Posts

October 09, 2014

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6:13 PM | New technology controls brain cells with radio waves
A proposal to develop a new way to remotely control brain cells from Sarah Stanley, a research associate in Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, headed by Jeffrey M. Friedman, is among the first to receive funding from U.S. President Barack Obama’s BRAIN initiative. The project will make use of a technique called radiogenetics that combines the use of radio waves or magnetic fields with nanoparticles to turn neurons on or off. Subject:  […]
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6:03 PM | Researchers make mind-controlled prosthetics that feel sensations
Life-like artificial limbs are on the way. Two independent teams of researchers have developed prosthetic devices that behave and feel sensation just like real arms and hands. One device, implanted into the remaining bone, gives amputees a full range of movement using electrical impulses from the brain. The other invention restores the sense of touch. Subject:  Robotics
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5:58 PM | Quantum robotics will create creative artificial intelligence agents
Quantum computing will open up a new field of robotics able to learn and carry out complex creative tasks, according to researchers. Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the University of Innsbruck in Austria claim in a paper published in the journal Physical Review, that the principles of quantum mechanics can be applied to create "intelligent learning agents" relevant for applications involving complex task environments. Subject:  […]
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5:42 PM | Quantized qualia
You’ve heard of splitting the atom; W. Alex Escobar wants to split the quale. His recent paper (short article here) proposes that in order to understand subjective experience we may need to break it down into millions of tiny units of experience. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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5:29 PM | 'Data smashing' could unshackle automated discovery
A little known secret in data mining is that simply feeding raw data into a data analysis algorithm is unlikely to produce meaningful results, say the authors of a new Cornell University study. Subject:  Computer Science
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4:35 PM | Discovery of new subatomic particle sheds light on fundamental force of nature
The discovery of a new particle will "transform our understanding" of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue. Led by scientists from the University of Warwick, the discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom's nucleus. Named Ds3*(2860)ˉ, the particle, a new type of meson, was discovered by analysing data collected with […]
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4:06 PM | Getting rich with science
An angry man by the name of Jared stopped by the blog the other day and left this beauty of a comment on my old A/C article: Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:04 PM | How scientists really feel about climate change
Science communicator Joe Duggan has created a website hosting letters from climate scientists. In his introduction, Joe says: Climate change is a complex and intimidating threat. You can't see it when you look out your bedroom window. It's impacts are often not immediately noticeable, nor are the benefits of acting against it. Subject:  Earth Science
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2:53 PM | Researchers discover cancer-fighting berry
Scientists have been surprised by the rapid cancer-fighting properties of a berry found only in Far North Queensland. An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Brisbane, found a compound in the berry could kill head and neck tumours as well as melanomas. An experimental drug derived from the berry, EBC-46, has so far been used on 300 animals, including cats, dogs and horses. Dr Boyle said in 75 per cent of cases, the tumour […]

October 08, 2014

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5:52 PM | Bigger brains aren't always better
It's one of those ideas that seems to make perfect sense: the bigger the brain, the more intelligent the creature. While it is generally true, exceptions are becoming increasingly common. Yet the belief persists even among scientists. Most biologists, for example, assume that rats, with larger brains, are smarter than mice. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) scientists now challenge this belief. They compared mice and rats and found very similar levels of intelligence, a result that […]
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4:47 PM | Autism as a disorder of prediction
Researchers suggest autism stems from a reduced ability to make predictions, leading to anxiety. Autism is characterized by many different symptoms: difficulty interacting with others, repetitive behaviors, and hypersensitivity to sound and other stimuli. MIT neuroscientists have put forth a new hypothesis that accounts for these behaviors and may provide a neurological foundation for many of the disparate features of the disorder. Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]
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4:09 PM | New clues for the early detection of colorectal cancer
Researchers at the University of Luxembourg have identified potential new ways to test for the first signs of one of the most deadly types of cancer: colorectal cancer. They have found new “biomarkers”: molecules whose increased presence or absence in tissue suggests the development of tumorous cells. These indicators could help detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, predict its severity or even offer new treatments. Subject:  Health & […]
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3:51 PM | Teenage girls are exposed to more stressors that increase depression risk
Adolescence is often a turbulent time, and it is marked by substantially increased rates of depressive symptoms, especially among girls. New research indicates that this gender difference may be the result of girls' greater exposure to stressful interpersonal events, making them more likely to ruminate, and contributing to their risk of depression. The findings are published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Subject:  […]
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3:47 PM | Smallest world record has 'endless possibilities' for bio-nanotechnology
Scientists from the University of Leeds have taken a crucial step forward in bio-nanotechnology, a field that uses biology to develop new tools for science, technology and medicine. The new study, published in print today in the journal Nano Letters, demonstrates how stable 'lipid membranes' – the thin 'skin' that surrounds all biological cells – can be applied to synthetic surfaces. Subject:  Technology
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3:34 PM | Why thinking you're ugly is bad for you
About 10,000 people a month Google the phrase, “Am I ugly?” Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project has a feeling that many of them are young girls. In a deeply unsettling talk, she walks us through the surprising impacts of low body and image confidence—from lower grade point averages to greater risk-taking with drugs and alcohol. And then shares the keys things all of us can to disrupt this reality.
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3:27 PM | Kindergartners can gauge when adults are overconfident
From the words for colours to how to tie a shoelace, kids have lots to learn — and for the most part, they depend on others to teach it to them. But whether deliberately or inadvertently, other people sometimes misinform. So at what age can kids tell trustworthy teachers from confident tricksters? A new study published in PLOS ONE by psychology researchers from Concordia University and the University of British Columbia shows that by the age of five, children become wary of […]
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3:23 PM | Gay and bisexual youth can thrive with positive family relationships
Gay and bisexual youth who are supported by their family and feel comfortable talking to them about their lifestyle are less likely to become involved in high-risk sexual behaviors, according to a recent Rutgers study. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:15 PM | Ovarian Cancer DNA Detected in Vaginal Fluid
Preliminary finding may bring doctors one step closer to test that could catch the disease in early stages. Researchers have found it's possible to detect ovarian cancer gene mutations in vaginal fluid samples -- a finding they hope is a step toward an effective screening test for the disease. In a pilot study, researchers were able to detect tumor DNA in tampons from several women with advanced ovarian cancer. It's a "proof of principle" that genetic evidence of the cancer can be […]
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1:12 AM | A universal Ebola drug target
University of Utah biochemists have reported a new drug discovery tool against the Ebola virus. According to a study published in this week's online edition of Protein Science, they have produced a molecule, known as a peptide mimic, that displays a functionally critical region of the virus that is universally conserved in all known species of Ebola. This new tool can be used as a drug target in the discovery of anti-Ebola agents that are effective against all known strains and […]
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1:10 AM | Working memory hinders learning in schizophrenia
A new study pinpoints working memory as a source of learning difficulties in people with schizophrenia. Working memory is known to be affected in the millions of people – about 1 percent of the population – who have schizophrenia, but it has been unclear whether that has a specific role in making learning more difficult, said study lead author and Brown University postdoctoral researcher Anne Collins. Subject:  Brain & Behavior

October 07, 2014

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8:04 PM | Mercedes-Benz to test its robocar at abandoned naval base
Mercedes-Benz already has approval from the government of California to test self-driving cars on public roads under certain conditions. But the automaker has been looking for a place to test its robocars where it can get around those “certain conditions” and have its robocars encounter things that might occur during normal driving but are difficult to replicate given the strictures of the state authorization. Late last week, the company reported that it has found just […]
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7:53 PM | How AI system Viv could conquer the world
When Apple announced the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011,the headlines were not about its speedy A5 chip or improved camera. Instead they focused on an unusual new feature: an intelligent assistant, dubbed Siri. At first Siri, endowed with a female voice, seemed almost human in the way she understood what you said to her and responded, an advance in artificial intelligence that seemed to place us on a fast track to the Singularity. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence […]
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5:31 PM | A common journey to unbelief
I was interested in this story about Bart Campolo, the son of Tony Campolo. The father is described as an “influential evangelical leader and author who is famous for having been a spiritual adviser to former President Bill Clinton” but the son now says that he is an agnostic humanist. I suspect that Bart’s deconversion story is mirrored in many people who were once believers, even devout ones, but then lost the faith. Subject:  Atheism & […]
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5:27 PM | Even motivated dieters need close access to healthy food
You're obese, at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and so motivated to improve your diet that you've enrolled in an intensive behavioral program. But if you need to travel more than a short distance to a store that offers a good selection of healthy food, your success may be limited. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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5:14 PM | Can artificial intelligence do us in?
Engineers are likely decades away from creating an artificial intelligence that can match human intelligence, much less surpass it. But experts say we should start preparing now to keep A.I. in check. From IEEE Spectrum, Eliza Strickland explains the risk. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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3:23 PM | Throwing a loop to silence gene expression
Cells attach so-called ‘epigenetic’ signals to their genome to select which part of their genetic information is used. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have now systematically investigated the interplay between components of an epigenetic network and developed a mathematical model that describes how it operates. The results can be used to predict how cellular gene expression programs respond to drug treatment or […]
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3:09 PM | Testosterone promotes prostate cancer in rats
A researcher who found that testosterone raised the risk of prostate tumors and exacerbated the effects of carcinogenic chemical exposure in rats is urging caution in prescribing testosterone therapy to men who have not been diagnosed with hypogonadism, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrinology. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:00 PM | More about the first child born after uterus transplantation
In a ground-breaking research project at the University of Gothenburg, seven Swedish women have had embryos reintroduced after receiving wombs from living donors. Now the first transplanted woman has delivered a baby – a healthy and normally developed boy. The world-unique birth was acknowledged in The Lancet on 5 October. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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12:20 AM | Swedish woman world's first to give birth after womb transplant
A Swedish woman has become the world's first to give birth after having a womb transplant, opening up the possibility for thousands of infertile women to have babies, the doctor in charge of the research project said on Saturday. The unnamed Swede in her mid-30s delivered a healthy baby boy by caesarean section in early September, around two years after receiving a uterus donated by an unrelated, 61-year-old. Subject:  Health & Medicine

October 06, 2014

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9:18 PM | Finding a needle in a haystack
New technique allows scientists to identify populations of rare stem cells in bone marrow. Deep within the bone marrow resides a type of cells known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These immature cells can differentiate into cells that produce bone, cartilage, fat, or muscle — a trait that scientists have tried to exploit for tissue repair. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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