Tag Archives: sensitivity

In our digital world, are young people losing the ability to read emotions?

Children’s social skills may be declining as they have less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital media, according to a UCLA psychology study.

UCLA scientists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who continued to spend hours each day looking at their electronic devices. (more…)

Read More

Lungs of the Planet Reveal Their True Sensitivity to Global Warming

Tropical rainforests are often called the “lungs of the planet” because they generally draw in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. 

But the amount of carbon dioxide that rainforests absorb, or produce, varies hugely with year-to-year variations in the climate.

In a paper published online (Feb 6 2013) by the journal Nature, a team of climate scientists from the University of Exeter, the Met Office-Hadley Centre and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, has shown that these variations reveal how vulnerable the rainforest is to climate change. (more…)

Read More

Got Food Allergies? Thanks to UCLA, You Can Test Your Meal on the Spot Using a Cell Phone

Are you allergic to peanuts and worried there might be some in that cookie? Now you can find out using a rather unlikely source: your cell phone.

A team of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a lightweight device called the iTube, which attaches to a common cell phone to detect allergens in food samples. The iTube attachment uses the cell phone’s built-in camera, along with an accompanying smart-phone application that runs a test with the same high level of sensitivity a laboratory would. (more…)

Read More

Monitoring Hurricanes: Georgia Tech Engineers Assist NASA with Instrument for Remotely Measuring Storm Intensity

A device designed by engineers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is part of the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD), an experimental airborne system developed by the Earth Science Office at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Known as an analog beam-former, the GTRI device is part of the radiometer, which is being tested by NASA on a Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. The radiometer measures microwave radiation emitted by the sea foam that is produced when high winds blow across ocean waves. By measuring the electromagnetic radiation, scientists can remotely assess surface wind speeds at multiple locations within the hurricanes. (more…)

Read More

NASA Radar Penetrates Thick, Thin of Gulf Oil Spill

PASADENA, Calif. – Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have developed a method to use a specialized NASA 3-D imaging radar to characterize the oil in oil spills, such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The research can be used to improve response operations during future marine oil spills.

Caltech graduate student Brent Minchew and JPL researchers Cathleen Jones and Ben Holt analyzed NASA radar imagery collected over the main slick of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 22 and June 23, 2010. The data were acquired by the JPL-developed Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) during the first of its three deployments over the spill area between June 2010 and July 2012. The UAVSAR was carried in a pod mounted beneath a NASA C-20A piloted aircraft, a version of the Gulfstream III business jet, based at NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The researchers demonstrated, for the first time, that a radar system like UAVSAR can be used to characterize the oil within a slick, distinguishing very thin films like oil sheen from more damaging thick oil emulsions. (more…)

Read More

CU-led Mountain Forest Study Shows Vulnerability to Climate Change

A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study that ties forest “greenness” in the western United States to fluctuating year-to-year snowpack indicates mid-elevation mountain ecosystems are most sensitive to rising temperatures and changes in precipitation and snowmelt.

Led by CU-Boulder researcher Ernesto Trujillo and Assistant Professor Noah Molotch, the study team used the data — including satellite images and ground measurements — to identify the threshold where mid-level forests sustained primarily by moisture change to higher-elevation forests sustained primarily by sunlight and temperature. Being able to identify this “tipping point” is important because it is in the mid-level forests — at altitudes from roughly 6,500 to 8,000 feet — where many people live and play in the West and which are associated with increasing wildfires, beetle outbreaks and increased tree mortality, said Molotch. (more…)

Read More

Importance of Gene-Gene Interactions Shown in Study

Gaining more insight into predicting how genes affect physical or behavioral traits by charting the genotype-phenotype map holds promise to speed discoveries in personalized medicine. But figuring out exactly how genes interact has left parts of the map invisible.

In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University genetics researchers reveal some of the hidden portions of the map, showing that complicated networks of gene-gene interactions in fruit flies greatly influence the variance in quantitative traits, or characteristics that are influenced by multiple genes – like sensitivity to alcohol or aggression. (more…)

Read More