A team led by Penn State
researchers has succeeded in building silicon fibers thinner than a human hair that can act as solar cells
. If the work scales up to produce longer fibers as well as the team thinks it could, these solar energy absorbing threads could be woven into clothing in the future. So if you've ever wanted a jacket that can pull in energy through the fibers it's made of and use it charge your phone
while you take a stroll in the park, take heart -- you might be getting it sooner than expected.
We all have plenty of things to worry about and be frightened by in the course of a given day. Paying the bills, getting to work on time, making sure we don't step in front of a bus while texting. Apparently, though, researchers at Penn State University
think we could all use one more thing to have anxiety over: The Earth will eventually be swallowed by our own slowly dying sun, just as the red giant star BD+48 740 did to one of its planets
. It's the first time that astronomers have been able to observe, in some way, the consumption of a planet by its aging star
. Sure, that fate is probably 5 billion years in the future for the Earth, when we'll all be long in the ground, but knowing it certainly doesn't make us sleep any more soundly right now.
Researchers have sequenced the genome of the Tasmanian devil
, an endangered species whose population is being decimated by a catchable cancer. This type of cancer is called Devil Facial Tumor Disease
(DFTD) and is transmitted through the population when the animals come into contact with affected individuals. The genome sequencing effort took a unique two-pronged species-preservation approach based on analyzing the whole-genomes of two Tasmanian devils and applying the data collected to the genetic history of the species.
The data obtained from the genome sequencing effort was used to create a theoretical model to predict which individuals in the species should be kept in captivity to maximize the genetic diversity of healthy individuals, thus preserving the species for the future. The research will be used for at least one possible action plan for how to prevent the extinction of the Tasmanian devil, and could be applied to other endangered species.