October 15, 2012

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The Health Challenges of the Growing Class of Megacities

guangzhou-dusk-panorama

Megacities are usually defined by a total population in excess of 10 million, with an additional component of population density. Rapid urbanization will take a heavy toll on the infrastructure of local governments, if city planners don’t incorporate ways to tackle air pollution. This was stated in a new report from the World Meteorological Organization […]

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October 15, 2012

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Spider Silk Could be Used to Manufacture Biodegradable Microchips

esm-spider-silk

Silk is used by some insects and spiders to spin webs and cocoons, and now researchers have discovered a way to harness this supermaterial into electronic microchips. The silk is stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar, yet incredibly malleable and flexible. However that’s not all it can do. Scientists will present their findings at this […]

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October 15, 2012

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NASA’s X1 Robotic Exoskeleton to Help Astronauts in Space

the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton

A powered exoskeleton might help astronauts accomplish superhuman tasks in orbit. NASA’s new X1 robotic exoskeleton is a direct spinoff their space-borne Robonaut 2 project, and could help astronauts stay healthy while also allowing paraplegics to walk on Earth. NASA and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) of Pensacola, Florida, as well […]

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October 15, 2012

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Chemical Model Shows How First Life Forms Might Have Packaged RNA

chemical model that mimics a possible step in the formation of cellular life on Earth

Using polymers, scientists at Penn State created primitive cell-like structures that they infused with RNA, demonstrating how the molecules would react chemically under conditions that may have been present on Earth four-billion years ago. Researchers at Penn State University have developed a chemical model that mimics a possible step in the formation of cellular life […]

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October 15, 2012

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Scientists Agree that Classifying Humans as Monogamous or Polygamous is Difficult

primates-monogamy

Computer simulations have been used to examine the sex lives of ancient hominids for many years, by measuring the circumferences of ancient bones, and by applying the rules of evolution and economics. Currently, only 1 in 6 societies enforces monogamy as a rule. There’s evidence of monogamy going back as far as Hammurabi’s Code, dating […]

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October 15, 2012

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Nanosheet-Flower Structure Boosts Energy Storage

germanium-sulfide-nanoflower-solar-cell

This flower-like structure is made out of germanium sulfide (GeS), a semiconductor material that has extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flower may help boost the energy performance for the next generation for storage devices and solar cells. The scientists published their findings in the journal ACS Nano. The GeS nanoflower […]

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October 15, 2012

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Hubble Views Hen 3-1475, A Planetary Nebula in the Making

Hen 3-1475, a planetary nebula in the making.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of Hen 3-1475, a planetary nebula in the making that is located roughly 18,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius. The Universe is filled with mysterious objects. Many of them are as strange as they are beautiful. Among these, planetary nebulae are probably one of […]

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October 12, 2012

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Chinese Soft Shelled Turtle Evacuates Majority of Urea through its Mouth

chinese-soft-shelled-turtle

When Chinese soft-shelled turtles (Pelodiscus sinensis) need to urinate, they open their mouths, according to a new study. As odd as it might seem, this actually makes sense for this amphibious organism. The researchers published their findings in The Journal of Experimental Biology. These reptiles don’t have any gills, but they have structures inside their […]

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October 12, 2012

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Researchers Estimate the Price of Global Biodiversity at $76 Billion

global-diversity-hands

Researchers have estimated that protecting all of the world’s threatened species will cost $4 billion a year. Effectively conserving the significant areas that these species live in will cost more than $76 billion a year. The scientists published their findings in the journal Science. Stuart Butchart, conservation scientist at BirdLife International in Cambridge, UK, admits […]

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October 12, 2012

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Satellites Monitor the Colliding Winds of O-Type Stars

rendering of a colliding wind binary

The combined effort of NASA’s Swift satellite, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton observatory and several ground-based facilities has allowed scientists to X-ray the colliding stellar winds of two massive stars racing in orbit around each other. The hottest and most massive stars don’t live long enough to disperse throughout the galaxy. Instead, they can be […]

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October 12, 2012

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New Genome Interpreter Aims to Address Privacy Concerns and Aid Clinicians

raw-genetic-code

DNA sequencing is getting faster and cheaper, and clinicians are now finding uses for it in their practices. A test for malfunctioning genes might show how to treat a tumor or help diagnose the underlying cause of disease. However, raw sequencing data is too complex for most clinicians to directly analyze, and medical institutions are […]

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October 12, 2012

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High Energy Cosmic Rays Could Give Clues to Whether Our Universe is a Simulation

lattice-simulation

Quantum chromodynamics is the theory that describes the strong nuclear force, how it binds quarks and gluons into protons and neutrons, and how these form nuclei. Simulating quantum chromodynamics on computers is a way to examine what kind of complexity arises from it. The premise is that simulating physics on such a fundamental level is […]

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