Science Daily: Top Science News, 01 Feb 2019

Welcome to the Friday edition of “Hawaii Science Digest”.  This Hawaii Island blog focuses on science, technology, medicine, health, the environment, cyber security, and artificial intelligence (AI).  Views expressed in this science news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Content provided by “Science Daily”.

Accessed on 01 February 2019, 1350 UTC.


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ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Self-growing materials that strengthen in response to force

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 11:34 AM PST

A strategy inspired by the process responsible for muscle growth could lead to the development of stronger, longer-lasting materials.


European waters drive ocean overturning, key for regulating climate

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 11:33 AM PST

An international study reveals the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which helps regulate Earth’s climate, is highly variable and primarily driven by the conversion of warm, salty, shallow waters into colder, fresher, deep waters moving south through the Irminger and Iceland basins. This upends prevailing ideas and may help scientists better predict Arctic ice melt and future changes in the ocean’s ability to mitigate climate change by storing excess atmospheric carbon.


Mars rover Curiosity makes first gravity-measuring traverse on the Red Planet

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 11:33 AM PST

A clever use of non-science engineering data from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has let a team of researchers to measure the density of rock layers in Gale Crater.


To sleep, perchance to heal: Newly discovered gene governs need for slumber when sick

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 11:33 AM PST

Humans spend nearly one-third of their lives in slumber, yet sleep is still one of biology’s most enduring mysteries. Little is known about what genetic or molecular forces drive the need to sleep — until now. In a study of over 12,000 lines of fruit flies, researchers have found a single gene, called nemuri, that increases the need for sleep.


New 3D printer shapes objects with rays of light

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 11:33 AM PST

A new 3D printer uses light to transform gooey liquids into complex solid objects in only a matter of minutes. The printer can create objects that are smoother, more flexible and more complex than what is possible with traditional 3D-printers. It can also encase an already existing object with new materials, which current printers struggle to do.


Membraneless protocells could provide clues to formation of early life

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 09:59 AM PST

Membraneless protocells allow RNAs to participate in fundamental chemical reactions, providing clues to early steps in origin of life on Earth.


Hubble fortuitously discovers a new galaxy in the cosmic neighborhood

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 09:59 AM PST

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study some of the oldest and faintest stars in the globular cluster NGC 6752 have made an unexpected finding. They discovered a dwarf galaxy in our cosmic backyard, only 30 million light-years away.


How the fruit fly got its stripes

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 09:59 AM PST

The first moments of life unfold with incredible precision. Now, using mathematical tools and the help of fruit flies, researchers have uncovered new findings about the mechanisms behind this precision.


Psychologists solve mystery of songbird learning

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 09:59 AM PST

New research shows zebra finches engage in socially guided vocal learning, where they learn their songs by watching their mothers’ reactions to their immature songs.


Earth’s largest extinction event likely took plants first

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 09:59 AM PST

New evidence from the cliffsides of Australia suggests that Earth’s largest extinction event — a volcanic cataclysm occurring roughly 252 million years ago — extinguished plant life long before many animal counterparts.


Ancient pandas weren’t exclusive bamboo eaters, bone evidence suggests

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 08:39 AM PST

The giant pandas we know and love today live only in the understory of particular mountains in southwestern China, where they subsist on bamboo alone. But according to new evidence, extinct and ancient panda species most likely had a more varied and complex diet.