Posts

April 22, 2015

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7:28 PM | Another Earth?
As the search continues for Earth-size planets orbiting at just the right distance from their star, a region termed the habitable zone, the number of potentially life-supporting planets grows. In two decades we have progressed from having no extrasolar planets to having too many to search. Narrowing the list of hopefuls requires looking at extrasolar planets in a new way. Applying a nuanced approach that couples astronomy and geophysics, Arizona State University researchers report […]
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5:20 PM | Disney's Tomorrowland - Official Trailer 3
From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award® winner. In theaters May 22, 2015.
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5:11 PM | Researchers observe living taste cells in action
Scientists have for the first time captured live images of the process of taste sensation on the tongue. The international team imaged single cells on the tongue of a mouse with a specially designed microscope system. "We've watched live taste cells capture and process molecules with different tastes," said biomedical engineer Dr Steve Lee, from the ANU Research School of Engineering. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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5:06 PM | A 3.5-billion year old Pilbara find is not the oldest fossil: so what is it?
Less than 10km outside Marble Bar in the Pilbara region of Western Australia lies one of the more famous sites for scientific research in Australia. Around a quarter of a century ago, UCLA palaeontologist James William Schopf discovered tiny filaments preserved within a silica-rich rock, the so-called Apex chert. These were interpreted as the fossilised remains of primitive filamentous bacteria and thus thought to constitute the earliest known evidence for life on Earth, dated at 3.46 […]
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4:41 PM | Millimetre-sized stones formed our planet
Researchers can now explain how asteroids are formed. According to a new study led by Lund University in Sweden, our own planet also has its origins in the same process, a cosmic ocean of millimetre-sized particles that orbited the young sun. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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4:36 PM | This is your teen's brain behind the wheel
A new study of teenagers and their moms reveals how adolescent brains negotiate risk - and the factors that modulate their risk-taking behind the wheel. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:15 PM | Small electric voltage alters conductivity
Until now, modern research has found no simple, inexpensive way to alter a material's thermal conductivity at room temperature. That lack of control has made it hard to create new classes of devices that use phonons -- the agents of thermal conductivity -- rather than electrons or photons to harvest energy or transmit information. Phonons -- atomic vibrations that transport heat energy in solids at speeds up to the speed of sound -- have proved hard to harness. Subject:  […]
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1:10 AM | Magnet-based setup may help detect the elusive mass of neutrinos
MIT physicists have developed a new tabletop particle detector that is able to identify single electrons in a radioactive gas. As the gas decays and gives off electrons, the detector uses a magnet to trap them in a magnetic bottle. A radio antenna then picks up very weak signals emitted by the electrons, which can be used to map the electrons’ precise activity over several milliseconds. Subject:  Technology

April 21, 2015

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11:00 PM | Yet another study debunks MMR vaccine-autism link
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a major study today that once more shows that there is no link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism. You can read the paper here. As this news report on the study concludes: Subject:  Health & Medicine
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5:12 PM | How to approach your boss about a treadmill desk
Research showing the adverse effects of sedentary office work has given standing desks and treadmill desks new attention. If you happen to be interested in using a treadmill desk, your greatest challenge may be convincing your boss. Fortunately, two BYU researchers have good news: People on treadmill desks perform cognitive tasks nearly as well as those at sitting desks, despite the fact that they’re walking. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:49 PM | Google wants more mobile-friendly websites in its mobile searches
When you search Google on a mobile device, any website that is not mobile-friendly will be harder to find from today. Depending on the website, this may translate to fewer visitors, an apocalyptic scenario that has been dubbed “mobile-geddon”. Subject:  Technology
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3:27 PM | Marijuana users have more false memories
A new study published in the American journal with the highest impact factor in worldwide, Molecular Psychiatry, reveals that consumers of cannabis are more prone to experiencing false memories. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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3:19 PM | How well do you know your heart?
In research published today in the journal Cerebral Cortex, a team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, studied not only whether volunteers could be trained to follow their heartbeat, but whether it was possible to identify from brain activity how good they were at estimating their performance. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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3:14 PM | How do wounds heal?
Scientists from the Goethe University Frankfurt, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg and the University of Zurich explain skin fusion at a molecular level and pinpoint the specific molecules that do the job in their latest publication in the journal Nature Cell Biology. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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2:54 PM | Babies feel pain like adults
The brains of babies 'light up' in a very similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, a pioneering Oxford University brain scanning study has discovered. It suggests that babies experience pain much like adults. The study looked at 10 healthy infants aged between one and six days old and 10 healthy adults aged 23-36 years. Infants were recruited from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (UK) and adult volunteers were Oxford University staff or students. […]
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12:40 AM | Oldest fossils controversy resolved
New analysis of world-famous 3.46 billion-year-old rocks by researchers from the University of Bristol, the University of Oxford and UWA (the University of Western Australia) is set to finally resolve a long running evolutionary controversy. The new research, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, shows that structures once thought to be Earth’s oldest microfossils do not compare with younger fossil candidates but have, instead, the character […]
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12:31 AM | Living life in the third person
Imagine living a healthy, normal life without the ability to re-experience in your mind personal events from your past. You have learned details about past episodes from your life and can recite these to family and friends, but you can't mentally travel back in time to imagine yourself in any of them. Subject:  Brain & Behavior

April 20, 2015

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6:34 PM | Jurassic World - Official Global Trailer
Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on the novel “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers. Jurassic World will be released in 3D by Universal Pictures on June 12, 2015.
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6:16 PM | The mystery of breast cancer
For most of the common cancers, a major cause has been identified: smoking causes 90% of lung cancer worldwide, hepatitis viruses cause most liver cancer, H pylori bacteria causes stomach cancer, Human papillomavirus causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, colon cancer is Subject:  Health & Medicine
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5:44 PM | Household pets can transmit infections to people
Household pets can transmit infection to people, especially those with weak immune systems, young children, pregnant women and seniors, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Health care providers and pet owners should be aware of this risk to prevent illness in vulnerable people. Subject:  Animal Research
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5:38 PM | A better grasp of primate grip
Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history. In a new study, a research team led by Yale University found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools. Subject:  Anthropology
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4:03 PM | A thumbnail-mounted wireless trackpad
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab are developing a new, wearable device that turns the user's thumbnail into a miniature, wireless track pad. NailO was inspired by the colorful stickers that people apply to their nails as a form of self-expression and style. The researchers envision the device could be extremely personable and therefore feel more like an extension of your body.
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3:55 PM | Advances in molecular electronics
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the Univ. of Konstanz are working on storing and processing information on the level of single molecules to create the smallest possible components that will combine autonomously to form a circuit. As recently reported in Advanced Science, the researchers can switch on the current flow through a single molecule for the first time with the help of light. Subject:  Technology
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3:51 PM | How to conduct a personalized pancreas cancer clinical trial
After performing thousands of unsuccessful experiments in his attempt to perfect the light bulb, Thomas Edison famously remarked: "I have not failed, not once. I've discovered ten thousand ways that don't work." Australian leaders of an ongoing pancreatic cancer clinical trial known as the Individualised Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy or 'IMPaCT' trial, could say exactly the same thing as Edison. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:44 PM | Toward new graphene electronic devices
Since the discovery of graphene about a decade ago, scientists have been studying ways to engineer electronic band gaps in the material to produce semiconductors which can create new electronic devices. A team of researchers from Yale-NUS College, the Center for Advanced 2D Materials and Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Texas at Austin, USA (UT Austin) have established a theoretical framework to understand the elastic and […]
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3:25 PM | Let the people decide new place names on Mercury and Pluto
Do you think a place on Pluto should be named after the sinister tentacle-faced monster Cthulhu from the novels of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft? Or a crater on Mercury after iconic opera singer Dame Nellie Melba? Mercury and Pluto are at the opposite ends of the solar system, but this year, as a result of two extraordinary space missions, some of their newly observed topographical features will receive names. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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2:27 PM | Is there such a thing as 'pure' autism?
The search for genes that contribute to the risk for autism has made tremendous strides over the past 3 years. As this field has advanced, investigators have wondered whether the diversity of clinical features across patients with autism reflects heterogeneous sources of genetic risk. If so, it was reasoned, then selecting a group of patients with very similar clinical features might result in a "purer", i.e., more genetically homogenous, group of patients, making it easier to find […]

April 18, 2015

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9:25 PM | How a Toronto professor’s research revolutionized artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence research using neural networks has taken off, with a $400-million boost from Google, in part thanks to Canadian Geoffrey Hinton. Three summers ago, at the age of 64, Geoffrey Hinton left his home in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood to become an intern at Google. He received a propeller beanie stitched with the word “Noogler” and attended orientation sessions populated mostly by millennials, who seemed to regard him, in his words, as a […]
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2:51 PM | How to disregard extremely remote possibilities
In 1% Skepticism, I suggest that it's reasonable to have about a 1% credence that some radically skeptical scenario holds (e.g., this is a dream or we're in a short-term sim), sometimes making decisions that we wouldn't otherwise make based upon those small possibilities (e.g., Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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2:03 PM | Telling the time of day by color
Research by scientists at The University of Manchester has revealed that the colour of light has a major impact on how the brain clock measures time of day and on how the animals' physiology and behavior adjust accordingly. The study, for the first time, provides a neuronal mechanism for how our internal clock can measure changes in light colour that accompany dawn and dusk. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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