Science2.0

Big 6? Capitanian Extinction Gets New Evidence

Science2.0 - April 16, 2015 - 1:30pm
Since the Cambrian Explosion, ecosystems have suffered repeated mass extinctions, 5 of which wiped out half of all species: The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction, the Triassic–Jurassic extinction, the Permian–Triassic extinction, the Late Devonian extinction and the Ordovician–Silurian extinction.

20 years ago, a sixth major extinction was put forth in the Middle Permian (262 million years ago) in China. This Capitanian extinction was known only from equatorial settings and it was not recognized as an actual global crisis and was instead considered just one of many lesser mass extinctions. David P.G. Bond and colleagues provide the first evidence for severe Middle Permian losses amongst brachiopods in northern paleolatitudes (Spitsbergen).
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Pediatric Melanoma Declined While Adult Rose

Science2.0 - April 16, 2015 - 1:00pm

Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, has been increasing in incidence in adults over the past 40 years.

Pediatric melanoma is rare (5 or 6 children per million) but some studies indicate that incidence has been increasing. A new study in The Journal of Pediatrics found that is not so, and the incidence of pediatric melanoma in the United States decreased from 2004-2010.


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New High-throughput Screening Method For Chronic Kidney Disease

Science2.0 - April 16, 2015 - 12:30pm

A newly developed assay may help investigators identify novel drug candidates to protect kidney cells and prevent or treat chronic kidney disease (CKD).

CKD affects more than 13% of adults in the United States, with diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis being common risk factors. Most patients rely on antihypertensive medications for treatment, and there are no therapies available that directly and specifically target the kidney.

A team led by Vineet Gupta, PhD and Jochen Reiser, MD, PhD (Rush University Medical Center) has now developed a system that can be used to identify novel drug candidates that protect the function of kidney podocytes, cells that are critical for filtering the blood. Damage to these cells is a hallmark of CKD.


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Ancient Footprints Can Help Us Understand Modern-Day Crime Scenes

Science2.0 - April 16, 2015 - 7:00am
Bournemouth University’s new Institute for Studies in Landscape and Human Evolution (ISLHE) – is exploring how techniques for documenting ancient footprints can help forensic scientists understand modern-day crime scenes.

Professor Matthew Bennett, Head of  the Institute for Studies in Landscape and Human Evolution, explained why the research is needed. “Footwear impressions can provide an important source of evidence from crime scenes. They can help to determine the sequence of events and – if distinctive – can even link a suspect to multiple crime scenes.
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Richard III's Scoliosis Might Not Have Been Known To The Public

Science2.0 - April 16, 2015 - 1:24am

In the most famous versions of Richard III, written by William Shakespeare, the last Plantagenet king was physically and mentally deformed. 

But the public probably did not know what, and if they did, they wisely never mentioned it. A king busy fighting the War of the Roses could easily hide a deformity. Dr. Mary Ann Lund, of the University of Leicester's School of English argues that Richard's body image in life was carefully controlled and he probably kept any signs of his scoliosis hidden outside of the royal household - but after his death at the Battle of Bosworth, he was carried to Leicester and exhibited before being buried and it wasn't a secret after that.


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Macrophages As T-Cell Immune Response Primers

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 7:58pm
A new study demonstrates that macrophages can effectively substitute for so-called dendritic cells as primers of T-cell-dependent immune responses. They instead stimulate a broader-based response.

The immune response, the process by which the adaptive immune system reacts to, and eliminates foreign substances and cells, depends on a complex interplay between several different cell types. So-called dendritic cells, which recognize and internalize invasive pathogens, play a crucial role in this process.
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After Andreas Lubitz, Should Pilots Have Less Medical Privacy?

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 7:36pm

Since it was revealed that Andreas Lubitz – the co-pilot who purposefully crashed Germanwings Flight 9525, killing 150 people – had been treated for psychiatric illness, a debate has ensued over whether privacy laws regarding medical records should be less strict when it comes to professions that carry special responsibilities.

It has been widely argued that Germany’s privacy laws were to blame for the tragedy. The Times, for example, headlined an article: “German obsession with privacy let killer pilot fly.” Similarly, another article published in TIME said “German privacy laws let pilot ‘hide’ his illness from employers.”

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Higher-Order Executive Function Went Into Making A Stone Age Axe

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 6:58pm
 Stone tools, shaped by striking a stone "core" with a piece of bone, antler, or another stone, provide some of the most abundant evidence of human behavioral change over time. Simple Oldowan stone flakes are the earliest things considered tools, dating back 2.6 million years, and the Late Acheulean hand axe goes back 500,000 years.

While it's relatively easy to learn to make an Oldowan flake, the Acheulean hand axe is harder to master, due to its lens-shaped core tapering down to symmetrical edges. 
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Iceberg Armadas Didn't Cause North Atlantic Cooling

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 6:35pm
Though some studies have linked icebergs to abrupt climate change cycles during the last glacial period - by introducing fresh water to the surface of the ocean and changing ocean currents, which changes climate - new findings present a contradictory narrative and suggest that icebergs generally arrived too late to trigger marked cooling across the North Atlantic.

Abrupt climate change, characterized by transitions between warm and cold conditions across the North Atlantic, is a pervasive feature of the Late Pleistocene - the most recent period of repeated glacial cycles. 
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The Victorian Era Got Juvenile Crime Right

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 3:58pm
To modern cultural sensibilities, "Victorian" means 'repressed' because it seemed overly formal to people that want to wear flip-flops into the office, yet they clearly got some things right.(1)

The name derives from the reign of Queen Victoria in the United Kingdom in the latter half of the 19th century, a time when England ruled the western world culturally and every region militarily. The Victorian Era brought with it with the creation of a paid police force(2) rather than the local constable system that had been around since the Tudors. (3) 
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Accurate Thermoluminescence Dating - Calibration Down To The Last Ion

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 2:26pm
Thermoluminescence is used on sediment 'grains', which function as natural radiation dosimeters when buried with defects or impurities, to determine age. The valid range is 1,000 to 500,000 years and the technique is used extensively in archeology and earth sciences to date artifacts and rocks.
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E-Cigarettes: Better Than Smoking But Still Have Risk

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 2:00pm

E-cigarettes, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, have been sold in the United States since 2007 and are marketed as an option to help smokers kick the habit.  Instead of a nicotine patch or chewing gum, e-cigarette users inhale the vapor.

It's obviously safer than smoking but anti-cigarette advocates in the United States of America are also against this 'vaping' because of the presence of cigarette companies as investors. Originally, smoking awareness was to get people to get rid of smoking but a campaign against a smoking cessation product means it is more of a desire to get rid of certain companies.

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Signaling Pathway Of Rare Form Of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Discovered

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 1:23pm

A systematic review of the genomes of patients with ALK-negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a particularly aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, shows that many cases of the disease are driven by alterations in the JAK/STAT3 cell signaling pathway. The study also demonstrates, in mice implanted with human-derived ALCL tumors, that the disease can be inhibited by compounds that target this pathway, raising hopes that more effective treatments might soon be developed. 


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Abell 3827: Self-Interacting Dark Matter 5,000 Lght-Years Away?

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 1:18pm

A team of astronomers studied the simultaneous collision of four galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell 3827 and could trace out where the mass lies within the system and compare the distribution of the dark matter with the positions of the luminous galaxies.

Although dark matter cannot be seen, the team could deduce its location using a technique called gravitational lensing. The collision happened to take place directly in front of a much more distant, unrelated source. The mass of dark matter around the colliding galaxies severely distorted spacetime, deviating the path of light rays coming from the distant background galaxy -- and distorting its image into characteristic arc shapes.


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Is Carbon Farming The Right Approach At The Right Price?

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 1:00pm

Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are two of the greatest environmental issues of our time. Is it possible to address both of those problems at once?

In Australia, farmers and landholders will this week be able to apply for payments through the Federal government’s A$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. Bidders can request funding for projects that reduce emissions using agreed methods, which include approaches relevant to the transport, waste and mining sectors, as well as the land sector: for example, by managing or restoring forests.

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Quorum Sensing And Regeneration Response: Cure Baldness By Pulling Out Hair

Science2.0 - April 15, 2015 - 3:05am

Shaved heads have come in and out of fashion over the past few decades, but some people don’t have the option of allowing their locks to grow.

Thankfully, for those who do suffer from hair loss, or alopecia, help may be at hand. Somewhat counter-intuitively an effective treatment for baldness may come from plucking a certain number of hairs – in a specific formation – from the scalp.

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Ground And Space Telescope Microlensing Combine To Find Distant Planet

Science2.0 - April 14, 2015 - 8:29pm
A remote gas planet has been detected about 13,000 light-years away, making it one of the most distant planets known.

The Poland-based Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile scans the skies for planets using a method called microlensing. A microlensing event occurs when one star happens to pass in front of another, and its gravity acts as a lens to magnify and brighten the more distant star's light. If that foreground star happens to be orbited by a planet, the planet might cause a blip in the magnification. For a new study in Astrophysical Journal the researchers combined that with data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
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Virtual Money Puts A Price On Natural Ecosystem Services In Agriculture

Science2.0 - April 14, 2015 - 8:12pm
Like virtual water and virtual emissions, looking at organic food through a prism of implicit benefits translated into estimated dollars makes it look a lot more economically viable than it otherwise might appear.

The new estimate says that organic farming systems do a better job of capitalizing on nature's services than they are credited with, and natural processes that aid farming and that can substitute for costly fossil fuel-based inputs are cost-effective.
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What Just 5 Days Of Eating Fatty Food Does To Your Muscles

Science2.0 - April 14, 2015 - 5:21pm
A new study has found that after just five days of eating a high-fat diet, the way in which the body's muscle processes nutrients changes.

When food is eaten, the level of glucose in the blood rises. The body's muscle is a major clearinghouse for this glucose. It may break it down for energy, or it can store it for later use. Since muscle makes up about 30 percent of our body weight and it is such an important site for glucose metabolism, if normal metabolism is altered, it can have consequences on the rest of the body and can lead to health issues.
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Why Protest Clean Multi-Cultural White-Collar Astronomy Jobs?

Science2.0 - April 14, 2015 - 5:12pm
Having once lived in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, on occasion I would drive to those old gigantic relics of steel mills.

They were behemoths and so were the buildings that housed them. They looked like they could block out the sun. In John Ford's "The Quiet Man", a native of Ireland asked John Wayne's character what they feed men in Pittsburgh that makes them so big and Wayne replied, "Steel, and pig-iron furnaces so hot a man forgets his fear of hell". In the early 1950s it was a job for hard men.
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