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The global transport of microbes
Wastewater, tourism, and trade are moving microbes around the globe at an unprecedented scale, a group of international researchers, including Professor Michael Gillings from Macquarie University, have argued. The editorial article, published in the premier journal Science, voices the concerns of the scientists, who warn that as we travel the modern world we leave billions of bacteria at every stop, with potentially hazardous consequences for human health. phys.org/news/2017-09-globa...
Using sugar molecules to make cotton material glow
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Germany, Israel and Austria has developed a process for imbuing cotton fibers with material that glows under fluorescent light. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their process, how well it works and other applications under which it might prove useful. phys.org/news/2017-09-sugar...
Fear and sweating in Pakistan's hottest cities
After hours toiling at construction sites in 50 degree-plus heat, Lakhmir Brahmani finds little relief from the sun other than a donkey-powered fan during the dog days of summer in one of Pakistan's hottest cities. phys.org/news/2017-09-pakis...
High-speed quantum memory for photons
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a memory that can store photons. These quantum particles travel at the speed of light and are thus suitable for high-speed data transfer. The researchers were able to store them in an atomic vapor and read them out again later without altering their quantum mechanical properties too much. This memory technology is simple and fast and it could find application in a future quantum Internet. The journal Physical Review Letters has published ... phys.org/news/2017-09-high-...
Lazy ants make themselves useful in unexpected ways
If the first thing that comes to mind when you think about ants is "industrious," you might be in for a surprise. In 2015, biologists at the University of Arizona reported that a sizable chunk of the "workers" that make up an ant colony spent the vast majority of their day engaging in one task: doing absolutely nothing. phys.org/news/2017-09-lazy-...
Seeding the future? 'Ark' preserves rare, threatened plants
An ordinary-looking freezer in a sturdy cinderblock shed at a suburban Boston botanical garden holds what might be New England's most important seed catalog. phys.org/news/2017-09-seedi...
A one-dimensional fluidic nanogenerator to draw electricity from the bloodstream
People build dams and huge turbines to turn the energy of waterfalls and tides into electricity. To produce hydropower on a much smaller scale, Chinese scientists have now developed a lightweight power generator based on carbon nanotube fibers suitable to convert even the energy of blood flowing through vessels into electricity. They describe their innovation in the journal Angewandte Chemie. phys.org/news/2017-09-one-d...
Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole behind. For a long time, scientists have suspected that the liberated electron and the positively charged hole form a new kind of quasiparticle—known as 'core-exciton'. But so far, there has not yet been a real proof of its existence. Scientists have a wide range of tools to track excitons in semiconductors in real-time. Those are generated... phys.org/news/2017-09-ultra...
Feds probe Uber's tracking of Lyft drivers (Update)
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The Justice Department in Manhattan is investigating whether Uber illegally used software to track drivers for Lyft, its main ride-hailing competitor, to gain an advantage in attracting and recruiting drivers, according to two people familiar with the probe. phys.org/news/2017-09-uber-...
How conflicts spread through monkey societies
How does conflict spread through a society? One way to think of conflict spreading is to picture an epidemic, with aggressive individuals "infecting" others and causing them to join the fight. phys.org/news/2017-09-confl...