Sunday, March 09, 2008

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Hibernation-like behavior in Antarctic fish -- on ice for winter
Scientists have discovered an Antarctic fish species that adopts a winter survival strategy similar to hibernation. Reporting this week in the journal PLoS ONE, the online journal from the Public Library of Science, scientists from British Antarctic Survey and the University of Birmingham reveal, for the first time, that the Antarctic 'cod' Notothenia coriiceps effectively 'puts itself on ice' to survive the long Antarctic winter.

Future 'quantum computers' will offer increased efficiency... and risks
A first of its kind discovery observed in a University of Central Florida physics lab may help scientists get closer to creating quantum computers.

Nanoswitches toggled by light
Researchers led by Ahmed H. Zewail successfully used ultrafast electron microscopy to observe switchable nanochannels, which could be useful for future nanoelectronics and nanoscopic "machines."

Physics breakthrough much ado about 'nothing'
How do scientists store nothing? It may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but the answer is causing a stir in the realm of quantum physics after a University of Calgary research team has proven it's possible to store a special form of vacuum in a puff of gas and then retrieve it a split second later.

Magnetic levitation gives computer users sense of touch
Carnegie Mellon researchers unveil a haptic interface based on magnetic levitation to give computer users a feel for what's on the screen. They can perceive textures, feel hard contacts, and sense the heft of a heavy block as they lift it.

Can moths or butterflies remember what they learned as caterpillars?
Butterflies and moths are well known for their striking metamorphosis from crawling caterpillars to winged adults. This radical change makes it seem unlikely that learned associations or memories formed at the larval or caterpillar stage could be accessible to the adult moth or butterfly. However, in a study published in this week's PLoS ONE scientists at Georgetown University recently discovered that a moth can indeed remember what it learned as a caterpillar.

Tiny pieces of 'deep time' brought to the surface
Three-billion-year-old zircon microcrystals found in northern Ontario are proving to be a new record of the processes that form continents and their natural resources, including gold and diamonds.

New material can find a needle in a nuclear waste haystack
Nuclear power has advantages, but, if this method of making power is to be viable long term, discovering new solutions to radioactive waste disposal and other problems are critical. A team of Northwestern University chemists is the first to focus on metal sulfide materials as a possible source for nuclear waste remediation methods. Their new material is extremely successful in removing strontium from a sodium-heavy solution, which has concentrations similar to those in real liquid nuclear waste.

Viruses evolve to play by host rules, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers
It appears that viruses that infect a bacterium spell their own genes in the same way the bacterium does, obeying the rules of its host and demonstrating co-evolutionary behavior.

Penn scientists find a protein that inhibits Ebola from reaching out to infect neighboring cells
Penn veterinary researchers have identified a protein, ISG15, that inhibits the Ebola virus from budding, the process by which viruses escape from cells and spread to infect neighboring cells.


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