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Botulinum-type toxins jump to a new kind of bacteria

Enterococci are hardy microbes that thrive in the gastrointestinal tracts of nearly all land animals, including our own, and generally cause no harm. But their ruggedness has lately made them leading causes of multi-drug-resistant infections, especially in settings like hospitals where antibiotic use disrupts the natural balance of intestinal microbes. ...

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Historical migrations left genetic footprints on the Irish genome

A genome-wide study of the people of Ireland reveals a previously hidden genetic landscape, shaped through geography and historical migrations. Ross Byrne and Russell McLaughlin of Trinity College Dublin in Ireland report their findings January 25th, 2018 in PLOS Genetics. In the 10,000 years that people have continuously inhabited the ...

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The Science of Why Swearing Physically Reduces Pain

For a very long time, conventional wisdom held that swearing was not a useful response to pain. Many psychologists believed that swearing would actually make pain feel worse, thanks to a cognitive distortion known as catastrophizing. When we catastrophize we leap to the conclusion that the bad thing that is ...

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Astronomers produce first detailed images of surface of giant star

An international team of astronomers has produced the first detailed images of the surface of a giant star outside our solar system, revealing a nearly circular, dust-free atmosphere with complex areas of moving material, known as convection cells or granules, according to a recent study. The giant star, named π1Gruis, ...

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Rocket Lab Test Flight Launches Three CubeSats to Orbit

The launch company Rocket Lab has amusing names for its missions. The first, in May, was called “It’s a Test” (it was). When the staff debated what to call the second launch of their diminutive Electron rocket, so sized (and priced) specifically to carry small satellites to space, they said, ...

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Piecework at the nano assembly line

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move a hundred thousand times faster than with the biochemical processes used to date. This makes nanobots fast enough to do assembly line work in molecular factories. The ...

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