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Is Chess The New Texas Hold 'Em?

October 9, 2014 - 5:19pm
Credit: Millionaire Chess tournament

When I was a kid, no one outside Texas played Texas Hold 'Em. We played Stud, we played Draw, we played Liar's, but not Hold 'Em.

Like Esther Williams movies and organic food, some things just make their way into pop culture and there is no rational reason why. Texas Hold 'Em is now the most popular card game in the country, every month or so our neighborhood gets together at one of our homes and puts in 20 bucks each and we go at it.
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Naomi Klein Or Al Gore? Making Sense Of Contrasting Views On Climate Change

October 9, 2014 - 5:00pm

Naomi Klein: To fight climate change, we have to end capitalism. Mariusz Kubik, CC BY

By Matthew Nisbet, Northeastern University

Earth is “f---ed” and our insatiable growth economy is to blame. So argues Naomi Klein in her intentionally provocative best-seller This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

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Tropical Cyclone Hudhud Becoming A Typhoon: Warnings For East-Central India

October 9, 2014 - 4:39pm

Tropical Cyclone Hudhud formed on Oct. 8th and began moving from east to west across the Bay of Bengal in the Northern Indian Ocean. 

NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Hudhud today and took a picture of the storm that showed it was still somewhat elongated, but more organized than the previous day. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite provided the hint of a developing eye.

Warnings for winds, rain and surf are already in effect for the northern Andhra Pradesh coast and south Odisha coastline of eastern India as Hudhud approaches.


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Autophagy Discovery May Lead To Less Chemotherapy

October 9, 2014 - 4:00pm

No matter what type of chemotherapy you attack a tumor with, many cancer cells resort to the same survival tactic: They start eating themselves. This autophagy process happens when two proteins pair up and switch it on this process, according to a new paper.

"This gives us a therapeutic avenue to target autophagy in tumors," says Brigham Young University chemistry professor Josh Andersen. "The idea would be to make tumors more chemo-sensitive. You could target these proteins and the mechanism of this switch to block autophagy, which would allow for lower doses of chemotherapy while hopefully improving patient outcomes."


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Zapping The Brain With Tiny Magnetic Pulses Improves Memory

October 9, 2014 - 3:30pm

Who doesn't want more brain power? Credit: James Steidl

By Elizabeth Maratos, University of Leicester

The practice of physically stimulating the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of illness and injury has been around since the early 20th century. For example, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is still used to alleviate symptoms of depression.

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How Evolution Creates New Characteristics

October 9, 2014 - 3:30pm

The evolution of new traits with novel functions has long been studied by evolutionary biology and a new study of the color markings of cichlid fish has shed some new light on it.

Swiss scientists writing in Nature Communications show what triggered these evolutionary innovations, namely: a mobile genetic element in the regulatory region of a color gene.  


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Bushmeat Linked To Ebola: Why Industrial Agriculture May Be Safer

October 9, 2014 - 2:24pm

Sometimes organic food kills and there is nothing more natural than locally-hunted wild meat bought at a local market. 

Now it turns out that ebola, as with many emerging infections, may have arisen due to the practice of eating wild meat known as 'bushmeat', say a team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge and the Zoological Society of London. They surveyed almost 600 people across southern Ghana about their bat bushmeat consumption – and how people perceive the risks associated with the practice.


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40,000 Year Old Rock Art Found In Indonesia

October 9, 2014 - 1:31pm

A close up of one of the hand stencils found in the prehistoric caves in Indonesia. Credit: Kinez Riza, Author provided

By Paul S.C.Taçon, Griffith University; Adam Brumm, Griffith University, and Maxime Aubert, Griffith University

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Are Ebola Drug Researchers Developing ‘Death Drugs’ That Could Wipe Out Humanity?

October 9, 2014 - 1:00pm

Credit: Institute of Responsible Technology

By Jon Entine, Genetic Literacy Project

It’s perplexing that strident anti-GMO critics who regularly harp on the “danger” of harvesting a “foreign” gene from one species and inserting into another to improve crop performance or nutrition are mostly silent when the exact same process is used to engineer new drugs. The Ebola crisis and the desperate search for viable treatments highlights that oddity.

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Herpesvirus, Not Zoos, Implicated In Baby Elephant Deaths

October 9, 2014 - 1:00pm

Elephants are among the most intelligent non-humans, arguably on par with chimpanzees, and both African and Asian elephants are endangered. 

In 1995, 16-month old Kumari, the first Asian elephant born at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, died of a mysterious illness. In 1999, Gary Hayward of Johns Hopkins University and collaborators published their results identifying a novel herpesvirus, EEHV1 as the cause of Kumari's sudden death. They now show that severe cases like this one are caused by viruses that normally infect the species, rather than by viruses that have jumped from African elephants, which was their original hypothesis.  


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The Energy Of 10 Million Suns: An Impossibly Bright Dead Star

October 9, 2014 - 12:30pm

A once-in-a-century supernova, dubbed SN2014J, in a the nearby galaxy Messier 82 - the Cigar Galaxy - 12 million light-years away has been spotted; a pulsating dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. The object, previously thought to be a black hole because it is so powerful, is in fact a pulsar - the incredibly dense rotating remains of a star. 

Dom Walton, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech who works with NuSTAR data, says that with its extreme energy, this first ultraluminous pulsar takes the top prize in the weirdness category. Pulsars are typically between one and two times the mass of the sun. This new pulsar presumably falls in that same range but shines about 100 times brighter than theory suggests something of its mass should be able to.


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Ebola Won’t Gain A Foothold In Western Countries – Here’s Why

October 9, 2014 - 1:30am

Commotion outside house of infected nurse Teresa Ramos near Madrid. Credit: EPA

By Peter Barlow, Edinburgh Napier University

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Masculinity And Terror: The Missing Conversation

October 9, 2014 - 1:00am

Violent rhetoric appeals to disaffected young men because it gives them a challenge to express aggression as 'proof' of manhood. Credit: Sillouetted children playing as soldiers/Shutterstock

By David Plummer, Griffith University

Recent coverage of counter-terrorism raids in Australia featured hard-core gyms, anabolic steroids, nightclub bouncers, gangs and weapons. Footage from the Middle East regularly depicts truckloads of young bearded warriors bristling with ordnance.

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Nobel Prize In Chemistry: Beating Nature’s Limits To Build Super-microscopes

October 9, 2014 - 12:00am

Winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry: Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William Moerner. Credit: Matt Staley, HHMI / Bernd Schuller, Max-Planck-Institut / K. Lowder

By Mark Lorch, University of Hull

Robert Hooke was a pioneer of microscopy, when back in the 17th century he drew stunning images of insects, plant cells and fossils. Since then microscopes that use light to magnify things we can’t see with the naked eye have, of course, improved. But, surprisingly, 300 years of engineering lenses hasn’t improved things all that much.

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Despite Hacking Awareness, Teens Still Sending Naked Selfies

October 8, 2014 - 11:30pm

Despite the publicity of high-profile celebrities having their iPhones hacked and private pictures distributed across the Internet, a new paper confirms that substantial numbers of teens are sexting – sending and receiving explicit sexual images via cellphone. Though the behavior is widely studied, the potentially serious consequences of the practice led the researchers to more accurately measure how frequently teens are choosing to put themselves at risk in this fashion.


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Northwestern Pacific: Category 5 Super Typhoon Vongfong

October 8, 2014 - 11:01pm

The NASA satellites, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Terra, have provided data on clouds, rainfall and the diameter of the eye of Super Typhoon Vongfong as it turned north in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Typhoon Vongfong formed on October 2nd, 2014 in the southeast of Guam. Typhoon Phanfone, that recently pummeled Japan, formed near the same area in the western Pacific Ocean.


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What The Evolution Of Violins And Plants Have In Common

October 8, 2014 - 10:30pm

What could the natural diversity and beauty of plant leaves have in common with the violin, one of mankind's greatest musical inventions? More than you think.

Dan Chitwood, Ph.D., assistant member, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri
spends most of his time exploring genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying diversity in plant morphology - how leaf shapes are formed and what that means for a plant to grow and thrive. He also studies how leaf shapes change as plant species evolve to adapt in different environments. Research into why a desert-adapted tomato species can survive with little water, for example, sheds light on how leaf architecture affects the efficiency of plant water use. 


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Mysterious Gamma Ray Source In V959 Mon

October 8, 2014 - 9:30pm

Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of radioactive waves known in the universe but how they're made and where they come from have been something of a mystery. 

Using highly detailed radio telescope images, a team of astronomers have pinpointed the location where an explosion on the surface of a star, known as a nova, emitted gamma rays.  A nova occurs in a star that is part of a binary system – two stars orbiting one another. One star, known as a dense white dwarf, steals matter from the other and the interaction triggers a thermonuclear explosion that flings debris into space.

It was from this explosion from a system known as V959 Mon, located some 5,000 light years from Earth, that the researchers think the gamma rays were emitted.


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Status Matters - Even In The Amazon

October 8, 2014 - 9:14pm

"Keeping up with the Joneses" is a colloquialism for developing world desire to have the same or better status in society than peers. If someone gets a new car, you get a new car.

In some people, status is so important they suffer psychological distress if they lack status.

But it isn't just for the middle class in Western nations, say anthropologists at U.C. Santa Barbara, who found that the same need exists among the Tsimane, an egalitarian society of forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon. 


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Teenage Depression: Girls Impacted Most

October 8, 2014 - 5:31pm

Adolescence is often a turbulent time for both genders, marked by biological changes and substantially increased rates of depressive symptoms.

But girls seem to take it a lot harder and a new paper in Clinical Psychological Science believes this gender difference may be the result of girls' greater exposure to stressful interpersonal events, making them more likely to ruminate, and contributing to their risk of depression.


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