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Mobile Phone Networks Can Help Monitor Global Rainfall, Researchers Say

Yale Environment 360 - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 11:14

New research shows that mobile phone networks, which cover 90 percent of the world's population, can help track rainfall events — a task that has proven difficult for both advanced satellite systems and ground-level observation networks. By compiling data on signal disruptions from mobile phone networks in Burkina Faso in West Africa, a team of researchers was able to calculate with 95 percent accuracy both the location and volume of rain that fell, even during short-lived storms, according to a report in Geophysical Research Letters. Mobile phone companies maintain detailed records on signal disruptions, which can occur when water droplets block and deflect signals between antennae, to determine whether their networks are functioning properly. By tapping into those records, researchers could distill data on rainfall events at extremely fine spatial and temporal scales. As mobile phone networks expand across the globe, such data could be used to create highly accurate rainfall maps, researchers say, although gaining access to records could prove difficult.

Categories: Environmental News

Evolutionary biology: Radiating genomes

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Evolutionary biology: Radiating genomes

Nature 513, 7518 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13742

Authors: Chris D. Jiggins

Genome sequences and gene-expression data from representatives of five distinct lineages of African cichlid fish reveal signatures of the genomic changes that underlie the astounding cichlid diversity seen today. See Article p.375

Categories: Literature

The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

The genomic substrate for adaptive radiation in African cichlid fish

Nature 513, 7518 (2014). doi:10.1038/nature13726

Authors: David Brawand, Catherine E. Wagner, Yang I. Li, Milan Malinsky, Irene Keller, Shaohua Fan, Oleg Simakov, Alvin Y. Ng, Zhi Wei Lim, Etienne Bezault, Jason Turner-Maier, Jeremy Johnson, Rosa Alcazar, Hyun Ji Noh, Pamela Russell, Bronwen Aken, Jessica Alföldi, Chris Amemiya, Naoual Azzouzi, Jean-François Baroiller, Frederique Barloy-Hubler, Aaron Berlin, Ryan Bloomquist, Karen L. Carleton, Matthew A. Conte, Helena D'Cotta, Orly Eshel, Leslie Gaffney, Francis Galibert, Hugo F. Gante, Sante Gnerre, Lucie Greuter, Richard Guyon, Natalie S. Haddad, Wilfried Haerty, Rayna M. Harris, Hans A. Hofmann, Thibaut Hourlier, Gideon Hulata, David B. Jaffe, Marcia Lara, Alison P. Lee, Iain MacCallum, Salome Mwaiko, Masato Nikaido, Hidenori Nishihara, Catherine Ozouf-Costaz, David J. Penman, Dariusz Przybylski, Michaelle Rakotomanga, Suzy C. P. Renn, Filipe J. Ribeiro, Micha Ron, Walter Salzburger, Luis Sanchez-Pulido, M. Emilia Santos, Steve Searle, Ted Sharpe, Ross Swofford, Frederick J. Tan, Louise Williams, Sarah Young, Shuangye Yin, Norihiro Okada, Thomas D. Kocher, Eric A. Miska, Eric S. Lander, Byrappa Venkatesh, Russell D. Fernald, Axel Meyer, Chris P. Ponting, J. Todd Streelman, Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Ole Seehausen & Federica Di Palma

Cichlid fishes are famous for large, diverse and replicated adaptive radiations in the Great Lakes of East Africa. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying cichlid phenotypic diversity, we sequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of five lineages of African cichlids: the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus

Categories: Literature

There is life after academia

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

There is life after academia

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513005a

With high numbers of postdocs emerging from universities, prospective PhD students must be prepared for the fact that they will probably not end up with a career in research.

Categories: Literature

Heavenly homes

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Heavenly homes

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513006a

The discovery of our Galaxy’s place in the Universe adds detail to our address.

Categories: Literature

Geology: Mobile rocks explained

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Geology: Mobile rocks explained

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513008a

Rocks that mysteriously slide across a dry lake bed are thought to be nudged along by large ice sheets. But previously, no one could fully explain how the rocks — some weighing more than 300 kilograms — scoot across Racetrack Playa in California.Now a

Categories: Literature

Biochemistry: Marine enzyme can multi-task

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Biochemistry: Marine enzyme can multi-task

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513008b

An enzyme discovered in a marine bacterium catalyses complex reactions in a way that can be mimicked using simpler molecules, say biochemists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.Bradley Moore and his team examined how a species of

Categories: Literature

Neuroscience: Eyes offer window on dementia

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Neuroscience: Eyes offer window on dementia

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513008c

The loss of cells in the retina might predict a common type of dementia years before behavioural changes set in.A team led by Li Gan and Ari Green at the University of California, San Francisco, imaged the retinas of 12 people with mutations that

Categories: Literature

Genomics: Ebola genomes decoded

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Genomics: Ebola genomes decoded

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513008d

Researchers from four countries have used deep sequencing to analyse the full suite of Ebola virus strains present in 78 people diagnosed in Sierra Leone in the ongoing West African epidemic. The outbreak began in February 2014 in Guinea, and health officials had recorded 1,552

Categories: Literature

Anthropology: Sahara stopped human mixing

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Anthropology: Sahara stopped human mixing

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513008e

North Africa was a patchwork of human populations around the time our species trekked out of the continent.Previous studies have proposed that the Sahara Desert was transformed into lush grassland during a wet spell between around 130,000 years and 75,000 years ago, offering few

Categories: Literature

Materials science: Flexible solar cells work both ways

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Materials science: Flexible solar cells work both ways

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513009a

Material scientists have created a wearable fabric that can gather solar energy from either side.Huisheng Peng at Fudan University in Shanghai and his colleagues made the material (pictured) by sandwiching a textile, woven from metal fibres coated with a photoactive polymer, between

Categories: Literature

Fresh arguments over old data

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Fresh arguments over old data

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513009b

Author: Chris Woolston

Every once in a while, an academic argument turns into a social-media spectacle. A collision over a seemingly innocuous subject — genes and the pursuit of happiness — has attracted a large number of onlookers.In 2013, a paper concluded that a person's approach to

Categories: Literature

Seven days: 29 August–4 September 2014

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Seven days: 29 August–4 September 2014

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/513010a

The week in science: Regulation on e-cigarettes, tracking space debris in Australia, and an Icelandic volcano erupts.

Categories: Literature

Switzerland braces for Alpine lake tsunami

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Switzerland braces for Alpine lake tsunami

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/513016a

Author: Laura Spinney

Authorities in Swiss canton blaze a trail by factoring the risk into hazard planning.

Categories: Literature

Life outside the lab: The ones who got away

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Life outside the lab: The ones who got away

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/513020a

Author: Ewen Callaway

Sometimes, the brightest stars in science decide to leave. Nature finds out where they go.

Categories: Literature

Neuroscience: Where is the brain in the Human Brain Project?

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Neuroscience: Where is the brain in the Human Brain Project?

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513027a

Authors: Yves Frégnac & Gilles Laurent

Europe's €1-billion science and technology project needs to clarify its goals and establish transparent governance, say Yves Frégnac and Gilles Laurent.

Categories: Literature

Developmental biology: Splitting the sexes

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Developmental biology: Splitting the sexes

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513032a

Author: Virginia Valian

Virginia Valian ponders a study on biology, evolution and gender differences in humans.

Categories: Literature

Energy: Social fixes are on the up

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Energy: Social fixes are on the up

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513033a

Authors: David E. Rodgers & Dustin S. Schinn

Already governments, environmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and businesses are on the way to meeting Benjamin Sovacool's call for energy research to be more socially oriented (Nature511, 529–530;10.1038/511529a2014). The annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference, this

Categories: Literature

Energy: We need all hands on deck

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Energy: We need all hands on deck

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513033b

Author: Paul C. Stern

A more interdisciplinary approach will advance our understanding of energy issues (see also B. K.SovacoolNature511, 529–530;10.1038/511529a2014).In considering how to improve energy efficiency using a particular technology, for example, an engineering-only analysis would seek to

Categories: Literature

Energy: Humanities frame the aims

Nature - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 00:00

Energy: Humanities frame the aims

Nature 513, 7516 (2014). doi:10.1038/513033c

Author: Noel Castree

Social scientists offer more than just information for producing a best fit between energy technologies and social circumstances (B. K.SovacoolNature511, 529–530; 10.1038/511529a2014). By eliciting different social framings of energy systems and technologies, they help to

Categories: Literature

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