Posts

December 27, 2014

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8:35 PM | An ultrasonic scalpel for brain surgery
Brain surgery is fraught with huge risks and uncertainty. Parts of the skull (and sometimes most of it) need to be removed, a lengthy and harrowing procedure that could expose the brain to infection and almost always results in significant postoperative pain. Once the surgeon makes the first incision, the smallest error could have devastating consequences—seizure, loss of sensory or motor function, stroke, or even coma. But what if you could slice through the brain without […]
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7:08 PM | Climate Science: What You Need To Know
Scientists overwhelmingly agree that our climate is changing, Earth is getting warmer, sea levels are rising, and it’s primarily because of humans putting lots of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Whether you already trust in the science, you’re undecided, or you disagree with what all this, this video is for you!
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7:03 PM | Good from bad smells - how your brain knows
Whether an odor is pleasant or disgusting to an organism is not just a matter of taste. Often, an organism's survival depends on its ability to make just such a discrimination, because odors can provide important information about food sources, oviposition sites or suitable mates. However, odor sources can also be signs of lethal hazards. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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6:48 PM | Caffeine's effects differ when sugar is included
Consuming caffeinated or sugary drinks can affect the body's metabolism, causing changes in heart and respiratory rate and weight gain. The results of a new study exploring whether individuals respond differently to caffeinated drinks that do or do not contain sugar and to sugar alone are published in Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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6:27 PM | The 50 best science stories of 2014
We at Machines Like Us very much appreciate your support, and wish you a happy and prosperous new year. 2014 was a great year for science; here is a recap of the 50 best stories to grace our pages. Subject:  Technology
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5:22 PM | Scientists create precursors to human egg and sperm
Scientists at the University of Cambridge working with the Weizmann Institute have created primordial germ cells – cells that will go on to become egg and sperm – using human embryonic stem cells. Although this had already been done using rodent stem cells, the study, published today in the journal Cell, is the first time this has been achieved efficiently using human stem cells. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:41 AM | Marital problems remain stable, even as satisfaction declines
A new study authored by a University of Georgia psychologist shows that the severity and number of couples' overall problems stay stable over time, even as their relationship dissatisfaction grows. The research, published in the December issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, suggests a departure from conventional wisdom, both on the part of the public and in the research community. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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2:16 AM | Possible alternative explanation for dark energy found
Dark energy is an unknown form of energy that is proposed to drive the accelerated expansion of the universe. A new study by University of Georgia professor Edward Kipreos suggests that changes in how people think about time dilation—the slowing of time predicted by Albert Einstein—can provide an alternate explanation of dark energy. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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2:02 AM | Growing support for dietary restriction
Researchers identify health benefits beyond longer lifespans. A new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers identifies a key molecular mechanism behind the health benefits of dietary restriction, or reduced food intake without malnutrition. Also known as calorie restriction, dietary restriction is best known for its ability to slow aging in laboratory animals. Subject:  Biology & Aging

December 26, 2014

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11:49 PM | The ants that conquered the world
About one tenth of the world's ants are close relatives; they all belong to just one genus out of 323, called Pheidole. "If you go into any tropical forest and take a stroll, you will step on one of these ants," says Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University's Professor Evan Economo. Subject:  Animal Research
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6:05 PM | Why some people make more fat cells
Researchers believe they’re on track to solve the mystery of weight gain—and it has nothing to do with overeating. They discovered that a protein, Thy1, has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell, making Thy1 a possible therapeutic target, according to a study published in the FASEB Journal. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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5:57 PM | The neuroscience of nostalgia — strong holiday memories explained
How the brain stores sad, glad and bittersweet recollections. More than six decades later, Timothy Friedman easily recalls the jostling on the bus that took him across the frozen Volga River in southwest Russia to the orphanage. He was 14 years old when he was sent 530 miles away from Moscow to live in Engels, a small town named after the co-founder of communism. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:38 AM | How snakes fly
They slither, they hiss, they... fly. Don't let their wingless bodies fool you--some snakes can glide as far as 100 feet through the air, jumping off tree branches and rotating their ribs to flatten their bodies and move from side to side. New research from a George Washington University professor investigates the workings behind the flight and whether they can be applied to mechanical issues. Subject:  Animal Research

December 25, 2014

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5:43 PM | Elon Musk’s hyperloop might become a reality after all
Fans of Elon Musk and high-speed transit are sure to remember the Hyperloop. Back in 2013, Musk dropped the idea into the public mind with a paper that claimed that using the right technology, a high-speed train could make the trip from San Fransisco to Los Angeles in just 35 minutes. Subject:  Technology
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5:11 PM | All together now – three evolutionary perks of singing
We’re enjoying the one time of year when protests of “I can’t sing!” are laid aside and we sing carols with others. For some this is a once-a-year special event; the rest of the year is left to the professionals to handle the singing (except, perhaps, some alone time in the shower or car). Subject:  Evolution

December 24, 2014

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9:24 PM | Why do ants show left bias when exploring mazes?
Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don’t have any difficulty turning left. New research from the University of Bristol, published today in Biology Letters, has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go left when entering unknown spaces. PhD student Edmund Hunt and colleagues studied how Temnothorax albipennis ants explore nest cavities and negotiate through branching mazes. Subject:  Animal Research
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9:15 PM | Researchers discover how lung cancer spreads
Cancer research UK scientists have taken microscopic images revealing that the protein ties tethering cells together are severed in lung cancer cells - meaning they can break loose and spread, according to research published in Cell Reports today (Wednesday). The researchers at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute discovered that the ties which lash cells together -- controlled by a protein called TIAM1 -- are chopped up when cell maintenance work goes wrong. Subject:  […]
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12:40 PM | Faith-healing parents get 10 years in prison for death of daughter
After choosing prayer over modern medicine, and depriving their daughter of life-saving care, Travis and Wenona Rossiter will each spend 10 years in prison for manslaughter in the faith-healing death of their 12-year-old daughter, Syble Rossiter. Late Friday, Judge Daniel Murphy imposed the 10-year sentences despite defense attorneys objections to sentencing guidelines. In Oregon, first-degree manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in […]
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12:37 PM | Apple Campus 2 Tour
See the progress on construction in Cupertino, California where the company is building its new "spaceship" to house over 12,000 additional employees, located near its existing Infinite Loop headquarters -- December 2014. Apple Campus 2 Tour - December 2014 from AppleInsider on Vimeo.
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12:31 PM | Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity
Four pulses of laser light on nanoparticle photocells in a University of Oregon spectroscopy experiment has opened a window on how captured sunlight can be converted into electricity. The work, which potentially could inspire devices with improved efficiency in solar energy conversion, was performed on photocells that used lead-sulfide quantum dots as photoactive semiconductor material. The research is detailed in a paper placed online by the journal Nature Communications. […]
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3:17 AM | The psychology of gift-giving and receiving
Gift exchanges can reveal how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships. Researchers are exploring various aspects of gift-giving and receiving, such as how givers choose gifts, how gifts are used by recipients, and how gifts impact the relationship between givers and receivers. The symposia "The Psychology of Gift Giving and Receiving" will take place during the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention […]
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3:11 AM | Scientists uncover new, fundamental mechanism for how resveratrol provides health benefits
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found that resveratrol, the red-wine ingredient once touted as an elixir of youth, powerfully activates an evolutionarily ancient stress response in human cells. The finding should dispel much of the mystery and controversy about how resveratrol really works. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:57 AM | A new way to activate hair growth
Previous studies of hair loss have identified signals from the skin that help prompt new phases of hair growth. However, how different types of cells that reside in the skin communicate to activate hair growth has continued to puzzle biologists. A new study reveals a new way to spur hair growth. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:48 AM | Thanks to smartphones, your thumbs are developing superpowers
When people spend time interacting with their smartphones via touchscreen, it actually changes the way their thumbs and brains work together, according to a report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 23. More touchscreen use in the recent past translates directly into greater brain activity when the thumbs and other fingertips are touched, the study shows. Subject:  Brain & Behavior

December 23, 2014

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7:23 PM | In search of the origin of our brain
Heidelberg researchers show that nerve cell centralisation does begin in multicellular animals. While searching for the origin of our brain, biologists at Heidelberg University have gained new insights into the evolution of the central nervous system (CNS) and its highly developed biological structures. The researchers analysed neurogenesis at the molecular level in the model organism Nematostella vectensis. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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7:18 PM | Creating artificial electronic materials, one atomic layer at a time
When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, "minding the gap" will help researchers create artificial electronic materials one atomic layer at a time, according to a team of materials scientists. The gap is a miniscule vacuum that researchers in Penn State's Center for 2-Dimensional and Layered Materials believe is an energy barrier keeping electrons from easily crossing from one layer of material to the next. Subject:  Technology
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5:22 PM | If Martian rocks could talk
A new analysis of a Martian rock that meteorite hunters plucked from an Antarctic ice field 30 years ago this month reveals a record of the planet's climate billions of years ago, back when water likely washed across its surface and any life that ever formed there might have emerged. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, NASA and the Smithsonian Institution report detailed measurements of minerals within the meteorite in the early online edition of the Proceedings […]
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5:17 PM | How electrons split: New evidence of exotic behaviors
Electrons may be seen as small magnets that also carry a negative electrical charge. On a fundamental level, these two properties are indivisible. However, in certain materials where the electrons are constrained in a quasi one-dimensional world, they appear to split into a magnet and an electrical charge, which can move freely and independently of each other. A longstanding question has been whether or not similar phenomenon can happen in more than one dimension. Subject:  […]
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5:05 PM | The ethics of sarcastic science
Every year the British Medical Journal publishes an issue of joke science. But years later, those papers are cited as real. Subject:  Technology
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4:35 PM | Skepticism grows about North Korean involvement in Sony hack
As time goes by, there is increasing skepticism over the US government’s claim that North Korea was behind the Sony hack. Subject:  Computer Science
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