Posts

April 02, 2015

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4:33 PM | Phantom objects discovered near dead quasars
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a set of wispy, goblin-green objects that are the ephemeral ghosts of quasars that flickered to life and then faded. The glowing structures have looping, helical, and braided shapes. "They don't fit a single pattern," said Bill Keel of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, who initiated the Hubble survey. Keel believes the features offer insights into the puzzling behavior of galaxies with energetic cores. Subject:  […]
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3:36 PM | Eating eggs reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
Egg consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:29 PM | Explainer: what is 5G?
If you take a stroll outside today, you’ll see a lot of people with mobile phones, phablets or tablets in their hands making calls, using the internet to catch up on the news, watch videos, or interacting with others via Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter. Subject:  Technology
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3:18 PM | Future antibiotic-making kits for amateurs?
Researchers in Switzerland and Japan have developed a rapid, simple and safe method for generating large libraries of novel organic molecules in a fraction of the time required for traditional organic synthesis. Led by Professor Jeffrey Bode of the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules at Nagoya University in Japan, the research team is now applying its “synthetic fermentation” strategy to make molecular kits that can be used simply and safely to discover novel […]
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3:12 PM | Microbes scared to death by virus presence
The microbes could surrender to the harmless virus, but instead freeze in place, dormant, waiting for their potential predator to go away, according to a recent study in mBio. University of Illinois researchers found that Sulfolobus islandicus can go dormant, ceasing to grow and reproduce, in order to protect themselves from infection by Sulfolobus spindle-shaped virus 9 (SSV9). The dormant microbes are able to recover if the virus goes away within 24 to 48 hours--otherwise they die. […]
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12:53 AM | Quantum teleportation on a chip
A significant step towards ultra-high speed quantum computers. The core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, have been successfully integrated into a photonic chip by an international team of scientists from the universities of Bristol, Tokyo, Southampton and NTT Device Technology Laboratories. These results pave the way to developing ultra-high-speed quantum computers and strengthening the security of communication. Subject:  […]
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12:06 AM | Scientists improve efficiency of human walking
Humans have evolved to be incredibly efficient at walking. In fact, simulations of human locomotion show that walking on level ground and at a steady speed should theoretically require no power input at all. But anyone who works on their feet or has taken an arduous hike knows otherwise. In fact, people expend more energy during walking than any other activity in daily life, and for the elderly and those with mobility issues, that energy can be precious. Subject:  […]

April 01, 2015

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9:17 PM | Echoes are essential for humans to perceive how far away a sound is
Mammals are good at figuring out which direction a sound is coming from, whether it's a rabbit with a predator breathing down its neck or a baby crying for its mother. But how we judge how far away that sound is was a mystery until now. Researchers from UConn Health report in the 1 April issue of the Journal of Neuroscience that echoes and fluctuations in volume (amplitude modulation) are the cues we use to figure the distance between us and the source of a noise. Subject:  […]
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9:08 PM | Researchers detect genetic root of prostate tumour development
Scientists have revealed the root of prostate cancers in individual men, discovering that despite huge genetic variety between tumours they also share common gene faults – insight that could offer new treatment hopes, according to research published in Nature today. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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7:18 PM | New instrument dates 3.67 million year-old skeleton
A skeleton named Little Foot is among the oldest hominid skeletons ever dated at 3.67 million years old, according to an advanced dating method. Subject:  Anthropology
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4:04 PM | This is Spartan! But is it the end for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer?
Love it or hate it, Internet Explorer (IE) has been Microsoft’s window on the web for almost 20 years. In the rapidly evolving online world this is a ripe old age, and now Microsoft has decided it is time for IE to hand over the baton. Starting with Windows 10, due for release in the northern summer, a new browser codenamed Project Spartan will appear on desktops. Subject:  Computer Science
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3:52 PM | The hazards of presumptive computing
Have you ever texted somebody saying how “ducking annoyed” you are at something? Or asked Siri on your iPhone to call your wife, but somehow managed to be connected to your mother-in-law? If you have, you may have been a victim of a new challenge in computing: that fine line where we trust a computer to make predictions for us despite the fact that it sometimes gets them wrong. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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3:17 PM | Huge lava tubes could be habitable on the moon
Lava tubes large enough to house cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a theoretical study presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The volcanic features are an important target for future human space exploration because they could provide shelter from cosmic radiation, meteorite impacts and temperature extremes. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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3:06 PM | Medieval remedy kills antibiotic-resistant bugs
A one thousand year old Anglo-Saxon remedy for eye infections which originates from a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the modern-day superbug MRSA in an unusual research collaboration at The University of Nottingham. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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2:55 PM | Graphene’s lightbulb moment
A graphene lightbulb with lower energy emissions, longer lifetime and lower manufacturing costs has been launched thanks to a University of Manchester research and innovation partnership. Graphene Lighting PLC is a spin-out based on a strategic partnership with the National Graphene Institute (NGI) at The University of Manchester to create graphene applications. The UK-registered company will produce the lightbulb, which is expected to perform significantly better and last longer than […]

March 31, 2015

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10:49 PM | Exercise largely absent from U.S. medical school curriculum
Exercise may play a critical role in maintaining good health, but fewer than half of the physicians trained in the United States in 2013 received formal education or training on the subject, according to new research from Oregon State University. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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10:38 PM | Why does skin resist tearing?
When weighing the pluses and minuses of your skin add this to the plus column: Your skin – like that of all vertebrates – is remarkably resistant to tearing. Now, a collaboration of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) San Diego has shown why. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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6:54 PM | Dual suns may be common for Earthlike planets
Luke Skywalker’s home in “Star Wars” is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars. So far, only uninhabitable gas-giant planets have been identified circling such binary stars, and many researchers believe rocky planets cannot form there. Now, mathematical simulations show that Earthlike, solid planets such as Tatooine likely exist and may be widespread. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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5:41 PM | Deciphering the origins of cell behavior
Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) at the National University of Singapore have discovered that the inherent 'handedness' of molecular structures directs the behaviour of individual cells and confers them the ability to sense the difference between left and right. This is a significant step forward in the understanding of cellular biology. This discovery was published in Nature Cell Biology on 23 March 2015. Cellular decision making Subject:  […]
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5:36 PM | Brain gender may be quite flexible
During prenatal development, the brains of most animals, including humans, develop specifically male or female characteristics. In most species, some portions of male and female brains are a different size, and often have a different number of neurons and synapses. However, scientists have known little about the details of how this differentiation occurs. Now, a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has illuminated some details about how […]
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5:32 PM | The rapid rise of human language
At some point, probably 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, humans began talking to one another in a uniquely complex form. It is easy to imagine this epochal change as cavemen grunting, or hunter-gatherers mumbling and pointing. But in a new paper, an MIT linguist contends that human language likely developed quite rapidly into a sophisticated system: Instead of mumbles and grunts, people deployed syntax and structures resembling the ones we use today. Subject:  Brain […]
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4:00 PM | Poor behavior linked to time spent playing video games
Children who play video games for more than three hours a day are more likely to be hyperactive, get involved in fights and not be interested in school, says a new study. Subject:  Technology
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3:55 PM | Internet searching makes people feel smarter than they are
Searching the Internet for information may make people feel smarter than they actually are, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:49 PM | Is Warp Drive Physically Possible?
In quantum mechanics, zero point energy fluctuations can create negative energy density which should theoretically, in a large enough density, create a negative torsion on spacetime in general relativity.
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3:41 PM | Can caffeine be used to treat or prevent Alzheimer's disease?
The proposed link between caffeine and reductions in the beta amyloid plaque accumulation characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD) suggest a possible role for caffeine in AD treatment. Subject:  Brain & Behavior

March 30, 2015

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11:00 PM | Seven things I learned as a PhD student
Doing great research is tough. There are so many factors outside of your control: experiments not panning out, unfair reviewers, competing labs, limited funding sources. I've tried to distill down some of the strategies that worked well for me and my labmates (these are most relevant to my background in science/engineering, but some might apply to other fields as well): Get your hands dirty Some early grad students get stuck in a loop of doing a lot of general talking about the kind of […]
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10:47 PM | Is it possible to circumvent metadata retention and retain your privacy?
There has been quite a lot discussion lately on how to avoid metadata retention, particularly in the context of leaking sensitive information to journalists. Subject:  Technology
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8:31 PM | Fasting and less-toxic cancer drug may work as well as chemotherapy
Fasting in combination with chemotherapy has already been shown to kill cancer cells, but a pair of new studies in mice suggests that a less-toxic class of drugs combined with fasting may kill breast, colorectal and lung cancer cells equally well. If shown to work in humans, this combination could replace chemotherapy and make fasting a potent component of a long-term strategy to treat cancer, according to senior author Valter Longo of USC. Subject:  Health & […]
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7:18 PM | Inexhaustibility
This is the first of four posts about key ideas from my book The Shadow of Consciousness. We start with the so-called Easy Problem, about how the human mind does its problem-solving, organism-guiding thing. If robots have Artificial Intelligence, we might call this the problem of Natural Intelligence. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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6:55 PM | Cats relax to the sound of music
According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery by veterinary clinicians at the University of Lisbon and a clinic in the nearby town of Barreiro in Portugal, music is likewise beneficial for cats in the surgical environment. But not all music is equal in this respect - cats, it seems, benefit most from classical music. Subject:  Animal Research
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