood test is 94 per cent accurate -- beating the currently used prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The research team say that the new test shows significant potential as an accurate and rapid cancer screening diagnostic.

Surprises in sea turtle genes could help them adapt to a rapidly changing world

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Around 100 million years ago, a group of land-dwelling turtles took to the oceans, eventually evolving into the sea turtles that we know today. However, the genetic foundations that have enabled them to thrive in oceans throughout the world have remained largely unknown.

Penguin physics: Understanding the mechanisms of underwater turning maneuvers in penguins

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Penguins generate centripetal force when turning by pointing their belly inwards and moving their wings asymmetrically. New findings shed light on the previously unknown mechanisms that these birds rely on to perform their underwater turns by a single wingbeat, paving the way to a more comprehensive knowledge of their swimming maneuvers.

Devastating cost of future coastal flooding for many developing nations predicted in new study

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
New global modelling predicts the devastating socioeconomic impacts of future extreme coastal flooding for developing nations caused by climate change, with Asia, West Africa and Egypt facing severe costs in the coming decades.

AI can predict the effectiveness of breast cancer chemotherapy

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Engineers have developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology to predict if women with breast cancer would benefit from chemotherapy prior to surgery.

AI-Powered FRIDA robot collaborates with humans to create art

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
FRIDA, a robotic arm with a paintbrush taped to it, uses artificial intelligence to collaborate with humans on works of art. Ask FRIDA to paint a picture, and it gets to work putting brush to canvas. The robot uses AI models similar to those powering tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT and DALL-E 2, which generate text or an image, respectively, in response to a prompt. FRIDA simulates how it would paint an image with brush strokes and uses machine learning to evaluate its progress as it works. FRIDA's final products are impressionistic and whimsical. The brushstrokes are bold. They lack the precision sought so often in robotic endeavors. If FRIDA makes a mistake, it riffs on it, incorporating the errant splotch of paint into the end result.

Solving a machine-learning mystery

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Researchers have explained how large language models like GPT-3 are able to learn new tasks without updating their parameters, despite not being trained to perform those tasks. They found that these large language models write smaller linear models inside their hidden layers, which the large models can train to complete a new task using simple learning algorithms.

A fossil fruit from California shows ancestors of coffee and potatoes survived cataclysm that killed the dinosaurs

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
The discovery of an 80-million-year-old fossil plant pushes back the known origins of lamiids to the Cretaceous, extending the record of nearly 40,000 species of flowering plants including modern-day staple crops like coffee, tomatoes, potatoes and mint.

Why icicles are rippled

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Winter is coming to an end; the last nights of below zero temperatures are here. In the morning, one still spots the occasional icicle on a gutter or car bumper. When you look at these icicles carefully, you may notice that they show a characteristic pattern of ripples -- always around one centimetre wide. What causes these ripples? Using an icicle machine of their own design, physicists and chemists investigated this question, and discovered that salt plays an important part in the formation process of the ripples.

Brain structural differences observed in children with conduct disorder with and without childhood maltreatment

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Characterized by antisocial behaviors and low academic achievement, conduct disorder (CD) impacts an estimated 9.5% of individuals in the United States. Childhood maltreatment is a major risk factor for CD. Past CD studies have identified structural alterations in various brain regions, such as those implicated in emotion processing, learning, and social cognition. A new study has now assessed whether youths with CD who experienced childhood maltreatment differ at the brain level from those with CD without a history of maltreatment.

A faster, more accurate 3D modelling tool recreates a landscape's digital twin down to the pixel level

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Researchers have developed a new technique that can help create high-quality, accurate 3D models of large-scale landscapes -- essentially, digital replicas of the real world. The framework reconstructs the geometry, structure and appearance of an area using highly detailed images taken by aircraft typically flying higher than 30,000 feet. These large-scale aerial images -- usually more than 200 megapixels each -- are then processed to produce precise 3D models of cityscapes, landscapes or mixed areas. They can model their appearance right down to the structures' colors.

Researchers focus AI on finding exoplanets

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
New research reveals that artificial intelligence can be used to find planets outside of our solar system. The recent study demonstrated that machine learning can be used to find exoplanets, information that could reshape how scientists detect and identify new planets very far from Earth.

Can pigeons match wits with artificial intelligence?

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Can a pigeon match wits with artificial intelligence? Researchers tested pigeons' learning abilities and concluded the birds employ the same basic process, called associative learning, as the most advanced AI technologies.

Optimal layout for a hospital isolation room to contain COVID-19 includes ceiling vent

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Researchers recently modeled the transmission of COVID-19 within an isolation room at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, U.K. Their goal was to explore the optimal room layout to reduce the risk of infection for health care staff.

New studies point the way to broadly effective treatments for ALS

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
In the quest to find a cure for ALS patients, a team of researchers led by USC Stem Cell scientist Justin Ichida has identified two promising avenues for developing new treatments for diverse forms of this devastating disease. The researchers collected skin or blood samples from patients with both familial and sporadic ALS and reprogrammed the skin and blood cells into motor neurons. These patient-derived motor neurons provided an opportunity to screen thousands of FDA-approved drugs and drug-like molecules to find ones that might be effective against multiple forms of ALS. By leveraging a public bioinformatics database to identify how drugs affect the genetic landscape underpinning ALS, the scientists found that suppressing the SYF2 gene would increase the survival of motor neurons derived from patients with diverse forms of ALS. They also found that inhibiting a protein, the PIKFYVE kinase, could represent another effective strategy for treating many different forms of ALS.

Glacial flooding threatens millions globally

Science Daily - 08/02/2023
Fifteen million people around the world are at risk from flooding caused by glacial lakes, with just four countries -- India, Pakistan, China and Peru -- accounting for more than half of those exposed.

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