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"Long before it's in the papers"
October 31, 2014

 = EXCLUSIVES = 

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Smarter mice with a “humanized” gene?
In­tro­duc­ing a “hu­man­ized” ver­sion of a lan­guage-linked gene in­to mice ac­cel­er­ates their learn­ing, ac­cord­ing to a stu­dy.

At least one in 25 death-sentenced people are innocent, study claims
In new work, re­search­ers argue that the false-con­vic­tion rate is not every­where as un­know­able as is some­times said.


Scientists take step toward usable fusion energy
Sci­en­tists are clos­er than ever to us­ing the pro­cess that pow­ers the Sun to pro­duce en­er­gy, says a re­port to ap­pear in the re­search jour­nal Na­ture.

An evolutionary role for “Jackass”-like stunts?
Risk-prone people are per­ceived as larg­er and strong­er, new re­search finds.

 

DNA “markings” may transmit learned experiences
So-called epige­net­ic changes have gar­nered in­creas­ing at­tent­ion as a route by which na­ture trans­mits traits across gen­er­a­tions.

Love your enemy? Hormone spray may help with that, too
Inhaling the hor­mone oxy­to­cin may make peo­ple em­pa­thize more with out­siders, a stu­dy sug­gests.

 

Scientists probe how Inca kids were drugged for sacrifice
Chil­dren of the an­cient In­ca Em­pire may have con­sumed in­ten­si­fying doses of al­co­hol and co­ca leaf for as long as a year be­fore a ri­tual slaugh­ter.

A reputation sealed? Finding suggests T. rex hunted for real
A toothy dis­cov­ery sug­gests the icon­ic di­no­saur Ty­ran­no­saur­us rex was a real hunt­er af­ter all—not a mere scav­en­ger.

 





Study explores how power gets to the brain
Pow­er may or may not cor­rupt, but it does change you. New re­search ex­plores what hap­pens in the brain as that takes place.

Studies may have overestimated our generosity
Scientists recre­ated a game of­ten used to as­sess peo­ple’s al­tru­ism—but this time there was a twist, and a darker re­sult.

 

Already-approved drug tied to longer, healthy lives in mice
The first drug to suc­cess­fully ex­tend the life­span of nor­mal lab mice al­so does so in a way that pro­longs their healthy ex­ist­ence, a stu­dy sug­gests.

Men want status from romantic relationships, research finds
A set of surveys suggests men and women get self-es­teem from rela­t­ion­ships in dif­fer­ent ways.

 

Killed twice in 1600s, hoax “dragon” slain again—in creationism dispute
Scient­ists say they’ve proven what some suspected three centuries ago: the swamp dra­gon from Rome was a hoax. And maybe now it mat­ters more.

Yes, gentlemen, size matters—but something else matters more, study finds
Scientists as­sessed how pe­nis size, body height and body shape inter­act to in­flu­ence fe­male rank­ings of male al­lure.

 

Babies may be drawn to those who mistreat the “different”
Re­searchers report new evi­dence that hard-to-eradi­cate bia­ses based on race, sex and other diff­er­ences take root early in life.

Your brain cells may be capable of outliving you—by a lot
New findings make scient­ists hope­ful that if hu­man life­span is increased, brain cells will coop­erate by liv­ing long­er accord­ing­ly.

 

Chimps found to play fairness game like people
In some im­por­tant ways, chimps may have more hu­man-like con­cepts of fair­ness than pre­vi­ously rec­og­nized, bi­ol­o­gists say.

For signs of life, some strange planetary systems may be most promising
Atmos­pheric chem­icals be­tray­ing the pre­sence of alien life might be de­tect­able around white dwarf stars, a study says.

Did some Neanderthals learn advanced skills from “moderns”?
Sur­pris­ing­ly, some Ne­an­der­thal peo­ple seem to have made body or­na­ments and soph­is­t­icated tools, a study re­ports.


Theory that cooking gave us big brains gains support
New research backs up a the­o­ry that the ad­vent of cook­ing al­most two mill­ion years ago en­abled hu­mans to get smart­er.

Friendliness to minorities may often be a performance—a fragile one
Many whites be­have ex­tra nicely to mi­nor­i­ties, but it’s often an act that ar­ises from a sense of obli­ga­t­ion, new re­search sug­gests.


 

Gospel of Matthew linked to trail of bizarre self-mutilations
A particu­lar set of verses from a book in the Bi­ble has crea­ted con­stern­ation among some med­i­cal pro­fes­sionals.

“Racial purity” DNA testing slammed as perversion, but halting practice might not be easy
A pol­i­ti­cian has sparked out­rage af­ter re­port­ed­ly tak­ing a DNA test for a shock­ing pur­pose. But just where the red line lies is not wide­ly agreed up­on.

Moral “taint” still seeps along familial lines
We are still blamed to some de­gree for the mis­deeds of our rel­a­tives, ac­cord­ing to a set of newly re­ported sur­veys.


American heads have been changing shape, but why?
White people’s heads in the Unit­ed States have got­ten taller and nar­row­er since the days the steam­ship was king, re­search indi­cates.

Cold case solved? Study probes riddle of sinking beer bubbles
Bub­bles in dark beer are seen to slide down­ward, iron­ic­ally, be­cause they’re trying to head up­ward, a study re­ports.

Move elephants into Australia, scientist proposes
Does the Land Down Under need an in­fu­sion of large mam­mals to solve its ec­o­log­i­cal and wild­fire prob­lems?


Was blackmail essential for marriage to evolve?
A study takes a cold new look at a cus­tom as ancient and firmly estab­lished as it is sa­cred to mil­lions.

A human bias against creativity is hindering science, research claims
Most of us love crea­ti­vi­ty—until it ac­tually comes knock­ing, some psy­cho­lo­gists say.

Pluto has even colder “twin” of similar size, studies find
A “d­warf plan­et” or­bit­ing our sun three times fur­ther away than Plu­to is about the size of that better-known, frig­id world, as­tro­no­mers say.

 

Could simple anger have taught people to cooperate?
A new study chal­lenges one of the lead­ing the­o­ries as a sol­u­tion for an evo­lu­tion­ary puz­zle.

 = MORE NEWS = 

* * * LATEST * * *

 

Strange, fanged deer re-appears in Afghanistan
An endangered deer with vampire-like fangs lives on in north­east Af­ghan­i­stan, sci­en­tists re­port.

Why did dinos have feathers long before flight?
Display and commun­ica­tion may have spurred the initial evo­lution of feath­ers, a fea­ture later passed down to birds.

 

Comeback seen for endangered giant tortoise
A popula­t­ion of tor­toises was down to just 15 a half-cen­tu­ry ago on the Galapa­gos is­land of Es­pañola.

Study: isolating only “likely non-survivors” can stop Ebola
Promptly iso­lat­ing just the sick­est pa­tients would elim­i­nate the ep­i­dem­ic in Li­be­ria, re­search sug­gests.

 

Lizards seen evolving in just 15 years
Sci­en­tists have doc­u­mented rapid ev­o­lu­tion of a na­tive Flor­i­da liz­ard spe­cies as a re­sult of pres­sure from an in­vad­ing liz­ard.

Dinosaur stabbing said to reveal stegosaurs’ deadly skill
A huge hole in a predator’s skeleton may show that a seem­ingly lumber­ing plant-eater could use its tail spikes with lethal effect. 

 

Feeling of seeing world in detail is illusory, scientists say
The brain uses mem­o­ry to fill in a lot of blanks, a study pro­poses.

Hint of dark matter found?
Sci­en­tists have measured a sig­nal that they say might come from the mys­te­ri­ous sub­stance de­tected so far only through its gra­vity.

 

Family tree traces evolution of mysterious birds
Cotingas are some of the bright­est, loud­est, oddest-look­ing, least-under­stood birds.

Birds beat turbulence by folding wings, study finds
Re­search­ers ex­am­ined how soar­ing birds manage to fly in tur­bu­lence that would keep a light air­craft ground­ed.

“Dark matter” may be half what was thought—at least locally
Astronomers made a new meas­ure­ment of “dark mat­ter” in our gal­axy, in­visible stuff de­tected only through its gra­vit­a­tion­al pull.

 

Sharing our “epic” moments may cost us
Talking about ordin­ary stuff might help you feel more in­cluded in a con­ver­sa­tion than re­count­ing the ex­cep­tional, psych­ol­o­gists have found.

Hungry black hole found to eat faster than thought possible
It’s swal­low­ing star ma­terial in an amount esti­mated as the equiv­a­lent of 100 bil­lion bil­lion hot dogs a min­ute.

Feeling down? Head to Facebook, find someone worse off
People in a bad mood were found more likely to search sites to find friends who are do­ing even worse than they are.

 

Mystery fossils seem to represent tiny balls of cells
No one knows quite where they sit on the evo­lu­tion­ary tree of life.

“Cousin” planets reported found
As­tro­no­mers say they have found two plan­ets, each or­bit­ing one star—while the stars or­bit each oth­er.

Out in space, the most complex organic molecule yet
The find­ing sug­gests an eas­ier path to the form­ation of life on ma­ny planets, the re­search­ers ar­gue.

 

Anomaly in spacecraft flybys puzzles scientists
The laws of gra­vity don’t seem to be work­ing ex­actly as they should around Earth.

An image, or its inter­pre­ta­tion? New­found brain cells show sur­pris­ing role
Scientists combined im­ages of celeb­rities to make view­ers’ brains do a little extra work. Aris­totle would have ap­pre­ciated the results, they say.

Earth’s water is older than the Sun, scientists claim
The find­ings may indi­cate that wa­ter is com­mon in plane­tary sys­tems.

 

Scientists report first “semiaquatic” dino
A huge di­no­saur dis­cov­ered over a cen­tu­ry ago turns out to have been adapted for liv­ing and hunt­ing in a wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment, sci­en­tists say.

Study: population won’t stabilize this century
New pro­ject­ions con­tra­dict past pre­dic­tions of a peak near 2050.

Not our fault chimps kill each other, study concludes
Chimps’ evo­lu­tion­ary close­ness to hu­mans has fueled interest in why these apes be­come viol­ent, and what that might say about us.

 

Parrot found to “teach” tool use to others
Goffin’s cock­a­toos can not only make and use tools but al­so teach oth­ers to do it, a study con­cludes.

Study suggests delaying aging may be easier than thought
Research on people and fruit flies has re­newed att­en­tion on a pro­cess of cell­ular “garb­age dis­posal.”

Deadly sophistication seen in trout-eel hunting partnership
The coral trout’s col­la­bo­ra­tive skills ri­val those of the much bigger-brained chimp, sci­ent­ists say.

 

New dino described as largest weighable specimen ever
Sci­en­tists say they have dis­cov­ered a fos­sil of the larg­est land an­i­mal whose weight can be ac­cu­rately cal­cu­lat­ed.

Cutting carbs may beat cutting fat
A study sug­gests peo­ple could re­duce their weight and heart dis­ease risk with­out a low-fat diet.

 

How the brain chooses between truth and lies
Most of us want to be hon­est, but at some point, we’ll lie if the ben­e­fit is great enough.

Training might teach the brain to prefer healthy food
It may be pos­si­ble to train the brain to pre­fer healthy low-calorie foods over un­healthy higher-calorie foods, re­search sug­gests.





Movie recreates in detail past visit to far-off moon
Sci­en­tists work­ing with NASA re­stored 1989 foot­age from the Voy­ager 2 space­craft to make a map and film of Nep­tune's moon Tri­ton.

Tiny “cannon” shoots single light particles
The in­ven­tion is part of an at­tempt to de­vel­op su­per-fast com­put­ers us­ing pho­tons.

Sheepdogs found to use simple rules to herd sheep
Sci­en­tists used GPS tech­nol­o­gy to un­der­stand how sheep­dogs do their jobs so well.





Past global warmings were good times for sea crocs
Past spells of nat­u­rally caused warm­ing were gold­en op­por­tun­i­ties for sea croc­o­diles to spread, ac­cord­ing to a stu­dy.

World Science Archive
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Butterfly death throes This Hub­ble Space Te­le­scope im­age shows the But­ter­fly Neb­u­la, an im­mense cloud of hot gas blast­ed in­to space by the death throes of a star. The struc­ture lies rough­ly 3,800 light-years away from us with­in the Milky Way. It was formed when a star around five times the weight of our Sun be­came a red gi­ant, ejected its out­er lay­ers, and be­came in­tense­ly hot. Its dis­tinc­tive shape clas­si­fies it as a bi­po­lar neb­u­la, where fast-mov­ing gas can es­cape more eas­i­ly from the poles of the dy­ing star than from around its equa­tor. The ob­ser­va­tions mak­ing up this com­pos­ite im­age were tak­en in op­ti­cal and ultra­violet light on Ju­ly 27, 2009, us­ing Hub­ble's Wide Field Cam­era 3. (Cred­it: NA­SA, ESA, & Hub­ble SM4 ERO Team)

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News alerts
* Scientists still waiting for clear signs of ozone hole healing (Reuters)

* 3 in US win chemistry Nobel for computer models (AP)

* Nobel prize for Higgs boson discovery (FT.com)
* NASA Mars rover finds no sign of methane, telltale sign of life (Reuters)

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