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Tag Archives: Nature.com

Biomaterials: A super-strong underwater glue

A synthetic adhesive inspired by the sticky proteins made by mussels can bind to wet surfaces more tightly than even live mussels can. Previous mussel-mimicking adhesives were strong when dry, but less effective underwater. Jonathan Wilker and his colleagues at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, created a polymer with some of the same structural elements as the sticky protein ...

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Energy: Scanning the energy horizon

Dieter Helm Yale University Press: 2017. ISBN: 9780300225624 Buy this book: US UK Japan Kent Kobersteen/National Geographic Creative Wind turbines near Palm Springs, California. With Burn Out, Dieter Helm — one of the most outspoken and influential commentators on energy — is back, with a big, broad view on the energy revolution. He pokes fun at the “peak oilers”, who ...

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Microbiome: Skin cream kills pathogen

A lotion containing specific bacteria kills a pathogen associated with an inflammatory skin disorder. Atopic dermatitis causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin, and is often marked by high levels of the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Other bacteria that normally live harmlessly on the skin are known to produce antimicrobial compounds, so Richard Gallo at the University of California, San Diego, ...

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Anthropology: Skulls show migration history

A study of skulls of early people in South America suggests that there were multiple waves of migration into the New World more than 10,000 years ago. Mauricio de Paiva Wide variation in the skull shape of modern South American people has triggered debate over whether this results from rapid changes after the arrival of people in the region, or ...

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Astrophysics: Supernova clues from neutrinos

Neutrinos detected by Earth-based observatories could one day help to reveal the sequence of events that occur in supernovae. When a white-dwarf star becomes too massive to support itself, the internal pressure is thought to trigger a runaway thermonuclear reaction followed by an explosion — known as a Type Ia supernova — but the events involved in the explosion are ...

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Ecology: Alien species on the rise

The number of new instances of non-native species documented is increasing around the globe — growth that shows no sign of slowing. The introduction of alien species can disrupt ecosystems and even cause local extinctions. Hanno Seebens at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany, Franz Essl at the University of Vienna and their colleagues assembled a ...

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Agriculture: Pesticide-free farms can pay

It may be possible to curb pesticide use on some farms without lowering yields or cutting profits. Martin Lechenet and Nicolas Munier-Jolain at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research in Dijon and their colleagues assessed whether herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are associated with productivity or profitability at 946 arable farms across France. They found that pesticides do not drive ...

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Evolution: How humans adapt to arsenic

People living in Chile’s Atacama Desert have different versions of a gene that allow them to cope with the region’s naturally high levels of arsenic. Arsenic from rocks seeps into the desert’s scarce water sources, exposing people in the Camarones Valley to levels 100 times higher than the safe limit of 10 micrograms per litre set by the World Health ...

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Genomics: Prehistory's female dynasties

One of the first complex societies in North America transferred power through the female line, genomic evidence suggests. Douglas Kennett/Penn State Univ. In some of the earliest recorded societies, power was passed down along family lines, but little is known about how prehistoric societies without writing systems transferred power. Douglas Kennett at Pennsylvania State University in University Park and his ...

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Neuroscience: Predicting smell from structure

Algorithms can predict a molecule’s odour on the basis of its chemical structure. Rockefeller Univ. Pablo Meyer at IBM’s Computational Biology Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, and his colleagues, asked 49 people to smell hundreds of molecules (pictured) and rate them on intensity, pleasantness and 19 other descriptors, such as ‘fruit’, ‘musky’ and ‘bakery’. The researchers gave these ratings, ...

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