Posts

January 20, 2015

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9:35 PM | Researchers estimate importance of each letter in the human genome
There are 3 billion letters in the human genome, and scientists have endlessly debated how many of them serve a functional purpose. There are those letters that encode genes, our hereditary information, and those that provide instructions about how cells can use the genes. But those sequences are written with a comparative few of the vast number of DNA letters. Scientists have long debated how much of, or even if, the rest of our genome does anything, some going so far as to designate […]
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9:29 PM | Dog-human cooperation is based on social skills of wolves
Commonly accepted domestication hypotheses suggest: "Dogs have become tolerant and attentive as a result of humans actively selecting for these skills during the domestication process in order to make dogs cooperative partners." Subject:  Animal Research
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9:23 PM | Coffee consumption may protect against malignant melanoma
Both epidemiological and pre-clinical studies have suggested that coffee consumption has a protective effect against non-melanoma skin cancers. However the protective effect for cutaneous melanoma (malignant and in situ) is less clear, according to a study published January 20 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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9:17 PM | New cancer-fighting strategy would harden cells to prevent metastasis
Existing cancer therapies are geared toward massacring tumor cells, but Johns Hopkins researchers propose a different strategy: subtly hardening cancer cells to prevent them from invading new areas of the body. They devised a way of screening compounds for the desired effect and have identified a compound that shows promise in fighting pancreatic cancer. Their study appears this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Subject:  […]
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9:11 PM | Do gene therapies increase longevity but not health?
A study of long-lived mutant C. elegans by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows that the genetically altered worms spend a greater portion of their life in a frail state and exhibit less activity as they age then typical nematodes. These findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that genes that increase longevity may not significantly increase healthy lifespan and point to the need to measure health as part of […]
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9:02 PM | Uber's Behavior is Untenable and Morally Suspect
Andrew Keen is a British-American author and entrepreneur whose latest book, "The Internet is Not the Answer," explores the internet's negative effects on our psychology, economy, and culture. In this interview, Keen uses Uber as an example of an internet innovation that is wreaking havoc on an entire industry while taking advantage of its unregulated status to exploit customers and employees alike.
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2:13 PM | The Apes Shall Inherit The Earth (Or At Least A Little Piece)
One of the reasons Planet of the Apes resonates so deeply with viewers is the plausibility of its premise. Have you ever seen monkeys up close? Their profound intelligence is clear, and there’s no question we evolved from them. Their … Continue reading →
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2:57 AM | Sitting for long periods increases death risk
The amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise—according to a review study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Subject:  Health & Medicine
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1:29 AM | Automated method beats critics in picking great movies
Don't rely on the Academy Awards next month if you are seeking to know whether the movies deemed great today will survive the test of time. According to a new Northwestern University study, the best predictor of a movie's significance is how often a movie is referenced by other movies. In other words, a movie's significance is decided by today's and tomorrow's film directors -- not the critics. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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1:17 AM | Declinism: is the world actually getting worse?
A recent survey suggests that 71% of people think that the world is going to the dogs. Are things actually that bad, or is it a psychological trick of the mind? Subject:  Brain & Behavior

January 19, 2015

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11:35 PM | Artificial-intelligence experts to explore Turing test triathlon
Intelligentsia of AI will gather to come up with a battery of alternatives to the traditional Turing test. Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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11:27 PM | Is social media the weak link in the fight against cyber attacks?
Improved cybersecurity for governments and the private sector is expected to feature in US President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union Address delivered today to Congress. Subject:  Technology
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10:29 PM | Elon Musk wants to bring the internet to Mars
Truly a man for all seasons, Elon Musk’s next big thing is to build an internet for when people start arriving on Mars. “It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek. “I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.” Subject:  Technology
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9:07 PM | Melting glaciers have big carbon impact
As the Earth warms and glaciers all over the world begin to melt, researchers and public policy experts have focused largely on how all of that extra water will contribute to sea level rise. But another impact lurking in that inevitable scenario is carbon. More specifically, what happens to all of the organic carbon found in those glaciers when they melt? Subject:  Earth Science
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7:48 PM | Brain recalls old memories via new pathways
People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness. Now, an animal study suggests that this might involve disruption of a gradual shifting of brain circuitry for retrieving fear memories. Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered in rats that an old fear memory is recalled by a separate brain pathway from the one originally used to recall it when it was fresh. […]
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6:42 PM | Falcon 9 crash-landing
After a failed attempt by SpaceX to make history by landing its potentially reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform, the public was eager to learn how “hard” the actual landing was. Now the company has finally released video of the impact.
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6:27 PM | A voyage from the Earth’s crust to its mantle and back again
Uranium isotopes leave a distinct ‘fingerprint’ in the sources of volcanic rocks, making it possible to gauge their age and origin. Geologists have gained a new understanding of how the Earth’s crust is recycled back into its interior based on these uranium isotopes. Subject:  Earth Science
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4:11 AM | Biosecurity seen from the inside
When plants come under attack internal alarm bells ring and their defence mechanisms swing into action - and it happens in the space of just a few minutes. Now, for the first time, plant scientists - including experts from The University of Nottingham - have imaged, in real time, what happens when plants beat off the bugs and respond to disease and damage. Subject:  Biology & Aging
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4:04 AM | How To Detect an Exoplanet with a DSLR
You don’t need a high-powered telescope to spot the signature of an alien world.

January 18, 2015

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8:11 PM | Our moral duties to artificial intelligences
Suppose that we someday create artificial beings similar to us in their conscious experience, in their intelligence, in their range of emotions. What moral duties would we have to them? Subject:  Artificial Intelligence
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7:57 PM | Damaged DNA amplified
In the majority of cases, the onset of cancer is characterized by a minor change in a person's genetic material. A cell's DNA mutates in a particular area to the extent that the cell no longer divides in a controlled manner, but begins to grow uncontrollably. In many cases, this type of genetic mutation involves chemical changes to individual building blocks of DNA. Subject:  Genetics
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4:39 PM | Aliens are robots
Susan Schneider’s recent paper argues that when we hear from alien civilisations, it’s almost bound to be super intelligent robots getting in touch, rather than little green men. She builds on Nick Bostrom’s much-discussed argument that we’re all living in a simulation. Subject:  Robotics
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4:25 PM | Global human activity greatly accelerating since 1950
Human activity, predominantly the global economic system, is now the prime driver of change in the Earth System (the sum of our planet's interacting physical, chemical, biological and human processes), according to a set of 24 global indicators, or "planetary dashboard". The research charts the "Great Acceleration" in human activity from the start of the industrial revolution in 1750 to 2010, and the subsequent changes in the Earth System - greenhouse gas levels, ocean acidification, […]
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1:55 AM | Insulin nasal spray shows promise as treatment for adults with dementia and Alzheimer's
A man-made form of insulin delivered by nasal spray may improve working memory and other mental capabilities in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease dementia, according to a pilot study led by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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1:51 AM | Closing your eyes boosts memory recall
The team also discovered that building a rapport with witnesses helped them to remember more. 178 participants took part across two studies. In the first experiment, participants watched a film depicting an electrician entering a property, carrying out jobs and stealing items. Each participant was then randomly assigned one of four conditions, either eyes closed or open, and having built up a rapport with the interviewer or not. They were then asked a series of questions about the […]
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1:27 AM | F#@k The Pope!
Brian Dalton responds to the Pope’s morally reprehensible comments regarding the violence in Paris against the satirists at the French weekly, Charile Hebdo. http://www.patreon.com/MrDeityhttp://www.mrdeity.com/donate.html
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12:07 AM | Solving an organic semiconductor mystery
Berkeley Lab researchers uncover hidden structures in domain interfaces that hamper performance. Subject:  Technology
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12:02 AM | Improved solar panels with new material discovery
Researchers say discovery of highly sought-after 'nematic liquid crystals' can now lead to vastly improved organic solar cell performance. Lead author Dr David Jones of the University's School of Chemistry and Bio 21 Institute, said these cells will be easier to manufacture, with the new crystals now able to work in cells that are double in thickness on the previous limit of 200 nanometers. Subject:  Technology

January 17, 2015

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5:18 PM | Galactic 'hailstorm' in the early universe
Two teams of astronomers have used computer models to look back nearly 13 billion years, when the Universe was less than 10 percent its present age, to determine how quasars - extremely luminous objects powered by supermassive black holes with the mass of a billion suns - regulate the formation of stars and the build-up of the most massive galaxies. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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5:08 PM | New evidence for anthropic principle that fundamental physics constants underlie life-enabling universe
For nearly half a century, theoretical physicists have made a series of discoveries that certain constants in fundamental physics seem extraordinarily fine-tuned to allow for the emergence of a life-enabling universe. Subject:  Astronomy/Cosmology
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