Posts

February 27, 2015

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4:49 PM | Curiosity confirms methane in Mars’ atmosphere, hinting life existed
The tunable laser spectrometer in the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrument of the Curiosity robot has unequivocally detected an episodic increase in the concentration of methane in Mars’ atmosphere […]
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4:48 PM | Modern logging techniques benefit rainforest wildlife
New research has highlighted the value of a modern logging technique for maintaining biodiversity in tropical forests that are used for timber production. Researchers at the Durrell Institute of Conservation […]
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4:48 PM | Future batteries need to triple capacity, cut price by 67%
Stuffing lithium into a material causes it to expand; can we control it?
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4:47 PM | Breakthrough in understanding how cancer cells metastasize
A protein commonly found in human cells could be an important switch that activates cancer cell metastasis, according to a new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and […]
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4:40 PM | All These Gifts Were Given To An 8-Year-Old Girl By Crows
Since the age of four, Gabi Mann of Seattle has forged a relationship with the neighborhood crows by offering them food. Then suddenly something unexpected happened — the crows, in an apparent act of reciprocation, started to present various trinkets to Gabi in return. Read more...
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4:38 PM | Sometimes, Being "Cheap Plastic" is a Good Thing
As much as I generally despise the phrase "cheap plastic", there are times where being a low cost material can produce some unexpected advantages. Such as when people steal manhole covers in order to sell off the metal to a recycler. Plastic manhole covers bring less per kilogram for anyone recycling them, so the temptation will be less, even though it should be a lot easier for someone to steal them due to their low weight.This is not the first time that plastics have been substituted to foil […]
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4:37 PM | Feast-and-famine diet could extend life, study shows
Think of it as interval training for the dinner table. University of Florida Health researchers have found that putting people on a feast-or-famine diet may mimic some of the benefits […]
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4:35 PM | Zombie outbreak? Statistical mechanics reveals the ideal hideout
A team of Cornell University researchers focusing on a fictional zombie outbreak as an approach to disease modeling suggests heading for the hills, in the Rockies, to save your brains […]
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4:34 PM | Aggressive boys tend to develop into physically stronger teens
Boys who show aggressive tendencies develop greater physical strength as teenagers than boys who are not aggressive, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association […]
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4:32 PM | Astronomers Spot a Star-Eating Black Hole 2.9 Billion Light Years Away
A bright flash of light was observed by the ROTSE 111b telescope on January 21, 2009. After many years, scientists speculate that this light was from a star being swallowed by a black hole. This event is being covered in The Astrophysical Journal, detailing the last light of a dying … READ MORE
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4:32 PM | Drones Mapped This Giant Volcano, And The 3D Rendering Is Awesome
Volcanoes are cool, but it’s hard to get close to them sometimes because they are literally made out of hot lava. Drones, with their ability to carry a camera, fly into places humans shouldn’t go, and not feel pain, are a great alternative for exploring the molten floor of a crater. Humans have flown drones into volcano smoke plumes, sent a rolling robot into volcanic fissures, and casually piloted quadcopters over lava flows and around craters. In 41 seconds, the video below […]
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4:31 PM | The global warming hiatus could last another five years. Its aftermath is the real problem.
Originally posted on Is Nerd:Whether you’ve been fending off climate-change skeptics on Twitter or have been looking for reasons to become a climate-change skeptic yourself, you must’ve heard about the hiatus. It’s the name given to a relatively drastic drop in the rate at which the world’s surface temperatures have increased, starting since the late 1990s,…
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4:31 PM | See World-Renowned Polar Bear Biologist
"World renowned" #PolarBear scientist will be @DiscoveryPlace Saturday: http://t.co/6bI27VT1fi #Charlotte— russwilliamsiii (@russwilliamsiii) February 26, 2015 The closed NC Zoo/International Polar Bear Day presentation by Dr. Steven C. Amstrup is now over. There is another link, from the one above, to details of the open, Discovery Place offering of Dr. Amstrup's Polar Bear Day-related program.
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4:30 PM | PubPeer Selections: Odd citations, “practice makes perfect,” a Nature update
Here’s another installment of PubPeer Selections: Citation, schmitation: “This paper cites two papers of mine, that happen to be completely unrelated to the topic discussed, as far as I can see.” “I hope this settles; practice makes perfect, and the samples would have probably been ordered better on the gel had it was run today, […]The post PubPeer Selections: Odd citations, “practice makes perfect,” a Nature update appeared first on Retraction Watch.
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4:30 PM | Pump More Oil, Save The Environment - Electric Fields Boost Keystone Pipeline Flow
A strong electric field applied to a section of the Keystone pipeline can smooth oil flow and yield significant pump energy savings, found a new study.The physics basis is to electrically align particles within the crude oil, which reduces viscosity (thickness) and turbulence. Traditionally, pipeline oil is heated over several miles in order to reduce the oil's viscosity, but this requires a large amount of energy and counter-productively increases turbulence within the flow. read mor
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4:24 PM | Welcome to the “Oasis Of America” – The Sandboarder’s Paradise (Video)
Hidden amongst the sand dunes of the Peruvian desert lies the remote tourist town of Huacachina. Also known as the “Oasis of America”, the small town surrounds a natural lake a few miles outside of the city of Ica in southern Peru. The oasis attracts tens of thousands of tourists a year from all over the world. According to AmazingPlanet.com… “The oasis flourished in the 1940s and 1950s as a getaway for the Peruvian elite and […]
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4:22 PM | Statistical Mechanics Reveals The Ideal Hideout During A Zombie Takeover
Researchers focusing on a new way to discuss statistical mechanics have modeled "World War Z", an oral history of the first zombie war, to explore how an "actual" zombie outbreak might play out in the U.S.  read more
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4:21 PM | Grant proposal's done! What experiment shall I do?
I clicked 'Submit' on my grant proposal last night; my immediate teaching responsibilities are light, and there's nothing else big on my plate, so now I get to start doing experiments again!I think the most fun thing to do will be to join the sabbatical visitor and the co-op tech in doing mutant hunts for hypercompetent strains.  They're mutagenizing the rpoD gene and screening for new mutations that cause hypercompetence, and I can use the same methods on the murE gene.This old post […]
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4:17 PM | Fossil Friday – juvenile mastodon femur
This week’s Fossil Friday specimen is a femur (thigh bone) from a mastodon, collected from the West Dam of Diamond Valley Lake. Like many of the Western Science Center specimens, this femur is only partially prepared, and still sits in … Continue reading →
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4:17 PM | How Deep Mind learns to win
About a year ago, DeepMind was bought for half a billion dollars by Google for creating software that could learn to beat video games. Over the past year, DeepMind has detailed how they did it. Let us say that you were … Continue reading →

Mnih V, Kavukcuoglu K, Silver D, Rusu AA, Veness J, Bellemare MG, Graves A, Riedmiller M, Fidjeland AK, Ostrovski G & Petersen S (2015). Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning., Nature, 518 (7540) 529-533. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25719670

Volodymyr Mnih, Koray Kavukcuoglu, David Silver, Alex Graves, Ioannis Antonoglou, Daan Wierstra & Martin Riedmiller (2013). Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning, arXiv, arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.5602v1

Citation
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4:17 PM | Building An Earthquake Resistant Home
Earthquakes are unexpected, terrifying and can hit at any time, causing major destruction and even death.More than 1.3 million earthquakes of varying magnitudes rattle our world each year destroying homes and changing the landscape of cities around the world."I saw my city destroyed because of this earthquake," said Eduardo Miranda, a structural engineer at Stanford University in California.Miranda was in Mexico City when a magnitude 8.1 earthquake hit."I've seen firsthand the impact big […]
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4:15 PM | 5 Reasons You May Not Be Happy and What to Do about It
Take a breath. Sit quietly for a moment. Close your eyes, and ask yourself if you are happy. Take your time. For many of us, something inside of us is asking for more. Something is asking us to pay attention. Here are five reasons you may not be happy, and five things to do about […]
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4:13 PM | Suicide rates rising for older US adults
Suicide rates for adults between 40 and 64 years of age in the U.S. have risen about 40% since 1999, with a sharp rise since 2007. One possible explanation could be the detrimental effects of the economic downturn of 2007-2009, leading to disproportionate effects on house values, household finances, and retirement savings for that age group. In a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that external economic factors were present in 37.5% of […]
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4:11 PM | Is your NIH PO a little....grouchy?
Another one, paraphrased from multiple correspondents: Dear DM: is it just me or are all the POs getting increasingly grouchy and unhelpful? A. Reader I am not certain, since I hardly have a representative sample. But I'd say no, this is probably just a bad run for you. When encouraging you to interact with your Program […]
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4:11 PM | Finally... KC admits mutts are healthier
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4:10 PM | Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson Awarded National Academy Of Sciences Public Welfare Medal
The National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2015 Public Welfare Medal to astrophysicist Dr.Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, in recognition of his "extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science, from atoms to the Universe.”  read more
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4:08 PM | UK Zoo's "Project Polar" Campaign
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is celebrating International Polar Bear Day and promoting its fundraising campaign, utilizing new resident, polar bear Victor. "All money raised will go to the Project Polar Appeal of Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, whose vision is a better world for wild animals." Who told them the NC Zoo Society ran successful fund raising campaigns over the past 30 years called "Project: Polar Bears", Project: Pachyderms" and "Project: North America", which doubled the NC Zoo?
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4:07 PM | Buran: The Space Shuttle That Almost Was by scishow: Did you...
Buran: The Space Shuttle That Almost Was by scishow: Did you know the Soviet Union had its own Space Shuttle? Learn all about the Buran, what happened to it, and what innovations set it apart from its NASA counterpart. Support on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow
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4:04 PM | Explainer: Edward Snowden's Espionage Timeline
Follow Edward Snowden's trip from IT worker at the CIA and NSA to Russian asylum seeker fleeing espionage charges against him in the U.S.
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3:59 PM | Feast or famine diet could extend longevity
Think of it as interval training for the dinner table. University of Florida Health researchers have found that putting people on a feast-or-famine diet may mimic some of the benefits of fasting, and that adding antioxidant supplements may counteract those benefits. Fasting has been shown in mice to extend lifespan and to improve age-related diseases. But fasting every day, which could entail skipping meals or simply reducing overall caloric intake, can be hard to maintain. […]
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