Posts

March 02, 2015

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10:51 PM | Mysterious Bright Spot On Ceres Might Soon Have An Answer
NASA's Dawn spacecraft is approaching its historic orbit insertion at Ceres, which will happen on Friday, March 6th. Ceres is named for the Roman goddess of agriculture and harvests. Ceres is considered a 'dwarf planet', according to 237 astronomers who outvoted their opposition, as is Pluto now. It was first spotted by Sicilian astronomer Father Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801 and since then has been called a minor planet and an asteroid, before getting an upgrade in 2006, along with […]
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10:49 PM | The science of sleep – facts about the shuteye that we all need
Sleep has always fascinated me – why do we all need it? Why do we dream and what do they mean (if anything)? Why do we wake up tired sometimes even though we’ve had a solid night’s sleep? The average human will spend a third of their life sleeping, yet scientists are still relatively clueless […]
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10:33 PM | When Humans And Neanderthals Interbred?
A partial human skull found in northern Israel  excited paleontologists because it seemed to hold clues about when and where humans and Neanderthals might have interbred. The Manot Cave is a natural limestone formation that had been sealed for 15,000 years. It was discovered by a bulldozer clearing the land for development and the partial skull, sitting on a ledge, was found by spelunkers exploring the newly-opened cave. Five excavation seasons uncovered a rich deposit, with stone […]
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9:46 PM | The Digestive System
For a nice, easy introduction to the digestive system, Khan Academy has a video that I wish I had made myself (or at least written): The digestive system: Hank takes us through the bowels of the human digestive system and explains why it’s all about surface area. https://www.khanacademy.org/embed_video?v=qF6TBRaE2_A For a little deeper understanding, Marion Diamond […]
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9:27 PM | What is a well-written conference report?
The best conference reports use narrative form descriptions to accurately capture content of conference proceedings. Because this approach uses speakers’ own words, presentations and background information, it avoids both the tediousness of verbatim transcriptions and the dullness of a point form summary. Written … Continue reading → The post What is a well-written conference report? appeared first on Plain Language Science.
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9:22 PM | Climate Change Drought Linked To Syrian Civil War
A new paper believes that a record drought in Syria from 2006-2010 and the 2011 Syrian uprising is not a coincidence. The rebellion was stoked by ongoing man-made climate change, they write.The drought, the worst in modern record-keeping, destroyed agriculture in the breadbasket region of northern Syria, driving dispossessed farmers to cities, where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011. The conflict has since evolved into a […]
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8:50 PM | Iron vapor gives clues to formation of Earth and moon
Recreating the violent conditions of Earth’s formation, scientists are learning more about how iron vaporizes and how this iron rain affected the formation of Earth and Moon. “We care about […]
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8:45 PM | Old-looking galaxy in a young universe: Astronomers find dust in the early universe
Dust plays an extremely important role in the universe — both in the formation of planets and new stars. But the earliest galaxies had no dust, only gas. Now an […]
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8:42 PM | MUSE goes beyond Hubble: Looking deeply into the universe in 3-D
The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep universe. After staring at the Hubble Deep Field South region for […]
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8:35 PM | Scientists override the body's inflammatory response
Scientists who have discovered the mechanism of a protein that suppresses inflammation in the body, say the information could potentially be used to develop new drugs to control inflammation. The international study, led by a husband-and-wife team, Associate Professor Marcel Nold and Dr Claudia Nold from The Ritchie Centre at MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research and Monash University, focused on interleukin 37 (IL-37), a powerful inhibitor of inflammation that is generated by the […]
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8:28 PM | The Internet Is No Longer Cool
Lauren Crilly believes the creation of the internet had the potential to transform societies for the better, but in reality it has not all been positive.   I grew up on the internet. For me, it was always a beautiful place which I found to be mystifying and intriguing. It helped me figure out a [...] The post The Internet Is No Longer Cool appeared first on HeadStuff.
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8:13 PM | Open letter to Lisa Hansen on NZ Fluoridation Review
Dear Lisa, There are mistakes and misinterpretations of the scientific literature in your recent open letter to Sir Peter Gluckman and Sir David Skeggs. The letter also misrepresents the NZ Fluoridation Review (Eason et al., 2014) and the Fluoride Free NZ (FFNZ) report … Continue reading →
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8:08 PM | A change in thought on Earth's core formation
Violent collisions between the growing Earth and other objects in the solar system generated significant amounts of iron vapor, according to a new study by LLNL scientist Richard Kraus and colleagues. The results show that iron vaporizes easily during impact events, which forces planetary scientists to change how they think about the growth of planets and evolution of our solar system. Subject:  Earth Science
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8:06 PM | How the brain's involved in wanting and having sex
A new review looks at how the brain impacts the sequence of physical and emotional changes that occur as a person participates in sexually stimulating activities. Experts note that the cerebral cortex region of the brain is involved in all three phases of the sexual pleasure cycle--wanting sex, having sex, and inhibiting sex--and each of these phases depends on distinct networks within the brain. It's also clear that alterations in these brain networks are associated with sexual […]
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7:24 PM | NEW VIDEO!Attack of the Zombie Parasites!!! So shows like The...
NEW VIDEO!Attack of the Zombie Parasites!!! So shows like The Walking Dead are full of hungry, mindless, surprisingly fleet-footed armies of brain-eating zombies, but could they actually exist? Are zombies real?Of course not.But maybe if you’re talking about zom-bees they are! This week I introduce you to some of nature’s strangest mind-controlling parasites, creepy creatures that make zombie slaves out of other organisms. This one will make your brain tingle. […]
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7:16 PM | kqedscience:Who’s Who "These owls may wear the same game face,...
kqedscience:Who’s Who "These owls may wear the same game face, but when it comes to personality, they’re as different as day and night.It’s not easy to get owls to mug for the camera. Even in captivity the birds remain aloof, unruffled by the flash and unmoved by attempts to bribe them. Photographer Brad Wilson learned that lesson firsthand after trying to win over owls from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis andThe Wildlife Center near Española, New […]
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7:00 PM | Synthetic Biology: New Method Makes Protein Engineering More Accessible
Deep in the heart of synthetic biology are the proteins that make it tick and that is why protein engineering is crucial to the new discipline: Scientists grow, harvest, and reprogram proteins to become new drug therapeutics, environmentally friendly fuels, and vaccines. But producing proteins quickly and in large quantities has been and remains a major challenge in the field, so Northwestern University synthetic biologist Michael Jewett and colleagues have pioneered a new protein production […]
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6:50 PM | The search for gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave...
The search for gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background, a discovery that would serve as proof of the universe’s earliest moments of supposed hyperinflation, has been full of ups, downs, and even death, but that’s just part of the circle of science.Let A Capella Science wow you with this Lion King-inspired tune that tells the story of "The Surface of Light."I would say more, but I’m just blown away by how awesome this is.
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6:16 PM | Are You Cut Out To Be A Teacher? The VAIL Assessment Might Be Able To Tell
In America, teachers with tenure can't be fired and so it is more important than ever that the best people get the jobs in the first place. Accountability is not going away in the American educational system, and neither are education unions, so new mechanisms for selecting individuals into teacher preparation could boost the quality. A new Video Assessment of Interactions and Learning (VAIL)  tool can inform teacher selection and help stop the ongoing educational reform […]
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5:56 PM | Do You Want To Donate Your Genetic Information After Death?
After they die, people are happy to donate their hearts, their eyes, even whole skeletons, without knowing anything at all about what will happen to them.What about genetic information? Under current law, your genetic information is not inherited by default, so a child with a heritable form of cancer can't access their parent's genetic information after death if no consent was ever established. Clearly there needs to be a policy in the post-Human Genome Project age.read more
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5:55 PM | Democratizing synthetic biology
Deep in the heart of synthetic biology are the proteins that make it tick. Protein engineering is the crucial pulse of the booming, relatively new scientific discipline. Scientists grow, harvest, and reprogram proteins to become new drug therapeutics, environmentally friendly fuels, and vaccines. Producing proteins quickly and in large quantities has been and remains a major challenge in the field. Subject:  Synthetic Life
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4:47 PM | Another online project: Bracing for Impact, reported by Flux
In case you were wondering, Webb of Science hasn’t disappeared, but I have been busy with a variety of other projects. The Science Writers’ Handbook website continued to publish regularly through December, and I had a baby boy in October. In addition,  I was part of a team of reporters (named Flux) who launched a crowdfunded … Continue reading Another online project: Bracing for Impact, reported by Flux →
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4:36 PM | Too Much Of A Good Thing: Warning Labels For Licorice Advocated
A 10-year-old boy suffered seizures after over-indulging in licorice sweets and that has led to calls for manufacturers to put a warning on the labels of licorice. After suffering a 2 minute tonic-clonic seizure, a 10-year-old boy was admitted to hospital in Bologna, Italy.  Three more generalized seizures occurred over the next few hours and so Dr. Davide Tassinari and colleagues used cranial computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to investigate […]
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4:31 PM | Young Adult Brains Have Amyloid Clumps Linked To Alzheimer's
Amyloid, an abnormal protein whose accumulation in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, starts accumulating inside neurons of people as young as 20, a much younger age than scientists ever imagined, according to a new study based  on brains obtained from the Northwestern University Alzheimer's Disease Center Brain Bank and from pathologists throughout the United States.  read more
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4:23 PM | How to best harness solar power
A Univ. of Cincinnati (UC) research partnership is reporting advances on how to one day make solar cells stronger, lighter, more flexible and less expensive when compared with the current silicon or germanium technology on the market. Yan Jin, a UC doctoral student in the materials science and engineering program, Dept. of Biomedical, Chemical, and Environmental Engineering, will report results at the American Physical Society Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Subject:  […]
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4:17 PM | Still waiting for the NCCs
This editorial piece notes that we still haven’t nailed down the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs). It’s part of a Research Topic collection on the subject, and it mentions three candidates featured in the papers which have been well-favoured but now – arguably at any rate – seem to have been found wanting. Subject:  Brain & Behavior
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4:03 PM | Does Thinking About God Increase Our Willingness to Make Risky Decisions?
There are at least two ways of how the topic of trust in God is broached in Friday sermons that I have attended in the United States. Some imams lament the decrease of trust in God in the age of modernity. Instead of trusting God that He is looking out for the believers, modern day Muslims believe that they can control their destiny on their own without any Divine assistance. These imams see this lack of trust in God as... Read more
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4:00 PM | You can hide under your desk … as long as you still answer the phone
“Well, if you need me I’ll be hiding under my desk,” I told my adviser on Friday afternoon. I’d just finished a 20-minute phone call with PRI (Public Radio International)’s The World. Responding to press inquiries is hard, and a morning of staring intently though the clutter on my desk wracking my brain for simple, concise answers to unexpected questions had left me feeling ragged. It had been just over 24 hours since the University of Arizona’s public […]
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4:00 PM | Francis Halzen On Cosmogenic Neutrinos
During the first afternoon session of the XVI Neutrino Telescopes conference (here is the conference blog, which contains a report of most of the lectures and posters as they are presented) Francis Halzen gave a very nice account of the discovery of cosmogenic neutrinos by the IceCube experiment, and its implications. Below I offer a writeup - apologizing to Halzen if I misinterpreted anything. read more
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3:30 PM | Teens At Risk For Synthetic Marijuana Use
Synthetic cannabinoids ("synthetic marijuana"), with names like Spice, K2, Scooby Doo and hundreds of others, are often sold as a safe, "legal" alternative to marijuana but that is just marketing by drug dealers. Synthetic marijuana was linked to 11,561 reports of poisonings in the United States between January 2009 and April 2012. It's no surprise that it has grown popular among teens, that is why legal businesses like cigarettes and alcohol cannot market to kids. In 2011, synthetic […]
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