Posts

July 23, 2014

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7:46 AM | Trauma and PTSD raise risk of autoimmune disorders?
I admit to some head scratching when I first read the paper by Aoife O’Donovan and colleagues [1] reporting that among war veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, "trauma exposure and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] may increase risk of autoimmune disorders".It wasn't that I didn't believe the results, but rather that the idea that a physical event with a psychological consequence could impact on a somatic condition with an autoimmune element to it seemed to […]

O’Donovan, A., Cohen, B., Seal, K., Bertenthal, D., Margaretten, M., Nishimi, K. & Neylan, T. (2014). Elevated Risk For Autoimmune Disorders In Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Biological Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.06.015

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3:16 AM | Heroes and Villains: Banal or Special People? Part 2 of 2
In part 1 of this post, I discussed the situationist analysis of the “banality” of evil and of heroism respectively. To recap, according to Phil Zimbardo and colleagues, both heroic acts and evil acts occur primarily in response to situational factors, rather than internal features of the person. However, on closer inspection, the situationist analysis provides inconsistent accounts of how each of these occurs. Evil actions are attributed to factors entirely outside the person, […]

Carnahan T & McFarland S (2007). Revisiting the Stanford prison experiment: could participant self-selection have led to the cruelty?, Personality & social psychology bulletin, 33 (5) 603-14. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17440210

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July 22, 2014

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10:47 PM | When Crazy becomes a Crime
My friend has a glass eye, you would never notice and unless you knew the story you might not think anything of it. His older brother did it. Yes, you […]

Dana Goldman,, John Fastenau,, Riad Dirani,, Eric Hellend,, Geoff Joyce,, Ryan Conrad, & Darius Lakdawalla, (2014). Medicaid Prior Authorization Policies and Imprisonment Among Patients With Schizophrenia, The American Journal of Managed Care, 20 (7) Other:

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6:48 PM | Fasting Improves Recovery of Bone Marrow Stem Cells after Chemotherapy
[Note: This is a guest post by Tauseef (@CellSpell)] Fasting is defined as either completely abstaining from or minimizing food intake for a defined period time - ranging from about 12 hours to even a few weeks. Calorie restriction, on the other hand, refers to an overall reduction in the daily calorie intake by about 20%-40% without necessarily reducing the meal intake frequency. Although calorie restriction is well-suited for weight loss and thus also reduces the risk of chronic diseases... […]

Cheng, C., Adams, G., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B., Da Sacco, S., Mirisola, M., Quinn, D., Dorff, T. & Kopchick, J. (2014). Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression, Cell Stem Cell, 14 (6) 810-823. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014

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6:48 PM | Fasting Improves Recovery of Bone Marrow Stem Cells after Chemotherapy
[Note: This is a guest post by Tauseef (@CellSpell)] Fasting is defined as either completely abstaining from or minimizing food intake for a defined period time - ranging from about 12 hours to even a few weeks. Calorie restriction, on the other hand, refers to an overall reduction in the daily calorie intake by about 20%-40% without necessarily reducing the meal intake frequency. Although calorie restriction is well-suited for weight loss and thus also reduces the risk of chronic diseases... […]

Cheng, C., Adams, G., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B., Da Sacco, S., Mirisola, M., Quinn, D., Dorff, T. & Kopchick, J. (2014). Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression, Cell Stem Cell, 14 (6) 810-823. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014

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5:45 PM | Suspicious Things Really Make Us ‘Smell Something Fishy’
When we say “Fred is a warm person,” we don’t usually mean his body temperature is hotter than average. We use metaphors such as “warm”, “high”, and “clean” to describe more abstract concepts like “friendly,” “powerful,” and “morally sound.” So we mean that Fred is friendly, not that he has a fever. But these metaphors […]

Lee S.W.S. & Schwarz N. (2012). Bidirectionality, mediation, and moderation of metaphorical effects: The embodiment of social suspicion and fishy smells., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103 (5) 737-749. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029708

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5:13 PM | Optical Cables, from Thin Air!
It’s a project that would make Tesla proud. Just imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on earth, or even into space. That’s […]

Rosenthal, E., Jhajj, N., Wahlstrand, J. & Milchberg, H. (2014). Collection of remote optical signals by air waveguides, Optica, 1 (1) 5. DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.1.000005

Jhajj, N., Rosenthal, E., Birnbaum, R., Wahlstrand, J. & Milchberg, H. (2014). Demonstration of Long-Lived High-Power Optical Waveguides in Air, Physical Review X, 4 (1) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.4.011027

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8:32 AM | Common variation and the genetics of autism
The paper by Trent Gaugler and colleagues [1] reporting that the genetic architecture of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) seems in the most part to be due to "common variation" over and above "rare variants or spontaneous glitches" adds to the quite voluminous literature in this area.Everything in proportion? @ Wikipedia Based on an analysis of "a unique epidemiological sample from Sweden" researchers looked at DNA variations in some 3000 individuals with autism and asymptomatic […]

Gaugler T, Klei L, Sanders SJ, Bodea CA, Goldberg AP, Lee AB, Mahajan M, Manaa D, Pawitan Y, Reichert J & Ripke S (2014). Most genetic risk for autism resides with common variation., Nature genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038753

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July 21, 2014

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5:27 PM | Autism and Parents: Reducing stress
Raising an autistic child can be a gift. Unfortunately it can also be challenging and stressful. Let’s be real, it’s stressful just being a parent, throw in a disability that […]

Dykens E.M. & Fisher M.H. (2014). Reducing Distress in Mothers of Children With Autism and Other Disabilities: A Randomized Trial, Pediatrics , DOI: doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3164

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1:46 PM | A History of Bioinformatics (told from the Year 2039)
A week or so back I was watching the chatter around the #ISMB / #BOSC2014 meeting, and saw a number of amusing and intriguing comments about Titus Brown’s keynote talk. CTB talking as if date were 2039. "'bioinformatics' and 'systems biology' are now simply 'biology" #BOSC2014 — Stephen Turner (@genetics_blog) July 11, 2014 #BOSC2014 @ctitusbrown […]

Stein L.D. (2008). Bioinformatics: alive and kicking, Genome Biology, 9 (12) 114. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2008-9-12-114

Heinlein R. (1952). Where to?, Galaxy Magazine, February 13-22. Other:

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8:29 AM | It's time for Western psychology to recognise that many individuals, and even entire cultures, fear happiness
It's become a mantra of the modern Western world that the ultimate aim of life is to achieve happiness. Self-help blog posts on how to be happy are almost guaranteed popularity (the Digest has its own!). Pro-happiness organisations have appeared, such as Action for Happiness, which aims to "create a happier society for everyone." Topping it all, an increasing number of governments, including in the UK, have started measuring national well-being (seen as a proxy for "happiness") - the argument […]

Joshanloo, M. & Weijers, D. (2013). Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures: A Review of Where and Why People are Averse to Happiness, Journal of Happiness Studies, 15 (3) 717-735. DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9489-9

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7:24 AM | Autism and asthma yet again
"Asthma is approximately 35 % more common in autistic children".Pipe down @ Wikipedia That was the finding reported by Stanley Kotey and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) dataset, a resource looking at "the physical and emotional health of children ages 0-17 years of age" resident in the United States. I don't intend to dwell too much on the Kotey findings aside from pointing out: (a) the reported prevalence of autism […]

Kotey, S., Ertel, K. & Whitcomb, B. (2014). Co-occurrence of Autism and Asthma in a Nationally-Representative Sample of Children in the United States, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, DOI: 10.1007/s10803-014-2174-y

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July 20, 2014

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7:43 PM | Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry
A fascinating little paper in Brain examines Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. It’s a collaboration by British neurologist Edward H. Reynolds and Assyriologist James V. Kinnier Wilson. The sources they discuss are almost 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Babylonian Dynasty of 1894 – 1595 BC. Writing in cuneiform script impressed into clay tablets, […]The post Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Reynolds EH & Kinnier Wilson JV (2014). Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon., Brain : a journal of neurology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25037816

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5:29 PM | Cooperative sperm, killer sperm and the competition for reproductive success
In the closing paragraph of on the origin of species Darwin famously said that nature was a war in which individuals struggle against each other and the environment for survival. […]

Moller, A. (1989). Ejaculate Quality, Testes Size and Sperm Production in Mammals, Functional Ecology, 3 (1) 91-96. DOI: 10.2307/2389679

Moore H, Dvoráková K, Jenkins N & Breed W (2002). Exceptional sperm cooperation in the wood mouse., Nature, 418 (6894) 174-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12110888

Pearcy M, Delescaille N, Lybaert P & Aron S (2014). Team swimming in ant spermatozoa., Biology letters, 10 (6) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24919705

Byrne PG, Simmons LW & Roberts JD (2003). Sperm competition and the evolution of gamete morphology in frogs., Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 270 (1528) 2079-86. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561298

Mackie JB & Walker MH (1974). A study of the conjugate sperm of the dytiscid water beetles Dytiscus marginalis and Colymbetes fuscus., Cell and tissue research, 148 (4) 505-19. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4836644

Bjork A, Dallai R & Pitnick S (2007). Adaptive modulation of sperm production rate in Drosophila bifurca, a species with giant sperm., Biology letters, 3 (5) 517-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17594959

Buckland-Nicks, J. (1998). Prosobranch parasperm: Sterile germ cells that promote paternity?, Micron, 29 (4) 267-280. DOI: 10.1016/S0968-4328(97)00064-4

Baker, R. & Bellis, M. (1989). Elaboration of the Kamikaze Sperm Hypothesis: a reply to Harcourt, Animal Behaviour, 37 865-867. DOI: 10.1016/0003-3472(89)90074-2

Moore, H., Martin, M. & Birkhead, T. (1999). No evidence for killer sperm or other selective interactions between human spermatozoa in ejaculates of different males in vitro, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266 (1436) 2343-2350. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0929

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3:33 PM | Antiretrovirals and Pregnancy Risk
Don’t drink when you are pregnant, we all know that you aren’t supposed to do that. We also know you shouldn’t smoke, use drugs, and should talk to your Doctor […]

Mugo NR, Hong T, Celum C, Donnell D, Bukusi EA, John-Stewart G, Wangisi J, Were E, Heffron R, Matthews LT & Morrison S (2014). Pregnancy Incidence and Outcomes Among Women Receiving Preexposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention: A Randomized Clinical Trial., JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 312 (4) 362-371. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038355

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8:57 AM | Role of Astroglia in Down's Syndrome Revealed Thanks to iPSCs
David Pleasure, Chen Chen, Wenbin Deng and Peng Jiang(left to right)Researchers from UC Davis School of Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children -- Northern California have identified a group of cells in the brain that they say plays an important role in the abnormal neuron development in Down syndrome.After developing a new model for studying the syndrome using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells, the scientists also found that applying an inexpensive antibiotic to the cells […]

Chen C, Jiang P, Xue H, Peterson SE, Tran HT, McCann AE, Parast MM, Li S, Pleasure DE, Laurent LC & Loring JF (2014). Role of astroglia in Down's syndrome revealed by patient-derived human-induced pluripotent stem cells., Nature communications, 5 4430. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25034944

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July 19, 2014

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6:39 PM | HIV and Hepatitis C: A New Treatment Coming Soon!!
The old saying it could always be worse might not sound like it would apply to HIV patients. Then again if you had HIV and hepatitis C, that would probably […]

Sulkowski, M., Naggie, S., Lalezari, J., Fessel, W., Mounzer, K., Shuhart, M., Luetkemeyer, A., Asmuth, D., Gaggar, A., Ni, L. & Svarovskaia, E. (2014). Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin for Hepatitis C in Patients With HIV Coinfection, JAMA, 312 (4) 353. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.7734

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11:10 AM | CO2 emissions drive heatwaves on despite warming ‘hiatus’
Direct effects from greenhouse gases are playing a significant role in making hot Northern Hemisphere summers more common even as average temperature increases slow down, find Youichi Kamae from the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan and his colleagues.

Kamae, Y., Shiogama, H., Watanabe, M. & Kimoto, M. (2014). Attributing the increase in Northern Hemisphere hot summers since the late 20th century, Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061062

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12:05 AM | Unraveling the Connections of the Brain
The brain is complex, heck if it wasn’t then we wouldn’t be smart enough to figure out how it works. I guess it’s one of those stupid catch-22 type things. […]

Yamada, T., Yang, Y., Hemberg, M., Yoshida, T., Cho, H., Murphy, J., Fioravante, D., Regehr, W., Gygi, S., Georgopoulos, K. & Bonni, A. (2014). Promoter Decommissioning by the NuRD Chromatin Remodeling Complex Triggers Synaptic Connectivity in the Mammalian Brain, Neuron, 83 (1) 122-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.039

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July 18, 2014

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8:15 PM | Dimostrazioni senza parole: differenze tra cubi
\[(n+1)^3 - n^3 \equiv 1 \mod 6\] Claudi Alsina,, Roger Nelsen,, & Hasan Unal (2014). Proof Without Words: The Difference of Consecutive Integer Cubes Is Congruent to 1 Modulo 6 The College Mathematics Journal, 45 (2), 135-135 DOI: 10.4169/college.math.j.45.2.135 (facebook)

Claudi Alsina,, Roger Nelsen, & Hasan Unal (2014). Proof Without Words: The Difference of Consecutive Integer Cubes Is Congruent to 1 Modulo 6, The College Mathematics Journal, 45 (2) 135-135. DOI: 10.4169/college.math.j.45.2.135

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4:56 PM | The Brain, Down Syndrome, and Antibiotics
At first glance the title might sound a little weird. But if that is the case then you probably want to read this. Researchers  have identified a group of cells in […]

Chen, C., Jiang, P., Xue, H., Peterson, S., Tran, H., McCann, A., Parast, M., Li, S., Pleasure, D., Laurent, L. & Loring, J. (2014). Role of astroglia in Down’s syndrome revealed by patient-derived human-induced pluripotent stem cells, Nature Communications, 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5430

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12:51 PM | Scientists Create Alcohol-Resistant Worms That Might Cure Alcoholism
Image showing the effects of alchohol in Caenorhabditis elegans and..humansCredit: Jon Pierce-Shimomura from The University of Texas, Austin.A couple of days ago, a team of neuroscientists from the University of Texas, Austin announced that they have created a new strain of mutant worms which is impervious to the intoxicating effects of alcohol!To create the alcohol-immune worms, the researchers implanted a modified human alcohol target – a neuronal channel called the BK channel […]

Davis, S., Scott, L., Hu, K. & Pierce-Shimomura, J. (2014). Conserved Single Residue in the BK Potassium Channel Required for Activation by Alcohol and Intoxication in C. elegans, Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (29) 9562-9573. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0838-14.2014

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10:37 AM | Scientists discover gene that links stem cells, aging and cancer
Stem cells from adult mouse epidermis (green, Cytokeratin 6; blue, cell nucleus); Sox4 protein maintains tissue homeostasis in these cells.An organism is healthy thanks to a good maintenance system: the normal functioning of organs and environmental exposure cause damage to tissues, which need to be continuously repaired.This process is not yet well understood, but it is known that stem cells in the organs play a key role, and that when repair fails, the organism ages more quickly. Researchers […]

Foronda, M., Martínez, P., Schoeftner, S., Gómez-López, G., Schneider, R., Flores, J., Pisano, D. & Blasco, M. (2014). Sox4 Links Tumor Suppression to Accelerated Aging in Mice by Modulating Stem Cell Activation, Cell Reports, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.06.031

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10:29 AM | Discovery May Make It Easier to Develop Life-Saving Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Human oocyteNot unlike looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, a team of Michigan State University researchers have found a gene that could be key to the development of induced pluripotent stem cells, cells that can potentially save millions of lives by morphing into practically any cell in the body.The gene, known as ASF1A, was not discovered by the team. However, it is at least one of the genes responsible for the mechanism of cellular reprogramming, a phenomenon that can turn one […]

Gonzalez-Munoz, E., Arboleda-Estudillo, Y., Out, H. & Cibelli, J. (2014). Histone chaperone ASF1A is required for maintenance of pluripotency and cellular reprogramming, Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1254745

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July 17, 2014

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5:04 PM | A New way to Fight HIV, Using your Genome!
Outsmarting something as “simple” as a virus doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. If only you could set it down to take the SAT’s or something. Unfortunately, in the […]

Michaud, H., SenGupta, D., de Mulder, M., Deeks, S., Martin, J., Kobie, J., Sacha, J. & Nixon, D. (2014). Cutting Edge: An Antibody Recognizing Ancestral Endogenous Virus Glycoproteins Mediates Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity on HIV-1-Infected Cells, The Journal of Immunology, DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1302108

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12:57 AM | Linear is Beautiful: a simple relationship provides guidance for optimal battery design
It isn’t often that simple relationships are found for complex problems in physics, but scientists pay attention when they are discovered.  This is especially true in the field of materials design, in which researchers try to create materials with specific … Continue reading →

Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Yakobson, B. & Wood, B. (2014). Assessing Carbon-Based Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Universal Description of Charge-Transfer Binding, Physical Review Letters, 113 (2) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.028304

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12:17 AM | The Mediterranean Diet and Cognitive Decline
The Mediterranean diet, it may have broad health benefits [let's face it we can't seem to escape the push for it here in the US], but a new study suggests that […]

Koyama, A., Houston, D., Simonsick, E., Lee, J., Ayonayon, H., Shahar, D., Rosano, C., Satterfield, S. & Yaffe, K. (2014). Association Between the Mediterranean Diet and Cognitive Decline in a Biracial Population, The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glu097

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July 16, 2014

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5:01 PM | More Horror from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Deepwater Horizon, it was a technological feat to get oil that deep in the water. Then the spill occurred, when it happened I honestly think more people were in shock […]

White, H., Lyons, S., Harrison, S., Findley, D., Liu, Y. & Kujawinski, E. (2014). Long-Term Persistence of Dispersants following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 1 (7) 295-299. DOI: 10.1021/ez500168r

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3:05 PM | Minimalia: istantanee da una camera a bolle
La settimana scorsa, su twitter, ho diffuso alcune immagini, foto scattate dalle pagine dal volume Letture da Le Scienze: Fisica delle particelle (un indice del volume), che raccoglieva alcuni articoli usciti sulla rivista italiana (e quindi anche su Scientific American). Poiché ognuna di quelle immagini fa inevitabilmente parte della storia della fisica, mi sembra sensato proporle raccolte insieme in un unico post molto più semplicemente raggiungibile di tanti piccoli... […]

Weisskopf, V. (1968). The Three Spectroscopies, Scientific American, 218 (5) 15-29. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0568-15

Barish, B. (1973). Experiments with Neutrino Beams, Scientific American, 229 (2) 30-38. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0873-30

Treiman, S. (1959). The Weak Interactions, Scientific American, 200 (3) 72-84. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0359-72

Cline D.B., Mann A.K. & Rubbia C. (1974). The Detection of Neutral Weak Currents, Scientific American, 231 (6) 108-119. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1274-108

Glashow, S. (1975). Quarks with Color and Flavor, Scientific American, 233 (4) 38-50. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1075-38

Nambu, Y. (1976). The Confinement of Quarks, Scientific American, 235 (5) 48-61. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1176-48

Johnson, K. (1979). The Bag Model of Quark Confinement, Scientific American, 241 (1) 112-121. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0779-112

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July 15, 2014

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5:41 PM | Cheaper Platinum-Yttrium Fuel Cell Catalyst Developed
Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) report that they have developed a platinum-yttrium fuel cell catalyst which is stable, more active and less expensive than the existing platinum catalysts.

Patricia Hernandez-Fernandez, Federico Masini, David N. McCarthy, Christian E. Strebel, Daniel Friebel, Davide Deiana, Paolo Malacrida, Anders Nierhoff, Anders Bodin, Anna M. Wise, Jane H. Nielsen, Thomas W. Hansen, Anders Nilsson, Ifan E. L. (2014). Mass-selected nanoparticles of PtxY as model catalysts for ​oxygen electroreduction, Nature Chemistry, Other:

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