January 2, 2013

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A Unique View of a Solar Eclipse

unique portrayal of the total solar eclipse

By combining images from the SOHO satellite and Proba-2 satellite with ground-based images, scientists created this uniquely detailed view of a recent solar eclipse. The Sun appears to be eyeballing us in this unique portrayal of the total solar eclipse of 13/14 November 2012, which combines ground-based images (blue ring) with views from ESA’s Proba-2 […]

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January 1, 2013

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The Myth of Promiscuous Males & Choosy Females

A male fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) Credit: Jan Polabinski/iStockphoto

Scientists think that a study, which has been a cornerstone in evolutionary biology for the last five decades, could be wrong. Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Patricia Gowaty and her colleagues Yong-Kyu Kim and Wyatt Anderson published their findings in the journal PNAS¹. The original study was done in 1948 by geneticist A. J. Bateman, who […]

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January 1, 2013

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Steps That Enable Human Stem Cells to Develop Into Egg Cells

Human egg cell in the womb

The exact causes of infertility, which can affect around 10% of couples, are often unknown. In some cases, it may be a result of the body’s inability to produce viable gametes. A new study of the development of germ cells from humans could help scientists learn how to create them in the laboratory. The scientists […]

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January 1, 2013

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UK to Sequence Genome of 100,000 Patients

The United Kingdom will sequence the whole genomes of 100,000 people with cancer and rare diseases. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Biological and Environmental Research

The UK has planned to fully sequence the genome of 100,000 Britons with cancer and rare diseases in an effort to decode their DNA, and hopefully find a cure for diseases. The project is unusual because it will decode the entire genome, not just parts of it. Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that the […]

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January 1, 2013

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LED Lights May Help Prevent Astronaut Insomnia Aboard the ISS

An early prototype of new LED fixtures (Solid State Lighting Module) that could help to prevent astronaut insomnia aboard the International Space Station. Credit: Kennedy Space Center

By investing $11.4 million to change out aging fluorescent lights in the ISS’s U.S. Orbital Segment, NASA hopes to prevent astronaut insomnia and to help space station crews sleep better aboard the International Space Station. Sleep medication drugs are the second-most common drug taken by astronauts after painkillers, according to NASA. Astronauts are scheduled for […]

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December 31, 2012

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A Step Closer to a Possible Treatment for ALS

Neural stem cell transplants slow progression of ALS

Studies conducted at several medical schools and institutions, shows that researchers may be closer to finding a treatment for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. When neural stem cells were transplanted into multilevels of the spinal cord of a mouse model with familial ALS, disease onset and progression slowed, motor and breathing function improved […]

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December 31, 2012

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“Molecular Levers” Accelerate Reactions

Molecular Levers May Make Materials Better

Researchers at Duke University found that a molecule made with a polynorbornene backbone can act as a lever to open a ring embedded within the molecule 1000 times faster than a similar ring being tugged at on a polybutadiene scaffold. The discovery could be used to engineer more efficient materials. Durham, North Carolina – In […]

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December 31, 2012

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New Robotic Platform Could Take Space Exploration to New Heights

spacecraft Phobos Surveyor and its 'hedgehogs'

A team of scientists from Stanford, MIT and JPL have developed an autonomous system for exploring moons and asteroids that could help take space exploration to new heights. Relying on a synergistic relationship between the mother spacecraft, the Phobos Surveyor, and the rovers it houses, the hedgehogs, the system will would work together to complete […]

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December 31, 2012

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Hubble Views Spiral Galaxy NGC 1097

A wanderer dancing the dance of stars and space

This new Hubble image shows the star-forming ring that surrounds spiral galaxy NGC 1097, a galaxy that is located 45 million light-years away from Earth and features a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun at the center. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provides us this week with a spectacular image […]

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December 29, 2012

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Cherenkov Radiation Effect in a Line of Point Charges

Whereas a point charge is always attracted to an underlying surface, a sideways moving line of charge can be repelled, one physicist calculates.
Credit: Primož R. Ribič, Phys. Rev. Lett. (2012)

A newly published study suggests that the interaction between a surface and a charge packet moving parallel to it can become repulsive above a critical relativistic energy. These findings could potentially impact fundamental electrodynamics, accelerator physics and electron spectroscopy. An electric charge near the surface of a material gets pulled toward the surface. If the […]

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December 29, 2012

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Darcin in Mice Urine Attracts Other Mice

Sniffing at a male mouse's urine makes that place and that mouse's body odor attractive to female mice. Credit: Michael Thom

Mice seem to be addicted to the scent of urine and repeatedly go back to spots where they found the excretions. Researchers have discovered that this behavior is triggered by a single protein in the urine of male mice. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science¹. Mice use their scent to mark their […]

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December 29, 2012

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The Amazon Rainforest Could Be Drying Out

burning-peruvian-amazon

In the past few years, the Amazon rainforest in Peru’s Ucayali region has been hit by two severe droughts, one in 2005 and another in 2010. These dry spells could become more frequent as temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean continue to rise and as thousands of square kilometers of forest are burnt to […]

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December 29, 2012

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Pitcher Plant’s Ingenious Way of Trapping Ants

Credit: alexlomas/Flickr

The carnivorous pitcher plant lures insects to their doom with drops of nectar. South American pitcher plants have developed an ingenious insect-trapping mechanism to keep insects from escaping their grasp. Plant biologist Ulrike Bauer of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and colleagues published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal […]

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December 28, 2012

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Garbled Text Messages Could Indicate Stroke

Credit: Summer Skyes/Flickr

Dystextia is when a person sends garbled messages, it could simply be that the auto-correct is turned off or that there is something else is going on. Scientists have discovered that dystextia could indicate some kind of a stroke, if taken in context with other symptoms. The scientists published their findings in the journal Archives […]

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December 28, 2012

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Flying Squirrels Can Adjust Speed and Flight Dynamically

Credit: Angie spuc/Wikicommons

Flying squirrels, a tribe of 44 species of the family Sciuridae, might look reckless as they fling themselves through the air, but scientists have reported that there is a certain measure of finesse involved. The squirrels are able to actively manipulate the furry membrane that stretches between their wrists and ankles to control the speed […]

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December 28, 2012

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British Team Fails to Reach Lake Ellsworth

The Lake Ellsworth team earlier this month, in happier times.
Credit: Courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) arrived in western Antarctica earlier in December, preparing for their anticipated mission to drill into Lake Ellsworth, a subglacial lake. After days of hard work, the team announced that it was stopping its efforts, stymied by a technical problem. The team was one of three groups in Antarctica attempting to […]

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December 28, 2012

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Vanadium-Sapphire Device Absorbs 99.75 Percent of Infrared Light

vanadium-sapphire device

Using a 180-nanometer-thick layer of vanadium dioxide on top of a sheet of sapphire, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a device that can absorb nearly 100% of infrared light. Now you see it, now you don’t. A new device invented at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied […]

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