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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2016 - In a secure vault in the suburbs of Paris, an egg-sized cylinder of metal sits in a climate-controlled room under three glass bell jars. It is the mass against which all other masses in the world are measured - by definition the quintessential kilogram.

Yet the so-called "Le Grand K" may soon be deposed from the standard-setting throne it has held for the last 127 years. Efforts are afoot in the scientific community to define mass using a fundamental constant of nature instead - a value that in theory can be measured anywhere in the universe and won't change with the smude of a fingerprint or the settling of a fleck of dust.


Most clinical research is not useful to clinicians. This could change.

Many billions of dollars are spent on clinical research every year, yet much of the knowledge produced is not useful for guiding clinical decision making. Because many of the features that make clinical research reliable as a basis for clinical practice can be identified, more useful clinical research could easily be produced at the same or even at massively reduced cost, according to John Ioannidis from Stanford University, US, in an Essay published in PLOS Medicine.


It takes children until they are about 5 years old to learn to take turns with others, while the social skill seems to elude chimpanzees, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The findings show that 5-year-old children adopted a turn-taking strategy more effectively than their younger counterparts, suggesting that the skill emerges as children's cognitive abilities mature.


Usually, it takes a nose to smell, but now - for the first time - scientists have developed a convincing model able to measure odours from pig farms by means of precise measurements of the content of odorants in the atmosphere.

How much and how bad does pig production facilities smell? Now we are able to answer this question by means of a technique developed by scientists from Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, in cooperation with SEGES. They have developed a model that is able to predict pig house odours. The model is based on measurements of odorants by means of the analytical technique PTR-MS.


Alpine forests will be at great risk should weather phenomena such as droughts and torrential rain become more frequent. As a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) shows, the mountain forests of the Bavarian Alps have seen a significant reduction in topsoil organic matter over the past three decades. The study authors' recommendation is therefore to preserve, or better still, increase soil humus regardless of climate change by implementing humus-promoting forest management to safeguard the mountain forest's protective function and to mitigate floods.


A Kobe University research group including Associate Professor Maki Hideshi (Center for Environmental Management), PhD candidate Sakata Genki (Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, currently employed at Central Glass Co., Ltd.) and Professor Mizuhata Minoru (Graduate School of Engineering) have developed a new analysis method that uses magnetic fields to quickly and accurately measure the concentration of aluminum used to purify tap water. These findings can potentially be used in developing efficient and environmentally-conscious coagulants for water treatment. The findings were presented on May 29, 2016 at the 76th Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry Symposium.