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Updated: 1 hour 43 min ago

IPad Before Bed Could Be Messing Up Your Sleep

3 hours 24 min ago
Use of a light-emitting electronic device like an iPad in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues, according to a new study which compared the biological effects of reading an light-emitting electronic device (LE-eBook) to a printed book. 
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The Rabbits Of 1859: Australia's Worst Christmas Present?

7 hours 12 min ago

Rabbits can strip grasslands bare and chew through young woody trees. John Schilling/Flickr, CC BY-ND

By Andrew Bengsen, University of New England

On Christmas Day 1859, the Victoria Acclimatisation Society released 24 rabbits for hunting, to help settlers feel more at home.

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APSIM Oil Palm Makes It A Modeled Crop

7 hours 43 min ago

An oil palm system model based on the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) framework and called APSIM Oil Palm is aimed at helping growers of the crop maximize the yields of their plantations, while minimizing detrimental environmental impacts.  

"Oil palm has become a major crop in the tropics, cultivated on more than 39 million acres of land," co-author Dr Paul Nelson of James Cook University said. "Demand for the product continues to grow, and the industry is expected to keep expanding in the foreseeable future. At the same time, there is significant concern about the industry's environmental impacts, with many purchasers wanting only certified sustainable palm oil.


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Falsifiability And The Integrity Of Physics

8 hours 5 min ago
Science is what scientist do. And the scientific method is the method scientists follow. A tautology you say? Not according to George Ellis and Joe Silk. In an opinion paper in Nature under the title 'Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics' Ellis and Silk argue that string theorists and cosmologists contributing to inflationary cosmology are rapidly turning physics into "a no-man's-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any". The two authors play the 'testability card' and claim the high ground of scientific integrity, thereby dismissing a vast body of contemporary science as unscientific. -->

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Enlightenment Finding Eternity In The Now

December 22, 2014 - 2:54am

“Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.431 (emphasis added)

 

-- What is that even supposed to mean, “Finding eternity in the now”?

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Family Holiday Survival: 12 Ways To Deal With That Climate Change Denier

December 21, 2014 - 11:30pm

Try to avoid making this face when dealing with a climate change skeptic this holiday. bark/flickr, CC BY

By Will J Grant, Australian National University and Rod Lamberts, Australian National University

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How Does Prostate Cancer Happen?

December 21, 2014 - 10:30pm

Although prostate cancer will affect over 23,000 U.S. men next year, the individual genes that initiate prostate cancer formation are poorly understood, but finding an enzyme that regulates this process could provide excellent new prevention approaches for the malignancy.

Sirtuin enzymes have been implicated in neurodegeneration, obesity, heart disease, and cancer and a new paper in The American Journal of Pathology finds that the loss of SIRT1 drives the formation of early prostate cancer (prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia) in mouse models of the disease. 


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Ocean Acidification, The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem

December 21, 2014 - 9:56pm

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has started to receive recognition outside science, though primarily as another weapon in the 'carbon dioxide' culture war on the modern world, similar to methane being discussed this year.

Politics aside, it is a vital area for study and a new article outlines three major challenges to understanding the real issues and effects: It needs to expand from single to multiple drivers, from single species to communities and ecosystems, and from evaluating acclimation to understanding adaptation.  


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Wave-Particle Duality And Quantum Uncertainty - Two Sides Of The Same Mystery?

December 21, 2014 - 5:07pm

If you think of quantum physics in terms of information about a system, it is a lot less complicated, according to a new paper. In that context, features of the quantum world previously considered distinct  -  wave-particle duality and the quantum uncertainty principle - are different manifestations of the same thing.


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Hermit Cockroaches: Two New Taxa From China Prefer Woods

December 21, 2014 - 4:53pm

Cockroaches are most often though of as infecting human homes but a new species and a new subspecies discovered in China prefer to live a hermit life, drilling logs far away from crowds and houses. 


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Coming Out Of The Closet: Moths Deserve Some Love Too

December 20, 2014 - 8:18pm

Butterflies aren't the only ones with snazzy stripes. Ben Sale, CC BY

By Callum Macgregor, University of Hull

Ask people to describe what they associate with butterflies, and you will probably get an image of a sunny summer’s day, with a beautiful peacock drifting gently on the cooling breeze.

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‘Get A Lovely Bust For Christmas’: 1930s Tips For How To Be A Festive Woman

December 19, 2014 - 11:00pm

Good Needlwork magazine shows you how to get better bosoms. Image: Dave Whatt

By Jo Brewis, University of Leicester

When my good friend and long-term collaborator Sam Warren was given a pile of women’s magazines from the 1930s by her grandmother Jane Frampton, we found among them 11 Christmas issues of Good Needlework, Model Housekeeping, The Needlewoman and Stitchcraft.

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Only One Third Of Dr. Oz Show Recommendations Is Believable, Finds Analysis

December 19, 2014 - 10:24pm

Televisiom programs such as "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Doctors" have attracted massive followings, primarily due to having charismatic hosts who clearly mean well, coupled with a public desire to know the science basis for how we function.

But in the quest to have new content so often each week, the perception among the science community is that they will run with any claims about the latest health miracle or scary chemical. That doesn't help the public, it just promotes suspect alternatives to medicine or an anti-science mentality among the people who would most benefit from an evidence basis for decision-making.


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Babies In Your 30s Is Not Modern - Your Great-Grandmother Did It Too

December 19, 2014 - 8:30pm

Freeze your eggs or your career? Shutterstock

By Jenna Healey, Yale University

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Weighing Trees - Now With Lasers

December 19, 2014 - 8:00pm
A terrestrial laser scanning technique that allows the structure of vegetation to be 3D-mapped to the millimeter is more accurate in determining the biomass of trees and carbon stocks in forests than current methods, according to a paper in Methods in Ecology and Evolution

The study authors believe it could be used in monitoring carbon stocks for climate policy. Both above-ground biomass and carbon stocks are important details for UN-REDD, the United Nations initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation that is striving to keep the destruction of forests in check and thereby preserve the uptake of carbon by trees.

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Mental Illnesses Run In Families, So How Can We Protect Children?

December 19, 2014 - 5:55pm

Children should be taken into consideration when helping adults with mental health issues. Shutterstock

By Sam Cartwright-Hatton, University of Sussex

Mental illness runs in families. This is well known and uncontroversial. There is much that we could do to reduce this risk, but we currently do almost nothing.

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Why Some People Are Better Navigators: Brain's 'Homing' Signal Identified

December 19, 2014 - 5:36pm

It's no secret that some people are better at navigating than others, but it has been unclear why.

In order to successfully navigate to a destination, you need to know which direction you are currently facing and which direction to travel in. For example, 'I am facing north and want to head east'. It is already known that mammals have brain cells that signal the direction that they are currently facing, a discovery that formed part of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Professor John O'Keefe.


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Dr. Ozvorkian And The Amoebas

December 19, 2014 - 5:06pm
In case you are fooled by the title, and are expecting to learn about a retro-metal group with a really terrible name, I apologize in advance. That's not what this is about.

At some point during the rancorous comment section that followed my last piece about Dr. Oz,  I promised I wouldn't be writing about him anymore. I lied. Unfortunately, these days there is little downside to doing this. At worst, it will make me slightly more likely to hold a political office in New Jersey.
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Shale Gas Is Here To Stay - Here Are Ways To Keep It Safe And Productive

December 19, 2014 - 4:08pm

Though the New York governor recently made a pretense of banning fracking in the state (it was already not allowed) and the California governor said they should do the same thing, they're both being a little hypocritical. New York would have brown-outs without the energy they buy from Pennsylvania fracking and California has no fracking and 50 percent higher utility costs than the rest of the country because they subsidize alternatives and have to buy so heavily on the spot market.

American CO2 levels are down and while some contend it is more due to federal economic mismanagement and unemployment than cleaner natural gas, emissions from coal, the dirtiest energy source, are back at early 1980s, and natural gas gets credit for that.


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A Vegetarian Carnivorous Plant...Wait, What?

December 19, 2014 - 3:53pm

A carnivorous plant is a delight for people because everyone knows plant don't catch and eat animals - except some do. Like us, they need animals for nutrition.

Do carnivorous plants also sometimes shake off nature and become vegetarians? 

It seems so. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, eats little animals but also mixes it up by consuming algae and pollen grains in aquatic habitats where prey animals are rare, and that leads to increased evolutionary fitness if the animals and algae are caught in a well-balanced diet. 


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