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Researchers use strain to engineer first high-performance, two-way oxide catalyst

In most cases, a catalyst that’s good at driving chemical reactions in one direction is bad at driving reactions in the opposite direction. However, a team of scientists has created the first high-performance, two-way oxide catalyst...

Appalachian coal ash richest in rare earth elements

The first comprehensive study of the content of rare earth elements in coal ashes from the United States shows that coal originating from the Appalachian Mountains has the highest concentrations of scarce elements like neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium, yttrium and erbium that are needed for alternative energy and other technologies. Show More Summary

Novel multi-field invisible sensor designed by scientists

Made of pure copper, a new ultra-thin ‘shell’ conceals sensors from remote inspection while still allowing them to probe the exterior environment, report researchers.

Tasty fat: X-rays finding the blueprint of why fat is yummy

Over three years, a research team has collected increasingly complex samples of edible fat for research. They are using new data to characterize the nanoscale structure of different kinds of edible fats and applying the data to a model that predicts the effect of processes like heating and mixing on fat structure. Show More Summary

Slithery new species: Silver boa discovered in the Bahamas Islands

In July of 2015 a team of scientists discovered a new species of boa during an expedition to a remote corner of the Bahamian Archipelago. They have named the new species the Silver Boa, Chilabothrus argentum. Significantly, this is the first new species of boa discovered in situ in the Caribbean since the 1940s. Show More Summary

Expert urges voluntary family planning to mitigate climate change

A professor calls for action to tackle the effect of a rapidly growing world population on greenhouse gas production.

Teenagers and young adults still fare worse than children for many common cancers, according to Europe-wide study

More young people of all ages are surviving cancer than ever before, but new research shows that adolescents and young adults have a lower chance of surviving eight relatively common types of cancer than children, according to the latest data from a long-running study of cancer survival across Europe.

Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist

They've announced the shortlist for the (Australian) Miles Franklin Literary Award. There's still quite a wait until they announce the winner of the A$60,000 prize -- on 26 August.

The Queue review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Basma Abdel Aziz's The Queue, just out from Melville House. Some nice related coverage in The New York Times today too, as Alexandra Alter reports that Abdel Aziz and other Middle Eastern Writers Find Refuge in the Dystopian Novel.

ayellowbirds: squidscientistas: Baby Hawaiian Bobtail Squid,...

ayellowbirds: squidscientistas: Baby Hawaiian Bobtail Squid, raised in the Nyholm Lab, Spring 2014.  eeny bloopers

Gaps in pregnancy testing before surgery in women of reproductive age

New research addresses the importance of discussing potential pregnancy and providing pregnancy testing for women of reproductive age before they undergo surgery, so that harm to mother and baby can be avoided.

Automating DNA origami opens door to many new uses

An algorithm for building DNA nanoparticles automatically has now been developed by researchers, paving the way to many more applications for 'DNA origami.'

Skin cancer: Team synthesizes new drugs with surprising powers

Finding new, more effective and personalized treatments for cancer is the challenge of many researchers. The challenge has been successfully met by a team that has just synthesized and developed new drugs for melanoma.

Hawk moths have second nose for evaluating flowers

Manduca sexta hawk moth use their proboscis to smell the floral volatiles when they visit flowers, report scientists. They discovered the olfactory neurons involved in the perception of these volatiles on the Manduca proboscis. OnlyShow More Summary

Social media use may help identify students at risk of alcohol problems

Having an 'alcohol identity' puts college students at greater risk of having drinking problems, say researchers, adding that posting about alcohol use on social media sites is actually a stronger predictor of alcohol problems than having a drink.

Telling irregularities: New procedure uses heart rate to estimate the life expectancy of infarct patients

The heart rate may be an indicator of a person's life expectancy. A research team has to this end analyzed an effect which at first seems paradoxical: Minor irregularities in the heartbeat are indicative of a healthy body. A clinical study confirmed a strong correlation between this phenomenon and the survival prospects of heart attack patients. Show More Summary

Does History Deserve Roots?

Like many of you I am excited about the first episode of the mini-series Roots, which airs on the History channel tomorrow evening. I am also concerned. History does not have the best track record when it comes to programs that are actually about history. Many of their most popular programs have only a loose […]

Why do we care about birds?

noaasanctuaries: Well, apart from the fact that they’re awesome, of course. The answer is simple: Birds are quite sensitive to ecological changes. That sensitivity makes them ideal species for monitoring ecosystem shifts. By paying attention...Show More Summary

Why "zebra"?

So asked Michael Rank in the comments section to this post: "Triple topolectal reprimand" (5/29/16) That's a very good question. It's a common expression among Wuhan speakers, a pet phrase for men and women alike, almost as though it were a sort of mantra or dharani.  If you ask them what it means, they will […]

On the Trail of Nabokov.

Landon Jones’s NY Times article “On the Trail of Nabokov in the American West” is in the travel section, and it is in fact much more about travel than literature, but hey, it’s Nabokov, and I can’t resist passing it along. It’s got evocative photos and some piquant bits about Vlad and Vera: And what […]

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