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Flu On A CPU

February 10, 2015 - 5:24pm

By combining experimental data from X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, cryoelectron microscopy and lipidomics (the study of cellular lipid networks), researchers at the University of Oxford have built a complete model of the outer envelope of an influenza A virion for the first time. The approach, known as a coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation, has allowed them to generate trajectories at different temperatures and lipid compositions - revealing various characteristics about the membrane components that may help scientists better understand how the virus survives in the wild or find new ways to combat it.


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Youth Hockey Brain Imaging Study Suggests Early Marker For Concussion Damage

February 10, 2015 - 5:23pm

James Hudziak, M.D., a pediatric neuropsychiatrist and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families at the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine, and UVM colleagues Matthew Albaugh, Ph.D., Catherine Orr, Ph.D., and Richard Watts, Ph.D., have published a study in the February issue of The Journal of Pediatrics that shows a relationship between concussions sustained by young ice hockey players and subtle changes in the cortex, the outer layer of the brain that controls higher-level reasoning and behavior.


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Sending Two-Year-Olds To School Is Unnatural

February 10, 2015 - 5:19pm

Government elites want parents to rush to turn their progeny into units of human capital as quickly as possible. It risks 'damaged goods'. Shutterstock

By Pam Jarvis, Leeds Trinity University

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E-cigarette Vapors And Flavorings Trigger Lung Cell Stress

February 10, 2015 - 4:51pm

Do electronic cigarettes help people quit smoking? As the debate continues on that point, a new University of Rochester study suggests that e-cigarettes are likely a toxic replacement for tobacco products.

Emissions from e-cigarette aerosols and flavorings damage lung cells by creating harmful free radicals and inflammation in lung tissue, according to the UR study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry, led the research, which adds to a growing body of scientific data that points to dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.


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Shamsheer: Indian Sword Is A Masterpiece Of Bladesmithing

February 10, 2015 - 4:36pm
Indian swords don't get a lot of cultural respect compared to the works of Spain or Japan but a new study used two different approaches to analyze a shamsheer, a 75-centimeter-long sword from the Wallace Collection in London, and found that it was master craftsmanship 

The study, led by Eliza Barzagli of the Institute for Complex Systems and the University of Florence in Italy, used metallography and neutron diffraction to test the differences and complementarities of the two techniques. The shamsheer was made in India in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century and is of Persian origin. The base design spread across Asia and eventually gave rise to the family of similar weapons called scimitars that were forged in various Southeast Asian countries. -->

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Creatine Doesn't Slow Parkinson's Disease

February 10, 2015 - 4:00pm
Treatment with creatine monohydrate for at least 5 years for patients with early and treated Parkinson disease failed to slow clinical progression of the disease, compared with placebo, according to a study in the February 10 issue of JAMA.
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Gene Confirms Existence Of Psoriatic Arthritis

February 10, 2015 - 3:57pm

Psoriatic arthritis is a common form of inflammatory form of arthritis causing pain and stiffness in joints and tendons that can lead to joint damage. Nearly all patients with psoriatic arthritis also have skin psoriasis and, in many cases, the skin disease is present before the arthritis develops. However, only one third of patients with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis.


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Internet Comments Influence Opinions On Vaccinations More Than Public Service Announcements

February 10, 2015 - 3:57pm

Anti-vaccine beliefs are going bipartisan, what was once the province of kooky progressives in California and Oregon is now also being embraced by American libertarians, and public service announcements are unlikely to help. Washington State University researchers say that people may be influenced more by online comments than by credible PSAs.

Writing in the Journal of Advertising, WSU marketing researchers Ioannis Kareklas, Darrel Muehling and TJ Weber are the first to investigate how Internet comments from individuals whose expertise is unknown impact the way people feel about vaccines.


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A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words, But How Many Emotions?

February 10, 2015 - 3:57pm

Log on to Twitter, Facebook or other social media and you will find that much of the content shared with you comes in the form of images, not just words. Those images can convey a lot more than a sentence might, and will often provoke emotions in the viewer.

Jiebo Luo, professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, in collaboration with researchers at Adobe Research has come up with a more accurate way than currently possible to train computers to be able to digest data that comes in the form of images.

In a paper presented last week at the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) conference in Austin, Texas, they describe what they refer to as a progressive training deep convolutional neural network (CNN).


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Colony Collapse Disorder: It Could Just Be Stress

February 10, 2015 - 3:00pm
A few years ago, another colony collapse occurred. Though it has happened more times than recorded history has been able to log, the concern was that new pesticides, which replaced the old pesticides blamed for the last colony collapse, might be the cause.

Since then, bees have rebounded nicely. The collapse was limited to one geography, rather than everywhere the newer pesticides - neonicotinoids - were used, so researchers have been scrambling to find out why it happened and therefore make it predictable. 

A new study says it could just be stress - young bees are sometimes pressured to grow up too fast. 


Credit: QMUL
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Liberals And Conservatives Are Anti-science, Just About Different Things

February 10, 2015 - 3:00pm
What happens when people in one political party in America are presented with science that doesn't align with their political views? The same thing that happens in the other party. They rationalize why it isn't valid science.

Despite claims by liberals that they hold some special acceptance of science - the same thing conservatives claimed until the 2000s - a new study has found it isn't the case when the science issue is political. It's no secret that conservatives are less likely to accept evolution and climate change science, science media has talked about it for over a decade. Yet science media doesn't note that anti-agriculture, anti-medicine and anti-energy views correspond to liberal voting, even though the public recognizes it. 
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Bionic Leaf Uses Bacteria To Convert Solar Energy Into Liquid Fuel

February 10, 2015 - 2:30pm
Harvesting sunlight is old technology for plants but it's a level of efficiency in solar energy we would love to be within a billion years of - artificial photosynthesis is needed if we want to go beyond the energy density of things like combustion engines. 
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21st Century Sunspots A Lot Like The 18th Century

February 10, 2015 - 2:30pm
Some people believe we are in a new Enlightenment, with science making food plentiful and likely to make energy cheap enough to be unnoticeable in the next few decades as well. We share one other thing in common with the 18th century - solar activity.

Scientists have been counting sunspots with small telescopes since 1610 so it was quickly learned that the Sun’s activity increases every eleven years, according to the interval in the growth of the number of darker and colder spots in comparison with the rest of its surface. The more spots that appear, the more luminous the surrounding areas are, and our star shines brighter. 
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Is Using Big Data To Detect Disease Outbreaks Ethical?

February 10, 2015 - 2:00pm

Personal information taken from social media, blogs, page views and so on are used to detect disease outbreaks, however, does this violate our privacy and trust if people do not consent to it?

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Citrus Fruit And Tea May Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risk

February 10, 2015 - 2:00pm

By:  Karin Heineman, Inside Science

(Inside Science TV) – Shelley Tworoger, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital located in Boston, Massachusetts studied ovarian cancer.

"This is one of the largest and oldest cohort studies in the world. We followed over 230,000 women over several decades and every two years they answered questionnaires about their lifestyle and health, in particular we asked them every 4 years to report back to us the kinds of foods that they eat. We used this information to look at what women ate and we followed them up to see who got ovarian cancer and who didn't," said Tworoger.   

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What Was Sweating Sickness, The Plague Of The Tudors?

February 10, 2015 - 1:30pm

Don't look so worried Cromwell, she's just asleep. BBC/Company Productions Ltd

By Derek Gatherer, Lecturer at Lancaster University.

In the first episode of BBC historical drama Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s novel of the same name, Thomas Cromwell returns home to find his wife and two daughters have all died during the night, victims of a pestilence – the “sweating sickness” – that is scything through the Tudor world.

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Pick A Card: The Psychological Factors That Make Magic Tricks Work

February 10, 2015 - 1:30pm
Magicians have delighted audiences for centuries with magic tricks. What is little known is that they subtly influence decisions. A master like Apollo Robbins can even tell you what he is going to do and you still won't know he is doing it.

Yet there has been little systematic study of the psychological factors that make magic tricks work. A team of Canadian researchers has combined magic and psychology to demonstrate how certain contextual factors can sway the decisions people make, even though they may feel that they are choosing freely.
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Seafloor Volcano Pulses May Alter Climate

February 10, 2015 - 3:14am

Vast ranges of volcanoes hidden under the oceans are presumed by scientists to be the gentle giants of the planet, oozing lava at slow, steady rates along mid-ocean ridges. But a new study shows that they flare up on strikingly regular cycles, ranging from two weeks to 100,000 years--and, that they erupt almost exclusively during the first six months of each year.

The pulses--apparently tied to short- and long-term changes in earth's orbit, and to sea levels--may help trigger natural climate swings. Scientists have already speculated that volcanic cycles on land emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide might influence climate; but up to now there was no evidence from submarine volcanoes.


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Human Growth Hormone Gets A Bovine Boost: Cow Immune System Inspires Potential New Therapies

February 10, 2015 - 3:14am

To help people with hormone deficiencies, scientists have developed a potential new therapy based on an unlikely model: immune molecules from cows. Their research, published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that human hormones and antibodies can be fused together--mimicking long, stalk-like cow antibodies.

The new study, whose senior authors were Peter Schultz, the Scripps Family Chair Professor at at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and Feng Wang, a principal investigator at the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), could also provide the foundation for treatments for a range of other diseases.


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The Second Law Of Thermodynamics Is More Of A Guideline Than A Rule?

February 10, 2015 - 2:56am
Don't like the second law of thermodynamics - that heat transfer has limits when trying to do work? Maybe you can just use a different one.

Rather than being an immutable fundamental law, researchers from University College London and the Universities of Gdansk, Singapore, and Delft write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have uncovered additional second laws of thermodynamics which complement the ordinary second law of thermodynamics, they are just not noticeable except on very small scales. 
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