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Showing posts from February 22, 2016

Ancient armored mammal from Argentina was a huge armadillo

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DNA coaxed out of a 12,000-year-old fossil from Argentina is providing unique insight into one of the strangest Ice Age giants: a tank-like mammal the size of a small car with a bulbous bony shell and a spiky, club-shaped tail. Scientists said on Monday their genetic research confirmed that the creature, named Doedicurus, was part of an extinct lineage of gigantic armadillos. Doedicurus was a plant-eater that weighed about a ton and roamed the pampas and savannas of South America, vanishing about 10,000 years ago along with many other large Ice Age animals.


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Will the World's Largest Supercollider Spawn a Black Hole? (Op-Ed)

Don Lincoln is a senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab, the United States' biggest Large Hadron Collider research institution. The most commonly mentioned is the idea that the LHC can make a black hole.


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To Prevent Another Dust Bowl, the US Must Sow the Right Seeds

Diane Banegas currently works in the area of science delivery for the research arm of the U.S. Forest Service. This is especially true if the land is in an arid region with less than 11 inches (28 centimeters) of annual precipitation.


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Spiders Look Bigger If You’re Afraid of Them

"We found that although individuals with both high and low arachnophobia rated spiders as highly unpleasant, only the highly fearful participants overestimated the spider size," Tali Leibovich, a researcher in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev in Israel, said in a statement. One day, Noga Cohen, a graduate student of clinical-neuropsychology at BGU, noticed a spider crawling along. Leibovich, who has arachnophobia, asked Cohen to get rid of the "big" spider.


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Want to Form a New Habit? Don't Overthink

The reason, said study researcher Jennifer Labrecque, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, is that habits are encoded in the brain by the procedural memory system, which doesn't involve much conscious input. "When you try to engage two memory systems at once, they just interfere with each other," said Labrecque, who presented her findings in January at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego. The results have implications for people who are trying to learn new habits, Labrecque said.

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Scientists find how "superbugs" build their defences

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in Britain have found how drug-resistant bacteria build and maintain a defensive wall -- a discovery that paves the way for the development of new drugs to break through the barrier and kill the often deadly "superbugs". In recent decades, bacteria resistant to multiple drugs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridium difficile, have grown into a global health threat, while superbug strains of infections like tuberculosis and gonorrhoea have become untreatable. The World Health Organization has warned that many antibiotics could become redundant this century, leaving patients vulnerable to deadly infections and threatening the future of medicine.


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Latest in smart textiles - a musical tablecloth

By Jim Drury A Swedish company has developed a tablecloth with both a drum kit and piano keys printed on the fabric - turning dinner into a musical recital. Li Guo and Mats Johansson from Smart Textiles, a technology company based in the southern Swedish city of Boras, are behind the smart fabric creation.

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Scientists find how 'superbugs' build their defences

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in Britain have found how drug-resistant bacteria build and maintain a defensive wall -- a discovery that paves the way for the development of new drugs to break through the barrier and kill the often deadly "superbugs". In recent decades, bacteria resistant to multiple drugs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridium difficile, have grown into a global health threat, while superbug strains of infections like tuberculosis and gonorrhoea have become untreatable. The World Health Organization has warned that many antibiotics could become redundant this century, leaving patients vulnerable to deadly infections and threatening the future of medicine.

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Mini-Brains Allow Scientists to Study Brain Disorders

This is your bedbug-size brain on drugs. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore are growing "mini-brains" — smaller than the period at the end of this sentence — that may contain enough human brain cells to be useful in studying drug addiction and other neurological diseases. Labs from around the world have been racing to grow these and other organoids — microscopic, yet primitively functional versions of livers, kidneys, hearts and brains grown from real human cells.

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Coffee Pot: What Happens When You Mix Marijuana & Caffeine?

You can now add coffee to the growing list of foods and drinks that are available as products infused with marijuana. But what happens when you combine two psychoactive substances: marijuana and caffeine? The effects of using these two substances in combination have not been heavily researched, said Dr. Scott Krakower, the assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New Hyde Park, New York.

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Study: Female Coders Better Than Men, But Perceived As Worse

Female coders who submitted proposed changes to publicly available and freely modifiable software through a platform called GitHub had their work accepted more often than men did, according to a new study. Past studies have found differences between men and women's behavior in collaborative online projects. For instance, a 2013 survey found that just over 10 percent of open-source code contributors were women.

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Ant Warfare: Fossils Reveal Insects Locked in Mortal Combat

"Up until now, the oldest [termite] soldiers that we knew about were 20 million years old, so we have 80 million years longer of a record," said study researcher Philip Barden, a postdoctoral scientist at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. The Burmese amber specimens, which are housed in the AMNH collection, are the oldest evidence of castes. Termite colonies today, just like in the Cretaceous, are made up of reproductive individuals with wings, workers responsible for constructing tunnels and collecting food and soldiers responsible for defense.


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These 30-Million-Year-Old Fossilized Flowers May Be Toxic

Delicate, though possibly deadly, flowers trapped in amber for some 30 million years have been discovered, scientists report. The fossilized plants are asterids, which make up about one-third of the world's flowering plants. The two flower specimens, which have been named Strychnos electri, belong to the same genus as poisonous plants that have been used to make lethal, paralyzing substances like strychnine and curare.


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'Superman Memory Crystal' Could Store Data for 13.8 Billion Years

Copies of the Magna Carta, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the King James Bible have now been digitally stored on a piece of glass known as a "Superman memory crystal" that has the capacity to save huge amounts of information for up to 13.8 billion years, researchers say. Using a method of laser etching, researchers at the University of Southampton, in the United Kingdom, archived these documents, along with Isaac Newton's scientific treatise "Opticks," on coin-size pieces of glass. "It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations," Peter Kazansky, a professor at the university's Optoelectronics Research Centre, said in a statement.


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3,000-Year-Old Wooden Wheel Found in Doomed Bronze-Age Town

A 3,000-year-old wooden wheel has been discovered in the remains of a prehistoric town that collapsed into a river in east England. Archaeologists said the Bronze Age wheel is the largest and best-preserved of its kind, dating back to1100-800 B.C. Measuring about 3 feet (1 meter) across, and with its hub still intact, the wheel was unearthed during a dig at the Must Farm site in Peterborough, according to an announcement from Historic England, a heritage organization that is partly funding the excavation.


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HoloLens 'Teleports' NASA Scientist to Mars in TED Talk Demo

Something amazing happened at the TED2016 conference today: HoloLens developer Alex Kipman "teleported" a NASA scientist onto the stage, on the surface of Mars. Jeff Norris of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was physically across the street from the auditorium in Vancouver, Canada, but with the HoloLens cameras, a hologram of him (a three-dimensional, talking hologram, which is made entirely of light) was beamed onto the stage where a virtual Mars surface was waiting. Kipman demoed the HoloLens for the audience and, for the first time, revealed this new holographic teleportation aspect of the technology.


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