University of Washington

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Religions - 15.04.2024
Q&A: How claims of anti-Christian bias can serve as racial dog whistles
In a speech to a group of religious broadcasters in February, Donald Trump promised to create a task force to counter "anti-Christian bias," which he said would investigate the "discrimination, harassment and persecution against Christians in America." It's not the first time Trump has claimed that Christians are being persecuted, and he's not alone.

Life Sciences - 08.04.2024
Everyday social interactions predict language development in infants
A parent interacting with a baby is a heart-warming and universal scene. The parent speaks in a high-pitched voice - known as "parentese" - as they respond positively to the baby's babbling and gestures, commonly with eye contact and smiles. These connections don't just make for a touching sight. New research from the University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows they're important for infant language growth, too.

Astronomy / Space - Life Sciences - 22.03.2024
Signs of life detectable in single ice grain emitted from extraterrestrial moons
The ice-encrusted oceans of some of the moons orbiting Saturn and Jupiter are leading candidates in the search for extraterrestrial life. A new lab-based study led by the University of Washington in Seattle and the Freie Universität Berlin shows that individual ice grains ejected from these planetary bodies may contain enough material for instruments headed there in the fall to detect signs of life, if such life exists.

Astronomy / Space - 19.03.2024
Citizen scientist group finds 15 rare ’active asteroids’
Not all'asteroids are alike. Some of them, known as "active" asteroids, sport comet-like tails of gas and dust. Studying active asteroids could reveal clues to how the solar system formed and how Earth became a water-bearing oasis for life. They may also aid future space missions. Active asteroids are also rare.

Physics - Chemistry - 15.02.2024
First-ever atomic freeze-frame of liquid water
In an experiment akin to stop-motion photography, an international team of scientists has isolated the energetic movement of an electron in a sample of liquid water - while "freezing" the motion of the much larger atom it orbits. The finding reveals the immediate response of an electron when hit with an X-ray, an essential step in understanding the effects of radiation exposure on objects and people.

Chemistry - Environment - 08.02.2024
Foul fumes pose pollinator problems
A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has discovered a major cause for a drop in nighttime pollinator activity - and people are largely to blame. The researchers found that nitrate radicals (NO3) in the air degrade the scent chemicals released by a common wildflower, drastically reducing the scent-based cues that nighttime pollinators rely on to locate the flower.

Health - 07.02.2024
UW-developed smart earrings can monitor a person’s temperature
Smart accessories are increasingly common. Rings and watches track vitals, while Ray-Bans now come with cameras and microphones. Wearable tech has even broached brooches. Yet certain accessories have yet to get the smart touch. University of Washington researchers introduced the Thermal Earring, a wireless wearable that continuously monitors a user's earlobe temperature.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 29.01.2024
Q&A: How ’slow slip’ earthquakes may be driven by deep hydraulic fracturing
The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a massive geologic fault that last ruptured in January 1700. But while this fault has stayed quiet for centuries, it regularly generates small tremors that accompany gradual, nondisruptive movement along the fault. The tiny tremor events and slow slippage are known collectively as " episodic tremor and slip." Seismic waves associated with these tremor events are recorded and tracked by the UW's Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

Environment - 19.12.2023
How will climate change affect how predators hunt prey? Two UW professors teamed up to find out
How will climate change affect how predators hunt prey? Two UW professors teamed up to find out
As climate change warms the planet, weather patterns are likely to shift. Even the consistency of snow - how fluffy it is, for example - could change. Laura Prugh , a wildlife ecologist and University of Washington associate professor in the School of Environmental & Forest Sciences, wants to know how these changing conditions will affect how predators hunt prey.

Physics - Electroengineering - 19.12.2023
Superconductor with on/off switches
As industrial computing needs grow, the size and energy consumption of the relevant hardware must keep up with those demands. A solution to this dilemma could lie in superconducting materials, which reduce that energy consumption exponentially. Imagine cooling a giant data center - full of constantly running servers - down to nearly absolute zero, enabling large-scale computation with incredible energy efficiency.

Transport - Environment - 14.12.2023
Seattle metro residents near Amazon delivery stations face more pollution but order fewer packages
Seattle metro residents near Amazon delivery stations face more pollution but order fewer packages
While it is common to see Amazon Prime vans circling the city of Seattle year-round, there might be even more deliveries than usual right now, thanks to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that rang in the holiday season. Researchers at the University of Washington were curious how the delivery of e-commerce products affects pollution levels across the Seattle metropolitan area, which includes Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue and Everett.

Environment - Life Sciences - 11.12.2023
Beluga whales’ calls may get drowned out by shipping noise in Alaska’s Cook Inlet
Beluga whales are highly social and vocal marine mammals. They use acoustics to navigate, find prey, avoid predators and maintain group cohesion. For Alaska's critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga population, these crucial communications may compete with a cacophony of noise from human activities. New research from the University of Washington, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is the first to document the complex vocal repertoire of the Cook Inlet beluga whale population.

Environment - Health - 27.11.2023
Breathing highway air increases blood pressure, UW research finds 
For more than a century, American cities have been sliced and diced by high-traffic roadways. Interstate highways and wide arterials are now a defining feature of most metropolitan areas, their constant flow of cars spewing pollution into nearby neighborhoods. Researchers have only just begun to understand the health risks posed by all that pollution.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 13.11.2023
North Atlantic’s marine productivity may not be declining, according to new study of older ice cores
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of declining phytoplankton in the North Atlantic may have been greatly exaggerated. A prominent 2019 study used ice cores in Antarctica to suggest that marine productivity in the North Atlantic had declined by 10% during the industrial era, with worrying implications that the trend might continue.

Innovation - Computer Science - 02.11.2023
Can AI help boost accessibility? These researchers tested it for themselves
Generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, an AI-powered language tool, and Midjourney, an AI-powered image generator, can potentially assist people with various disabilities. These tools could summarize content, compose messages or describe images. Yet the degree of this potential is an open question, since, in addition to regularly spouting inaccuracies and failing at basic reasoning , these tools can perpetuate ableist biases.

Computer Science - 30.10.2023
A Google Slides extension can make presentation software more accessible for blind users
Screen readers, which convert digital text to audio, can make computers more accessible to many disabled users - including those who are blind, low vision or dyslexic. Yet slideshow software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, isn't designed to make screen reader output coherent. Such programs typically rely on Z-order - which follows the way objects are layered on a slide - when a screen reader navigates through the contents.

Life Sciences - 26.10.2023
Fruit, nectar, bugs and blood: How bat teeth and jaws evolved for a diverse dinnertime
They don't know it, but Darwin's finches changed the world. These closely related species - native to the Galapagos Islands - each sport a uniquely shaped beak that matches their preferred diet. Studying these birds helped Charles Darwin develop the theory of evolution by natural selection. A group of bats has a similar - and more expansive - evolutionary story to tell.

Life Sciences - Environment - 18.10.2023
DNA shows where Washington culvert replacements helped spawning salmon
To help struggling salmon populations, the state of Washington is legally required to replace hundreds of culverts that divert streams under roadways. The state transportation department is replacing old, rusting metal pipes with broad, concrete promenades that provide more gradual gradients and gentler flows for salmon swimming upstream to access more spawning grounds.

Health - Environment - 07.09.2023
UW assessment finds fentanyl and methamphetamine smoke linger on public transit vehicles
Alden Woods Two years ago, as life regained its rhythm and public transit once again filled with people, train and bus operators spotted a troubling trend. Some operators reported instances of people smoking drugs on their vehicles, and worried that the haze it created could linger, potentially affecting workers- physical and mental health.

Social Sciences - 29.08.2023
Researchers prefer same-gender co-authors, UW study shows
Researchers are more likely to write scientific papers with co-authors of the same gender, a pattern that can't be explained by varying gender representations across scientific disciplines and time. A new study from the University of Washington and Cornell University, recently published in PLOS One , finds consistent gender homophily - the tendency of authors to collaborate with others who share their gender - in a digital collection of 560,000 published research articles over a 50-year period.
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