November 21, 2012

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European Union’s Initiative to Clean Up Waterways Faces Opposition

dead-fish-europe-waterways

The EU is about to stop a precedent-setting initiative that was designed to tackle a common side effect of drugs, their impact on aquatic life. The landmark regulations intended on cleaning up Europe’s waterways of pharmaceuticals is likely to be quashed when it reaches a key vote in the EU Parliament next week. The proposal […]

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November 21, 2012

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Crystal Meth Could Reduce Susceptibility to the Common Flu

methamphetamine-flu

Researchers suggest that a small dose of methamphetamine, i.e. crystal meth, could reduce the replication of the human influenza virus. The scientists published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE. Scientists from the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan and the University of Regensburg in Germany have been working together to see how methamphetamine interacts […]

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November 21, 2012

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IBM Supercomputer Simulates 530 Billion Neurons & 100 Trillion Synapses

A Network of Neurosynaptic Cores

At the Supercomputing 2012 conference last week, IBM Research-Almaden presented its next milestone towards fulfilling DARPA’s cognitive computing program, Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE). DARPA’s SyNAPSE program was announced in 2008, and it calls for developing an electronic neuromorphic machine technology, which is basically a brain simulation that scales to biological levels […]

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November 21, 2012

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Laboratory-Based Astrophysics Leads to Dedicated Discipline

tokamak-generates-solar-wind

The gigantic orange magnets at MIT were originally built decades ago to confine hydrogen nuclei in the search for nuclear fusion. However, since 1998 plasma physicist Jan Egedal has been using them to simulate magnetic fields in the thin wind of charged particles emanating from Sol. Egedal hopes to figure out how the solar wind […]

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November 21, 2012

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Children Exposed to Nicotine in Utero Have Lower Reading Scores

Smoking during pregnancy tied to lower reading scores

A newly published study found that on average children exposed to high levels of nicotine in utero scored 21 percent lower in areas such as reading speed, single-word identification, spelling, accuracy, real and non-word reading, and reading as compared to classmates born to non-smoking mothers. Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that children born […]

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November 21, 2012

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MDMA Provides Prolonged Relief from Severe Stress

ecstacy-pills

A new study indicates that the benefits of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) persist years after the first treatment of the drug. The scientists published their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. This could help patients with PTSD who do not respond to traditional treatments. However, the results come from a […]

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November 21, 2012

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Truant Particles Dash Hopes of Clues to Supersymmetry from LHC

supersymmetry-no-clues-lhc

While Sherlock Holmes might have stated that the absence of any evidence is evidence itself, theoretical physicists haven’t yet been able to find any inkling to confirm supersymmetry (SUSY), a theory which predicts that every Standard-Model particle has a heavier partner. The reason why SUSY is so important is because it would be a step […]

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November 21, 2012

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Planck Spots a Bridge of Hot Gas Connecting Galaxy Clusters

a bridge of hot gas that connects galaxy clusters

Using the Planck space telescope, scientists discovered a bridge of hot gas connecting galaxy clusters Abell 399 and Abell 401. The temperature of the gas in the bridge is similar to the temperature of the gas in the two clusters, roughly 80 million degrees Celsius. ESA’s Planck space telescope has made the first conclusive detection […]

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November 20, 2012

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Swallows & Homing Pigeons Monitor Environmental Factors

homing-pigeons-china

A new study indicates that nesting birds that feed on insects that hatch in lake or stream-bed sediments make good biological monitors for pollution. The scientists published their findings in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. This could help track environmental changes. The contamination in the sediments will make its way into the food web, […]

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November 20, 2012

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Survey Shows Great Apes Also Have Mid-Life Crisis

depressed-orangutan

Chimpanzees and orangutans experience a mid-life crisis just like humans, according to a survey of 508 great apes in captivity shows. The scientists published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The sense of well-being in primates in their late 20s to mid-30s, which is the equivalent of middle age, […]

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November 20, 2012

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ReFIT Improves Speed and Accuracy of Neural Prosthetics that Control Computer Cursors

most accurate mathematical algorithm yet for brain-implantable prosthetic systems

Scientists at Stanford University have developed a new algorithm, known as ReFIT, that vastly improves the speed and accuracy of neural prosthetics that control computer cursors, which can help disabled people maneuver computer cursors with the speed, accuracy and natural movement close to that of a real arm. When a paralyzed person imagines moving a […]

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November 20, 2012

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Complex Mixtures of Odors Tend to Smell Alike

white-nose

Olfactory white is to smells what white noise is to sounds. To noses, it’s neither pleasant nor foul-smelling. Researchers came up with this smell during olfactory experiments. The scientists published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The experiments mixed aroma molecules from across the scent spectrum. When two mixtures […]

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November 20, 2012

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CNES CoRoT Satellite Suffers Computer Failure

corot-orbit

The French space agency CNES has announced that the Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits (CoRoT) satellite is on its last legs. The satellite suffered a computer failure on November 2. The spacecraft is still functioning, but it can no longer retrieve data from its 30-centimeter telescope, which has spotted expolanets by looking for transits, a […]

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November 20, 2012

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Paralyzed Dog Walks Again Thanks to Stem Cell Transplant

dachshund-xray

Researchers have used pet dogs, with real injuries, to test a treatment that involved transplanting cells from the lining of the nose and injecting them into the spine in an attempt to bridge the damage in their spinal column. The scientists published their findings in the journal Brain. This was the first randomized controlled trial […]

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