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Upper part of Earth’s magnetic field reveals details of a dramatic past

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Magetic field model/Magnetic anomaly (ESA)


Satellites have been mapping the upper part of the Earth magnetic field by collecting data for three years and found some amazing features about the Earth’s crust. The result is the release of highest resolution map of this field seen from space to date. This ‘lithospheric magnetic field’ is very weak and therefore difficult to detect and map from space. But with the Swarm satellites it has been possible. “By combining Swarm measurements with historical data from the German CHAMP satellite, and using a new modelling technique, it was possible to extract the tiny magnetic signals of crustal magnetization with unprecedented accuracy,” said professor Nils Olsen from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), one of the team of scientists behind the new map that has just been released at a Swarm Science Meeting in Banff, Canada.

 

Fly larvae found to contribute to atmospheric methane pollution

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Greenhouse gases: First it was cows -- now it's larvae!

During the day, the Chaoborus spp hide in the sediment where dissolved methane is transferred into their gas sacs. Using the buoyancy from the methane, they float to the lake surface at night to feed on zooplankton. At the surface, the methane in the gas sacs is dissolved back into the water.  Chaoborus spp is a small fly species that is found all over the world (except in Antarctica). The insect spends one to two years of its life cycle under water in a larval state, in lakes no deeper than 70 metres. Larvae spend the day in lakebed sediment and rise to the surface at night to feed. They are equipped with air sacs that they can adjust to alter their depth in the water so as to migrate upwards and downwards.

 

Minitablets help medicate picky cats

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Hautala uutiskuva_500

Of all pets, cats are often considered the most difficult ones to medicate. Very small minitablets with flavours or flavour coatings can help cat owners commit to the treatment and make cats more compliant to it, while making it easier to regulate dosage and administer medication flexibly. In her dissertation, Jaana Hautala, MSc (Pharmacy), is seeking solutions for facilitating the medication of cats. In order for the oral medication of pets to succeed, the animal must enjoy the taste of the medicine and find it appealing. Palatability is essential both in acute cases and in the treatment of chronic illnesses which require regular, constant medical treatment. Successful treatment of pets is also necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of humans, communities and the environment.

 

A new web of life

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Leucauge venusta suspended from its web. Photo: Dimitar Dimitrov


For the first time biologists have made a full family tree of the world's spiders, giving us knowledge about venoms that can be useful in medicine. And we might be able to develop silk just as good as the spider's. They may make you cringe in horror, or they may intrigue you. Some even have them as pets. Regardless of how you judge them, spiders are a plentiful and widespread group of animals. They have been around for 400 million years, count 45 000 species, and crawl around on nearly every terrestrial habitat in in the world. For long, researchers have tried to unlock the secrets to their evolutionary history, striking diversity and success.

 

New species discovered: Protist parasites contribute to the stability of rainforest ecosystems

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Nature_ecology_Micah_Dunthorn_480


Tropical rainforests are one of the most species-rich areas on earth. Thousands of animal and plant species live there. The smaller microbial protists, which are not visible to the naked eye, are also native to these forests, where they live in the soils and elsewhere. A team of researchers formed by Micah Dunthorn, University of Kaiserslautern, examined them more closely by analyzing their DNA. They discovered many unknown species, including many parasites, which may contribute to the stability of rainforest ecosystems. These results have now been published in the scientific journal "Nature Ecology and Evolution".

 

Looking for signs of the Big Bang in the desert

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Caption: : iStock by GettyImages. Photographer: reubenheydenrych


The silence of an immense desolate land in which to search for reverberations coming from the time at which everything began. The Simons Observatory will be built in the Chilean Atacama desert at an altitude of several thousand metres for the purposes of studying primordial gravitational waves which originated in the first instants of the Big Bang. The SISSA research group led by Carlo Baccigalupi and Francesca Perrotta will take part in this prestigious international project which will lead to the realization  of an ultra-modern telescope project. Their role will involve studying and removing ‘signal contaminants’, emissions from our galaxy and other astrophysical objects which interfere with the analysis and study of primordial gravitational waves.

 

Fledgling stars try to prevent their neighbours from birthing planets

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Artist's impression of an evaporating protoplanetary disc. Image:NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Stars don’t have to be massive to evaporate material from around nearby stars and affect their ability to form planets, a new study suggests. Newly formed stars are surrounded by a disc of dense gas and dust. This is called the protoplanetary disc, as material sticks together within it to form planets. Stars of different shapes and sizes are all born in huge star-forming regions. Scientists know that when a protoplanetary disc around a relatively small star is very close to a massive star, the larger star can evaporate parts of the protoplanetary disc.

 

How can you help save endangered species? Save the Pink Pigeon

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“Conservation genomics to the rescue, saving the pink pigeon #seqthepinkpigeon” is a research project led by the Earlham Institute (EI) and the University of East Anglia in partnership with PacBio. By voting to save the pink pigeon – we also hope to increase survival for other threatened species. Earlham Institute is one of just five finalists and only UK entry selected by a scientific committee to win a PacBio SMRT Sequencing grant. As part of the 2017 Plant and Animal SMRT Programme. EI, in collaboration with the UEA, EnvEast and partners are aiming to save the pink pigeon from its diminishing population on the island of Mauritius. This would be the first endangered bird species to be sequenced by the Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq method; the potential project will identify immune system genes and their variants which enable the unique species’ survival from a disease humans unwittingly introduced to the island.

 

‘The influence of the media on legislation is limited’

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Anyone watching the question hour in the Lower House on Tuesday afternoon will regularly hear MPs referring to news articles. Media attention is often the direct cause of questions to ministers or state secretaries, and often the reason for putting topics on the political agenda. If we look only at the course of legislative processes, the influence of the media is much less. PhD research by Lotte Melenhorst has led to this conclusion. The positions of politicians and their parties change little or not at all as a result of media attention. Melenhorst reaches this conclusion after studying three recent proposals for legislation, each of which received a lot of media attention: the Executives’ Pay (Standards) Act, the Law on Work and Social Security, and the Law on Tuition Fees Loans in Higher Education.

 

Fighting botulism: new technique to process food

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Researchers at TUM

 

Combining high pressure and temperature for food processing could produce high quality products that stay fresh for weeks. But can it safely tackle deadly food borne illnesses such as botulism? Food borne botulism is a rare, but potentially fatal disease. According to the World Health Organisation the toxins that cause the illness are some of the most lethal substances known. Patients die in 5% to 10% . We spoke to Rudi Vogel, a microbiologist and food technology researcher at the Technical University of Munich, about a new technique, which he has recently tested on the bacteria that cause botulism. He is collaborating with the European HIPSTER project, which is developing a new food processing technology that combines high pressure with temperature to produce high quality, safe food products with a long shelf life.

 

TPU foot implants improve life for pets and humans

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Thomas and Kutuzov the cats with artificial feet

Veterinaries successfully apply Tomsk Polytechnic University’s developments for implantology. Now titanium implants with bioactive coatings are already used to treat pets in BEST vet clinic, Novosibirsk, Russia. Tomas and Kutuzov the cats were the first patients to apply the Tomsk development. A scientific team led by associate professor Sergey Tverdokhlebov, the TPU Department of Experimental Physics, is engaged in the property modification of materials used in implant manufacturing. Tomas and Kutuzov the cats were the first patients to test the innovation. “One cat was missing a front foot, another – a back foot. Their owners addressed the clinic and doctors suggested implants with our coatings. The owners agreed and the pets were operated. Now the two are under observation and veterinaries systematically do them radiograph and tomography. Results show the implants have taken roots well. According to the doctors the four-leg patients feel themselves with artificial feet as comfortable as with their native ones,” says Sergey Tverdokhlebov.

 
 
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