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Journey To The Center Of The Earth Finds Primordial Signatures From The Early Solar System

General - October 16, 2014 - 10:00pm

A study of Samoan volcano hotspots has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside the Earth.

Volcanic island chains such as Samoa can contain ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have survived for billions of years. To make their determination, the researchers utilized high-precision lead and helium isotope measurements to unravel the chemical composition and geometry of the deep mantle plume feeding Samoa's volcanoes. 

In most cases, volcanoes are located at the point where two tectonic plates meet, and are created when those plates collide or diverge. Hotspot volcanoes, however, are not located at plate boundaries but rather represent the anomalous melting in the interior of the plates.


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In DG Canum Venaticorum, A Mini Star Just Produced A Mega Flare

General - October 16, 2014 - 9:30pm
On April 23rd, 2014, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a red dwarf star - 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.

'Just produced' in the title is cosmologically speaking -  the "superflare" came from one of the stars in a close binary system known as DG Canum Venaticorum (DG CVn), which is 60 light-years away. Both stars are dim red dwarfs with masses and sizes about one-third of our sun's. They orbit each other at about three times Earth's average distance from the sun, which is too close for Swift to determine which star erupted. 
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In DG Canum Venaticorum, A Mini Star Just Produced A Mega Flare

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 9:30pm
On April 23rd, 2014, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a red dwarf star - 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.

'Just produced' in the title is cosmologically speaking -  the "superflare" came from one of the stars in a close binary system known as DG Canum Venaticorum (DG CVn), which is 60 light-years away. Both stars are dim red dwarfs with masses and sizes about one-third of our sun's. They orbit each other at about three times Earth's average distance from the sun, which is too close for Swift to determine which star erupted. 
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Sperm Wars In The Fight For Promiscuity

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 8:39pm
It sounds a little trampy to humans but in nature, it's not unusual for a female to copulate with several males in quick succession. Chimpanzees are a well-known example.  

When that happens, sperm war breaks out.

"The sperm of the different males then compete within the female to fertilize the eggs," says   evolutionary biologist Steven Ramm from Bielefeld University. "Generally speaking, the best sperm wins. This may involve its speed or also be due to the amount of sperm transferred. It can also be useful for the seminal fluid to be viscous, meaning it sticks inside the female reproductive tract to try to keep other sperm at bay."

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Sperm Wars In The Fight For Promiscuity

General - October 16, 2014 - 8:39pm
It sounds a little trampy to humans but in nature, it's not unusual for a female to copulate with several males in quick succession. Chimpanzees are a well-known example.  

When that happens, sperm war breaks out.

"The sperm of the different males then compete within the female to fertilize the eggs," says   evolutionary biologist Steven Ramm from Bielefeld University. "Generally speaking, the best sperm wins. This may involve its speed or also be due to the amount of sperm transferred. It can also be useful for the seminal fluid to be viscous, meaning it sticks inside the female reproductive tract to try to keep other sperm at bay."

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Follow Your Oven On Twitter: A Common Interface For The Social Web Of Things?

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 8:14pm

A paper in the International Journal of Web-Based Communities suggests that the familiar interfaces of online social networking sites might be adapted to allow us to interact more efficiently with our networked devices such as cars, domestic appliances and gadgets.

The concept would also extend to the idea of those devices connecting with each other as necessary to improve efficiency of heating and lighting, make our home entertainment systems smarter and much more.


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Follow Your Oven On Twitter: A Common Interface For The Social Web Of Things?

General - October 16, 2014 - 8:14pm

A paper in the International Journal of Web-Based Communities suggests that the familiar interfaces of online social networking sites might be adapted to allow us to interact more efficiently with our networked devices such as cars, domestic appliances and gadgets.

The concept would also extend to the idea of those devices connecting with each other as necessary to improve efficiency of heating and lighting, make our home entertainment systems smarter and much more.


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Agriculture: Diversity Produces Greater Long-Term Yields Than Monocultures

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 7:00pm

80 years ago, America was going through The Dust Bowl and farmers got a lot of the blame. They didn't let land lay fallow, or used monocultures. Now we know it was the worst drought of the last 1,000 years, 7X larger than other comparable intensity droughts that struck North America since 1000 A.D. 75 percent of the country was affected, 27 states severely, and farming had very little to do with it.

But farmers have gotten a lot more scientific since then anyway. They know monocultures can be cultivated efficiently but they are not sustainable so crops are often rotated. Monocultures remain the principal crop form in some regions because it is believed that is the only way to get higher yields in plant production.


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Agriculture: Diversity Produces Greater Long-Term Yields Than Monocultures

General - October 16, 2014 - 7:00pm

80 years ago, America was going through The Dust Bowl and farmers got a lot of the blame. They didn't let land lay fallow, or used monocultures. Now we know it was the worst drought of the last 1,000 years, 7X larger than other comparable intensity droughts that struck North America since 1000 A.D. 75 percent of the country was affected, 27 states severely, and farming had very little to do with it.

But farmers have gotten a lot more scientific since then anyway. They know monocultures can be cultivated efficiently but they are not sustainable so crops are often rotated. Monocultures remain the principal crop form in some regions because it is believed that is the only way to get higher yields in plant production.


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Back To School, Teachers: Myths About The Brain Hold Back Education

General - October 16, 2014 - 6:30pm

Myths about the brain are common among teachers worldwide and are hampering teaching, according to new research which presented teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China with seven 'neuromyths' and then asked whether they believe them to be true.

Over 25% of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student's brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while 50% of those surveyed believe we only use  10% of our brains and that children are less attentive after sugary drinks and snacks.

Over 70% of teachers in all countries wrongly believe a student is either left-brained or right-brained, peaking at 91% in the UK.


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Back To School, Teachers: Myths About The Brain Hold Back Education

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 6:30pm

Myths about the brain are common among teachers worldwide and are hampering teaching, according to new research which presented teachers in the UK, Holland, Turkey, Greece and China with seven 'neuromyths' and then asked whether they believe them to be true.

Over 25% of teachers in the UK and Turkey believe a student's brain would shrink if they drank less than six to eight glasses of water a day, while 50% of those surveyed believe we only use  10% of our brains and that children are less attentive after sugary drinks and snacks.

Over 70% of teachers in all countries wrongly believe a student is either left-brained or right-brained, peaking at 91% in the UK.


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For Learning Anatomy, Cadavers Still Work Best

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 5:55pm

There's just no substitute for a dead body.

Computer teaching is all the rage and simulation can do many things, but when it comes to anatomy, students learn much better through the traditional use of human cadavers.

Cary Roseth, psychologist at Michigan State University, said the paper suggests cadaver-based instruction should continue in undergraduate human anatomy, a gateway course to medical school, nursing and other health and medical fields.


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For Learning Anatomy, Cadavers Still Work Best

General - October 16, 2014 - 5:55pm

There's just no substitute for a dead body.

Computer teaching is all the rage and simulation can do many things, but when it comes to anatomy, students learn much better through the traditional use of human cadavers.

Cary Roseth, psychologist at Michigan State University, said the paper suggests cadaver-based instruction should continue in undergraduate human anatomy, a gateway course to medical school, nursing and other health and medical fields.


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Science Left Behind 2014: The Anti-Vaccination Update

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 5:04pm
Science Left Behind, a book I co-authored in 2012 with Dr. Alex Berezow, covered the ways that anti-science beliefs had become mainstream among political progressives in the United States. 

It addressed dozens of topics but the three biggest ones denied by progressives (along with a few fellow liberals and Democrats) were the findings that anti-vaccine, anti-biology and anti-energy science positions were overwhelmingly left.
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Science Left Behind 2014: The Anti-Vaccination Update

General - October 16, 2014 - 5:04pm
Science Left Behind, a book I co-authored in 2012 with Dr. Alex Berezow, covered the ways that anti-science beliefs had become mainstream among political progressives in the United States. 

It addressed dozens of topics but the three biggest ones denied by progressives (along with a few fellow liberals and Democrats) were the findings that anti-vaccine, anti-biology and anti-energy science positions were overwhelmingly left.
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'Extreme Altruists' Are Motivated By Gut Instinct

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 5:01pm

Intuitive processes may underlie decisions of those who help others while risking their own lives. Credit: AAresTT/Shutterstock

By Penny Orbell, The Conversation

If you noticed a person in grave danger would you act first and think later in order to save them? New research suggests people who put their own lives in danger to help others make the decision to do so without a second thought.

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'Extreme Altruists' Are Motivated By Gut Instinct

General - October 16, 2014 - 5:01pm

Intuitive processes may underlie decisions of those who help others while risking their own lives. Credit: AAresTT/Shutterstock

By Penny Orbell, The Conversation

If you noticed a person in grave danger would you act first and think later in order to save them? New research suggests people who put their own lives in danger to help others make the decision to do so without a second thought.

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Lemurs Like To Make An Informative Visit To The Bathroom

Science2.0 - October 16, 2014 - 4:43pm

Human bathroom walls contain messages that are wonderfully informative about our modern condition - they can tell you who to call if you have an evolutionary mandate to procreate or even notify you that someone else once peed in the same spot.

White-footed sportive lemurs learn a lot about each other due to bathrooms also. Only instead of writing on the walls, they use scent-marks to communicate with their own kind. A study published online in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology by Iris Dröscher and Peter Kappeler from the German Primate Center (DPZ) found that the urine left on latrine trees serves as a method to maintain contact with family members. It also serves as a means to inform an intruder that there is a male that will defend his partner.


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