Science2.0

Laundry Detergent Pods And Poison Risk

Science2.0 - November 11, 2014 - 2:02pm

Laundry detergent pods became popular 2010, because they are more precise than liquids or powder. Are they more dangerous than liquids or powder?


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Brain Decline: Marijuana's Long-Term Effects

Science2.0 - November 11, 2014 - 1:30pm

Though marijuana use has gone up sharply since 2007, claims about its lack of harm compared to cigarettes or drugs are not based on evidence. Instead, studies have shown abnormalities in brain function and structure of long-term marijuana users and that chronic marijuana users have smaller brain volume in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a part of the brain commonly associated with addiction, but also increased brain connectivity. 

But the effects of chronic marijuana use on the brain may depend on the age of first use and duration of use, according to researchers. 


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Prosocial Behavior And The Need For Moral High Gods - What Birds And Linguistics Tell Us

Science2.0 - November 11, 2014 - 1:30pm

The need for a moral higher power may have been as necessary for adapting to a dangerous world as physical adaptations, according to a new paper.

The authors suggest that societies with less access to food and water are more likely to believe in such deities. They believe there is a strong correlation between belief in high gods who enforce a moral code and other societal characteristics. Political complexity - namely a social hierarchy beyond the local community - and the practice of animal husbandry were both strongly associated with a belief in moralizing gods, though how raising livestock factored in is a mystery, since everyone did it.


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QACs In Household Disinfectants Impair Mouse Fertility

Science2.0 - November 11, 2014 - 1:00pm

I'll have a clean cage with a side of fertility issues. Mouse image via www.shutterstock.com

By Anne-Marie Hodge, University of Wyoming

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Overall Risk Of Birth Defects Appears Low For Women Taking Antiretrovirals During Early Pregnancy

Science2.0 - November 11, 2014 - 5:24am

Boston, MA - Among pregnant women infected with HIV, the use of antiretroviral (ARV) medications early in pregnancy to treat their HIV or to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV does not appear to increase the risk of birth defects in their infants, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). It is one of the largest studies to date to look at the safety of ARV use during pregnancy.

While the study found that overall risk was low--in keeping with previous research that has found ARV use in pregnancy to be generally safe--the researchers did find that one ARV drug, atazanavir, was associated with increased risk of birth defects and they said it should be studied further.


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Sexism Straight From The Horse’s Mouth: Life As A Female Veterinarian

Science2.0 - November 11, 2014 - 12:24am

Neigh problem with injections. Shutterstock

By Adele Williams, University of Surrey

Picture this. Your prize horse needs a vaccination. Who should turn up to deliver this but a veterinary graduate of ten years, specialist in equine internal medicine and teacher to veterinary undergraduates.

Today is your lucky day! Or not.

“I specifically requested one of the male vets, but it is just a vaccination so I do hope you’ll be able to do that …”

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37 Trillion Invaders: We Are Not Alone

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 11:42pm

The adult human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells. Microbes, mainly bacteria, outnumber body cells by 10 to 1. This huge community of microbes, called the microbiome, affects the health, development and evolution of all multicellular organisms, including humans, according to the latest craze in health supplement marketing and plenty of science papers latching onto the fad.

Symbiotic microbes can help prevent infection by disease-causing pathogens but sometimes the interaction goes the other way, with a pathogen or disease disrupting the normal community of symbiotic bacteria. In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists from UC Santa Barbara say that a fungal pathogen of amphibians does just that.


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Interstellar: A Spectacular View Of Science But Not Without Compromise

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 10:54pm

Black holes aren’t black. Warner Bros.

By Alasdair Richmond, University of Edinburgh

Note: this article has spoilers.

In Interstellar’s near-ish future, our climate has failed catastrophically, crops die in vast blights and America is a barely-habitable dustbowl. Little education beyond farming methods is tolerated and students are taught that the Apollo landings were Cold War propaganda hoaxes.

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Simplot Innate GM Potato Gets USDA Endorsement

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 10:14pm

What will McDonald’s do?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday cleared a genetically engineered potato with two innovations that help both consumers and producers: The Simplot Innate potato resists bruising, which makes it more appealing to consumers (even though bruising generally does not impact the quality of the starchy vegetable); and it’s been modified to produce less of the chemical acrylamide when fried.

Acrylamide has been linked to cancer in rats although there is no clear evidence that it poses harm to humans.

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Robert Langer, Ed Witten Awarded 2014 Kyoto Prizes In Medicine And Science

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 10:09pm
The Inamori Foundation has awarded the 2014 Kyoto Prizes to biomedical engineer Dr. Robert Langer in medicine, theoretical physicist Professor Edward Witten in math, and Fukumi Shimura in the Arts. Each laureate received a diploma, a 20-karat gold Kyoto Prize medal and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US $450,000) in recognition of lifelong contributions to society.  
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The Insect Tree Of Life

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 4:02pm
The 1KITE project (1,000 Insect Transcriptome Evolution) seeks to understand the millions of living insect species that shape our terrestrial living space and both support and threaten our natural resources by analyzing more than 1,000 insect transcriptomes, a set of all RNA molecules.

Using a dataset consisting of 144 carefully chosen species, 1KITE scientists have just presented reliable estimates on the dates of origin and relationships of all major insect groups based on the enormous molecular dataset they collected. They show that insects originated at the same time as the earliest terrestrial plants about 480 million years ago.
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Mitochondria Signaling Pathway Links Energy Conversion And Cell Division

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 3:00pm
When a cell divides, it passes through a sequence of complex events and mitochondria, the organelles called the power plants of the cell, are the main source of energy for these processes: They convert food into energy the cell can use.

Freiburg biochemists Dr. Angelika Harbauer and professor Chris Meisinger led a team that have discovered a signaling path that links these two key tasks, cell division and energy conversion. .
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What Cute Koalas Tell Us About The Origins Of The Human Genome

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 2:01pm
8 percent of our genome derives from retroviruses that inserted themselves into human sex cells millions of years ago and right now the koala retrovirus (KoRV) is invading koala genomes.

Koalas are the only known organism where a retrovirus is transitioning from exogenous to endogenous. An exogenous retrovirus infects a host, inserts its genetic information into the cell’s DNA, and uses the host cell’s machinery to manufacture more viruses. When an exogenous retrovirus infects an egg or sperm cell and the viral genetic information is then passed down to the host’s offspring, the virus becomes an endogenous retrovirus (ERV). 
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Baseball Offseason Debate: Who Is The Best Left-Handed Player?

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 1:30pm
Though the World Series is over, baseball never really ends in the modern era. There are MVP announcements, free agency and then the winter meetings. Before we know it, it will be February and pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training in Florida and Arizona.
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Why Does Lou Gehrig's Disease Cause Problems For Action Verbs But Not Nouns?

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 1:00pm
Patients with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, have difficulty with action verbs: Why action verbs and not regular verbs or nouns? 

According to some papers, the fact that ALS patients experience it isn't the actual severe motor deficits of the disease, the greater linguistic difficulty with verbs denoting action compared to nouns depends on the motor deficit.

The motor system plays a role in the semantic encoding of action verbs? Real or spurious correlations? A new tested this hypothesis and their conclusion suggests a major role for the “executive function”.
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Why Computer Programs Can't Understand Truth - And Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence Babies

Science2.0 - November 10, 2014 - 4:45am

This is a commonly used argument, indeed often taken for granted. We can simulate physics on a computer. So what is to stop us eventually simulating your whole body including your brain? And if so, is it not just a matter of time, and increasing computer power before we have exact simulations of humans as computer programs? Programs whose behaviour is indistinguishable from humans?

This is a staple of many science fiction stories of course. But some logicians, philosophers and physicists think there are flaws in this argument.

We know the laws of physics are incomplete. Could there be physical processes which for some reason are impossible to simulate using a computer program? And could processes like that go on in a human being?

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In The NFL, Bandwagon Is Everyone's Second Favorite Team

Science2.0 - November 9, 2014 - 3:00pm

In the NFL, teams share revenue from national television contracts and to sell local tickets, if a team has not sold at least to a specific threshold, the game is blacked out locally. If enough people are attending, the game is shown to fans in the region

That appeals to 'hometown' fans. One satellite network shows all games to its package subscribers but otherwise fans are only going to see their local team. If they don't have one, they see something nearby. It is a rule and there is no choice.

In the modern mobile population, that may not be a wise strategy. Fans no longer live within an hour of where they grew up and a new paper finds that choosing to broadcast the local team isn't always the smartest ratings decision. Writing in 


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It's On The Way: Is Your Religion Ready To Meet ET?

Science2.0 - November 9, 2014 - 2:00pm

Proof of life beyond earth is coming. Stargazing image via Shutterstock

By David A. Weintraub, Vanderbilt University

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How To Make A Baby...a Question Of Gastrulation

Science2.0 - November 9, 2014 - 10:59am

Let’s talk about gastrulation. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s not as disgusting as it sounds. Gastrulation is a process in early embryonic development which leads to the generation of the three germ-layer tissues- ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm- from which all other tissue-types in the body are erived. 

The early (amniote) embryo coverts from a bilaminar structure of epithelial tissue plus and extra-embryonic layer, to a trilamiarone. A second function of gastrulation is that it defines the anterior-posterior body axis for the first time. In other words, it begins to distinguish the head end of the embryo from the tail end- this is pretty important if you want all your bits and pieces in the right place later on! 

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Cheap Compact Particle Accelerators May Be Our Physics Future

Science2.0 - November 8, 2014 - 3:01pm

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford

By Ian Bailey, Lancaster University

Scientists working on an experiment at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the US have taken a step forward in developing a technology which could significantly reduce the size of particle accelerators. The technology is able to accelerate particles more rapidly than conventional accelerators at a much smaller size.

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