News Picks

Physics Today’s online staff summarize the most important and interesting news about science from the world's top media outlets.

There are 4 posts for the selected month (September 2015).
September 1, 2015 2:10 PM

Modern storm-risk assessment must look beyond historical record

Science: Parts of the world that have experienced extreme storms in the past are generally better prepared for such disasters in the future. But just because a region hasn’t had a bad storm doesn’t mean it never will. A new risk-assessment tool looks beyond the historical record and takes into account other factors, such as the physics of storms and the shape of an area’s sea floor and coastline. As evidenced by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, which struck New Orleans and the US East Coast, respectively, it is storm surge that can wreak the most destruction. To predict the likelihood of storm surge, researchers used a two-part model that simulated storms all over the world over tens of thousands of years and then statistically analyzed all the data. They found that some areas historically lacking severe storms actually have a potentially large risk of one, a risk that will likely increase due to climate change and rising sea levels.
September 1, 2015 1:45 PM

Majority of Europe's electronic waste is improperly handled

New Scientist: According to a new report from the United Nations University and INTERPOL, in 2012 only 35% of Europe's electronic waste was properly disposed of. Of the remainder, 1.3 million tons were stolen, including functional computer components and precious metals worth some €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion). Another 4.7 million tons were improperly disposed of or illegally traded. Improper disposal of electronics poses a threat to the environment and to public health because of the variety of toxic materials—such as lead, cadmium, and mercury—they contain.

September 1, 2015 1:44 PM

Binary stars can perturb planetary orbits

Ars Technica: Some exoplanetary systems consist of planets orbiting stars that have distant binary companions. According to new simulations of such systems, if a planet's orbital precession around its star falls into resonance with the orbital period of the binary, the resulting gravitational forces could lead to drastic changes in the planet's orbit. In particular, the planet's orbit could become highly elliptical or be forced into a different plane from that of the other planets in the system. In extreme cases, the planet could be ejected from the system or forced to collide with another planet or with one of the stars.

September 1, 2015 10:45 AM

Open-source motion-detection software encourages innovation

Nature: To track and study how animals move, a plethora of motion-tracking tools have sprung up that are based on motion-capture imaging technology. They are being used in various ways, such as to determine how ancient fossilized creatures may have moved or to detect aberrant movements that might indicate a neurological disorder, like Parkinson’s disease. One tool, called XROMM (x-ray reconstruction of moving morphology), uses x rays to image bones and joints moving inside live animals. Another, called MouseWalker, uses a high-speed video camera to detect the scattering of light as a mouse’s paws make contact with a transparent surface surrounded by LED lights. Both are among a growing number of software tools that have been made open source and thus freely available. The hope is that researchers will take the tools and go on to modify and redistribute them and further expand their applications.
No further posts for this month
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address

Oops! This section does not exist...

Use the links on this page to find existing content.

24f368529419bb89b4d14b71017867b2 weblog.blogzxybnytfddd
Scitation: News Picks - Blog