Submitted by jsconrad on Wed, 2013-10-09 10:37
When you're a tiny mouse in the wild, spotting aerial predators—like hawks and owls—is essential to your survival. But once you see an owl, how is this visual cue processed into a behavior that helps you to avoid an attack? Using an experimental video technique, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now developed a simple new stimulus with which they can spur the mouse's escape plans. This new stimulus allows the researchers to narrow down cell types in the retina that could aid in the detection of aerial predators.
Submitted by rbasu on Fri, 2013-09-27 16:33
The first papers from the Mars Science Laboratory mission are now available online.
Submitted by ksvitil on Thu, 2013-09-26 14:08
A Caltech-led team of Mars Science Laboratory scientists has found that a surprisingly Earth-like martian rock offers new insight into the history of Mars's interior and suggests parts of the red planet may be more like our own than we ever knew.
Submitted by jsconrad on Wed, 2013-09-25 09:25
A group of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created the optical equivalent of a tuning fork—a device that can help steady the electrical currents needed to power high-end electronics and stabilize the signals of high-quality lasers. The work marks the first time that such a device has been miniaturized to fit on a chip and may pave the way to improvements in high-speed communications, navigation, and remote sensing.
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.