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I Think, Therefore I Am A Math Expert

June 24, 2015 - 4:37pm

There are more men in hard science and engineering and there are a variety of explanations for why, everything from the sexism notion, promoted by those in the social sciences, to the idea that the physical sciences and engineering don't seem directly related to helping people, which is an explanation offered by women who choose a life science or medicine. One odd notion, typified by prominent friend of Obama Dr. Larry Summers while he was at Harvard, was that women were not as good at math.


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Stable Memories - Why You Never 'Forget' Motor Skills Like Riding A Bike

June 24, 2015 - 4:27pm

Well-practiced motor skills like riding a bike are extremely stable memories that can be effortlessly recalled after years or decades. In contrast, a new study shows that changes to motor skill memories occurring over the course of a single practice session are not immediately stable, according to researchers.

We're all familiar with the old saying that you never forget how to ride a bike and perhaps personally familiar with riding off on a bike years after last putting pedals under your feet. This experience highlights the incredible stability possible for motor skill memories, especially those for well-practiced skills. However, the stability of the new motor memories formed on the shorter timescale of a single practice session has been under debate.


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Heartbeat Linked To Female Libido

June 24, 2015 - 4:21pm

Sexual dysfunction in women can be linked to low resting heart rate variability, a finding that could help clinicians treat the condition, according to a study by psychologists from The University of Texas at Austin.

Heart rate variability (HRV) -- the variation in the time intervals between a person's consecutive heartbeats -- can indicate how well an individual responds to physiological and environmental changes. Low resting heart rate variability has been associated with several mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and alcohol dependence, as well as erectile dysfunction in men.


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Including 'Experimenters' In E-Cigarette Studies Have 'Questionable' Value

June 24, 2015 - 3:30pm

The inclusion of experimenters who are unlikely to become habitual users in e-cigarette prevalence studies is of 'questionable' value for monitoring population public health trends, finds research published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

A more valid approach, setting the threshold at a minimum of use on 6 out of the past 30 days, would eliminate many of those who are motivated primarily by curiosity and unlikely to become regular users, and it would provide a more accurate picture of use, say the researchers.


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How Intrusive Are Face Recognition Technologies?

June 24, 2015 - 3:30pm

A telecommunications law academic in Australia has recommended for laws to be enacted criminalising the application of face recognition technology to visual images online that enable the identity of a person or people to be ascertained without their consent.


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Understanding Subduction Zone Earthquakes, Like Sumatra In 2004

June 24, 2015 - 3:00pm
The December 26th 2004 Mw ~9.2 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Sumatra-Andaman or Aceh-Andaman earthquake and generated massive, destructive tsunamis, clearly demonstrated the need for a better understanding of how frequently subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis occur. 

Using subsidence stratigraphy, a team traced the different modes of coastal sedimentation over the course of time in the eastern Indian Ocean where relative sea-level change evolved from rapidly rising to static from 8,000 years ago to the present day.
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An Organic Cause For Gastrointestinal Disorders

June 24, 2015 - 2:30pm
It's not a surprise that doctors may believe people obsessed with food - be they nocebos or migrating from fad to fad - have a psychological condition rather than a gastrointestinal one. The gluten obsession, where 75 percent of people without celiac disease claim they have a reaction to gluten but do not, is an example.
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Psychotherapists Say They Can Fix The Problems Caused By Psychiatric Drugs

June 24, 2015 - 2:00pm
Another shooting, this time in a Charleston church, and another link to psychiatric drugs. Psychological disturbances caused by psychotropic drug treatment are a neglected problem, say therapists in a recent article. 

Up to 70% of patients with psychosis treated with antiserotoninergic second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs; clozapine, olanzapine and risperidone) develop secondary obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) or secondary obsessive-compulsive disorder (s-OCD), they write. The experts suggest two pharmacological strategies to treat s-OCD: a combination of antiserotoninergic SGAs with either dopaminergic SGAs (amisulpride and aripiprazole) or mood stabilizers (valproate or lamotrigine), and augmentation of SGAs with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI).
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Mechanism Regulates Tumour Initiation And Invasion In Skin Basal Cell Carcinoma

June 24, 2015 - 1:59pm
Researchers at the Université libre de Bruxelles, ULB uncover a new mechanism that regulates tumour initiation and invasion in skin basal cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer found in human with several million of new patients affected every year around the world. The mechanisms that control BCC initiation and invasion are poorly known.

In a new study, researchers led by Pr. Cédric Blanpain, MD/PhD, professor and WELBIO investigator at the IRIBHM, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, report that Sox9, directly controls skin cancer formation by regulating the expansion of tumor initiating cells and the invasive properties of cancer cells.
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Exposed Water Ice Detected On Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

June 24, 2015 - 1:47pm
Using ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, scientists have identified more than a hundred patches of water ice a few meters in size on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta arrived at the comet in August 2014 at a distance of about 100 kilometers and eventually orbited the comet at 10 kilometers or less, allowing high-resolution images of the surface to be acquired. 
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Pet Ownership Has Potential Benefits For Older Adults

June 24, 2015 - 1:31pm
A new paper discusses the current barriers which limit opportunities to own a pet among older adults, going into detail about physical and financial risks for older adult pet ownership and how it can be diminished.

Medical problems that arise with older adults, such as physical illness and emotional issues, have the potential to be mitigated by companionship of pets because it reduces social isolation and enhances physical activity. But illnesses that are often associated with aging, ranging from arthritis to diabetes, make it hard or impossible for older adults to provide routine care for their pets. Financial barriers are another issue that older pet owners face.
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Characteristics Of Transplant Patients Likely To Have A Potential Living Liver Donor

June 24, 2015 - 1:17pm

New research published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society, reports that younger patients, those who are married, and those with Child-Pugh C disease—the most severe measure of liver disease—are more likely immigrants, divorced patients and those at the lowest income levels were less likely to have a potential live donor volunteer for liver donation.

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Obamacare Argument: ACA Medicaid Expansion Will Make States Money

June 24, 2015 - 1:00pm

21 states have opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), arguing that the expansion would be too expensive. And since California had to convince taxpayers with a state government mandate to remain revenue neutral on the program, based on promises by Democrats in Washington, D.C., and are looking at an $80 million deficit the moment Federal subsidies expire, it seems like those 21 states are right.

But economists at Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health argue that  the cost to hospitals from uncompensated care in those states roughly equals the cost of Medicaid expansion.


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The Simple Beauty Of A Free Radical

June 24, 2015 - 12:48pm

Nitric oxide (NO) is a highly stable molecule that is also highly reactive and a free radical, meaning a single, unpaired electron is present in its molecule. NO plays the role of a mediator between elements and helps them combine. Radicals are regularly generated in many metabolic pathways. Some of these radicals can exist in a free form and subsequently interact with various tissue components resulting in dysfunction.


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One Of The Worst Known Invasive Species Discovered In The U.S.

June 23, 2015 - 10:49pm

The land planarian Platydemus manokwari, or New Guinea flatworm, is a highly invasive species, already reported in many territories in the Pacific area, and as well as in France. This is the only land planarian in the '100 worst invasive alien species' list and it has now been found in additional localities including islands in the Pacific area, Puerto Rico, the first record in the Caribbean, and the first report in mainland U.S., in Florida.


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Controlling The Path Of Lightning

June 23, 2015 - 10:25pm

We can use lightning rods to increase the probability of it striking at a specific location but its exact path remains unpredictable.

Perhaps not for long. At a smaller scale, discharges between two electrodes behave in the same manner, streaking through space to create electric arcs where only the start and end points are fixed. Knowing that, it may be possible to control the current so that it follows a predetermined path, say Professor Roberto Morandotti and colleagues from
INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research centre
who have discovered a way to guide electric discharges - and even steer them around obstacles - using lasers at the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS) facility. 


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Viagra Does Something, But It Does Not Cause Melanoma

June 23, 2015 - 3:30pm

A rigorous analysis of more than 20,000 medical records concludes that erectile dysfunction drugs, such as Viagra, are not a cause of melanoma, an often deadly form of skin cancer, despite the higher risk for the disease among users of these drugs. 

The analysis, led by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, of medical records for some 20,235 mostly white men suggests instead that the likely source of the observed uptick in malignant melanoma risk among users of erectile dysfunction drugs is socioeconomic and lifestyle based.


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Modern Native Americans Related To Kennewick Man

June 23, 2015 - 1:31pm
By Michael Greshko, Inside Science -- On Thursday, scientists announced a new, comprehensive re-analysis of the "Kennewick Man," an 8,500-year-old North American skeleton. -->

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Mathematics And Spaghetti Carbonara

June 23, 2015 - 1:00pm
I’ve come to believe that mathematics, as an investigative science, as a practical discipline and as a creative art, shares many characteristics with cookery.

It’s not just spaghetti alla carbonara, it’s the whole business of inventing dishes and preparing them. It’s an analogy with many parts, and it has consequences.

To introduce myself: I’m a professional mathematician, an amateur cook and an enthusiastic eater. The ideas in this essay are distilled from years of formal reasoning, mad culinary experiments and adventurous meals. In short, I’ve found that:

  1. I do mathematics for much the same reasons that I cook.

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Subsidies Double Alternative Energy Capacity Since 2005

June 23, 2015 - 12:13pm

Renewable energy targets mandates and subsidies now in place in 164 countries powered the growth of solar, wind and other green technologies to record-breaking energy generation capacity in 2014. So to advocates that means CO2 emissions and growth do not have to go hand-in-hand. To critics, the fact that these alternative energy schemes only work when there are mandates and subsidies means fossil fuels should be cleaner, not eliminated.

According to REN21's latest Renewables Global Status Report, policymakers continued to focus on adapting existing policies to keep pace with rapidly changing costs and circumstances.


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