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Erector Set Magnetic Optical Mount For Laser Pointer

February 13, 2015 - 3:33pm
I’ll demonstrate how to build a simple magnetic optical mount for a cat toy (laser pointer). Though it is simple—that is, there aren’t any fine tuning mechanisms one would find on an optical bench—it is, nonetheless, inexpensive and flexible enough to use for simple optical experiments such as demonstrating the Tyndall Effect.

I used a magnetic chip clip to clamp the laser pointer switch (a press switch) in the on position and attach the laser pointer to the Erector set mount. Unfortunately, there are plastic grips on the chip clip that interfere with the smooth rotation of the chip clip against the Erector set strip.

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Opposites Attract? No, Find Someone Like You

February 13, 2015 - 3:00pm

Yin and yang or two peas in a pod? Shutterstock

Relationships are often interpreted as the outcome of an exchange of goods and services.

Common knowledge says that the sexes want different things from a partner.

These preferences are often reduced to shallow, one-dimensional demands – beauty for men and resources for women. “Opposites attract,” they say. No one asks, “Why did that beautiful, young woman marry that old, old man?” because they already know the answer. He had something she wanted and she had something he wanted.

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Molecular ‘Switch’ That Regulates DNA Replication And Transcription Identified

February 13, 2015 - 2:30pm

Researchers have discovered a molecular ‘switch’ that controls replication and transcription of mitochondria DNA, a key finding that could influence the development of targeted therapies for cancer, developmental processes related to fertility and aging. 

Mitochondria are organelles located outside the nucleus of nearly every cell in humans. While most of the cell’s DNA is inside the nucleus, mitochondria maintain their own DNA and contribute a small number of genes that are essential for cellular respiration and energy generation.

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This Valentine's Day, Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart - Or Hair

February 13, 2015 - 2:00pm

Bits of the self have historically been un memoire emotional aides. Cristiana Gasparotto

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us will think about sharing a token of our affection.

The ubiquitous card is often teamed with a staple of the season: chocolate, perfume or flowers. These gifts have become accepted expressions of romantic love in Western cultures and yet they often fail to embody a real emotional connection between the giver and recipient.

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Maternal Age: How Old Is Too Old To Give Birth?

February 13, 2015 - 1:30pm

I read a sad story in the news recently. A Baltimore mother died a week after giving birth to two twin sons, leaving her husband to raise the two boys on his own. 

As tragic as the news was, the reason that it made national headlines was that the mother was 56 years old. Initial reports indicate that her death was the result of a bowel obstruction, not because of the pregnancy, but a lot of the coverage of this story has focused on one question: how old is too old to give birth?
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Are You Feeling Ducky, Punk?

February 13, 2015 - 5:55am

Extreme mechano-sensitive neurons of tactile-foraging ducks fit the bill for touch research.

When we reach out to touch something, our nervous system converts the mechanical input from our fingers contacting an object into an electrical signal in the brain. The process, known as mechanosensation, is one of our fundamental physiological processes, on par with sight and smell. But how it works on a cellular level remains poorly understood, holding back development of effective treatments for mechanosensory disorders like chronic pain.

Now, a team of researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine has identified a new model organism that may help elucidate the cellular mechanisms behind mechanosensation: the ordinary duck.


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Happy Darwin Day: Evolution Of Darwin's Finches And Their Beaks

February 13, 2015 - 5:55am

Darwin's finches, inhabiting the Galápagos archipelago and Cocos island, constitute an iconic model for studies of speciation and adaptive evolution. A team of scientists from Uppsala University and Princeton University has now shed light on the evolutionary history of these birds and identified a gene that explains variation in beak shape within and among species. The study is published today in Nature, on the day before the 206th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.


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Iron Supplementation Improves Hemoglobin Recovery Time Following Blood Donation

February 13, 2015 - 5:01am

Among blood donors with normal hemoglobin levels, low-dose oral iron supplementation, compared with no supplementation, reduced the time to recovery of the postdonation decrease in hemoglobin concentration in donors with low or higher levels of a marker of overall iron storage (ferritin), according to a study in the February 10 issue of JAMA.


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Designer Brands? Many Would Rather Not Stand Out

February 13, 2015 - 5:01am

Many people buy and wear clothing from prestigious brands as a way to express and distinguish themselves. However, a new study from the University of Missouri has found that people who are more sensitive to how others perceive them are actually more likely to avoid clothing with large logos, even if the clothing is from a prestigious brand. Eunjin Kim, a doctoral candidate in the MU School of Journalism, says it is important for companies to understand this brand avoidance behavior when marketing their products to consumers.


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Porn Or Not? Fifty Shades Of Grey Anxiety Was A 17th Century Worry Too

February 13, 2015 - 2:30am

Is Fifty Shades Of Grey porn, or not? © Universal Pictures

The imminent release of Fifty Shades of Grey has already provoked widespread protest, although the protesters have not actually seen it.

The Guardian recently proclaimed: “This is not a porn film.” But the American Family Association has asked cinemas not to show the movie. It has been banned in Malaysia for being “more pornography than a movie”.

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Another Reason To Drink Wine: It Could Help You Burn Fat

February 13, 2015 - 1:19am

Drinking red grape juice or wine - in moderation - could improve the health of overweight people by helping them burn fat better, according to a new study coauthored by an Oregon State University researcher.

The findings suggest that consuming dark-colored grapes, whether eating them or drinking juice or wine, might help people better manage obesity and related metabolic disorders such as fatty liver.

Neil Shay, a biochemist and molecular biologist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, was part of a study team that exposed human liver and fat cells grown in the lab to extracts of four natural chemicals found in Muscadine grapes, a dark-red variety native to the southeastern United States.


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Liquid Carbonates Prevent Greenhouse Gases From Entering The Atmosphere

February 13, 2015 - 1:19am

A novel class of materials that enable a safer, cheaper, and more energy-efficient process for removing greenhouse gas from power plant emissions has been developed by a multi-institution team of researchers. The approach could be an important advance in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

The team, led by scientists from Harvard University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, employed a microfluidic assembly technique to produce microcapsules that contain liquid sorbents encased in highly permeable polymer shells. They have significant performance advantages over the carbon-absorbing materials used in current CCS technology.


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IUD, Implant Contraception Effective Beyond FDA-approved Use

February 13, 2015 - 1:19am

New research indicates that hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants remain highly effective one year beyond their approved duration of use, according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The preliminary findings are reported online Feb. 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecology and will appear in the journal's March 15 print edition.

The researchers are evaluating whether such long-acting forms of birth control are effective for up to three years past their recommended length of use as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Contraceptive implants -- matchstick-sized rods inserted into the arm -- are approved for three years, and hormonal IUDs are approved for five years.


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Valentine's Day: How To Deal With Love, Romance And Rejection

February 12, 2015 - 11:48pm

Photo by sis

Take care lovers, wherever you are, as Valentine’s Day is soon upon us. Whether you’re in a relationship or want to be in a relationship, research over a number of years shows that February 14 can be a day of broken hearts and broken wallets.

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Fat - The Sixth Taste

February 12, 2015 - 11:02pm

People are not as conscious of tasting fat as they are of other taste qualities. John Benson, CC BY

By Russell Keast, Deakin University

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Skyglow: Big Variations In The Radiance Of The Night

February 12, 2015 - 10:03pm
A team has undertaken what they call the most comprehensive examination of skyglow -  variations in the radiance of the night sky - ever done and found remarkably large variations in artificial night sky brightness at the different observation sites.  

Light became popular because it allowed us to extend the day - and electricity meant people could read a book without falling asleep and setting themselves on fire. But the introduction of light into the nighttime environment is one of the most striking changes humans have made to the Earth’s physical environment, and it is associated with several unintended negative consequences. One example is skyglow, the artificial brightening of the night sky.
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Men Do Want Commitment...If Women Are Scarce

February 12, 2015 - 7:05pm

The gender stereotype is that women want commitment and men want sex - but a study of the Makushi people in Guyana upends that, finding that men more likely to seek long-term relationships. Why? Because women are in short supply so a lack of commitment is a romantic negative. Some villages in Guyana are the opposite of New York City, where you could have sex with a different person every day for 5,000 years and never duplicate.

Also debunked is the conventional view that when men outnumber women, there are more likely to be male-male fights and increases in sexually transmitted diseases.


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Cancer False Alarms Lead To Future Complacency

February 12, 2015 - 5:31pm
A cancer false alarm could put people off checking out cancer symptoms they develop in the future, according to a review of papers.

More than 80 percent of patients with potential cancer symptoms are given the all-clear after investigations. But according to the new paper, having a false alarm might discourage people from seeking help, even years later, if they notice possible symptoms of the disease again.
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Privacy Is The Real Disruptive Force In Digital Techology

February 12, 2015 - 5:30pm

Facebook knows what you're doing. What you're watching. How you're feeling. Khakimullin Aleksandr/Shutter/Wired

By Paul Levy, University of Brighton

Did you recently buy a Samsung smart TV? If you are worried about privacy, you may be wondering how smart that decision was following the manufacturer’s warnings that its voice-activated televisions may record personal information – that is, your conversations – and transmit them to a third party.

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Notch Cell Signaling Pathway Goes Awry In Common Pediatric Brain Tumor

February 12, 2015 - 5:17pm

A new study links a well-known cell communication pathway called Notch to one of the most common -- but overall still rare -- brain tumors found in children.


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