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Camera Trap Snaps Secretive Black Tinamou

April 9, 2015 - 1:30pm

After decades in ornithological obscurity, one of the world's least-known birds is finally coming to light thanks to the persistence of a small group of researchers; a year-long study of the Black Tinamou (Tinamus osgoodi hershkovitzi) has captured some of the first video and sound recordings of this elusive species.

The Black Tinamou is a chicken-sized bird found in the foothills of the eastern Andes, where it lives in tall, dense primary forest. It is extremely difficult to observe due to its secretive habitats and cryptic coloration.

For their study, the researchers focused on the southern Colombia subspecies, doing daily censuses in Alto Fragua Indi Wasi National Park, recording vocalizations, and setting up camera traps to capture images and video.


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Magnetic Activity Bands And Year-Long Cycles On The Sun

April 9, 2015 - 1:30pm

Our sun is constantly changing. It goes through cycles of activity - swinging between times of relative calm and times when frequent explosions on its surface can fling light, particles and energy out into space. This activity cycle peaks approximately every 11 years. New research shows evidence of a shorter time cycle as well, with activity waxing and waning over the course of about 330 days.


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IMPEx: A Universal Translator For Space Science

April 9, 2015 - 1:00pm
Space science missions are a lot like smartphones. News apps and operating systems may not be compatible with older hardware and vice-versa.

Different data processing protocols of individual space missions has limited comparison of data from numerous space missions. Due to the complexity of space exploration, instruments and devices are usually purpose-made and data acquisition as well as number crunching tools are built using mission specific data structures and protocols. The downside: the exchange and comparison of observational data between missions and complex computational models developed by third parties are virtually impossible.
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Central Signaling Pathway In Lymphoma Can Be Blocked

April 9, 2015 - 1:00pm

Cancer researchers have identified a key signaling pathway in B-cell lymphoma, a malignant type of blood cancer. They demonstrate that the signaling pathway can be blocked using compounds that are already in clinical development.


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Dutch Height - A Lot Has Changed In 200 Years

April 9, 2015 - 12:30pm
For being a fellow of above average height (<6'2" now - age will do that) traveling to Holland can be a strange experience. It seems like everyone is around my height. The men are tall, the women are tall. 

Netherlands has the tallest people in the world. Yet they used to be the shortest.  While everyone got taller during that time, Dutch average height went up 8 inches in two centuries.
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Golden Staph: The Deadly Hospital Bug Few People Know About

April 9, 2015 - 12:30pm

Take this quick medical pop quiz: which of the following conditions would you prefer to have during your next stay in hospital? A. Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) bloodstream infection; or B. a heart attack?

I am guessing most non-medical readers voted for the Staph option and, if my experience is anything to go by, the majority of medical readers will have also made a microbial choice.

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Height Directly Linked To Greater Risk Of Heart Disease

April 8, 2015 - 11:05pm
The shorter you are, the more your risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study. Every 2.5 inches change in height affected your risk of coronary heart disease by 13.5 percent - so a 5 foot 6 inch tall person has a 32% lower risk of coronary heart disease  than a 5 foot tall person because of the latter's shorter stature.

Coronary heart disease is the commonest cause of premature death worldwide. It is the condition where the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (coronary arteries) become narrowed due to a deposition of fatty material (plaque) in the walls of the arteries. If a blood clot forms over the plaque then the artery can become completely blocked suddenly giving rise to a heart attack.
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Cancer Genes Turned Off In Deadly Brain Tumors By RNA Small Molecule

April 8, 2015 - 10:51pm

Scientists have identified a small RNA molecule named miR-182 that can suppress cancer-causing genes in mice with glioblastoma mulitforme (GBM), a deadly and incurable type of brain tumor. 
There are 16,000 new cases of the deadly brain tumor reported in the U.S. every year. Patients have a very poor prognosis, with median survival of just 14 to 16 months.

Standard chemotherapy drugs stop cancer cells from reproducing by damaging DNA but the new method instead stops the source that creates those cancer cells: genes that are overexpressing certain proteins.


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Clay Works For Capturing CO2

April 8, 2015 - 10:18pm

Carbon capture could play a central role in keeping greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere so many materials are being tested for the purpose of capturing CO2. 
New results show that ordinary clay can work just as effectively as more advanced materials. Clay offers many benefits compared to other materials, particularly because other potential materials can be expensive, difficult to produce, toxic and not particularly environmentally friendly. A possible practical future use of this discovery could be to include clays in CO2 filters for industrial-scale CO2 emissions reduction.

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Energy Savings Using Nano-Coatings

April 8, 2015 - 9:21pm
Thermochromic nano-coatings can help reduce energy usage and generate savings by absorbing heat or permitting its reflection, depending on temperature.
 
The reasn is because minute dimensions can still have major effects - nanoparticles have an especially large surface-area-to-volume ratio, making them them extremely efficient and reactive. Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal near Karlsruhe are utilizing this characteristic to create novel coatings and incorporating active nano-materials into polymer systems. These coatings can be applied easily like paint or varnish.

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Preserve Memory Using Arts And Crafts (Computers Too)

April 8, 2015 - 9:06pm

In the developed world, we are aging rapidly. People age 85 and older make up the fastest growing age group in the United States and in other countries that trend will also increase.

Aging and aging well are not always the same thing, though, and issues like Alzheimer's are a concern. A new study of 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start of the study concluded that who participate in arts and craft activities and who socialize may delay the development in very old age of the thinking and memory problems that often lead to dementia.
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Cheese Metabolism Study May Make Lowering Cholesterol Tasty

April 8, 2015 - 7:30pm
Though they are catching up nicely in obesity and heart disease rates now, historically the French have been something of a paradox; they drink a lot of booze, they eat a lot of cheese and they don't exercise, but they had lower cardiovascular disease rates than other countries despite all that. 

While nutritionists claimed dairy was making American people fat - it must be bad for our hearts because epidemiological papers put a curve of saturated fats next to a curve of heart disease - the French Paradox was quietly studied with much less mainstream media attention. Like with BPA, GMOs, vaccines, nuclear power, and human embryonic stem cells, the debate over saturated fats was more cultural than evidence-based, all the more reason for science to get involved.
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Cooperative Play Increases Children's Perceived Similarity, Closeness

April 8, 2015 - 7:28pm
Children who play a game together have a stronger connection than kids who play the same game but not in a synchronous way, according to a new paper. 

The authors assert that a physical activity performed in unison helps children feel more positively toward each other and could perhaps increase their empathy. 

"Synchrony is like a glue that brings people together -- it's a magical connector for people," said lead author Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Learning&Brain Sciences at the University of Washington.
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Conservation Win: Hawksbill Turtle Numbers Up 200 Percent

April 8, 2015 - 6:53pm
An analysis of 22 years of data on hawksbill turtles in the Arnavons, located in the Solomon Islands, shows signs of recovery after 150 years of excessive hunting by natives.

The data included both beach counts and turtle tagging data and show a 200% increase from record lows in the 1990s, when the turtles had been hunted to the brink of extinction. Many of the hawksbill turtles that nest at the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area forage in distant Australian waters, and nesting on the Arnavons occurs throughout the year, with peak nesting activity coinciding with the austral winter. 


Credit: The Nature Conservancy
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No Permafrost Carbon Bomb Coming, According To New Study

April 8, 2015 - 6:25pm

A new review of existing studies suggests a gradual, prolonged release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

That sounds like bad news, and it is, but the good news is it actually means more time to adjust to ways to reduce emissions and prevent it from happening at all.  In the original global warming scenarios, climate scientists contended that as permafrost thawed, carbon would be released in a big “bomb” and significantly accelerate climate warming.  But a gradual case means more time to fix things. 
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Complex Organic Molecules Discovered Around Star MWC 480

April 8, 2015 - 5:00pm
Are the building blocks of life universal?

Astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disc surrounding a young star named MWC 480. That means the conditions that spawned the Earth and Sun are not unique in the Universe. 
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What The Hell Is GNC Selling Now?

April 8, 2015 - 4:00pm
The appearance of another questionable "dietary supplement" story in the news is about as surprising as the sun rising in the east. But this one is different. 

This is front page news all over the place, including a piece by Anahad O'Connor of The New York Times. O'Connor focuses on the FDA's failure to take action against companies which sold supplements containing an untested chemical stimulant called BMPEA, aka beta-methylphenethylamine, even though the agency knew about it two years ago. -->

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Asbestos Use In Asia Poses Serious Health Dangers

April 8, 2015 - 3:59pm

The use of asbestos continues to increase in Asia despite clear health hazards. A recent Respirology review notes that with approximately 4.3 billion people and a growing population, Asia will likely see a large crop of asbestos-related lung diseases in the next few decades. Some of the cases will be benign, but it is likely that there will be many cases of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Efforts are needed to improve the recognition and diagnosis of asbestos-related lung diseases, and government and non-government groups must cooperate to take steps to prevent them.

Citation: Su Lyn Leong, Rizka Zainudin, Laurie Kazan-Allen, Bruce W. Robinson, 'Asbestos in Asia', Respirology DOI: 10.1111/resp.12517


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Genetically Modified Broccoli With 3X Glucoraphanin Lowers Cholesterol

April 8, 2015 - 3:48pm
A broccoli variety modified to have two to three times more of the naturally occurring compound glucoraphanin, which is linked to antioxidants and other health benefits, also reduces blood LDL-cholesterol levels by around 6%, according to results of human trials. 

Glucoraphanin is thought to work by helping maintain cellular metabolism. Mitochondria, the energy factories of the cell, convert sugars and fats into energy, but if they aren't working efficiently, one response is to channel excess into cholesterol.  
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By Coupling Photons To Atoms In Glass Fiber, Time Is Stopped

April 8, 2015 - 3:12pm
Light is a useful tool for quantum communication, but it has one major disadvantage - it travels at the speed of light and sometimes things need to be kept in place, or at least slowed down.

Like with trains all sharing a track, you can't have one express line with no brakes for very long. 

A team researchers has demonstrated they can put the brakes on light, and not in some arcane quantum system but rather in glass fiber networks we are already using today. By coupling atoms to glass fibers light was slowed down to train speed - 90 miles per hour - and they even managed to bring the light to a complete stop and to retrieve it again later.
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