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What Do Damaged Walnuts Smell Like? Why They Cause An Insect Frenzy

June 11, 2015 - 6:00pm

In collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture, the University of the Basque Country Department of Analytical Chemistry has identified the volatile compounds in damaged walnuts that insects find attractive and which is threatening the harvests of these nuts in California.

These are the first studies carried out on walnuts which are designed to specify the components of the aroma and which can be used to control the moth pests in the most sustainable way, besides helping to cut the use of pesticides and control agents. 


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Food Waste Paradox - Cooking From Scratch Leads To More Garbage

June 11, 2015 - 5:33pm

Food wasted means money wasted which can be an expensive problem especially in homes with financial constraints. A new study from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and the Getulio Vargas Foundation, shows that the top causes of food waste in such homes include buying too much, preparing in abundance, unwillingness to consume leftovers, and improper food storage.

"Fortunately," notes lead author Gustavo Porpino, PhD candidate at the Getulio Vargas Foundation and Visiting Scholar at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, "most of the factors that lead to food waste, can be easily remedied by simple changes in food buying, preparing, and storing."


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Disabled People Pay For Sex Too: What Happens When Buying It Is Criminalized But Selling Isn't?

June 11, 2015 - 4:30pm
Northern Ireland recently changed the law to criminalize the act of paying for sex. This follows a trend set in Sweden, where selling sex is legal but buying it is criminalized.

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Can Gaming Help People With "Lazy Eye" See In 3D?

June 11, 2015 - 3:30pm

I’m on the back seat of the lower deck of a number 37 bus, outside the red-brick and Portland stone clock tower of Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton, south London.  Although I know exactly where I am, I feel lost. I no longer know whether to trust what my eyes are telling me.

I’ve just been told by a leading vision scientist that I have no real depth perception. 

In other words, I have never seen in three dimensions the way most people do.

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Avoiding Blurry Vision - How Nerve Cells Stabilize Visual Images

June 11, 2015 - 3:00pm
Lisa Marie Potter, Inside Science - Thank goodness for autostabilization, the digital camera feature that compensates for movement to achieve that crystal-clear, spontaneous selfie.
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Jurassic World: Pre-1980s Understanding Of Dinosaurs For An Audience Of 2015

June 11, 2015 - 1:30pm
Jurassic World brings to life the fantasy of an amusement park where genetically engineered dinosaurs are the main attraction, as first imagined in the original book, then movie Jurassic Park back in 1993. This fourth movie in the franchise, in cinemas from today, is certainly action-packed, although there are a number of opportunities missed when it comes to how these beasts are represented.

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New Drug Ixekizumab Can Clear All Psoriasis Symptoms

June 11, 2015 - 1:25pm
A new psoriasis drug, ixekizumab , has resulted in 40 percent of people showing a complete clearance of psoriatic plaques after 12 weeks of treatment and over 90 percent showing improvement.
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Pig Behavior And Emotions Similar To Dogs?

June 11, 2015 - 4:30am
A psychologist and an English professor have written a review of studies and concluded that pigs perform as well as or better than dogs on some tests of behavioral and cognitive sophistication, and they compare favorably to chimpanzees.

The review by Emory psychologist Dr. Lori Marino and visiting English Professor Christina M. Colvin, seeks to extrapolate results to deduce what we do and do not know about pigs. The areas they discuss include cognition, emotion, self-awareness, personality and social complexity.

They conclude that “pigs possess complex ethological traits similar … to dogs and chimpanzees.” For example, pigs: -->

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Population Control: Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring On WHO Essential Medicines List

June 11, 2015 - 12:44am

The World Health Organization released its 2015 updated essential medicines list and for the first time included the progesterone contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR), a contraceptive safe and effective for lactating women in the postpartum period.

The progesterone CVR, developed by the Population Council, is an intravaginal ring that provides women who breastfeed at least four times a day with a contraceptive option as early as four weeks after giving birth. It can be used for up to a year for improved birth spacing.


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Edit Distance In Genomes - Longstanding Algorithm Worry Put To Rest

June 10, 2015 - 10:00pm
Comparing the genomes of different species — or different members of the same species — is the basis of a great deal of modern biology because DNA sequences conserved across species are likely to be functionally important, while variations between members of the same species can indicate different susceptibilities to disease.
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6 Facts On Human-Caused Earthquakes, From USGS

June 10, 2015 - 9:30pm

The central United States has undergone a dramatic increase in seismicity over the past 6 years. From 1973-2008, there was an average of 24 earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger per year. From 2009-2014, the rate steadily increased, averaging 193 per year and peaking in 2014 with 688 earthquakes. So far in 2015, there have been 430 earthquakes of that size in the central U.S. region through the end of May.

There are many questions and misconceptions about what’s happening. How does the observed increase relate to oil and gas production activities? Does this connect to fracking—more formally known as hydraulic fracturing? What exactly is fracking? What are induced earthquakes?


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NRDC Wants To Ban Food Flavorings - Even Natural Ones

June 10, 2015 - 9:12pm
The Natural Resources Defense Council environmental lobbying group has created a coalition and they have drafted a petition demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban eight food additives they believe are carcinogens, in the interests of public health.

The problem is that many of these are natural, which is one reason why they have never been banned. The other reason is they haven't been shown to be harmful, regardless of whether or not we have been trained by environmental lobbying groups to be scared of chemical names.
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Wound Signals In Plants - Feeding Caterpillars Make Leaves Shine

June 10, 2015 - 9:00pm

When a plant is attacked by herbivores, this triggers a number of physiological responses in the plant and calcium ions are important messengers for the processing of wound signals in plant cells. They regulate signal transduction and indirectly control plant defense mechanisms. 

Now, scientists have succeeded in visualizing the immediate wound or herbivory responses in plants. They used Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress) plants that produce a special protein which breaks down after the binding of calcium ions and emits free energy in the form of light. The amount of light corresponds to the calcium concentrations in the cells of the respective leaf areas. 


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Why I Love Surrounding Myself With Venomous Critters

June 10, 2015 - 9:00pm
Life is chemistry. You, me and every living thing – we’re all just spectacularly complex chemistry sets. Inside you, every second of the day, thousands of tiny chemical reactions are taking place.

Chemical reactions powered your transformation from a single cell into a colony of trillions of cells, and they allow you to harvest energy from the environment and transform it into yet more cells. They maintain the delicate balance in which all the components of your body function. In fact, they are that balance. They even drive your thoughts and emotions.

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Social Scientists Say Everyone Is Biased - And We All Have A Bias Blind Spot About It

June 10, 2015 - 8:31pm

It is believed by the social sciences that all people have bias - and a "bias blind spot," meaning that they are less likely to detect bias in themselves than others.

If so, how blind are we to our own actual degree of bias, and how many of us think we are less biased than others?

A new paper outlines a tool to detect gaps, a kind of implicit association test but for bias blind spots rather than making you feel racist, and it reveals that believing that you are less biased than your peers has detrimental consequences on judgments and behaviors, such as accurately judging whether advice is useful.


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W Chromosome: DNA Which Only Females Have

June 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

In many animal species, the chromosomes differ between the sexes - the male has a Y chromosome. This contains genes which result in the development of male characters and reproductive organs. If there is no Y chromosome, the organism will be a female.

But in birds and some other animals, it is the other way round and females have their own sex chromosome, the W chromosome. 


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Celestial Butterfly L2 Puppis Emerges From Its Dusty Cocoon

June 10, 2015 - 6:30pm

The ESO's Very Large Telescope has revealed what appears to be an aging star giving birth to a butterfly-like planetary nebula.

These observations of the red giant star L2 Puppis, from the ZIMPOL mode of the newly installed SPHERE instrument, also clearly showed a close stellar companion. 


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Sustainable Jet Fuel: Sunshine And Seawater Could Power Flight

June 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

The aviation industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011 aviation contributed around 3% of Australia’s emissions. Despite improvements in efficiency, global aviation emissions are expected to grow 70% by 2020 from 2005. While the industry is seeking new renewable fuel sources, growing biofuels takes up valuable land and water that could be otherwise used to grow food.

But what if you could grow biofuels on land nobody wants, using just seawater and sunlight, and produce food at the same time?

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Why Good People Do Bad Things

June 10, 2015 - 5:25pm

Honest behavior is much like sticking to a diet - you have to be ready for temptation and consider the long-term consequences.

A recent paper says it is the first study to test how the two separate factors of identifying an ethical conflict and preemptively exercising self-control interact in shaping ethical decision-making.

In a series of experiments that included common ethical dilemmas, such as calling in sick to work and negotiating a home sale, the researchers found that two factors together promoted ethical behavior: Participants who identified a potential ethical dilemma as connected to other similar incidents and who also anticipated the temptation to act unethically were more likely to behave honestly than participants who did not.


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Skin Color, Lactose Tolerance: Mapping Population Changes In Bronze Age Eurasia

June 10, 2015 - 5:00pm
Wide-scale population migrations and changes took place in Europe and Asia during the Bronze Age that shaped the demographic structure of present-day Europeans and Asians, as revealed by an analysis of 101 genomes from ancient Eurasian humans.

A new study published in this week’s Nature presents one of the largest studies of ancient DNA samples to date.  The research provides insights into the prevalence of certain traits such as skin color or lactose tolerance, as well as data relevant to the understanding the spread of Indo-European languages.
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