Science2.0

Population Control: Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring On WHO Essential Medicines List

Science2.0 - June 11, 2015 - 12:44am

The World Health Organization released its 2015 updated essential medicines list and for the first time included the progesterone contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR), a contraceptive safe and effective for lactating women in the postpartum period.

The progesterone CVR, developed by the Population Council, is an intravaginal ring that provides women who breastfeed at least four times a day with a contraceptive option as early as four weeks after giving birth. It can be used for up to a year for improved birth spacing.


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Edit Distance In Genomes - Longstanding Algorithm Worry Put To Rest

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 10:00pm
Comparing the genomes of different species — or different members of the same species — is the basis of a great deal of modern biology because DNA sequences conserved across species are likely to be functionally important, while variations between members of the same species can indicate different susceptibilities to disease.
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6 Facts On Human-Caused Earthquakes, From USGS

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 9:30pm

The central United States has undergone a dramatic increase in seismicity over the past 6 years. From 1973-2008, there was an average of 24 earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger per year. From 2009-2014, the rate steadily increased, averaging 193 per year and peaking in 2014 with 688 earthquakes. So far in 2015, there have been 430 earthquakes of that size in the central U.S. region through the end of May.

There are many questions and misconceptions about what’s happening. How does the observed increase relate to oil and gas production activities? Does this connect to fracking—more formally known as hydraulic fracturing? What exactly is fracking? What are induced earthquakes?


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NRDC Wants To Ban Food Flavorings - Even Natural Ones

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 9:12pm
The Natural Resources Defense Council environmental lobbying group has created a coalition and they have drafted a petition demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban eight food additives they believe are carcinogens, in the interests of public health.

The problem is that many of these are natural, which is one reason why they have never been banned. The other reason is they haven't been shown to be harmful, regardless of whether or not we have been trained by environmental lobbying groups to be scared of chemical names.
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Wound Signals In Plants - Feeding Caterpillars Make Leaves Shine

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 9:00pm

When a plant is attacked by herbivores, this triggers a number of physiological responses in the plant and calcium ions are important messengers for the processing of wound signals in plant cells. They regulate signal transduction and indirectly control plant defense mechanisms. 

Now, scientists have succeeded in visualizing the immediate wound or herbivory responses in plants. They used Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) plants that produce a special protein which breaks down after the binding of calcium ions and emits free energy in the form of light. The amount of light corresponds to the calcium concentrations in the cells of the respective leaf areas. 


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Why I Love Surrounding Myself With Venomous Critters

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 9:00pm
Life is chemistry. You, me and every living thing – we’re all just spectacularly complex chemistry sets. Inside you, every second of the day, thousands of tiny chemical reactions are taking place.

Chemical reactions powered your transformation from a single cell into a colony of trillions of cells, and they allow you to harvest energy from the environment and transform it into yet more cells. They maintain the delicate balance in which all the components of your body function. In fact, they are that balance. They even drive your thoughts and emotions.

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Social Scientists Say Everyone Is Biased - And We All Have A Bias Blind Spot About It

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 8:31pm

It is believed by the social sciences that all people have bias - and a "bias blind spot," meaning that they are less likely to detect bias in themselves than others.

If so, how blind are we to our own actual degree of bias, and how many of us think we are less biased than others?

A new paper outlines a tool to detect gaps, a kind of implicit association test but for bias blind spots rather than making you feel racist, and it reveals that believing that you are less biased than your peers has detrimental consequences on judgments and behaviors, such as accurately judging whether advice is useful.


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W Chromosome: DNA Which Only Females Have

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

In many animal species, the chromosomes differ between the sexes - the male has a Y chromosome. This contains genes which result in the development of male characters and reproductive organs. If there is no Y chromosome, the organism will be a female.

But in birds and some other animals, it is the other way round and females have their own sex chromosome, the W chromosome. 


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Celestial Butterfly L2 Puppis Emerges From Its Dusty Cocoon

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 6:30pm

The ESO's Very Large Telescope has revealed what appears to be an aging star giving birth to a butterfly-like planetary nebula.

These observations of the red giant star L2 Puppis, from the ZIMPOL mode of the newly installed SPHERE instrument, also clearly showed a close stellar companion. 


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Sustainable Jet Fuel: Sunshine And Seawater Could Power Flight

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

The aviation industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011 aviation contributed around 3% of Australia’s emissions. Despite improvements in efficiency, global aviation emissions are expected to grow 70% by 2020 from 2005. While the industry is seeking new renewable fuel sources, growing biofuels takes up valuable land and water that could be otherwise used to grow food.

But what if you could grow biofuels on land nobody wants, using just seawater and sunlight, and produce food at the same time?

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Why Good People Do Bad Things

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 5:25pm

Honest behavior is much like sticking to a diet - you have to be ready for temptation and consider the long-term consequences.

A recent paper says it is the first study to test how the two separate factors of identifying an ethical conflict and preemptively exercising self-control interact in shaping ethical decision-making.

In a series of experiments that included common ethical dilemmas, such as calling in sick to work and negotiating a home sale, the researchers found that two factors together promoted ethical behavior: Participants who identified a potential ethical dilemma as connected to other similar incidents and who also anticipated the temptation to act unethically were more likely to behave honestly than participants who did not.


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Skin Color, Lactose Tolerance: Mapping Population Changes In Bronze Age Eurasia

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 5:00pm
Wide-scale population migrations and changes took place in Europe and Asia during the Bronze Age that shaped the demographic structure of present-day Europeans and Asians, as revealed by an analysis of 101 genomes from ancient Eurasian humans.

A new study published in this week’s Nature presents one of the largest studies of ancient DNA samples to date.  The research provides insights into the prevalence of certain traits such as skin color or lactose tolerance, as well as data relevant to the understanding the spread of Indo-European languages.
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Attending Breast Cancer Screening Reduces Risk Of Death By 40 Percent

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 4:00pm

Women aged 50-69 years who attend mammography screening reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to women who are not screened - according to a major international review of the latest evidence on breast cancer screening. Overall, women who are invited to attend mammography screening have a 23 percent risk reduction in breast cancer death (owing to some attending and some not), compared with women not invited by routine screening programs.

In the UK, this relative risk translates to around eight deaths prevented per 1,000 women regularly attending screening, and five deaths prevented per 1,000 women invited to screening.


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Cancer Overtakes Cardiovascular Disease As UK's No. 1 Killer Among Men

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 3:30pm

Cancer has overtaken cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, as the UK's No 1 killer--but only among men, reveals research published online in the journal Heart.

Cardiovascular disease is still the most common cause of death among women, and kills more young women than breast cancer, the figures show.

The researchers used the latest nationally available data (2012-13) for each of the four UK countries and the Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2014 report compiled for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to quantify the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, and find out how it's treated, how much it costs, and how many deaths it causes.


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Data Underlying U.S. Dietary Guidelines Flawed - Or Not

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 3:30pm
U.S. government-issued dietary recommendations continue to evolve over time but a new paper by scholars claims that the main source of dietary information used by the U.S. Government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is scientifically flawed because the underlying data are primarily informed by memory-based dietary assessment methods (M-BMs) (e.g. interviews and surveys).(1)

In an editorial response nutrition experts suggest that the purported flaws are well-appreciated by nutritional researchers and can be mitigated by using multiple data sources, resulting in valid data.(2)
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How An Undergraduate Discovered Tubes Of Plasma In The Sky

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 3:00pm
The discovery by an undergraduate student of tubes of plasma drifting above Earth has made headlines in the past few days.

Many people have asked how the discovery was made and, in particular, how an undergraduate student was able to do it.

The answer is a combination of an amazing new telescope, a very smart student and an unexpected fusion of two areas of science.

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Do We Want Accurate Polling Or Fair Elections?

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 2:44pm

The public has a bit of a cultural schism about elections. Everyone says they want more diversity of candidates but an actual primary race is a sign of weakness. In the United States of America, Democrats are trumpeting the fact that they picked their candidate for 2016 back in 2013 and ridiculing Republicans because they have a dozen contenders. And we are told that if polls are too accurate, people will not bother to vote, but if they are not accurately predicting the winner of an election that has not occurred, it is a failure.


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Why Some Girls Don't Study Math-Intensive Science

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 2:30pm

Though women are the majority in the life sciences and men might need outreach programs to counteract potential bias against them in the social sciences, in math-intensive fields like physics women still lag.

Sociologists believe that it may be due to misperception; that you either have math ability or you don't. Counter that misperception and you the problem is solved.


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Pregnant Pipefish Fathers Are Not Super Dads

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 2:00pm

Many aquatic species have a reputation for negligent parenting. Having cast their gametes to the currents, they abandon their offspring to their fate. However, hands-on parenting is taken to a whole new dimension in the Syngnathidae fish family.

Instead of leaving the responsibility to the females, seahorse and pipefish males take the pledge to care for their young even before the eggs are fertilized. The females depart soon after placing their eggs directly into the male's brood pouch, leaving the soon-to-be fathers to incubate the developing embryos.


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Novel Genetic Mutations May Arise During Early Embryonic Development

Science2.0 - June 10, 2015 - 1:30pm

Until now, de novo genetic mutations, alterations in a gene found for the first time in one family member, were believed to be mainly the result of new mutations in the sperm or eggs (germline) of one of the parents and passed on to their child.

Researchers from The Netherlands have now succeeded in determining that at least 6.5% of de novo mutations occur during the development of the child (post-zygotic) rather than from the germline of a parent.  


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