Science2.0

Sheep HapMap Project Can Tell Us About Livestock Climate Adaptation

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 10:56pm

Man has domesticated animals for almost long as man has domesticated crops. In both cases, humans have engaged in genetic modification, selecting the best traits possible.

Because of that legacy, livestock such as sheep offer an intriguing way to examine adaptation to climate change, with a genetic legacy of centuries of selected breeding and a wealth of livestock genome-wide data available. 

In a first-of-its kind study that combined molecular and environmental data, professor Meng-Hua Li et al., performed a search for genes under environmental selection from domesticated sheep breeds. 


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Doom And Gloom Won’t Do It – Here’s How To Sell The Climate Change Message

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 9:55pm

But which words will lead to action? Credit: EPA

By James Painter, University of Oxford

Each of the 125 leaders attending the New York climate summit this week has been given four minutes to speak to the world. They (or their aides) may well have dipped into the climate literature to add scientific ballast to their speeches. But they may not be as familiar with the vast array of academic studies on effective communication about climate change.

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7 Things You Need To Know About The Climate Summit

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 8:37pm

Climate March, New York City

By Alessandro R Demaio, Harvard University

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Antifreeze Proteins: Why Antarctic Fish Don't Freeze Or Melt

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 8:14pm

Five families of notothenioid fish inhabit the Southern Ocean, the frigid sea that encircles Antarctica, manufacture their own "antifreeze" proteins to survive.

Their ability to live in the icy seawater is so extraordinary that they make up more than 90 percent of the fish biomass of the region.
 They also suffer an unfortunate side effect: The protein-bound ice crystals that accumulate inside their bodies resist melting even when temperatures warm. 


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Scientists Are Not Trusted By Americans - Here's Why

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 7:00pm

There is a downside to 'follow the money' arguments made by academics against scientists in pharmaceutical and oil companies - it comes back to haunt them also.

A paper in PNAS finds that Americans seem wary of researchers because they get grant funding and do not trust scientists pushing political and cultural agendas. The public prefers at least the pretense of impartiality from scientists who are paid by taxpayers. And it wouldn't hurt if scientists came off less angry and a little "warmer" when they engage in outreach, according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


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Gallbladder Surgery Can Wait Until Morning

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 6:30pm

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a minimally invasive procedure to remove the gallbladder, is one of the most common abdominal surgeries in the U.S.

Some medical centers move patients quickly into surgery while others wait. Being told to wait can alarm patients but is it making a difference?

Not really, finds a paper in the American Journal of Surgery. Gallbladder removal surgery can wait until regular working hours rather than rushing the patients into the operating room at night and there is no risk of harm. 


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Factor In Space Bubbles Or The Terrorists Win

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 6:06pm

In the early morning hours of March 4th, 2002, a reconnaissance team of US Navy SEALs became pinned down on the ridge dividing the Upper and Lower Shahikot valley in Afghanistan.

A Chinook helicopter with 21 men on a mission to rescue them was heading for the snowcapped peak of Takur Ghar  when U.S. military officers in Bagram radioed them with a message not to land on the peak, because the mountaintop was under enemy control. 

The rescue team never got the message. Just after daybreak, the Chinook took heavy enemy fire and it crash-landed on the peak. Three men were killed in the ensuing firefight.


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Virtual Water - 20 Years Of An Invalid Method To Track Unseen Water In Goods

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 4:00pm

In 1993, Professor John Anthony Allan of King’s College London coined the term "Virtual water" because the term 'embedded water' "did not capture the attention of the water managing community" and he wanted to create a metaphor to talk about why the long-predicted water wars have still not happened.


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Thinner Too: Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Sixth Lowest On Record

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 2:44pm

Arctic sea ice coverage declined to its annual minimum on September 17th and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder find that this year's minimum extent is similar to last year's and below the 1981-2010 average of 2.40 million square miles. 

Over the 2014 summer, Arctic sea ice melted back from its maximum extent reached in March to a coverage area of 1.94 million square miles, according to analysis from NASA and NSIDC scientists. 


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Would A Guardian Angel Make You Cautious Or Reckless?

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 2:38pm

If you had an angel walking beyond you, would you be more reckless or more cautious?

It's surprising how many people believe that guardian angels watch over them to keep them safe in a dangerous world, and it's even more surprising that those who believe are actually less inclined to take risks despite this protection. 

Scholars David Etkin, Jelena Ivanova, Susan MacGregor and Alalia Spektor surveyed 198 individuals and found that of those who believe in guardian angels, 68% said that this belief affects how they take risks. 


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End Segregation With More Suburban Sprawl

Science2.0 - September 23, 2014 - 2:12pm

What causes segregation? No one knows. No one even knows where the line is. For example, in science classes, there is worry that if there are not enough people 'like' an individual, they will feel intimidated and excluded. But when there are lots of people like an individual, they tend to self-segregate into groups based on gender and ethnicity.

On the city-wide level, environmentalists advocate very dense housing because it has lower strain on the land, but a new study in PNAS finds that dense cities lead to more segregation, even in previously integrated neighborhoods. Racially and economically mixed cities are more likely to stay integrated if the density of households stays low.


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Nature Communications Switching To Exclusive Open Access

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 11:30pm
Nature Publishing Group has announced that Nature Communications will only accept open access research submissions starting October 20th 2014.

This is a big win for open access.  The 2013 Impact Factor for Nature Communications is 10.742, according to the 2013 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2014). When it launched in 2010 it was a hybrid journal, publishing both open access and subscription content, but they now get over 1500 submissions every month so open access is viable.
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Khabarovsk Krai On Fire

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 8:00pm

Khabarovsk Krai, a territory occupying the coastline of the Sea of Okhotsk, is on fire. Dozens of red hotspots, accompanied by plumes of smoke mark active fires. The smoke, which appears mostly white or grey, blows to the east towards the Sea of Okhotsk.

Taiga and tundra are found in the north of this area, swampy forest inhabit the central depression, and deciduous forests are the natural vegetation in the south.


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Light Can Play Seesaw At The Nanoscale

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 8:00pm

Electrical engineering researchers have developed a unique nanoscale device that demonstrates mechanical transportation of light.

The nanoscale device that can capture, measure and transport fundamental particles of light - photons. The tiny device is just 0.7 micrometers by 50 micrometer (about .00007 by .005 centimeters) and works almost like a seesaw. On each side of the "seesaw benches," researchers etched an array of holes, called photonic crystal cavities. These cavities capture photons that streamed from a nearby source. 


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Planck Data Says BICEP2 Gravitational Waves Were Contaminants

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 7:32pm

Gravitational waves are phenomena predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity but no one has ever observed them and their discovery would have profound implications for the study of the Universe.

Last March, the team behind the BICEP2 project made a ground-breaking announcement: the Antarctic observatory had detected a signal referable to gravitational waves. The study said they excluded possible contaminants - other sources that could have generated the same signal - and that the observation was valid.


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15 Biomarkers: Blood Test May Determine Risk For Psychosis

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 5:30pm

Preliminary results from a recent study show that a blood test, when used in psychiatric patients experiencing symptoms that are considered to be indicators of a high risk for psychosis, identifies those who later went on to develop psychosis. 

It may lead to accurate diagnosis of people who are experiencing the earliest stages of psychosis. Psychosis includes hallucinations or delusions that define the development of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Schizophrenia emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood and affects about 1 in every 100 people. In severe cases, the impact on a young person can be a life compromised, and the burden on family members can be almost as severe.


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Do Kids Of Tiger Moms Have Lower Self-Esteem?

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 5:17pm

Do kids of "tiger moms" - the term used by culture for demanding mothers in Asian families and   popularized due to the 2011 book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua - have lower self-esteem?

Not if the halls of Caltech are any indication. And do we need more young people with high levels of self-esteem living with their parents in their 30s? Regardless, a new paper in 
the Journal of Family Issues finds that less supportive and punitive parenting techniques used by some Chinese parents might lead to the development of low self-esteem and school adjustment difficulties, leaving kids vulnerable to depression and problem behaviors.


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Why Research Beats Anecdote In Our Search For Knowledge

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 4:01pm

US Army scientists analyze unknown samples to determine whether hazardous. That's typical of research trying to understand the unknowns and expand on our knowledge. Credit: Flickr/US Army RDECOM, CC BY

By Tim Dean

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? We begin today by looking at the origins of research.

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CO2 Budget: The Lesser Known Role Of Arctic Sea Ice

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 3:54pm

In a global warming scenario, large areas of sea ice melt in the summer and when sea ice freezes over in the winter it is thinner and more reduced.

But warmer Arctic summers could lead to an acceleration of global warming, because reduced sea ice in the Arctic will remove less CO2 from the atmosphere, Danish scientists report.

"If our results are representative, then sea ice plays a greater role than expected, and we should take this into account in future global CO2 budgets", says Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard, PhD Fellow, Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, University of Southern Denmark and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk.


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How Gene Expression Affects The Facial Kind

Science2.0 - September 22, 2014 - 3:19pm

A person's face is the first thing that others see, and much remains unknown about how it forms — or malforms — during early development. Recently, Chong Pyo Choe, a senior postdoctoral fellow working in the lab of USC stem cell researcher Gage Crump, has begun to unwind these mysteries.

In a September study published in the journal Development, Choe and Crump describe how a mutation in a gene called TBX1 causes the facial and other deformities associated with DiGeorge syndrome.


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