Scientists develop new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado river — ScienceDaily

A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory. The group’s paper, “Colorado River water supply is predictable on multi-year timescales owning to long-term ocean memory” was published October 9 by Communications Earth and Environment, an open-access journal from Nature Research.

The Colorado River is the most important water resource in the semi-arid western United States and faces growing demand from users in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Because water shortages in the Colorado River impact energy production, food and drinking water security, forestry and tourism, tools to predict drought and low water levels could inform management

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Data tool helps users manage water resources, protect infrastructure — ScienceDaily

River systems are essential resources for everything from drinking water supply to power generation — but these systems are also hydrologically complex, and it is not always clear how water flow data from various monitoring points relates to any specific piece of infrastructure. Researchers from Cornell University and North Carolina State University have now developed a tool that draws from multiple databases to give water resource managers and infrastructure users the information they need to make informed decisions about water use on river networks.

“A streamgage tells you what the water level is at a specific point in the river — but that’s not really enough information,” says Sankar Arumugam, co-author of a paper on the work and a professor of civil engineering at NC State. “If you are an infrastructure operator, what you really need to know is how long it will take for that water-level information to be

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Zoom Video Rises as Mizuho Sees ‘Best of Breed’ Tool

Shares of Zoom Video Communications  (ZM) – Get Report rose after Mizuho analysts initiated coverage of the videoconferencing company with a buy rating and a price target of $550 a share. 

The target represents 15% potential upside from the stock’s Thursday closing price. Zoom shares at last check rose 2% to $487.92. 

“Zoom’s meteoric rise during covid-19 has been driven by uptake of its best-of-breed videoconferencing tool, which became a global sensation almost overnight,” analyst Siti Panigrahi said.  

Year to date Zoom shares have jumped by more than a factor of seven as the work-from-home trend that had begun prior to this year accelerated because of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.

Zoom “can continue to deliver outsized revenue growth due to its position as a market leader, its global recognition, cross-sell opportunities, and its position in a growing and underpenetrated long-tail market,” the analyst wrote. 

With

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Ants adapt tool use to avoid drowning

Ants adapt tool use to avoid drowning
Researchers have observed black imported fire ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers, when faced with the risk of drowning. This is the first time this sophisticated tool use has been reported in animals. These findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology. Credit: Dr Aiming Zhou and Dr Jian Chen

Researchers have observed black imported fire ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers, when faced with the risk of drowning. This is the first time this sophisticated tool use has been reported in animals. These findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology.


A laboratory experiment has shown for the first time that a species of ant has the remarkable ability to adapt its tool use. When provided with small containers of sugar water, black imported fire ants were able to float and feed on

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Nano-scientists develop a molecular tool to change the structure of a metal surface — ScienceDaily

The surface of metals plays a key role in many technologically relevant areas, such as catalysis, sensor technology and battery research. For example, the large-scale production of many chemical compounds takes place on metal surfaces, whose atomic structure determines if and how molecules react with one another. At the same time, the surface structure of a metal influences its electronic properties. This is particularly important for the efficiency of electronic components in batteries. Researchers worldwide are therefore working intensively on developing new kinds of methods to tailor the structure of metal surfaces at the atomic level.

A team of researchers at the University of Münster, consisting of physicists and chemists and led by Dr. Saeed Amirjalayer, has now developed a molecular tool which makes it possible, at the atomic level, to change the structure of a metal surface. Using computer simulations, it was possible to predict that the restructuring of

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Tool could be used to simulate interventions on issues such as polarization — ScienceDaily

Northwestern University researchers have developed the first quantitative model that captures how politicized environments affect U.S. political opinion formation and evolution.

Using the model, the researchers seek to understand how populations change their opinions when exposed to political content, such as news media, campaign ads and ordinary personal exchanges. The math-based framework is flexible, allowing future data to be incorporated as it becomes available.

“It’s really powerful to understand how people are influenced by the content that they see,” said David Sabin-Miller, a Northwestern graduate student who led the study. “It could help us understand how populations become polarized, which would be hugely beneficial.”

“Quantitative models like this allow us to run computational experiments,” added Northwestern’s Daniel Abrams, the study’s senior author. “We could simulate how various interventions might help fix extreme polarization to promote consensus.”

The paper will be published on Thursday (Oct. 1) in the journal Physical Review

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Planaria flatworms can be alternative screening tool to avoid rabbit skin testing — ScienceDaily

Tests for skin treatments could be screened using flatworms rather than other animals such as rabbits, according to new research.

A team at the University of Reading and Newcastle University have found that planaria, a type of flatworm, can be used as a reliable alternative for testing topical skin products used to treat human tissues such as the eyes, nose or vagina to ensure that they are not harmful.

The paper, published in Toxicology in Vitro, shows how the use of a fluorescent dye mixed with a potential skin product is absorbed through the outer layers of skin in the planaria.

The tests are cheaper and more ethical than existing animal tests, because planaria are readily available and easily cultured in a laboratory — and don’t experience suffering. While other tests are carried out on human skin cells in a petri dish, the new screening method would provide a

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Revamped EU Data Transfer Tool May Be Ready by Christmas | Technology News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A revised mechanism allowing companies to transfer Europeans’ data around the world may be ready before Christmas, the EU’s digital chief said on Wednesday, in a move aimed at ending the legal uncertainty triggered by a EU court ruling in July.

The Court of Justice of the European Union upheld the legality of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) for transferring data following a dispute between Facebook and privacy activist Max Schrems, who has campaigned about the risk of U.S. intelligence agencies accessing Europeans’ data.

However, Europe’s highest court also said that privacy watchdogs must suspend or prohibit transfers via SCCs outside the EU if data protection in other countries cannot be assured.

The European Commission has since embarked on talks with EU privacy watchdogs to resolve the legal limbo for companies.

“My colleagues Vera Jourova and Didiers Reynders are working very, very hard to look at standard contractual

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UCSF Launches Pilot of Privacy-Preserving Smartphone Tool to Help Slow Spread of COVID-19

woman wearing a mask and looking at a cellphone

UC San Francisco is piloting the use of California COVID Notify, a smartphone-based tool that allows users to opt-in to receive an alert if they’ve had a high-risk exposure to COVID-19.

Starting Sept. 30, students, faculty and staff at UCSF will be invited to activate COVID Notify on their smartphones. Those who opt in will be among the first Californians to test the tool as part of a limited pilot that will help policymakers decide whether to make COVID Notify available statewide.

“We’re hoping to find out if exposure notification tools like COVID Notify can supplement the essential work being done every day by human contact tracers,” said Robert Kosnik, MD, director of the UCSF Occupational Health Program, which is overseeing the rollout of the tool at UCSF. “If the pilot succeeds, it may lead to widespread adoption of COVID Notify, providing Californians with a convenient tool that may help

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Scientists develop a tool that could drastically speed up the ability to design new biological systems — ScienceDaily

If you’ve eaten vegan burgers that taste like meat or used synthetic collagen in your beauty routine — both products that are “grown” in the lab — then you’ve benefited from synthetic biology. It’s a field rife with potential, as it allows scientists to design biological systems to specification, such as engineering a microbe to produce a cancer-fighting agent. Yet conventional methods of bioengineering are slow and laborious, with trial and error being the main approach.

Now scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new tool that adapts machine learning algorithms to the needs of synthetic biology to guide development systematically. The innovation means scientists will not have to spend years developing a meticulous understanding of each part of a cell and what it does in order to manipulate it; instead, with a limited set of training data, the algorithms are able

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