Futurity

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  • Girls prefer computer science without the geek chic

    Futurity » Society and Culture
    Molly McElroy-UW
    28 Aug 2015 | 7:12 am
    Three times as many high school girls said they wanted to take a computer science class when shown a less “geeky”  classroom. The study of 270 students reveals a practical way for teachers to help narrow the gender gap in computer science by helping girls feel that they belong. “Our findings show that classroom design matters—it can transmit stereotypes to high school students about who belongs and who doesn’t in computer science,” says lead author Allison Master, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning &…
  • How E. coli touch ‘neighbors’ to deliver toxins

    Futurity
    Andrea Estrada-UCSB
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:54 pm
    New research shows how certain microbes exploit proteins in nearby bacteria to deliver toxins and kill them. The mechanisms behind this bacterial warfare, the researchers suggest, could be harnessed to target pathogenic bacteria. Researchers have detailed how gram-negative bacteria use contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems to infiltrate and deliver protein toxins into neighboring cells. By studying the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), they were able to document how CDI “translocation domains” can use multiple pathways to transfer those toxins into a cell. By…
  • Drought could turn millet into American food

    Futurity » Earth and Environment
    Gretchen Kell-Berkeley
    31 Aug 2015 | 7:27 am
    Most people in the US put millet in the birdfeeder, but Amrita Hazra says we ought to eat it ourselves. Hazra, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of California, Berkeley, plant and microbial biology department, and her colleagues on the Millet Project are cultivating millets, testing millet recipes, and offering samples of millet-based products at local food events and exhibits. University writer Gretchen Kell spoke with Hazra about the intersection between science and food, what’s so special about millet, and why California is the perfect place to grow it. What is millet, or…
  • Too much TV: Obesity isn’t the only health risk

    Futurity » Health and Medicine
    Allison Hydzik-Pittsburgh
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:47 pm
    Spending too much time in front of the television may be unhealthy for both young adults and people with certain personality traits. A pair of studies details the risks. The first study, published online in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, suggests people with hostile personality traits who watch a lot of television may be at a greater risk for injury—possibly because they are more susceptible to the influence of television on violence and risk-taking behaviors, researchers say. A reduction in television viewing and a content rating systems that is geared…
  • How E. coli touch ‘neighbors’ to deliver toxins

    Futurity » Science and Technology
    Andrea Estrada-UCSB
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:54 pm
    New research shows how certain microbes exploit proteins in nearby bacteria to deliver toxins and kill them. The mechanisms behind this bacterial warfare, the researchers suggest, could be harnessed to target pathogenic bacteria. Researchers have detailed how gram-negative bacteria use contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems to infiltrate and deliver protein toxins into neighboring cells. By studying the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), they were able to document how CDI “translocation domains” can use multiple pathways to transfer those toxins into a cell. By…
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  • How E. coli touch ‘neighbors’ to deliver toxins

    Andrea Estrada-UCSB
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:54 pm
    New research shows how certain microbes exploit proteins in nearby bacteria to deliver toxins and kill them. The mechanisms behind this bacterial warfare, the researchers suggest, could be harnessed to target pathogenic bacteria. Researchers have detailed how gram-negative bacteria use contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems to infiltrate and deliver protein toxins into neighboring cells. By studying the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), they were able to document how CDI “translocation domains” can use multiple pathways to transfer those toxins into a cell. By…
  • Too much TV: Obesity isn’t the only health risk

    Allison Hydzik-Pittsburgh
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:47 pm
    Spending too much time in front of the television may be unhealthy for both young adults and people with certain personality traits. A pair of studies details the risks. The first study, published online in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, suggests people with hostile personality traits who watch a lot of television may be at a greater risk for injury—possibly because they are more susceptible to the influence of television on violence and risk-taking behaviors, researchers say. A reduction in television viewing and a content rating systems that is geared…
  • Depressed people suffer chest pain more often

    Quinn Eastmann-Emory
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:24 pm
    Depressed patients tend to have more frequent chest pain, even in the absence of coronary artery disease, report cardiologists. The findings suggest pain and depression may share a common neurochemical pathway, says Salim Hayek, a cardiology research fellow with Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute. “Depression is a common and well-recognized risk factor for the development of heart disease,” Hayek says. “Patients with known heart disease and depression tend to experience chest pain more frequently. “However until now, it was not known whether that…
  • Even ‘sticky’ liquid won’t stick to this surface

    A'ndrea Elyse Messer-Penn State
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:07 pm
    A new engineered surface can outperform some of nature’s best water repellents, including the leaves of the lotus flower. Creating surfaces that make liquid droplets more mobile could help prevent icing on aircraft wings and improve water harvesting in arid regions. “This represents a fundamentally new concept in engineered surfaces,” says Tak-Sing Wong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State. “Our surfaces combine the unique surface architectures of lotus leaves and pitcher plants in such a way that these surfaces possess both high surface area…
  • How to build millions of tiny microscopes all at once

    Ker Than-Caltech
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:34 am
    A new optical device made of silicon “nanopillars” could lead to advanced microscopes, displays, sensors, and cameras that can be mass-produced using the same techniques used to manufacture computer microchips. “Currently, optical systems are made one component at a time, and the components are often manually assembled,” says Andrei Faraon, an assistant professor of applied physics and materials science at Caltech. “But this new technology is very similar to the one used to print semiconductor chips onto silicon wafers, so you could conceivably manufacture…
 
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    Futurity » Earth and Environment

  • Drought could turn millet into American food

    Gretchen Kell-Berkeley
    31 Aug 2015 | 7:27 am
    Most people in the US put millet in the birdfeeder, but Amrita Hazra says we ought to eat it ourselves. Hazra, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of California, Berkeley, plant and microbial biology department, and her colleagues on the Millet Project are cultivating millets, testing millet recipes, and offering samples of millet-based products at local food events and exhibits. University writer Gretchen Kell spoke with Hazra about the intersection between science and food, what’s so special about millet, and why California is the perfect place to grow it. What is millet, or…
  • Deep trenches in Pacific are younger than we thought

    Keith Randall-Texas A&M
    28 Aug 2015 | 11:08 am
    Parts of the deep trenches in the Pacific Ocean are much “younger”—by as much as 50 million years—than previously believed. Scientists say the findings could change current thinking about how such deep-ocean trenches form. Using the research ship JOIDES Resolution, researchers examined core samples extracted from a subduction zone south of Japan. The samples were taken from water about 4,800 feet deep in the Pacific floor. A subduction zone is a huge underwater boundary that marks the collision between Earth’s tectonic plates. They are pieces of crust that slowly move…
  • Solar device shatters records for splitting water

    Jessica Stoller-Conrad - Caltech
    28 Aug 2015 | 10:54 am
    A new “artificial leaf” system that uses solar energy to split water can safely and efficiently create hydrogen fuel. “This new system shatters all of the combined safety, performance, and stability records for artificial leaf technology by factors of 5 to 10 or more,” says Nate Lewis, a chemistry professor at Caltech and scientific director of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). The design, described in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, consists of three main components: two electrodes—one photoanode and one photocathode—and a…
  • To save oysters in the future, dig up their past

    Blaine Friedlander-Cornell
    27 Aug 2015 | 12:42 pm
    Marine restoration scientists are using a new but very old tool to boost the survival of oysters and help restore their reef homes: paleontological history. Restoring oyster reefs is not an easy task, but by digging deep and examining centuries-old reefs, scientists say they may stand a better chance of bringing oysters back. To find out how geohistorical data—information gathered from sources such as fossils and sediments—could be used, researchers surveyed oyster biologists and restoration practitioners across the United States. Their findings are published in the Journal of Shellfish…
  • Friends and foes switch it up on coral reefs

    John Toon-Georgia Tech
    26 Aug 2015 | 12:01 pm
    On the coral reef, it can be hard to know who’s a friend and who’s an enemy. Take seaweed, for instance. Normally it’s the enemy of coral, secreting toxic chemicals, blocking the sunlight, and damaging coral with its rough surfaces. But when hordes of hungry crown-of-thorns sea stars invade the reef, everything changes. Seaweeds appear to protect coral from the marauding sea stars, giving new meaning to the proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The findings demonstrate the complexity of interactions between species in ecosystems, and provide information…
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    Futurity » Health and Medicine

  • Too much TV: Obesity isn’t the only health risk

    Allison Hydzik-Pittsburgh
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:47 pm
    Spending too much time in front of the television may be unhealthy for both young adults and people with certain personality traits. A pair of studies details the risks. The first study, published online in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, suggests people with hostile personality traits who watch a lot of television may be at a greater risk for injury—possibly because they are more susceptible to the influence of television on violence and risk-taking behaviors, researchers say. A reduction in television viewing and a content rating systems that is geared…
  • Depressed people suffer chest pain more often

    Quinn Eastmann-Emory
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:24 pm
    Depressed patients tend to have more frequent chest pain, even in the absence of coronary artery disease, report cardiologists. The findings suggest pain and depression may share a common neurochemical pathway, says Salim Hayek, a cardiology research fellow with Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute. “Depression is a common and well-recognized risk factor for the development of heart disease,” Hayek says. “Patients with known heart disease and depression tend to experience chest pain more frequently. “However until now, it was not known whether that…
  • Urine test might detect brain injury from blasts

    Emil Venere-Purdue
    28 Aug 2015 | 1:43 pm
    About one in five wounded soldiers suffers from traumatic brain injury, and an estimated 52 percent of those injuries are blast-induced neurotrauma. Some of those brain injuries are difficult to diagnose because people don’t always display obvious motor impairment or other neurological symptoms. “Many times they don’t even realize they’ve been injured, and this is particularly alarming because these injuries have been linked to severe long-term psychiatric and degenerative neurological dysfunction,” says Riyi Shi, a professor in the basic medical sciences…
  • After abuse, women face doubts they’ll be good moms

    Monique Patenaude-U. Rochester
    28 Aug 2015 | 9:36 am
    Mothers who were abused as children may be less confident in their parenting skills—and may in turn abuse their own children. Intervention programs for moms at-risk should do more than teach parenting skills. Experts say it’s important to bolster mothers’ self-confidence, as well. “We know that maltreated children can have really low self-esteem,” says Louisa Michl, a doctoral student in the psychology department at the University of Rochester. “And when they become adults, we’ve found that some of these moms become highly self-critical about their…
  • A third of vaping parents don’t lock up liquid

    Jim Goodwin-WUSTL
    28 Aug 2015 | 8:42 am
    E-cigarettes have grown much more popular in the United States in recent years, and calls to poison centers about them have also gone up. Yet many parents who “vape” aren’t aware of the dangers to children, a new study shows. The devices are used like typical cigarettes but instead of tobacco, they vaporize a liquid mixture of nicotine, glycerin, and glycol ethers. The liquid form is flavored, which appeals to children. If ingested, a teaspoon of this “e-liquid” can be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause nausea and vomiting that require emergency…
 
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    Futurity » Science and Technology

  • How E. coli touch ‘neighbors’ to deliver toxins

    Andrea Estrada-UCSB
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:54 pm
    New research shows how certain microbes exploit proteins in nearby bacteria to deliver toxins and kill them. The mechanisms behind this bacterial warfare, the researchers suggest, could be harnessed to target pathogenic bacteria. Researchers have detailed how gram-negative bacteria use contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems to infiltrate and deliver protein toxins into neighboring cells. By studying the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), they were able to document how CDI “translocation domains” can use multiple pathways to transfer those toxins into a cell. By…
  • Even ‘sticky’ liquid won’t stick to this surface

    A'ndrea Elyse Messer-Penn State
    31 Aug 2015 | 12:07 pm
    A new engineered surface can outperform some of nature’s best water repellents, including the leaves of the lotus flower. Creating surfaces that make liquid droplets more mobile could help prevent icing on aircraft wings and improve water harvesting in arid regions. “This represents a fundamentally new concept in engineered surfaces,” says Tak-Sing Wong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State. “Our surfaces combine the unique surface architectures of lotus leaves and pitcher plants in such a way that these surfaces possess both high surface area…
  • How to build millions of tiny microscopes all at once

    Ker Than-Caltech
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:34 am
    A new optical device made of silicon “nanopillars” could lead to advanced microscopes, displays, sensors, and cameras that can be mass-produced using the same techniques used to manufacture computer microchips. “Currently, optical systems are made one component at a time, and the components are often manually assembled,” says Andrei Faraon, an assistant professor of applied physics and materials science at Caltech. “But this new technology is very similar to the one used to print semiconductor chips onto silicon wafers, so you could conceivably manufacture…
  • Stuff never stops moving: How to measure quantum motion

    Jessica Stoller-Conrad - Caltech
    31 Aug 2015 | 8:20 am
    Drop a ball into a bowl, and it will roll back and forth a few times but will eventually come to rest at the bottom. While objects can appear to be motionless, at the atomic scale things are never totally at rest. Researchers have figured out how to observe and control this movement, known as quantum motion or noise. “In the past couple of years, my group and a couple of other groups around the world have learned how to cool the motion of a small micrometer-scale object to produce this state at the bottom, or the quantum ground state,” says Keith Schwab, a Caltech professor of…
  • Swan’s springy neck inspires better drone cameras

    Bjorn Carey-Stanford
    31 Aug 2015 | 7:23 am
    Swans and geese are the envy of aeronautical engineers. Even plump geese can perform remarkable aerial acrobatics—twisting their body and flapping their powerful wings while keeping their head completely still. Now, engineers have used high-speed video footage and computer models to reveal that whooper swans stabilize their head with a complex neck that’s tuned like a car suspension. Their findings have influenced a new design of a camera suspension system that could allow drones to record steadier video. All birds have built-in vision stabilization to compensate for the up and down…
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    Futurity » Society and Culture

  • To motivate young teens, certificates beat $100

    Joan Brasher-Vanderbilt
    31 Aug 2015 | 10:24 am
    Certificates of recognition mailed to middle-schoolers’ homes were a greater motivation to participate in after-school tutoring programs—even more than the promise of money—new research shows. The study focuses on Supplemental Education Services (SEdS), the free after-school programs implemented in the wake of No Child Left Behind to support low-income families in low-performing schools. While in some instances SEdS have proven effective, they are generally poorly attended. Springer and his colleagues randomly selected 300 SEdS-eligible students in grades five through eight in a…
  • PR puff pieces made Hitler seem likable

    Charlotte Hsu-Buffalo
    31 Aug 2015 | 9:04 am
    Some of the most iconic photos of Adolf Hitler show him at his most intense, eyes alight as he addresses an audience or salutes a crowd. Equally, if not more, haunting are images that ran in the years preceding World War II in home magazines and the New York Times that portrayed him as a country gentleman—a vegetarian who played catch with his dogs and took post-meal strolls outside his mountain estate. “It was dangerous because it made him likable.” These articles were often admiring—even after the horrors of the Nazi regime had begun to reveal themselves—says Despina…
  • Names on emails flag racial bias in public services

    U. Southampton
    31 Aug 2015 | 8:21 am
    People with distinctively African-American names are less likely to get a response to requests for information from local public services, such as sheriffs’ offices, school districts, and libraries. A new study finds email queries coming from those senders are four percent less likely to receive an answer than identical emails signed with “white-sounding” names. The difference in response was most evident in correspondence to sheriffs’ offices, with black-sounding names seven percent less likely to receive a response than white-sounding names. Responses to senders with…
  • You can start a job and learn to love it later

    Jared Wadley-Michigan
    28 Aug 2015 | 9:43 am
    Contrary to popular wisdom, you don’t have to fall in love at first sight with a potential job. There’s more than one way to get a passion for your work. “The good news is that we can choose to change our beliefs or strategies to cultivate passion gradually or seek compatibility from the outset, and be just as effective in the long run at achieving this coveted experience,” says Patricia Chen, a doctoral psychology student at the University of Michigan, and lead author of a new study. The dominant mentality in America is the belief that passion comes from finding a…
  • Girls prefer computer science without the geek chic

    Molly McElroy-UW
    28 Aug 2015 | 7:12 am
    Three times as many high school girls said they wanted to take a computer science class when shown a less “geeky”  classroom. The study of 270 students reveals a practical way for teachers to help narrow the gender gap in computer science by helping girls feel that they belong. “Our findings show that classroom design matters—it can transmit stereotypes to high school students about who belongs and who doesn’t in computer science,” says lead author Allison Master, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning &…
 
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