Even trees need their zzzzz's, say scientists

Christian Science Monitor | Science

If a tree snores in the forest, does it make a sound? Ok, trees probably don't snore, but it turns out they might actually sleep, according to recent research. Most living organisms respond to the variations in temperature and light that come during the nighttime. A team of researchers from Austria, Finland, and Hungary have discovered that trees might also need their shut-eye. The researchers used laser scans and examined two different silver birch trees, one in Finland and one in Austria, to look for patterns.

Sleep Disruption Increases Alzheimer's Risk


Have you resolved to take better care of yourself in the new year? Here's a relatively painless way to do it: Catch a few more zzz's every night. A third of American adults don't get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This study is the clearest demonstration in humans that sleep disruption leads to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease through an amyloid beta mechanism," said senior author Randall Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology. "The study showed that it was due to overproduction of amyloid beta during sleep deprivation."

Solar Eclipse 2017: NASA Wants You To Help Collect Data On Event

International Business Times

If you've ever dreamed of being a scientist or working for NASA, your big break is coming this August. NASA is asking ordinary people viewing the total solar eclipse on August 21 to take part in a nation-wide science experiment by recording scientific data of the event to aid in research. The eclipse offers a unique opportunity for researchers to study how the Earth, and the plants and animals that live on it, reacts to sudden environmental changes caused by the eclipse. The total eclipse will occur in 14 states across the continental United States, causing sudden night-like conditions, and researchers want to gather as much data as possible. The best way for NASA to gather information about the event that will span such a large portion of the country is to crowd source the data collection.

Driving in rain is no problem for this self-driving car


If you've ever wondered how a self-driving car might handle bad weather, inconsistent traffic signals and unpredictable human drivers, you may have your answer. Drive.ai, the self-driving car startup that adds autonomous car-to-human communication through visual cues, just took one of its retrofitted self-driving cars on the kind of road trip that can prove particularly challenging for people and autonomous vehicles. SEE ALSO: Alphabet's Waymo unveils its autonomous Chrysler minivan On Tuesday, Drive.Ai released an unusual, narration-less and, mostly, text-free (it only says, "This is a fully autonomous drive") video of a standard car retrofitted with the Drive.Ai self-driving system tooling around the streets of Mountain View, California. Self-driving cars in that part of the U.S. are not unusual, but as the car drives, the sun sets and the rain starts. Soon it's pouring and visibility of street signs and, especially, lane markings all but disappear.

Trees go to SLEEP at night too! Woody plants relax and let their branches droop during the hours of darkness

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Most animals are known to grab at least 40 winks at some point in the day, but it seems trees also drop off to'sleep' during the hours of darkness. Researchers have found that trees relax and let their branches droop when the sun goes down. A collaboration of researchers from Austria, Finland and Hungary used laser scanners on fully grown trees to measure their'sleep movement'. Scientists have found that trees appear to'rest' at night. The figure on the left depicts the tree at night, while the mirrored figure on the right depicts the same tree during the day.