Culture

Fairfax, Virginia – November 12, 2008 – Ronald Reagan became one of history's heroes long before his death. But now his accomplishments are in danger of being oversimplified and distorted for partisan purposes. In a new article in Presidential Studies Quarterly, Hugh Heclo illustrates the deeper complexity of Reagan's legacy under eight headings of public concern: the Welfare State, Taxation, National Security, the Presidency, Personnel, Party Politics, Political Leadership, and the Person.

Washington, D.C. – November 12, 2008 – The HPV vaccine, sold as Gardasil in the U.S., is intended to prevent four strains of the human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. The vaccine also prevents against cervical cancer. While the vaccine represents a significant public health advance, a new article in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics suggests that it is premature for states to currently mandate the HPV vaccine as a condition for school attendance.

DURHAM, N.C. -- A new study led by Duke University researchers finds that restoring degraded wetlands -- especially those that had been converted into farm fields -- actually decreases their soil bacterial diversity.

But that's a good thing, say the study's authors, because it marks a return to the wetland soils' natural conditions.

Evidence that global warming is causing the worldwide declines of amphibians may not be as conclusive as previously thought, according to biologists. The findings, which contradict two widely held views, could help reveal what is killing the frogs and toads and aid in their conservation.

"We are currently in the midst of a sixth mass extinction event," said Peter Hudson, the Willaman professor of biology at Penn State and co-author of the research study. "And amphibians are bearing the brunt of the problem."

Scientists at Stanford University and Japan's National Institute of Informatics have created a new highly sensitive infrared spectrometer. The device converts light from the infrared part of the spectrum to the visible part, where the availability of superior optical detectors results in strongly improved sensing capabilities. The research will appear in the Nov. 24 issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society's open access journal.

More than half of people diagnosed with high blood pressure do not have it under control and many more go undiagnosed, according to research carried out at the University of Warwick.

Professor Franco Cappuccio from Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick led the only UK team to participate in a European study examining awareness, treatment and control of high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension is an important cause of serious diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers at the University of Delaware have provided what is believed to be the first experimental evidence that plants can take up nanoparticles and accumulate them in their tissues

The laboratory study, which involved pumpkin plants, indicates a possible pathway for nanoparticles to enter the food chain. The research also reveals a new experimental approach for studying nanoparticles and their potential impacts.

Dishonesty may be more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously thought. A team of Australian ecologists has discovered that some male fiddler crabs "lie" about their fighting ability by growing claws that look strong and powerful but are in fact weak and puny. Published this week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology, the study is the first direct evidence that crabs "bluff" about their fighting ability.

Every day 85 Americans die by suicide and hundreds of thousands more make attempts every year. The vast majority of recent studies on suicide have focused on identifying psychiatric risk factors. However, a new study by Temple University Sociology Professor Matt Wray, published online this month in Social Science and Medicine, explores time and place as factors in suicide by closely analyzing the patterns of suicide in a single geographic area—Las Vegas—over a 30 year period.

It is well known that plants growing under unfavourable conditions are generally smaller than those growing in stress-free conditions: indeed it is estimated that in the US, abiotic stress reduces the yield of agricultural crops by an average of 22%. A spectacular example of the effect of stress – in this case, repeated wounding – on plant growth is given by bonsai trees, in which every aspect of their stature, including height, girth, and size of leaves, is uniformly reduced to as little as 5% of that of their untreated sister trees.