Tropical forests mitigate extreme weather events

Tropical forests reduce peak runoff during storms and release stored water during droughts, according to researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Their results lend credence to a controversial phenomenon known as the sponge effect, which is at the center of a debate about how to minimize flood damage and maximize water availability in the tropics.

Getting at the roots of the Lithium Battery problem

The lithium-ion batteries that power our laptops, smartphones and electric vehicles could have significantly higher energy density if their graphite anodes were to be replaced by lithium metal anodes. Hampering this change, however, has been the so-called dendrite problem.

The never forget a face algorithm

Do you have a forgettable face? Many of us go to great lengths to make our faces more memorable, using makeup and hairstyles to give ourselves a more distinctive look. Now your face could be instantly transformed into a more memorable one without the need for an expensive makeover, thanks to an algorithm developed by researchers in MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Claim: Simple mathematical formula can describe the human struggle

University of Miami physicist and his collaborators discover a mathematical law that explains a wide variety of human confrontations.

Change in Pacific nitrogen content tied to climate change

Using deep sea corals gathered near the Hawaiian Islands, a Lawrence Livermore scientist, in collaboration with UC Santa Cruz colleagues, has determined that a long-term shift in nitrogen content in the Pacific Ocean has occurred as a result of climate change.

World e-waste map reveals national volumes, international flows

By 2017, all of the year's end-of-life refrigerators, TVs, mobile phones, computers, monitors, e-toys and other products with a battery or electrical cord worldwide could fill a line of 40-ton trucks end-to-end on a highway straddling three quarters of the Equator.

Arctic sea ice up from record low

Measurements from ESA’s CryoSat satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice has significantly increased this autumn.

Scientists improve human self-control through electrical brain stimulation

If you have ever said or done the wrong thing at the wrong time, you should read this. Neuroscientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the University of California, San Diego, have successfully demonstrated a technique to enhance a form of self-control through a novel form of brain stimulation.

Turning unwanted carbon dioxide into electricity

Researchers are developing a new kind of geothermal power plant that will lock away unwanted carbon dioxide (CO2) underground – and use it as a tool to boost electric power generation by at least 10 times compared to existing geothermal energy approaches.

Graphene-based nano-antennas may enable networks of tiny machines

Networks of nanometer-scale machines offer exciting potential applications in medicine, industry, environmental protection and defense, but until now there’s been one very small problem: the limited capability of nanoscale antennas fabricated from traditional metallic components.

Has the ozone hole stabilized?

NASA scientists have revealed the inner workings of the ozone hole that forms annually over Antarctica and found that declining chlorine in the stratosphere has not yet caused a recovery of the ozone hole.

Hipster, surfer or biker? Computers may soon be able to tell the difference

Are you a hipster, surfer or biker? What is your urban tribe? Your computer may soon be able to tell. Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, are developing an algorithm that uses group pictures to determine to which of these groups, or urban tribes, you belong.

East Antarctica is sliding sideways

It's official: East Antarctica is pushing West Antarctica around. Now that West Antarctica is losing weight--that is, billions of tons of ice per year--its softer mantle rock is being nudged westward by the harder mantle beneath East Antarctica.

Report: Not all species age the same, humans may be outliers

Adult humans get weaker as they age and then die, but that's not the typical pattern across species. Some organisms don't appear to show signs of aging at all. These are among the findings in a first-of-its-kind study published in the journal Nature this week. The study compares the aging patterns of humans and 45 other species.

Multimaterial 3D printers create realistic hands-on models for neurosurgical training

Researchers from the University of Malaya in Malaysia, with collaboration from researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, announce the creation of a cost-effective two-part model of the skull for use in practicing neurosurgical techniques.

Scientists scale terahertz peaks in nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes carry plasmonic signals in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum, but only if they’re metallic by nature or doped. In new research, the Rice University laboratory of physicist Junichiro Kono disproved previous theories that dominant terahertz response comes from narrow-gap semiconducting nanotubes.

Mapping the demise of the dinosaurs

About 65 million years ago, an asteroid or comet crashed into a shallow sea near what is now the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. The resulting firestorm and global dust cloud caused the extinction of many land plants and large animals, including most of the dinosaurs.

Researchers discover long-lived greenhouse gas

Scientists from U of T's Department of Chemistry have discovered a novel chemical lurking in the atmosphere that appears to be a long-lived greenhouse gas (LLGHG). The chemical – perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) – is the most radiatively efficient chemical found to date, breaking all other chemical records for its potential to impact climate.

Morphing material has mighty potential

Heating a sheet of plastic may not bring it to life – but it sure looks like it does in new experiments at Rice University. The materials created by Rice polymer scientist Rafael Verduzco and his colleagues start as flat slabs, but they morph into shapes that can be controlled by patterns written into their layers.  

A stopwatch for electron flashes

A stopwatch made of light can determine the duration of extremely brief electron flashes. Teams based in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) at LMU and at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have, for the first time, succeeded in measuring the lengths of ultrashort bursts of highly energetic electrons using the electric fields of laser light.