RoccamOccam sends news that the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that Michael Mann, a climate scientist notable for his work on the "hockey stick" graph, does not have to turn over the entirety of his papers and emails under Freedom of Information laws. Roughly 1,000 documents were turned over in response to the request, but another 12,000 remain, which lawyers for the University of Virginia say are "of a proprietary nature," and thus entitled to an exemption. The VA Supreme Court ruled (PDF), "the higher education research exemption's desired effect is to avoid competitive harm not limited to financial matters," and said the application of "proprietary" was correct in this case. Mann said he hopes the ruling "can serve as a precedent in other states confronting this same assault on public universities and their faculty."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The effects of future heat waves on people living in Greater London in 2050 has been modeled in a study, which concludes that the risk of heat-related deaths could be significantly reduced if buildings were adapted properly for climate change. The model, which takes into account future changes to urban land use and human-made heat emissions, estimates an additional 800 heat-related deaths per year by 2050.
As soon as darkness falls this Easter weekend, step outside and look skyward. What is the most prominent and easiest star pattern to recognize? If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you only need to look overhead and toward the north.
Psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction.
The adage "Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it" may one day be obsolete if researchers further develop a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning. Other possible uses of this technique could be used in long-distance sensors and spectrometers to identify chemical makeup.
A discovery by scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma. The concept for new therapeutic options centers on findings identifying the role that a specific protein plays in promoting fibrosis. Fibrosis, or scarring, is a hallmark of the disease, and progressive tightening of the skin and lungs can lead to serious organ damage and, in some cases, death.
Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But in the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More than just an insurance policy against late frosts or unexpected dry spells, it turns out that seed dormancy has long-term advantages too: plants whose seeds put off sprouting until conditions are more certain give rise to more species.
A simple and effective emotion-regulation strategy that has neurologically and behaviorally been proven to lessen the emotional impact of personal negative memories, researchers have shown. "Sometimes we dwell on how sad, embarrassed, or hurt we felt during an event, and that makes us feel worse and worse. But we found that instead of thinking about your emotions during a negative memory, looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there, what the weather was like, or anything else non-emotional that was part of the memory, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with that memory," the researchers suggest.
Researchers have shown how to switch a particular transition metal oxide, a lanthanum nickelate, from a metal to an insulator by making the material less than a nanometer thick. Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance and other exotic properties. These possibilities have scientists excited to understand everything about these materials, and to find new ways to control their properties at the most fundamental levels.
The ability to stick objects to a wide range of surfaces such as drywall, wood, metal and glass with a single adhesive has been the elusive goal of many research teams across the world, but now a team inventors describe a new, more versatile version of their invention, Geckskin, that can adhere strongly to a wider range of surfaces, yet releases easily, like a gecko's feet.
Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists exploring large fields of impact glass in Argentina suggest that what happened on Earth might well have happened on Mars millions of years ago. Martian impact glass could hold traces of organic compounds.
For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look 'whiter than white,' but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different degrees of whites may all look the same, according to experts in lighting.
A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. Researchers have demonstrated that the principle of adhesion by aqueous solutions of nanoparticles can be used in vivo to repair soft-tissue organs and tissues. This adhesion method is exceptional because of its potential spectrum of clinical applications. It is simple, easy to use and the nanoparticles employed can be metabolized by the organism. It can easily be integrated into ongoing research on healing and tissue regeneration and contribute to the development of regenerative medicine.
Impurities can hurt performance -- or possibly provide benefits -- in a key superconductive material that is expected to find use in a host of applications, including future particle colliders. The size of the impurities determines whether they help or hinder the material's performance, according to new research.
A long-term study evaluating maternal diet’s impact on food allergy in later life is expected to uncover causes of allergy in children. A particular focus for the project is the different effects of allergenic foods in different contexts.
itwbennett writes: "When you think about tech products these days, you probably think 'refresh cycle' more than 'built to last.' But there are plenty of tech products that put up with hard, daily use year after year. Here's a few to get you started: Logitech MX510 mouse, Brother black & white laser printer, Casio G-Shock watch, Alvin Draf-Tec Retrac mechanical pencil, Sony Dream Machine alarm clock. What's your longest-lasting, hardest-working device?"
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An essential nutrient for life on Earth also cooks up in space, a new study finds.
An astronaut evaluates the Portable Foot Restraint in space.
Colorful hummingbirds and butterflies flit across the page in constant motion, like an Audubon guide come to life
CowboyRobot sends in an article about how Samsung's constantly shifting plans for its smartwatches are making it hard for developers to commit to building apps. Quoting: "Samsung's first smartwatch, released in October last year, ran a modified version of Google's Android platform. The device had access to about 80 apps at launch, all of which were managed by a central smartphone app. Samsung offered developers an SDK for the Galaxy Gear so they could create more apps. Developers obliged. Then Samsung changed direction. Samsung announced a new series of smartwatches in February: the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit. Unlike the first device, these three run Samsung’s Tizen platform. ... This week, Samsung made things even more interesting. Speaking to Reuters, Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung’s product strategy team, said the company is working on a watch that will use Google’s Android Wear platform. In other words, Samsung will bring three different watches to market with three different operating systems in under a year."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.