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  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:50 AM
  • 2 views

Back in black: record efficiency for black-silicon solar cell

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Crystalline silicon solar cells are reaching their efficiency limit and manufacturing costs. But a new method to create black-silicon solar cells, potentially cheaper, has led to a record 22.1% efficiency. Learn about the physics behind the record here!... Read more »

Savin H, Repo P, von Gastrow G, Ortega P, Calle E, Garín M, & Alcubilla R. (2015) Black silicon solar cells with interdigitated back-contacts achieve 22.1% efficiency. Nature nanotechnology. PMID: 25984832  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 07:58 AM
  • 0 views

What To Do About A Slow Peer Reviewer?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An amusing editorial in the neuroscience journal Cortex discusses the excuses scientists use to explain why they didn't submit their peer reviews on time:
Following our nagging for late reviews, we learned that one reviewer had to take their cat to the vet, another was busy buying Christmas presents, one was planning their holidays, an unfortunate one had their office broken into [...] others agreed to review whereas indeed they really intended to withdraw, or were just too busy to reply.

Th... Read more »

  • May 26, 2015
  • 03:21 PM
  • 23 views

Can monies spent globally on journal subscriptions be completely transitioned to an OA business model to free the journals?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The recent rapid growth in open access publishing, and the clear benefits that open access presents to society as a whole leads to the question: can all subscription based scientific journals in the world be transitioned to open access in a sustainable way? Is there enough money currently in the system for such a transition, and would there be any economic impact? A recent eye-opening study published by the Max Planck Digital Library delves into this issue and provides some very concrete answers based on real expenditures in subscriptions and on the real costs of open access services. … Read More →... Read more »

SCHIMMER, R., GESCHUHN, K.K., & VOGLER, A. (2015) Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access. MPG. PuRe. info:/10.17617/1.3

  • May 26, 2015
  • 01:38 PM
  • 28 views

Babies can think before they can speak

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Two pennies can be considered the same — both are pennies, just as two elephants can be considered the same, as both are elephants. Despite the vast difference between pennies and elephants, we easily notice the common relation of sameness that holds for both pairs. Analogical ability — the ability to see common relations between objects, events or ideas — is a key skill that underlies human intelligence and differentiates humans from other apes.... Read more »

  • May 26, 2015
  • 01:30 PM
  • 22 views

Researchers find essential fats for brain growth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research has proved that certain special fats found in blood are essential for human brain growth and function. The two studies showed that mutations in the protein Mfsd2a causes impaired brain development in humans. Mfsd2a is the transporter in the brain for a special type of fat called lysophosphatidylcholines (LPCs) — composed of essential fatty acids like omega-3. These studies show, for the first time, the crucial role of these fats in human brain growth and function.... Read more »

  • May 24, 2015
  • 04:12 PM
  • 54 views

This is your brain, on video games

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study shows that while video game players (VGPs) exhibit more efficient visual attention abilities, they are also much more likely to use navigation strategies that rely on the brain’s reward system (the caudate nucleus) and not the brain’s spatial memory system (the hippocampus). Past research has shown that people who use caudate nucleus-dependent navigation strategies have decreased grey matter and lower functional brain activity in the hippocampus.... Read more »

West, G., Drisdelle, B., Konishi, K., Jackson, J., Jolicoeur, P., & Bohbot, V. (2015) Habitual action video game playing is associated with caudate nucleus-dependent navigational strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1808), 20142952-20142952. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2952  

  • May 23, 2015
  • 03:59 PM
  • 64 views

Omega-3 as an intervention for childhood behavioral problems

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We don’t usually think of a child’s behavior as a diet issue, but if new findings hold true, then that might be the very case. In a new study, researchers suggest that omega-3, a fatty acid commonly found in fish oil, may have long-term neurodevelopmental effects that ultimately reduce antisocial and aggressive behavior problems in children.... Read more »

  • May 22, 2015
  • 03:11 PM
  • 79 views

Air pollution is causing your baby problems, but breastfeeding can help

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Aitana Lertxundi has conducted her research work within the framework of the INma (Childhood and Environment) programme led by Jesús Ibarluzea of the Department of Health of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community (region). The aim is to assess how exposure to environmental pollution during pregnancy affects health and also to examine the role of diet in physical and neurobehavioural development in infancy. The study focusses on the repercussions on motor and mental development during the first years of life caused by exposure to the PM2.5 and NO2 atmospheric pollutants.... Read more »

  • May 22, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 92 views

Are infections making you stupid?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research shows that infections can impair your cognitive ability measured on an IQ scale. The study is the largest of its kind to date, and it shows a clear correlation between infection levels and impaired cognition. Anyone can suffer from an infection, for example in their stomach, urinary tract or skin. However, a new Danish study shows that a patient’s distress does not necessarily end once the infection has been treated.... Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 06:04 PM
  • 84 views

Tiny grains of lithium dramatically improve performance of fusion plasma

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While fusion might still be a far off dream, a new discovery may help bring that dream closer to reality. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that could quicken the development of large scale fusion energy. The scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.... Read more »

Kaye, S., Abrams, T., Ahn, J., Allain, J., Andre, R., Andruczyk, D., Barchfeld, R., Battaglia, D., Bhattacharjee, A., Bedoya, F.... (2015) An overview of recent physics results from NSTX. Nuclear Fusion, 55(10), 104002. DOI: 10.1088/0029-5515/55/10/104002  

  • May 20, 2015
  • 05:35 AM
  • 56 views

Further support for the Gradual Audiomotor Evolution (GAE) hypothesis?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Four chimpanzees born at the Primate Reserach Institute, Kyoto University recently participated in a finger-tapping experiment much like those that have been done for decades with humans (Repp, 2005). Two of them, Chloe and Cleo, showed signs of synchronization, according to a study that just came out in Scientific Reports.... Read more »

Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2013) Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(274). info:/

  • May 19, 2015
  • 04:21 PM
  • 66 views

Suicide and skin color, or how being black is killing you

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The great racial divide, despite all the evidence showing that racism, hate and frankly plain stupidity is alive and well, there are people who cannot accept it. This probably will not change anything for those people, but for the first time a new study shows that while suicide rates in children younger than 12 have remained steady for the past 20 years, there are significantly higher suicide rates among black children.... Read more »

Bridge, J., Asti, L., Horowitz, L., Greenhouse, J., Fontanella, C., Sheftall, A., Kelleher, K., & Campo, J. (2015) Suicide Trends Among Elementary School–Aged Children in the United States From 1993 to 2012. JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0465  

  • May 18, 2015
  • 04:35 PM
  • 58 views

Dealing with information overload

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Information overload is a major barrier researchers face to capture and ingest the knowledge that is being discovered and created by science. The challenge is how to develop ways to create overviews of the knowledge that has been published related to specific areas of interest. The Lazarus initiative is introduced. … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 18, 2015
  • 03:31 PM
  • 68 views

Girls suck at science, and other depressing stereotypes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The Netherlands had the strongest stereotypes associating science with men more than women, according to a new Northwestern University study that included data from nearly 350,000 people in 66 nations. These stereotypes are prevalent across the world — even in nations such as Argentina and Bulgaria where women are roughly half of science majors in colleges and universities and employed researchers, according to the study, the largest ever of its kind.... Read more »

David I. Miller, Alice H. Eagly, & Marcia C. Linn. (2015) Women's Representation in Science Predicts National Gender-Science Stereotypes: Evidence From 66 Nations. Journal of Educational Psychology. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000005

  • May 17, 2015
  • 02:48 PM
  • 88 views

Which is most valuable: Gold, cocaine or rhino horn?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many of the world’s largest herbivores — including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas — are in danger of becoming extinct. And if current trends continue, the loss of these animals would have drastic implications not only for the species themselves, but also for other animals and the environments and ecosystems in which they live, according to a new report by an international team of scientists.... Read more »

Ripple, W., Newsome, T., Wolf, C., Dirzo, R., Everatt, K., Galetti, M., Hayward, M., Kerley, G., Levi, T., Lindsey, P.... (2015) Collapse of the world's largest herbivores. Science Advances, 1(4). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400103  

  • May 16, 2015
  • 01:22 PM
  • 115 views

The relationship between CEO greed and company performance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

That gut feeling many workers, laborers and other underlings have about their CEOs is spot on, according to three recent studies which all suggest that CEO greed is bad for business.But how do you define greed? Are compassionate CEOs better for business? How do you know if the leader is doing more harm than good? And can anybody rein in the I-Me-Mine type leader anyway?... Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 03:13 PM
  • 82 views

The fingerprint drug test

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have demonstrated a new, noninvasive test that can detect cocaine use through a simple fingerprint. For the first time, this new fingerprint method can determine whether cocaine has been ingested, rather than just touched.... Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 10:03 AM
  • 80 views

Nature's natural fix to the ticking carbon time bomb in the peatlands

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Peatlands have long been seen as a dangerous store of carbon that could be released as glaciers melt and temperatures increase. But new research suggests Nature has some natural adaptations at hand to prevent such a release from occurring!... Read more »

  • May 14, 2015
  • 02:52 PM
  • 85 views

Educating the immune system: A vaccine for allergies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With the arrival of spring, millions of people have begun their annual ritual of sneezing and wheezing due to seasonal allergies. However, a Canadian research team is bringing them hope with a potential vaccine that nudges the immune response away from developing allergies. The findings have major clinical implications since allergies and asthma are lifelong conditions that often start in childhood and for which there is presently no cure.... Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 04:07 PM
  • 101 views

Can drinking alcohol harm the child before the mother knows she is pregnant?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

These days pregnant “moms to be” have lots of things to worry about, from second hand smoke to the chemicals in their make-up. Well they can unfortunately add one more thing to that list, a new study finds that alcohol drunk by a mouse in early pregnancy changes the way genes function in the brains of the offspring. The early exposure was also later apparent in the brain structure of the adult offspring. The timing of the exposure corresponds to the human gestational weeks 3-6 in terms of fetal development.... Read more »

Heidi Marjonen, Alejandra Sierra, Anna Nyman, Vladimir Rogojin, Olli Gröhn, Anni-Maija Linden, Sampsa Hautaniemi, & Nina Kaminen-Ahola. (2015) Early Maternal Alcohol Consumption Alters Hippocampal DNA Methylation, Gene Expression and Volume in a Mouse Model. PLOS ONE. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0124931

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