News That Matters

Tag: explain

Improperly recycled refrigerators not enough to explain rise in ozone-eating gas

Improperly recycled refrigerators not enough to explain rise in ozone-eating gas

Science
May 24 (UPI) -- Despite reports that improperly recycled refrigerators in China could explain a recent uptick in chlorofluorocarbon emissions, NOAA scientist Steve Montzka suggests the new mystery source of CFC-11 remains unaccounted for. Earlier this month, Montzka and his colleagues identified rising levels of CFC-11, a common chlorofluorocarbon, in air samples collected in Hawaii. Emissions had been dropping globally over the last two decades. The rise in CFC-11 concentrations first showed up in 2013, suggesting the chemical's proliferation can be explained by a new source -- a source scientists think is located somewhere in East Asia. Chlorofluorocarbons like CFC-11 were used in a variety products, including refrigerators and air-conditioners, for decades before being phased out beca...
Trait tied to autism may explain emergence of realistic art

Trait tied to autism may explain emergence of realistic art

Science
May 14 (UPI) -- Some 30,000 years ago, in the midst of the Ice Age, cartoonish caricatures of animals gave way to more realistic art. New research suggests the shift in aesthetic could be explained by "detail focus," a trait linked to autism. Seemingly all at once, detailed depictions of bears, bison, horses and lions began to appear in significant numbers in Ice Age caves. Scientists have struggled to account for the sudden change. Researchers have previously suggested psychotropic substances inspired the explosion of detail-oriented drawings, but a new study discounts such an explanation. Instead, archaeologists at the University of York argue a trait linked with autism, called detail focus, jumpstarted the trend. "Detail focus is what determines whether you can draw realistically; you...
Farming techniques, not fungus, explain success of leafcutter ants

Farming techniques, not fungus, explain success of leafcutter ants

Science
May 9 (UPI) -- A comprehensive new survey has yielded new insights into the evolutionary success of leafcutter ants, the most advanced of the fungus-growing ants.Leafcutter ants grow the largest colonies, featuring millions of ants, and produce the most diversified workforce. Until now, scientists have credited their fungus with the group's empowerment. But new research suggests the same fungus is cultivated by other less sophisticated ant species.It is a combination of unique -- but still poorly understood -- cultivation techniques that explains the evolution of the leafcutter ants, researchers argue in a new paper, published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology.Genetic analysis of all 47 leafcutter ant species, from colonies and nests in Brazil, Texas and everywhere in-between, sug...
Scientists explain the sound of knuckle cracking

Scientists explain the sound of knuckle cracking

Science
Scientists have turned their attention to investigating that most annoying of human habits - the sound made when you crack your knuckles.The characteristic pop can be explained by three mathematical equations, say researchers in the US and France.Their model confirms the idea that the cracking sound is due to tiny bubbles collapsing in the fluid of the joint as the pressure changes.Surprisingly, perhaps, the phenomenon has been debated for around a century.Science student Vineeth Chandran Suja was cracking his knuckles in class in France when he decided to investigate. He developed a series of equations with his lecturer, Dr Abdul Barakat of École polytechnique, to explain the typical sound that accompanies the release of the joint between the fingers and the hand bones."The first equation
Genetics may explain chronic post-surgery pain

Genetics may explain chronic post-surgery pain

Health
Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Some patients experience chronic pain after surgery. New research suggests genetics likely plays a role.In addition to those with a genetic predisposition, researchers found males, patients younger than 65 and those with history of chronic pain were more likely to experience lost lasting post-surgical pain."Until now, the genetic variations associated with chronic postsurgical pain have not been well identified," Dr. Matthew T.V. Chan, a researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in China, said in a news release.The findings of Chan and his colleagues -- detailed in the journal Anesthesiology -- could be used to identify those at risk of developing chronic pain after surgery.Wildly varying estimates suggest anywhere from 9 to 80 percent of patients experience some f...