Submitted by jsconrad on Mon, 2013-09-23 14:26
When termites munch on wood, the small bits are delivered to feed a community of unique microbes living in their guts, and in a complex process involving multiple steps, these microbes turn the hard, fibrous material into a nutritious meal for the termite host. One key step uses hydrogen to convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon—a process called acetogenesis—but little is known about which gut bacteria play specific roles in the process.
Submitted by kfesenma on Wed, 2013-09-18 09:00
During financial bubbles, such as the one that centered around the U.S. housing market and triggered the Great Recession, some investors react differently than others. New neuroeconomic research at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has found that the investors most likely to take a risk and fuel bubble markets are those with good "theory of mind" skills—those who are good at "putting themselves in others' shoes." They think the most about the motives behind prices and what other people in the market are likely to do next, but during bubble markets, that actually becomes risky behavior.
Submitted by kfesenma on Wed, 2013-09-18 08:55
As many as 1 million nematode species are thought to live on Earth, and many are pests or parasites that ravage crops and spread diseases. They also happen to share many genes that are found in humans, and are intensively researched by labs around the world.
Submitted by jsconrad on Tue, 2013-09-17 07:34
During the past century, programmable technologies evolved from spinning gears and vacuum tubes to transistors and microchips. Now, a group of Caltech researchers and their colleagues at the University of Washington, Harvard University, and UC San Francisco are exploring how biologically important molecules—like DNA, RNA, and proteins—could be the next generation of programmable devices.
Submitted by jsconrad on Fri, 2013-09-06 15:13
The industrial technique used to make nitrogen fertilizers mirrors the natural process of nitrogen fixation but requires high heat and pressure. Researchers at Caltech have synthesized a catalyst that allows for nitrogen fixation under much milder conditions.
Submitted by kfesenma on Wed, 2013-09-04 18:22
Caltech engineers have mimicked lightweight yet strong biological materials by creating nanostructured, hollow ceramic scaffolds, and have found that their small building blocks, or unit cells, display remarkable strength and resistance to failure despite being more than 85 percent air.
Submitted by kfesenma on Fri, 2013-08-02 10:40
One of the many counterintuitive and bizarre insights of quantum mechanics is that even in a vacuum—what many of us think of as an empty void—all is not completely still. Low levels of noise, known as quantum fluctuations, are always present. Always, that is, unless you can pull off a quantum trick. And that's just what a team led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has done.
Submitted by kfesenma on Fri, 2013-07-26 13:49
Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have devised a method to convert a relatively inexpensive conventional microscope into a billion-pixel imaging system that significantly outperforms the best available standard microscope. Such a system could greatly improve the efficiency of digital pathology.