November 14, 2012

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Whole-Genome Analysis Identifies the Source of a Recent MRSA Outbreak

methicillin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus

In Cambridge, UK, there was a superbug outbreak at a special-care neonatal unit that lasted several months last year. Thanks to insights gained from whole-genome sequencing, the outbreak was stopped. The scientists reported their findings in the journal Lancet Infectious Disease. This is the first time that scientists have sequenced pathogen genomes to actively control […]

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November 14, 2012

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Data Reveals That the Orion Nebula Cluster is a Mix of Two Clusters

Orion nebula

Using a combination of optical, infrared, and mid-infrared data, a team of astronomers revealed that the star cluster known as NGC 1980 is a distinct massive cluster of slightly older stars in front of the Orion nebula. Using images from the 340 Mpx MegaCam camera on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) from the summit of Mauna […]

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November 13, 2012

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Aversion to Clashing Harmonies is Due to Mathematical Relationships of Overtones

headphones-music-kid

There are many people who dislike clashing dissonances of some modernist composers. It’s been long thought that dissonant musical chords contain acoustic frequencies that interfere with another, disturbing people. Now, a new study indicates that humans prefer consonant chords because of the mathematical relationship between the many different frequencies that make up the sounds. The […]

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November 13, 2012

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Bacterial Disease Threatens Coconut Gene Bank

Vahine-Island-Coconut-Trees

A bacterial disease outbreak is threatening a collection of 3,200 coconut palms in the South Pacific. This gene bank is located in Papua New Guinea and is part of an international collection of the South Pacific’s coconut species. The warning was issued at a meeting of the pacific coconut research and development strategy in Samoa […]

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November 13, 2012

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Chimps and Humans Harbor Similar Gut Enterotypes

humans and chimpanzees share the same three distinct communities of bacteria in their guts

A team of scientists have discovered that humans and chimpanzees share the same three distinct communities of bacteria in their guts. In the last few years, scientists have made great inroads in understanding the crucial interactive role gut bacteria play in harvesting nutrients, assisting immune systems, and protecting the host against pathogens. Now Yale University […]

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November 13, 2012

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Canadian Park Biologists Aim to Eradicate Rats in Queen Charlotte Islands

rats-trapped-cage

The Queen Charlotte Islands are a biodiverse archipelago and Parks Canada has been trying to restore the balance in the ecosystem by getting rid of rats, which seem to be the main culprits of hobbling the ecosystem. The Queen Charlotte Islands were invaded by rats three centuries ago, and are being restored to their original […]

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November 13, 2012

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UK’s 90 Million Ash Trees Are Likely to be Wiped Out

ash-dieback-uk

The UK’s new plan that will deal with ash disease might not come in time, as most of the country’s 90 million ash trees are likely to be wiped out. Ash dieback is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea and it will probably kill 99% of the ash trees in the UK. Diseased trees will […]

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November 13, 2012

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Fungal Meningitis Has New Appetite for Human Brains

Meningitis-Outbreak

In the USA, an ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak has killed 30 people and sickened another 419. The fungus responsible has never wrecked such havoc before. Exserohilum rostratum is a plant-eating generalist fungus that has a spore-launching mechanism ideal for airborne infection. It is usually found in grasses, but it will dine on anything, including humans. […]

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November 13, 2012

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A Single Hydrogen Molecule Vibrates Macro Object

quartz-tuning-fork

Physicists have demonstrated that a hydrogen molecule dancing between two possible positions can induce regular vibration of a nearby cantilever, creating a miniature tuning fork made up of quartz. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science. A single molecule has never been shown to be able to move something on a macroscopic scale, […]

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November 13, 2012

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Zombie-Ant Fungus Faces its Own Deadly, Specialized Parasites

hyperparasite-zombie-fungus

The zombie-ant fungus is part of the Ophiocordyceps genus, and its strange way of infecting worker ants’ heads and controlling them to distribute more spores has been well documented in scientific literature. Fossil evidence suggests that this infection has been occurring for at least 48 million years. Research seems to indicate that different species of […]

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November 13, 2012

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Scientists Use Quasars to Probe Dark Energy & Measure its Role in the Evolution of the Universe

Scientists Use Quasars to Probe Dark Energy & Measure its Role in the Eevolution of the Universe

An international team of scientists are measuring the role of dark energy in the evolution of the universe by using a new mapping technique that uses quasars to probe dark energy over 10 billion years in the past. BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, is mapping a huge volume of space to measure the role […]

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November 13, 2012

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Neural Connection Between Infant Stress & Depressions in Teenage Girls

depressed-girl-infant

Stressful experiences in the first year of life can drive hormonal changes in girls later in childhood. These chemical changes lead to abnormal brain connectivity, signs of anxiety and depression at age 18. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Stress in early life is a risk factor for a large variety […]

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November 13, 2012

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The Behavior of Interstellar Dust Grains

artist’s concept of the heliosphere

In a newly published study, a team of scientists report the results of their theoretical models of the behavior of interstellar dust grains as the Sun moves through space. The space between stars is not empty. It contains copious but diffuse amounts of gas and dust; in fact about 5-10% of the total mass of […]

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November 12, 2012

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Corals Emit Chemical Alarm to Summon Friendly Fish When Attacked

gobiodon-histrio-coral

When Acropora nasuta corals come into contact with the toxic seaweed Chlorodesmis fastigiata, they emit a chemical that summons gobies, inch-long fish live in the crevices and crannies of the coral. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science. They were able to summon gobies within minutes of the contact of seaweed. The researchers […]

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November 12, 2012

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Researchers Use LCLS to “Supercharge” Atoms

ultra-bright X-ray laser pulses of the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Results from a newly published study may help scientists deliberately induce the high levels of damage needed to study extreme states of matter. Menlo Park, California — Researchers using the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a way to strip most of the […]

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November 12, 2012

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Eggs of Superb Fairy-Wren Learn Before Hatching

superb-fairy-wren

The females of superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) start singing to their unhatched eggs in order to teach the embryo a “password,” a single unique note, which nestlings must later incorporate into their begging calls in order to get fed. The researchers published their findings in the journal Current Biology. This trick allows fairy-wren parents to […]

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November 12, 2012

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Presence of Hog Farms in Neighborhoods Raises Blood Pressure of People

hog-farm-odor-blood-pressure

Hog farms might be nauseating, but a new study indicates that a hog farm emissions, which include dust, irritants, allergens, hydrogen sulfides, ammonia, and other volatile compounds, could have an impact on the health of the people living nearby. Neighbors of such farms experience a rise in blood pressure when the odor of the farm […]

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