Culture

MADISON — Exquisitely detailed and beautifully symmetrical, the snowflakes that David Griffeath makes are icy jewels of art.

But don't be fooled; there is some serious science behind the University of Wisconsin-Madison mathematician's charming creations. Although they look as if they tumbled straight from the clouds, these "snowfakes" are actually the product of an elaborate computer model designed to replicate the wildly complex growth of snow crystals.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Video advertising in stores is a moneymaker for retailers, but a growing threat to already cash-strapped print and broadcast media, according to a new study co-written by a University of Illinois business professor.

Yunchuan "Frank" Liu says in-store marketing has surged in the last decade, fueled by on-the-spot commercials that have proven persuasive with shoppers and lower advertising rates that are popular with manufacturers.

Following a review by The Lancet of the medical issues associated with commercial air travel, the European Society of Cardiology has reaffirmed its advice about the risks of venous thromboembolism (VTE), whose risk, according to The Lancet, is increased "up to four-fold" by long-haul flight.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a software tool that will make it faster and easier to translate video games and other software into different languages for use in various international markets – addressing a hurdle to internationalization that has traditionally been time-consuming and subject to error.

San Diego, CA, February, 24, 2009 – With sexual activity among adolescents in the United States resulting in over 750,000 teenage pregnancies each year and reports of up to 25 percent of all female adolescents in the US having sexually transmitted infections, researchers and public health officials are looking for those factors that might increase sexual activity in teens.

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, is most often experienced as an irritant, but it may also be used to reduce pain. A new work published by Drs. Feng Qin and Jing Yao in this week's PLoS Biology uses capsaicin to uncover novel insight into how pain-receptor systems can adapt to painful stimuli. Sensory systems are well known to adapt to prevailing stimuli. For example, adaptation happens when your eyes adjust from a dark movie theater during a matinee to the bright sunlight outside.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have found how a citric acid-based Achilles heel used by a pathogen that attacks the popular African Violet house plant could be exploited not just to save African Violets but also to provide a potentially effective treatment for Anthrax.

The researchers examined how a chemical structure is assembled in a bacterial pathogen called Pectobacterium chrysanthemi (Dickya dadantii) that afflicts plants – particularly the African Violet which often appears in many homes as a decorative houseplant.

Princeton, NJ – February 23, 2009 - A new study by scientists updating some of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2001 Third Assessment Report finds that even a lower level of increase in average global temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions could cause significant problems in five key areas of global concern.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is titled "Assessing Dangerous Climate Change Through an Update of the IPCC 'Reasons for Concern."

When shopping, we often find ourselves choosing between lower- and higher-cost items. But most people make a choice based on the first digit they see, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Shoppers pay a disproportionate amount of attention to the leftmost digits in prices and these leftmost digits impact whether a product's price is perceived to be relatively affordable or expensive," write authors Kenneth C. Manning (Colorado State University) and David E. Sprott (Washington State University).

If an airline flight is delayed, Asian consumers might take it in stride. But those same passengers might be unhappy if the flight attendants are rude or inattentive. And Western consumers might react differently, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Haksin Chan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Lisa C. Wan (Lingnan University), and Leo Y. M. Sin (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) believe these generalizations stem from different cultural approaches to the concepts of "fate" and "face."