Posts

November 19, 2014

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4:34 PM | The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?
Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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4:25 PM | High heels may enhance a man's instinct to be helpful
If it's help a woman needs, maybe she should wear high heels. That's the message from Nicolas Guéguen of the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, after he observed how helpful men are towards women in high heels versus those wearing flat, sensible shoes. The study, published in Springer's journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, is the first ever to investigate how the height of a woman's shoe heel influences how men behave towards her. Subject:  Brain […]
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4:17 PM | How stress aids memory
Retrieving memory content under stress does not work very well. However, stress can be helpful when it comes to saving new information—especially those that are emotionally relevant in stressful situations. At the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, a team of cognitive psychologists headed by Prof Dr Oliver T. Wolf study these correlations. The RUB's science magazine RUBIN reports on the results. Faked Job Interview Triggers Stress Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]
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4:13 PM | Giving LEDs a cozy, warm glow
When the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded this October to three Japanese-born scientists for the invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs), the prize committee declared LED lamps would light the 21st century. Now researchers from the Netherlands have found a novel way to ensure the lights of the future not only are energy efficient but also emit a cozy warmth. Subject:  Technology
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3:38 AM | A medium amount of physical activity can lower the risk of Parkinson's disease
A new study, published online in Brain: A Journal of Neurology today, followed 43,368 individuals in Sweden for an average of 12.6 years to examine the impact of physical activity on Parkinson's disease risk. It was found that "a medium amount" of physical activity lowers the risk of Parkinson's disease. Subject:  Health & Medicine

November 18, 2014

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9:56 PM | Japan has 500 km/h maglev train
While US infrastructure continues its slow but steady degeneration as politicians stay fixated on richer people paying less taxes and thus starving the government and making it unable to maintain even what we have now let alone make ambitious plans for improvements in the future, we have to look to other countries for the nice things that we cannot have. Subject:  Technology
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6:17 PM | Computer model sets new precedent in drug discovery
A major challenge faced by the pharmaceutical industry has been how to rationally design and select protein molecules to create effective biologic drug therapies while reducing unintended side effects - a challenge that has largely been addressed through costly guess-and-check experiments. Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University offer a new approach, in a study published today in Biophysical Journal. Subject:  […]
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6:04 PM | Taking antibiotics during pregnancy increases risk for child becoming obese
A study just released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that children who were exposed to antibiotics in the second or third trimester of pregnancy had a higher risk of childhood obesity at age 7. The research also showed that for mothers who delivered their babies by a Caesarean section, whether elective or non-elective, there was a higher risk for obesity in their offspring. Study findings are published online in the International Journal of Obesity. […]
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5:19 PM | Sleep now for Rosetta’s comet probe after a bouncy landing
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) pioneering Rosetta mission to land on a comet has been wildly successful, but now it appears that part of its aim, the exploration of the surface by the little Philae lander, may have been cut short. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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5:08 PM | Musicians show advantages in long-term memory
A peek inside the brains of professional musicians has given University of Texas at Arlington psychology researchers what may be the first links between music expertise and advantages in long-term memory. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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1:35 AM | Unlocking total recall in our brains might be possible
Is it possible to change the amount of information the brain can store? Maybe, according to a new international study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). Their research has identified a molecule that puts a brake on brain processing and when removed, brain function and memory recall is improved. Published in the latest issue of Cell Reports, the study has implications for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, such as autism […]
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1:28 AM | Can GPS satellites detect dark matter?
The everyday use of a GPS device might be to find your way around town or even navigate a hiking trail, but for two physicists, the Global Positioning System might be a tool in directly detecting and measuring dark matter, so far an elusive but ubiquitous form of matter responsible for the formation of galaxies. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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1:20 AM | Antibiotics get a 'time-out'
Resistance to antibiotics is an important health concern that affects both the spread of infections, like Clostridium difficile, and the medication budget. Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) examined the effectiveness of adopting an antibiotic "time-out" during treatment, which involves regularly re-evaluating the treatment strategy as the clinical situation evolves. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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1:12 AM | Large impacts mapped on asteroid Vesta
A team of 14 scientists led by David Williams of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration has completed the first global geologic and tectonic map of the asteroid Vesta. The work reveals that Vesta's history has been dominated by impacts from large meteorites. The mapping was carried out using images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which orbited Vesta between June 2011 and September 2012. The images let scientists create high-resolution geological maps, revealing […]

November 17, 2014

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7:56 PM | Scientists can learn from pseudoscience … that’s a fact
Scientists should study pseudoscience – see what the pseudoscientists are up to and perhaps (for a laugh) try a few pseudostudies themselves. Subject:  Technology
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4:40 AM | Killing cancer by protecting normal cells
Although radiation treatments have become much more refined in recent years, it remains a challenge to both sufficiently dose the tumor while sparing the surrounding tissue. A new anti-cancer drug, already in clinical development, may help address this issue by protecting normal cells - but not the cancer - from the effects of radiation. The research, published November 14th in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, further suggests this drug may also be useful in treating accidental […]
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4:33 AM | How does the brain develop in individuals with autism?
New mouse model for autism: Mutated gene causes parts of the brain to degenerate, leading to behavioral deficits, geneticists from Heidelberg publish study in Molecular Psychiatry, better understanding can help deal with disease. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:28 AM | Warmest oceans ever recorded
"This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year," says Axel Timmermann, climate scientist and professor, studying variability of the global climate system at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Subject:  Earth Science
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3:49 AM | Ebola cases likely to enter UK and US through airport screening
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that screening for Ebola at airports could be an effective method for preventing the spread of the disease into the UK and US, but due to the long incubation period of the virus, screening won't detect all cases. Published in the Lancet medical journal, the study used a mathematical model to test the probability of infected travellers from West Africa entering the UK and US. Subject:  Health & Medicine […]
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3:45 AM | 80 million bacteria sealed with a kiss
As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10 second kiss, according to research published in the open access journal Microbiome. The study also found that partners who kiss each other at least nine times a day share similar communities of oral bacteria. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:41 AM | Single protein influences how the brain manages stress
The brain's ability to effectively deal with stress or to lack that ability and be more susceptible to depression, depends on a single protein type in each person's brain, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published November 12 in the journal Nature. The Mount Sinai study findings challenge the current thinking about depression and the drugs currently used to treat the disorder. Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]

November 16, 2014

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11:34 PM | Editing Ultraviolet Photography
For people who do multispectral photography (infrared, visible, ultraviolet, etc) sometimes it can be tricky to achieve what you want in a traditional photo editor. That is why I am developing software to cater specifically for multispectral image processing. The … Continue reading →
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6:33 PM | Tackling Homophobia
Laura Finnigan (17) from Liverpool wants to end homophobia. She has helped to make a Fixers film, which shows that being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) isn’t a lifestyle choice, but part of a person's identity.
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6:26 PM | A third wave?
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (via the always-excellent Mind Hacks) argues cogently that as a new torrent of data about the brain looms, we need to ensure that it is balanced by a corresponding development in theory. That must surely be right, but I wonder whether the torrent of new information is going to bring about another change in paradigm, as the advent of computers in the twentieth century surely did? Subject:  Artificial Intelligence […]
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4:56 PM | The myth of AI
The idea that computers are people has a long and storied history. It goes back to the very origins of computers, and even from before. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence

November 15, 2014

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10:46 AM | Sex, genes, the Y chromosome and the future of men
The Y chromosome, that little chain of genes that determines the sex of humans, is not as tough as you might think. In fact, if we look at the Y chromosome over the course of our evolution we’ve seen it shrink at an alarming rate. Subject:  Genetics

November 14, 2014

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6:56 PM | Do spinal cord injuries cause subsequent brain damage?
Most research on spinal cord injuries has focused on effects due to spinal cord damage and scientists have neglected the effects on brain function. University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) researchers have found for the first time that spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause widespread and sustained brain inflammation that leads to progressive loss of nerve cells, with associated cognitive problems and depression. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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6:29 PM | Why artificial intelligence is set to automate marketing
Machine learning is combining with big data to bring a new level of automation and sophistication into marketing and advertising. We find out how. When a malfunctioning computer went on a homicidal rampage in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it captured the imagination of a world barely conscious of the concept of artificial intelligence. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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6:01 PM | The answer is blowing in the intergalactic wind
Astronomers from the University of Toronto and the University of Arizona have provided the first direct evidence that an intergalactic “wind” is stripping galaxies of star-forming gas as they fall into clusters of galaxies. The observations help explain why galaxies found in clusters are known to have relatively little gas and less star formation when compared to non-cluster or “field” galaxies. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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3:55 PM | Genetic analysis of 110-year-olds finds no secret
Is the secret to long life in a gene? We don't know, for now. A recent project to read the entire DNA sequence of 17 people aged 110 or older has found… there's nothing particularly different from ordinary folks. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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