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Showing posts from January 4, 2016

Unusual Case of Brain Disease Found in Former College Football Player

A young man who played football in college and suffered many concussions had already developed a degenerative disease of the brain that is usually seen in older people by the time he died at age 25 from a heart problem, according to a new report of his case. The brain disease, called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), occurs in people who have experienced repetitive trauma to the brain, and can only be diagnosed by autopsy, the researchers said. The man's case was unusual because widespread signs of CTE in the brain are rare in people of this age, although smaller signs that the disease is developing have been seen in people as young as 17, the researchers said in their report.

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Local Geology Makes Sunday's Earthquake in India Complex

A magnitude-6.7 earthquake shook Manipur state in India Sunday (Jan. 3), collapsing buildings and causing at least 10 deaths, according to news reports. The geology of the area is particularly complex, said Harley Benz, the scientist-in-charge at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado. "This is not the case of something like the San Andreas, where you have a well-defined fault and it's shallow and it has a relatively small width to it," Benz told Live Science.


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What 2016 Holds for the Mysterious World of Physics

The New Year may also be a year of discoveries for physicists plumbing the deepest mysteries of matter. Since 2013, when scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) confirmed they had discovered the Higgs boson, the particle that lends others mass, physics has been in a kind of limbo. From finding new particles to explaining dark matter, here are some of the things physicists are most excited for in 2016.


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4 New Superheavy Elements Land on Periodic Table

Four new elements will join more than a hundred others on the periodic table of the elements, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced last week. IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements," Jan Reedijk, president of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC, said in a statement. Right now, the new elements have placeholder names and symbols that denote the elements' atomic numbers.

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Frutarom invests in algae startup for food, cosmetic products

One of the world's largest flavoring and specialty natural ingredient companies is investing in algae to enhance its food and cosmetic products. Frutarom Industries said on Monday it bought half of a biotech startup called Algalo, which is based on a kibbutz, or communal farm, in northern Israel, that developed a way to efficiently cultivate, harvest and process a variety of algae. The algae yield strong antioxidants, lipids and proteins that can help cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as bone structure, Israel-based Frutarom said.

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Tip for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions: Turn Them into Questions

If you normally have trouble sticking to your New Year's resolutions, a new study may help: Psychologists have found that asking questions and then answering them, instead of making statements, is one key to sticking with your promises. The studies were looking into this effect of asking questions in a variety of contexts, such as eating healthier or going out to vote. In most of the studies, the participants were questioned by another person, and only had to answer the question, said Eric Spangenberg, co-author on the paper and professor of marketing and psychology at the University of California, Irvine.

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Brain Circuit Linked to Depression Found in Rats

The brain circuits responsible for the inability to feel pleasure have now been discovered in rats, a finding that could help researchers better understand the mechanisms underlying depression and schizophrenia. Previous brain-imaging research suggested that anhedonia might be linked to a part of the brain that sits just behind the forehead known as the medial prefrontal cortex. Now, scientists have conducted experiments on the medial prefrontal cortex of rats.

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Gorgeous Images Reveal Parasitic Plant in 3-Way Symbiotic Relationship

Scientists have found a bizarre food triangle between three different organisms lurking deep in the Peruvian Amazon. The cast of characters includes a yellow parasitic plant that bursts forth like boils from tree bark, a caterpillar that feeds on that plant, and an ant that drinks the sweet liquid that the caterpillar produces in a special gland near its neck. "It's really a weird relationship, I've never seen anything like it before," said Aaron Pomerantz, an entomologist who works with a rainforest expedition company at the Refugio Amazonas near the Tambopata Research Center in Peru.


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Tough, 3D-Printed Ceramics Could Help Build Hypersonic Planes

Strong, flawless ceramics in various shapes, including spirals and honeycombs, can now can be created using 3D printing, researchers say. One potential strategy for making ceramics that have complex shapes is 3D printing. A 3D printer usually works by depositing layers of material, just as ordinary printers lay down ink, except 3D printers can also lay down flat layers on top of each other to build 3D objects.


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Tiny Chameleons' Tongues Pack a Powerful Punch

Having super-spring-loaded tongues lets them capture more prey, said study author Christopher Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University. Researchers already knew that chameleon tongues are incredible things. Chameleons don't use muscle power alone to snap at passing flies.


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Direct Imaging: The Next Big Step in the Hunt for Exoplanets

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope revealed more than 4,600 planetary candidates over its brief lifetime. When almost 350 exoplanet scientists gathered in Hawaii earlier this month, Space.com asked several of them what they were most looking forward to. "The new technique now is direct imaging," Sara Seager, a professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Space.com.


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