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Fingerprinting euro coins

Many Europeans are now learning to deal with a new currency. But also cash dispensers and cigarette machines must distinguish clearly between euros, the old currencies and counterfeit money. A miniature computer now checks the coins by means of digital image processing.

For users of the new European currency, having adequate safeguards against forgery is a matter of great importance. The paper money incorporates features such as holograms, watermarks, a security thread, and embossed text to

Scientists use llama droppings to help combat water pollution

Scientists from Newcastle University are using llama droppings to help combat environmental problems caused by polluted water seeping from abandoned silver and tin mines in the Bolivian Andes.

The project is being spearheaded by Paul Younger, Professor of Hydrogeochemical Engineering at Newcastle University. It has been adapted from a community-based natural regeneration technique which uses waste materials to treat polluted mine waters. Professor Younger pioneered the technique, along with

Deadly plant bug sequenced

Researchers grapple with wilt-causing bacteria

It’s the Mike Tyson of plant bacteria,” says Gerry Saddler, of the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency, Edinburgh.

Saddler is referring to Ralstonia solanacearum , the cause of southern bacterial wilt possibly the most important plant disease in the world. French researchers have now sequenced the bacteria’s genome – information that should lead to a better understanding of plant disease, and perhaps new ways to fight it

Differences between boys and girls show less than three weeks into pregnancy

Female embryos exert a greater influence than male embryos over the hormone that nurtures early pregnancy, and the difference can be detected as little as 16 days after conception, according to new research published (Wednesday 30 January) in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.*

Israeli scientists have demonstrated that levels of maternal serum HCG (MSHCG) – the hormone that reveals in blood or urine tests whether or not a woman is pregnant – are nearly a fifth

Climate change following collapse of the Maya empire

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have demonstrated that the climate in South Mexico changed following the collapse of the Maya empire. From preserved pollen grains the paleoecologists could deduce that the climate quickly became dryer.

The climate becoming dryer, explains the decrease in the population following the collapse of the Maya empire. The climate researchers have therefore helped to solve an archaeological mystery.

With the help of pollen grains, the paleoeco

Preventing overload in the brain

Brain researchers in Amsterdam have observed a double control system in the hippocampus. This double control system contributes to the memory and ensures that the brain does not `crash`, as is the case during an epileptic seizure.

The neurobiologists from the University of Amsterdam carried out their observations on the hippocampus of rats. The hippocampus probably plays an important role in converting the short-term memory to the long-term memory.

The hippocampus contains two sorts

Improving mobility in the city through research

Every citizen dreams of spending less time in traffic jams, away from polluted air, while continuing to enjoy the same level of mobility and quality of life as today. On Thursday, 31 January, Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin will participate in the conference “Towards Sustainable Urban Mobility” jointly organised by the European Commission and the European Parliament. The objective of this Conference is to present a network of ten projects in the field of land use and transport funded unde

Cylinders make circuits spontaneously

Carbon nanotubes assemble themselves into electronic grids

Tiny electrical circuits with a single molecule for each wire have been created in the United States 1 . These grids could replace silicon chips, making computers and memory devices much more compact and powerful than they are today.

The grids comprise carbon nanotubes – long, hollow cylinders of pure carbon a few millionths of a millimetre (nanometres) across and several thousand nanometres long. Dep

Air traffic tussles up annoyance

Controversies over new airport runways make locals more noise-sensitive.

Public controversy surrounding the impending building of a runway may make locals much more sensitive to increased aircraft noise than planners predict. A new study warns that it could be easy to underestimate the impact of changes such as those proposed for Britain’s Heathrow Airport.

A new runway began operating at Vancouver International Airport in 1996 after highly publicized local objection to

Car work for quantum mechanics

A quantum afterburner extracts laser light from vehicle exhaust.

The hot gases belching out of your car’s exhaust are not just useless waste. They are a laser waiting to happen, says physicist Marlan Scully1.

All you need to harness this potential, suggests Scully, of Texas A&M University in College Station, is a quantum afterburner. This hypothetical modification would use quantum mechanics to boost the engine’s efficiency by clawing back waste heat and turning it

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Physics and Astronomy

Optical wiring for large quantum computers

Hitting a specific point on a screen with a laser pointer during a presentation isn’t easy – even the tiniest nervous shaking of the hand becomes one big scrawl at…

For the first time: Realistic simulation of plasma edge instabilities in tokamaks

Trigger and course of plasma instability explained / agreement with the experiment. Among the loads to which the plasma vessel in a fusion device may be exposed, so-called edge localised…

World record resolution in cryo-electron microscopy

A crucial resolution barrier in cryo-electron microscopy has been broken. Holger Stark and his team at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry have observed single atoms in a…

Life Sciences

Elkhorn coral actively fighting off diseases on reef, study finds

Findings showed coral has core immune response regardless of disease type. As the world enters a next wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware now more than ever…

Robots help to answer age-old question of why fish school

A fish school is a striking demonstration of synchronicity. Yet centuries of study have left a basic question unanswered: do fish save energy by swimming in schools? Now, scientists from…

New understanding of how a model insect species sees color

Through an effort to characterize the color receptors in the eyes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, University of Minnesota researchers discovered the spectrum of light it can see deviates…

Agricultural and Forestry Science

Land management in forest and grasslands

How much can we intensify? A first assessment of the effects of land management on the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are crucial for human…

Vanilla cultivation under trees promotes pest regulation

Research team led by University of Göttingen investigates agroforestry systems in Madagascar. The cultivation of vanilla in Madagascar provides a good income for small-holder farmers, but without trees and bushes…

The stable fly: a potentially dangerous carrier of disease for pigs

The stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) is abundantly found worldwide and resembles the common housefly. The biggest difference is that the stable fly has a bayonet-like proboscis for blood sucking. While…

Information Technology

Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production

The International Conference on Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production (DigiCrop2020), which is running from November 1-10, 2020 fully online and free of charge, is the new flagship conference of…

Material found in house paint may spur technology revolution

Sandia developed new device to more efficiently process information. The development of a new method to make non-volatile computer memory may have unlocked a problem that has been holding back…

AI methods of analysing social networks find new cell types in tissue

In situ sequencing enables gene activity inside body tissues to be depicted in microscope images. To facilitate interpretation of the vast quantities of information generated, Uppsala University researchers have now…

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