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No Saccharine: How Hummingbirds Evolved To Detect Sugar

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 8:00pm

If you capture a hummingbird on high-speed video and slow it down, their wings thrum like helicopter blades as they hover near food. Their hearts beat 20 times a second and their tongues dart 17 times a second to slurp from a feeding station.


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Monkey Model For Severe MERS-CoV Disease May Lead To New Treatment

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

Researchers at
the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases scientists have found that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in marmosets closely mimics the severe pneumonia experienced by people infected with MERS-CoV, giving researchers the best animal model yet for testing potential treatments. 

They used marmosets after predicting in computer models that the animals could be infected with MERS-CoV based on the binding properties of the virus.


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Superconductivity Rethink: It Can Coexist With Magnetism

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 5:30pm

New measurements of atomic-scale magnetic behavior in iron-based superconductors are challenging conventional wisdom about superconductivity and magnetism. 


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Visualizing Algae-Eating Viruses From Space

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 4:30pm


Emiliania huxleyi, up close and personal. Alison R. Taylor, CC BY
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Hydrogen: Figuring Out The Water And Sunlight Formula For Sustainable Fuel

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 3:30pm

Water is abundant and so is sunlight, and using them to create hydrogen makes sense for a cleaner energy future, where biological systems powered by sunlight can manufacture hydrogen to use as fuel.

The way that plants produce hydrogen by splitting water has been poorly understood but answers are getting closer. A research team created a protein which, when exposed to light, displays the "electrical heartbeat" that is the key to photosynthesis. 

The system uses a naturally-occurring protein and does not need batteries or expensive metals, meaning it could be affordable in developing countries. 


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Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Drug Made From Pomegranate

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 2:30pm

Alzheimer's disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by punicalagin, a natural compound, found in pomegranate, according to a  study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

Alzheimer's affects up to 44.4 million people globally. 

The two-year project headed by University of Huddersfield scientist Dr. Olumayokun Olajide also found that the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson's disease could be reduced.


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Will Do Peer Review - For Money

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 1:20pm
Preparing the documents needed for an exam for a career advancement, to a scientist like me, is something like putting order in a messy garage. Leave alone my desk, which is indeed in a horrific messy state - papers stratified and thrown around with absolutely no ordering criterion, mixed with books I forgot I own and important documents I'd rather have reissued rather than searching for them myself. No, I am rather talking about my own scientific production - pubished articles that need to be put in ordered lists, conference talks that I forgot I have given and need to be cited in the curriculum vitae, refereeing work I also long forgot I'd done, internal documents of the collaborations I worked in, students I tutored, courses I gave. -->

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Extreme Life, Half A Mile Beneath The Antarctic Ice Sheet

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 1:00pm

Humans don't want to live above the West Antarctic ice sheet but microbes can certainly live below it, according to a new study. Even half a mile below it.

The waters and sediments of a lake 2,600 feet beneath the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet support "viable microbial ecosystems", according to recent results. Given that more than 400 subglacial lakes and numerous rivers and streams are thought to exist beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, such ecosystems may be widespread and may influence the chemical and biological composition of the Southern Ocean, the vast and biologically productive sea that encircles the continent.


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At The Nanoscale, A 150 Year Old Law Of Crystal Growth Breaks Down

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 11:30am

The first direct observations of how facets form and develop on platinum nanocubes reveals that a nearly 150 year-old scientific law describing crystal growth breaks down at the nanoscale.

The researchers behind a new study used transmission electron microscopes and an advanced high-resolution, fast-detection camera to capture the physical mechanisms that control the evolution of facets – flat faces – on the surfaces of platinum nanocubes formed in liquids.

Understanding how facets develop on a nanocrystal is critical to controlling the crystal's geometric shape, which in turn is critical to controlling the crystal's chemical and electronic properties.


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Better Recycling Using The Fluorescent Fingerprint Of Plastics

Science2.0 - August 23, 2014 - 5:07am

Researchers have developed a new process which will greatly simplify the process of sorting plastics in recycling plants by enabling automated identification of polymers and facilitating rapid separation of plastics for re-use.


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Mutated Polio Virus Breaches Vaccine Protection

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 10:23pm

Thanks to effective vaccination, polio is nearly eradicated and only a few hundred people are stricken worldwide each year.

But researchers in PNAS have reported alarming findings: a mutated virus was able to resist the vaccine protection to a considerable extent in the Congo in 2010. The pathogen could also potentially have infected many people in Germany. 


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Weekend Science: When It Comes To Pizza Aesthetics, Cheese Matters

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 8:48pm

Most consumers have an idea of their favorite pizza and it may have nothing at all to do with taste. The imagery on television commercials is gooey cheese stretching from the pie to the slice.

Marketers have always known that cheese matters and now science is backing that up. Writing 
in the Journal of Food Science, scholars went beyond the standard trope of having golden cheese with that dark toasted-cheese color scattered in distinct blistery patches across the surface and a bit of oil glistening in the valleys and honed in on the various aspects that impact the total pizza experience.


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Good News For Diabetics Who Are Sick Of The Finger Prick

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2014 — Diabetes affects nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population. Among the biggest complaints of diabetics: constant finger pricking to test blood glucose levels. Fortunately, research published in ACS Chemical Biology reports the development of a protein that could lead to less pain and more accurate results for diabetes patients. In the American Chemical Society's (ACS') newest Breakthrough Science video, Sylvia Daunert, Ph.D., shows off her "designer protein" that could eventually allow diabetics to check their blood sugar from their iPhones. The video is available at http://youtu.be/x51o8p8j8Z0.


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13 Year Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients

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

Fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades literally grow on trees. For that discovery, we can thank a 13-year-old girl who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii (CRIP-to-cock-us GAT-ee-eye).

Cryptococcus, which encompasses a number of species including C. gattii, causes life-threatening infections of the lungs and brain and is responsible for one third of all AIDS-related deaths.

The study found strong genetic evidence that three tree species -- Canary Island pine, Pohutukawa and American sweetgum -- can serve as environmental hosts and sources of these human infections.


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Sunlight To Blame For CO2 Release In Arctic Permafrost, Not Microbes

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

The vast reservoir of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost is gradually being converted back to carbon dioxide (CO2) after entering the freshwater system in a process thought to be controlled largely by microbial activity, but a new study concludes that sunlight, not bacteria, is the key to triggering release of CO2 from Arctic soils.

Since climate change could affect when and how permafrost is thawed, which begins the process of converting the organic carbon into CO2, it is vital to know what is happening due to man's impact, what is due to solar cycles and what is due to natural microbes.


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Discharged Without Diagnosis When Health Care Is Free

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 5:00pm

Chest pain, breathing difficulties, fainting. Each year approximately 25 percent of patients admitted to medical departments with symptoms of serious illness are sent home again without receiving a diagnosis of the severe symptoms that led to their hospitalization, find Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital scholars. 

And that is in Denmark, where health care is free for citizens.


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Orgasm Rates For Single Women Less Predictable Than Men

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 4:58pm

During sex with a familiar partner, men have the highest orgasm rates - though lesbian women apparently don't do too badly.

On average, men experience orgasm 85.1 percent of the time, with only slight deviation by sexual orientation but women experience orgasm 62.9 percent of the time, with lesbian women experiencing orgasm more often than heterosexual or bisexual women, according to a new paper about a survey of American singles titled "Variation in Orgasm Occurrence by Sexual Orientation in a Sample of U.S. Singles" and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


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Allergic To Milk Or Lactose Intolerant? Here's Why

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 4:44pm

People allergic to milk often assume they have lactose intolerance, but they are actually different mechanisms that occur in different parts of the body. 

People with lactose intolerance do not digest lactose properly because they lack an enzyme known as lactase - and that results in digestive discomfort.  A cow milk allergy is much more dangerous because the body's immune system attacks milk proteins with its own IgE antibodies. 


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Hormone Analysis Helps Horny Rhinos

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 4:00pm

A comprehensive study of rhino reproduction over six years encompassed 90% of the European population of captive black rhinos in Europe highlights and finds that hormone analysis could improve the success of breeding programs.

In total, 9,743 samples from 11 zoos were sent to Chester Zoo's Wildlife Endocrinology laboratory to analyze female reproductive cycles. 




The first comprehensive study of captive black rhino reproduction highlights how hormone analysis could improve the success of breeding programs. Credit: Chester Zoo


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Smartphone Social Slippage: Young People Losing Ability To Read Emotions

Science2.0 - August 22, 2014 - 3:41pm

It's a smartphone world; a decade ago a crowded train of passengers all locked into their phones texting to other people while ignoring the live humans six inches from them was just xenophobic Japanese culture but today it is common all across the developed world.

Psychologists worry that children getting meaning and context spoon-fed to them with emoticons may be leading to poor social skills in the real world, and even an inability to read emotions.

UCLA psychologists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who spent more time looking at electronic devices.


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