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Showing posts from March 2, 2016

Robot roaches to the rescue

"In order to understand how they can go in these little spaces we actually did CT scans to look inside and we found no hard part," said Full.  "Exoskeletons in general are composed of stiff but not too stiff plates and tubes connected by compliant membranes and those can all be compressed but still function effectively," he added.  According to study leader Kaushik Jayaram, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, roaches can run nearly full speed, even when squeezing through an area that compresses their body down to half of its size. A fancy name for what basically amounts to a robotic roach.  "It's palm sized, it's bigger so it can contain more payload, sensors and things in the future and it can be compressed in and it can still run in that confined space much like what we see in the animal," said Full.  'Ick' factor aside.

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Ignore the Bad Advice — All Kids Need Autism Screening (Op-Ed)

Alycia Halladay is the chief science officer of the Autism Science Foundation. Universal screening for autism improves the lives of kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disorders. This practice needs to continue uninterrupted, despite a statement the United States Preventative Services Task Force made recently in JAMA.

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Why Did Ancient Europeans Just Disappear 14,500 Years Ago?

Some of Europe's earliest inhabitants mysteriously vanished toward the end of the last ice age and were largely replaced by others, a new genetic analysis finds. The genetic turnover was likely the result of a rapidly changing climate, which the earlier inhabitants of Europe couldn't adapt to quickly enough, said the study's co-author, Cosimo Posth, an archaeogenetics doctoral candidate at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Europe has a long and tangled genetic legacy.


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Man Gets Rare Strain of HIV Despite Taking Antiviral Pills

In the first documented case of its kind, a man taking an effective antiviral medication still contracted a drug-resistant strain of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a new report finds. The 43-year-old man in Canada was taking Truvada, the medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce HIV risk among HIV-negative people, according to the FDA. The case suggests that people taking Truvada can still get HIV if they're exposed to a strain of the virus that is resistant to the two antiviral medications contained in the pills — tenofovir and emtricitabine, the researchers said.

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Hope for Overeaters? Feeling Full May Have a Chemical 'Switch'

It may be possible to flip a chemical "switch" to turn on a feeling of fullness, a new study in mice suggests. In the study, researchers found that a certain enzyme plays a role in how the brain responds to the hormone leptin, which normally signals that the body has consumed enough food and we should stop eating, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications on Monday (Feb. 29). Leptin is a hormone that is released by fat tissue and binds to leptin receptors in the brain.

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Unilever CEO: Why Sustainability Is No Longer a Choice (Op-Ed)

Paul Polman has been CEO of Unilever since January 2009. In 2016, the U.N. Secretary-General asked Polman to be a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group, tasked with promoting action on the 2030 Agenda. Polman contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.


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T. Rex Was Likely an Invasive Species

Tyrannosaurus rex, king of the dinosaur age, wasn't a North American native as many experts had previously thought, a new study suggests. Instead, the giant tyrannosaur was likely an invasive species from Asia that dispersed into western North America once the opportunity presented itself, paleontologists said. "It's possible that T. rex was an immigrant species from Asia," said study co-researcher Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


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New satellite program aims to cut down illegal logging in real time

By Chris Arsenault TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Taken from outer space, the satellite images show illegal loggers cutting a road into a protected area in Peru, part of a criminal enterprise attempting to steal millions of dollars worth of ecological resources. With the launch of a new satellite mapping system on Wednesday, governments and environmentalists will have access to hard evidence of these types of crimes almost in real time as part of a push by scientists to improve monitoring of tropical deforestation. Prior to the launch of the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) alerts, researchers would have to manually track images of logging in specific areas.

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Experts to Congress: Gravitational Waves Discovery Will Help Science, Humanity

On Feb. 18, members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) testified before Congress about the Feb. 11 announcement that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) had directly detected gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. "The window to this new world of gravitational waves has just been cracked open," said David Shoemaker, project leader for Advanced LIGO and director of the LIGO Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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