Posts

September 09, 2014

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9:06 PM | Less effective DNA repair process takes over as cells age
As we and other vertebrates age, our DNA accumulates mutations and becomes rearranged, which may result in a variety of age-related illnesses, including cancers. Biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andei Seluanov have now discovered one reason for the increasing DNA damage: the primary repair process begins to fail with increasing age and is replaced by one that is less accurate. The findings have been published in the journal PLOS Genetics. Subject:  Biology & […]
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6:53 PM | Apple unveils the Watch, larger iPhones at star-studded event
Apple Inc unveiled the "Apple Watch" alongside two new iPhones with sharper and larger displays on Tuesday, calling the wearable device the next chapter in its history. The first new product to be developed and introduced under Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook's reign is a wearable device tethered to the iPhone that will combine health and fitness tracking with communications. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated on Tuesday that if Apple were to sell 30 million watches […]
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4:32 PM | Single cell smashes and rebuilds its own genome
Life can be so intricate and novel that even a single cell can pack a few surprises, according to a study led by Princeton University researchers. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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4:25 PM | Soft robot squirms over fire, ice, and withstands crushing force
Engineers have created a shape-changing "soft" robot that can tread over a variety of adverse environmental conditions including snow, puddles of water, flames, and the crushing force of being run over by an automobile. Engineers from Cornell and Harvard universities will detail the robot in an upcoming edition of the journal Soft Robotics. Subject:  Robotics
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4:18 PM | Textbook theory behind volcanoes may be wrong
In the typical textbook picture, volcanoes, such as those that are forming the Hawaiian islands, erupt when magma gushes out as narrow jets from deep inside Earth. But that picture is wrong, according to a new study from researchers at Caltech and the University of Miami in Florida. Subject:  Earth Science
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3:42 PM | Saplings go their own way
In tropical rainforests, most young trees grow spatially independent from their parent trees. This means that it is not possible to predict where seedlings will take root, and less specialised species therefore have an advantage even in the species-rich rainforests of the tropics. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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3:36 PM | First evidence for water ice clouds found outside solar system
A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets--Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune--but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun until now. Their findings are published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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2:42 PM | Researchers advance artificial intelligence for player goal prediction in gaming
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed artificial intelligence (AI) software that is significantly better than any previous technology at predicting what goal a player is trying to achieve in a video game. The advance holds promise for helping game developers design new ways of improving the gameplay experience for players. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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2:31 PM | Rock Star Scientist
Pardis Sabeti is an Iranian-American computational biologist, medical geneticist and evolutionary geneticist, who developed a bioinformatic statistical method which identifies sections of the genome that have been subject to natural selection and an algorithm which explains the effects of genetics on the evolution of disease. She also happens to be the lead singer and writer for the rock band Thousand Days.
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2:09 PM | Ebola vaccine gives monkeys long term immunity: Human trials underway
For the Ebola outbreak currently sweeping across West Africa, a vaccine that could provide immunity to individuals who are at high risk of contracting the fatal disease could mean life and death. It could also play a crucial part in ending the outbreak that the World Health Organization has described to be the worst in history. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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2:03 PM | Is eating addictive?
People can become addicted to eating for its own sake but not to consuming specific foods such as those high in sugar or fat, research suggests. An international team of scientists has found no strong evidence for people being addicted to the chemical substances in certain foods. The brain does not respond to nutrients in the same way as it does to addictive drugs such as heroin or cocaine, the researchers say. Instead, people can develop a psychological compulsion to eat, driven by […]
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2:33 AM | Jack the Ripper was Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski, book claims
Infamous killer is identified from blood samples on a shawl found next to one victim’s body, says ‘armchair detective’. A self-confessed “armchair detective” claims to have solved perhaps the most notorious whodunit ever by claiming to have discovered the identity of Jack the Ripper. Russell Edwards claims Aaron Kosminski, a 23 year-old Polish immigrant who ended up dying in an asylum, was “definitely, categorically and absolutely” the man […]
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2:16 AM | Interactive dark matter could explain Milky Way's missing satellite galaxies
Scientists believe they have found a way to explain why there are not as many galaxies orbiting the Milky Way as expected. Computer simulations of the formation of our galaxy suggest that there should be many more, smaller galaxies around the Milky Way than are observed through telescopes. This has thrown doubt on the generally accepted theory of cold dark matter, a substance that scientists predict should allow for more galaxy formation around the Milky Way than is seen. […]
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1:42 AM | All kneel at the temple of Apple’s latest technology
Just as with all the earlier versions of the iPhone, rumours abound about what Apple will announce this week in relation to iPhone 6 – new screens, different sizes, powerful chips, faster processing and an exciting new add-on device – the iWatch. The new product line-up will be launched at the Flint Centre in Cupertino, California, where Apple first revealed the Macintosh to the world 30 years ago. Subject:  Technology
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1:21 AM | Intelligence inheritance – three genes that add to your IQ score
Intelligence, cognitive ability or cognitive performance is usually measured by a battery of tests that aim to quantify skills such as memory and analytical ability. There is loads of variation between people in how they perform on such tests, and these differences can be due to genetic and environment factors, and their interplay. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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1:07 AM | Study of almost 900,000 people shows prediabetes increases the risk of cancer by 15 percent
A meta-analysis comprising 16 studies and 891,426 participants from various regions of the world shows that prediabetes increases the risk of cancer by 15%, with differing risks depending on the type of cancer. The study, published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) is by Professor Yuli Huang, The First People's Hospital of Shunde, Daliang Town, Shunde District, China, and colleagues. Subject:  Health & […]
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12:29 AM | Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'
UCLA biologists have identified a gene that can slow the aging process throughout the entire body when activated remotely in key organ systems. Working with fruit flies, the life scientists activated a gene called AMPK that is a key energy sensor in cells; it gets activated when cellular energy levels are low. Increasing the amount of AMPK in fruit flies' intestines increased their lifespans by about 30 percent — to roughly eight weeks from the typical six — and the flies […]

September 08, 2014

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10:47 PM | Brain damage caused by severe sleep apnea is reversible
A neuroimaging study is the first to show that white matter damage caused by severe obstructive sleep apnea can be reversed by continuous positive airway pressure therapy. The results underscore the importance of the "Stop the Snore" campaign of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Research Society and other partners. Subject:  Health & […]
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7:04 PM | First-ever look inside a working lithium-ion battery
For the first time, researchers have been able to open a kind of window into the inner workings of a lithium-ion battery. Using a neutron beam, chemists and engineers at The Ohio State University were able to track the flow of lithium atoms into and out of an electrode in real time as a battery charged and discharged. Subject:  Technology
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5:07 PM | Want a trip to space?
Private trips to space are pricey, but from time to time contests come up that offer even those of modest means the chance to get there. Take Mars One’s latest publicity campaign, which is to offer a chance for a trip upon the (so-far-unflown-in-space) Lynx spacecraft in exchange for donating to the organization, which plans to launch a one-way human trip to Mars in the next decade. Subject:  Technology
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5:01 PM | Rethinking the basic science of graphene synthesis
A new route to making graphene has been discovered that could make the 21st century's wonder material easier to ramp up to industrial scale. Subject:  Technology
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4:44 PM | Faces are more likely to seem alive when we want to feel connected
Feeling socially disconnected may lead us to lower our threshold for determining that another being is animate or alive, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. "This increased sensitivity to animacy suggests that people are casting a wide net when looking for people they can possibly relate to — which may ultimately help them maximize opportunities to renew social connections," explains psychological […]
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4:35 PM | A single evolutionary road may lead to Rome
A well-known biologist once theorized that many roads led to Rome when it comes to two distantly related organisms evolving a similar trait. A new paper, published in Nature Communications, suggests that when it comes to evolving some traits – especially simple ones – there may be a shared gene, one road, that's the source. Subject:  Evolution
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4:19 PM | Whale sex: It's all in the hips
Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly withering away like tailbones on humans. New research from USC and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) flies directly in the face of that assumption, finding that not only do those pelvic bones serve a purpose – but their size and possibly shape […]
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1:46 AM | Robot servants are going to make your life easy. Then they'll ruin it.
Jibo, the “world’s first family robot,” hit the media hype machine like a bomb. From a Katie Couric profile to coverage in just about every outlet, folks couldn’t get enough of this little robot with a big personality poised to bring us a step closer to the world depicted in “The Jetsons” where average families have maids like Rosie. In the blink of an eye, pre-orders climbed passed $1.8 million and blew away the initial fundraising goal of $100k. […]
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1:26 AM | Banked blood grows stiffer with age
It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers. Using advanced optical techniques, the researchers measured the stiffness of the membrane surrounding red blood cells over time. They found that, even though the cells retain their shape and hemoglobin content, the membranes get stiffer, which steadily decreases the […]

September 07, 2014

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5:39 PM | 61 percent fall in female genital warts due to free HPV vaccine
GPs in Australia are managing 61 per cent less cases of genital warts among young women since the introduction of the national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program, a new study from the University of Sydney reveals. The study, which reviewed more than a million patient encounters between 2000 and 2012, showed a significant year-on-year reduction in the management rate of genital warts in women aged 15-27 years since the vaccination program started. The findings are published […]
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5:35 PM | What is a quantum computer, and why is Google building one?
You may have seen headlines that Google is working on a quantum computer chip with researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara. But there are some questions you might have before we get into the specifics of the initiative. What is a quantum computer? What can it do? Further, what is Google planning to do with a quantum computer once it’s built one? Subject:  Computer Science
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3:37 PM | Parallel universes and the many-worlds theory
Are you unique? In your perception of the world, the answer is simple: you are different from every other person on this planet. But the answer could be more complicated. There might be another “you” with the same hair, eyes, nose, and ears in another alternate reality. That person, however, may also have a completely different personality shaped by varying outcomes to the same experiences. In fact, those outcomes can be so distinct that you might not even be alive in […]
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3:23 PM | Manual control
Oblong Industries brings gesture-control technology from Hollywood to corporate conference rooms. When you imagine the future of gesture-control interfaces, you might think of the popular science-fiction films “Minority Report” (2002) or “Iron Man” (2008). In those films, the protagonists use their hands or wireless gloves to seamlessly scroll through and manipulate visual data on a wall-sized, panoramic screen. Subject:  Technology […]
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