Posts

November 18, 2014

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1:20 AM | Antibiotics get a 'time-out'
Resistance to antibiotics is an important health concern that affects both the spread of infections, like Clostridium difficile, and the medication budget. Researchers at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) examined the effectiveness of adopting an antibiotic "time-out" during treatment, which involves regularly re-evaluating the treatment strategy as the clinical situation evolves. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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1:12 AM | Large impacts mapped on asteroid Vesta
A team of 14 scientists led by David Williams of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration has completed the first global geologic and tectonic map of the asteroid Vesta. The work reveals that Vesta's history has been dominated by impacts from large meteorites. The mapping was carried out using images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which orbited Vesta between June 2011 and September 2012. The images let scientists create high-resolution geological maps, revealing […]

November 17, 2014

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7:56 PM | Scientists can learn from pseudoscience … that’s a fact
Scientists should study pseudoscience – see what the pseudoscientists are up to and perhaps (for a laugh) try a few pseudostudies themselves. Subject:  Technology
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4:40 AM | Killing cancer by protecting normal cells
Although radiation treatments have become much more refined in recent years, it remains a challenge to both sufficiently dose the tumor while sparing the surrounding tissue. A new anti-cancer drug, already in clinical development, may help address this issue by protecting normal cells - but not the cancer - from the effects of radiation. The research, published November 14th in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, further suggests this drug may also be useful in treating accidental […]
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4:33 AM | How does the brain develop in individuals with autism?
New mouse model for autism: Mutated gene causes parts of the brain to degenerate, leading to behavioral deficits, geneticists from Heidelberg publish study in Molecular Psychiatry, better understanding can help deal with disease. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:28 AM | Warmest oceans ever recorded
"This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year," says Axel Timmermann, climate scientist and professor, studying variability of the global climate system at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Subject:  Earth Science
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3:49 AM | Ebola cases likely to enter UK and US through airport screening
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that screening for Ebola at airports could be an effective method for preventing the spread of the disease into the UK and US, but due to the long incubation period of the virus, screening won't detect all cases. Published in the Lancet medical journal, the study used a mathematical model to test the probability of infected travellers from West Africa entering the UK and US. Subject:  Health & Medicine […]
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3:45 AM | 80 million bacteria sealed with a kiss
As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10 second kiss, according to research published in the open access journal Microbiome. The study also found that partners who kiss each other at least nine times a day share similar communities of oral bacteria. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:41 AM | Single protein influences how the brain manages stress
The brain's ability to effectively deal with stress or to lack that ability and be more susceptible to depression, depends on a single protein type in each person's brain, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published November 12 in the journal Nature. The Mount Sinai study findings challenge the current thinking about depression and the drugs currently used to treat the disorder. Subject:  Brain & Behavior […]

November 16, 2014

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11:34 PM | Editing Ultraviolet Photography
For people who do multispectral photography (infrared, visible, ultraviolet, etc) sometimes it can be tricky to achieve what you want in a traditional photo editor. That is why I am developing software to cater specifically for multispectral image processing. The … Continue reading →
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6:33 PM | Tackling Homophobia
Laura Finnigan (17) from Liverpool wants to end homophobia. She has helped to make a Fixers film, which shows that being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) isn’t a lifestyle choice, but part of a person's identity.
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6:26 PM | A third wave?
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (via the always-excellent Mind Hacks) argues cogently that as a new torrent of data about the brain looms, we need to ensure that it is balanced by a corresponding development in theory. That must surely be right, but I wonder whether the torrent of new information is going to bring about another change in paradigm, as the advent of computers in the twentieth century surely did? Subject:  Artificial Intelligence […]
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4:56 PM | The myth of AI
The idea that computers are people has a long and storied history. It goes back to the very origins of computers, and even from before. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence

November 15, 2014

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10:46 AM | Sex, genes, the Y chromosome and the future of men
The Y chromosome, that little chain of genes that determines the sex of humans, is not as tough as you might think. In fact, if we look at the Y chromosome over the course of our evolution we’ve seen it shrink at an alarming rate. Subject:  Genetics

November 14, 2014

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6:56 PM | Do spinal cord injuries cause subsequent brain damage?
Most research on spinal cord injuries has focused on effects due to spinal cord damage and scientists have neglected the effects on brain function. University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) researchers have found for the first time that spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause widespread and sustained brain inflammation that leads to progressive loss of nerve cells, with associated cognitive problems and depression. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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6:29 PM | Why artificial intelligence is set to automate marketing
Machine learning is combining with big data to bring a new level of automation and sophistication into marketing and advertising. We find out how. When a malfunctioning computer went on a homicidal rampage in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it captured the imagination of a world barely conscious of the concept of artificial intelligence. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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6:01 PM | The answer is blowing in the intergalactic wind
Astronomers from the University of Toronto and the University of Arizona have provided the first direct evidence that an intergalactic “wind” is stripping galaxies of star-forming gas as they fall into clusters of galaxies. The observations help explain why galaxies found in clusters are known to have relatively little gas and less star formation when compared to non-cluster or “field” galaxies. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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3:55 PM | Genetic analysis of 110-year-olds finds no secret
Is the secret to long life in a gene? We don't know, for now. A recent project to read the entire DNA sequence of 17 people aged 110 or older has found… there's nothing particularly different from ordinary folks. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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3:40 PM | Can You Erase Bad Memories?
What if you could delete specific memories?
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3:35 PM | Scientists uncover vast numbers of DNA 'blind spots' that may hide cancer-causing mistakes
Cancer Research UK scientists have found more than 400 'blind spots' in DNA which could hide cancer-causing gene faults, according to research published today (Friday) in Cancer Research. The researchers found hidden faults in areas that are tricky for gene-reading technology to decode. This technique, which unravels cancer's genetic blueprint, is an important part of the research that scientists carry out to understand more about cancer's biology. Subject:  […]
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3:32 PM | Forming the early solar system
Infant planetary systems are usually nothing more than swirling disks of gas and dust. Over the course of a few million years, this gas gets sucked into the center of the disk to build a star, while the remaining dust accumulates into larger and larger chunks—the building blocks for terrestrial planets. Astronomers have observed this protoplanetary disk evolution throughout our galaxy—a process that our own solar system underwent early in its history. However, the […]
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3:27 PM | I Review "The Peripheral" by William Gibson at Strange Horizons
So after four years of radio silence on the fiction front, William Gibson came out with a new SF novel, The Peripheral. I couldn't help but get in on that action, by which I mean, I reviewed it for Strange Horizons.A quick plug: Strange Horizons is having a fundraiser drive right now. If you've liked my reviews, other people's reviews, other people's short stories and poetry--then please consider tossing some change into the jar.
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3:21 PM | Why is a piece of Australia under Vanuatu?
Researchers from James Cook University have found a fragment of Australia beneath Vanuatu – and it may cause a rethink on how continents are built. Geologists thought the volcanic Vanuatu islands, about 2200km east of Townsville, were isolated from continental influences. But now research by a JCU team suggests the ‘geological basement’ of Vanuatu contains ancient material from northern Australia. Subject:  Earth Science
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3:21 PM | I'm Back (Soon)
So it turns out I have a lot of thoughts about a bunch of media, and I want to come back to writing about these things!So I'll be back soon. But I'm also going to do a bit of an overhaul--I need a new name, I may move this to my own server, things like that. So watch this space, if only for a redirect.(But I didn't come back just to say this. I wrote a new review! It's live! Link forthcoming!)

November 13, 2014

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10:03 PM | New dark matter experiments prepare to hunt the unknown
In support of three new experiments, MIT's Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano will answer questions about dark matter research in a live Google Hangout on November 20. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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9:58 PM | Is there organic matter on Mars?
Chloromethane discovered on the “Red Planet” possibly comes from the Martian soil – meteorites probably provided its carbon and hydrogen. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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9:52 PM | New clue into how anesthesia works
Anesthesia, long considered a blessing to patients and surgeons, has been a mystery for much of its 160-plus-year history in the operating room. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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4:43 PM | Mars, too, has macroweather
Weather, which changes day-to-day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere, and climate, which varies over decades, are familiar. More recently, a third regime, called "macroweather," has been used to describe the relatively stable regime between weather and climate. A new study by researchers at McGill University and UCL finds that this same three-part pattern applies to atmospheric conditions on Mars. The results, published in Geophysical Research Letters, also show that the […]
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4:38 PM | Liver and brain communicate to regulate appetite
The liver stores excess glucose, sugar, in the form of glycogen—chains of glucose—which is later released to cover body energy requirements. Diabetic patients do not accumulate glucose well in the liver and this is one of the reasons why they suffer from hyperglycemia, that is to say, their blood sugar levels are too high. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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3:34 PM | Atomic timekeeping, on the go
What time is it? The answer, no matter what your initial reference may be — a wristwatch, a smartphone, or an alarm clock — will always trace back to the atomic clock. Subject:  Technology
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