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Showing posts from March 9, 2016

Mastication adaptation: easier chewing benefited human ancestors

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A study in which people chewed on pieces of raw goat meat and vegetables smacked with a rock is shedding light on how changes long ago in the way our ancestors dined paved the way for physiological advances that helped make us who were are today. Scientists said on Wednesday the advent of meat-eating combined with the use of simple tone tools to make food easier to consume meant that members of the human lineage about 2.5 million years ago all of a sudden had less need for chewing. Without needing to spend much of the day chewing food as chimpanzees do, our ancestors underwent significant evolutionary changes, acquiring smaller teeth, jaws and chewing muscles while losing the snout possessed by their predecessors.


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Aaaaaaah, Really? You Would Die If You Didn't Sigh

Now, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Stanford University have identified the source of sighing, which they classify as a life-sustaining reflex that prevents air sacs located in the lungs, called alveoli, from collapsing. "A human lung has as much surface area as a tennis court, and so that's all folded inside your chest," study co-author Jack Feldman, a professor of neurobiology at UCLA, told Live Science. "The way that nature did it is that there's 500 million little air sacs called alveoli.

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Surfers Invent Floating Trash Bin to Clean Up World's Oceans

Two Australian surfers are trying to tackle the planet's water pollution problem head-on, by developing a device that functions as an automated floating trash bin for the world's oceans. The device, called the Seabin, can be placed in the water, attached to a floating dock in a marina, and is connected to an onshore water pump.


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NASA plans to fix Mars spacecraft leak then launch in 2018

NASA plans to repair a Mars spacecraft that was grounded in December because of a leak in its primary science instrument, putting the mission back on track for another launch attempt in 2018, the U.S. space agency said on Wednesday. The spacecraft, a satellite known as InSight, was designed to study the deep interior of Mars, information that will help scientists figure out how the planet, and other rocky planets such as Earth, formed and evolved. The space agency said it was reviewing how much the repair would cost, but the project’s lead scientist last week estimated the price tag would be about $150 million above the $675 million already budgeted.


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Could New Planets Form Around Old Stars, Too? (Video, Images)

The newly released image, which was captured by the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in Chile, shows a dusty disk around an old double star called IRAS 08544-4431, which lies about 4,000 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails). "Our observations and modeling open a new window to study the physics of these disks, as well as stellar evolution in double stars," study co-author Hans Van Winckel, of the Instituut voor Sterrenkunde in Belgium, said in a statement. The scientists used several VLTI telescopes, an associated instrument called the Precision Integrated-Optics Near-infrared Imaging ExpeRiment (PIONIER) and a new high-speed infrared detector to take the photo.


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Israeli placental cell therapy could cure radiation sickness

By Elana Ringler Israeli biotech firm Pluristem Therapeutics said it hopes its anti-radiation therapy will protect Fukushima workers decommissioning nuclear reactors and save lives in the future if ever a similar catastrophe occurs. The Haifa-based company said they have developed a placenta-based cell therapy injection that can fully cure patients with multiple organ failure caused by high radiation exposure. Pluristem Therapeutics' Vice President of Medical and Clinical Affairs Dr. Esther Lukasiewicz Hagai said cells grown from placentas donated by women who had undergone a C-section, are harvested to create a cocktail of therapeutic proteins which combat potentially lethal damage to the lungs, skin, bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract caused by radiation exposure.  "We've been investigating the placenta for the last decade and we have discovered that the placenta cells have unique properties that can help the body to recover after exposure to high level of radiation…

Shades of Luke Skywalker? Bionic Fingertip Lets Amputee Feel Textures

Using a bionic fingertip, an amputee for the first time has been able to feel rough and smooth textures in real-time, as though the fingertip were naturally connected to his hand. After Luke Skywalker got his hand cut off during a duel with Darth Vader in "Star Wars," the young Jedi received an artificial hand that helped him both grip and feel again. Doctors immediately amputated the appendage after Sørensen was brought to a hospital.


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Apple vs. FBI: What's Really Going On?

Apple is embroiled in a battle with the FBI over an iPhone that was used by one of the shooters involved in the December attack that killed 14 and wounded 22 in San Bernardino, California. The two sides are involved in an ongoing court case over Apple's refusal to comply with a Feb. 16 order from a federal judge that demanded that the tech giant build custom software to help the FBI break into an iPhone 5c given to slain attacker Syed Rizwan Farook by his employer. Here's what you need to know about Apple's fight with the FBI.

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Monkeys Move Wheelchairs Using Just Their Thoughts

Monkeys equipped with wireless brain implants were able to control robotic wheelchairs using only their thoughts, according to a new study. The brain waves of two rhesus macaques were used to direct motor commands on a motorized wheelchair. The monkeys were initially trained to navigate the wheelchair by simply watching it move, the researchers said.


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Solar Eclipses and Thailand's Kings: A Curious History

Skywatchers in Southeast Asia are being treated to a special celestial show today — a total solar eclipse that will darken the skies over Sumatra, Borneo and other islands in the Pacific. This will be the third time Euarchukiati has witnessed an eclipse of the sun, and he has made his way to the Indonesian island of Belitung in the Java Sea, about midway between Sumatra and Borneo, for the occasion. As a historian, solar eclipses are of special interest to Euarchukiati, who has written a book as well as many articles and podcasts on the topic.


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'Overdosing' on Exercise May Be Toxic to the Heart

Extreme exercise may be toxic to your heart, according to a provocative review of studies set to appear in an upcoming issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Pushing your body to the max day after day can stress your heart and raise your risk for a type of abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, which ultimately can lead to heart failure or a stroke, according to the review, which analyzed 12 studies on A-fib in athletes and endurance runners. But before you fall off your sofa laughing at the ambitious among us, note that not exercising at all is far worse for your heart than overdoing it, doctors emphasize.

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Inhaled 'Poppers' Can Lead to Vision Problems

A 52-year-old man in Scotland who inhaled recreational drugs called poppers developed vision problems that have lasted for months, and the impairment may even become permanent, according to a new report of his case. Although the man has since recovered his vision to some extent, it remained reduced in both eyes at his last follow-up appointment about two months ago, said Dr. Joshua Luis, one of the doctors who treated the man and co-authored the report. "He may not be able to read as fine print as he used to, but it shouldn't have too much of an impact on day-to-day life," Luis told Live Science.

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Man's Routine Dental Procedure Causes Life-Threatening Infection

A man in Pennsylvania developed a rare and potentially life-threatening infection after a routine dental exam and teeth cleaning, according to a new report of his case. The 57-year-old man recovered from the infection after treatment, said the doctors who treated the man and wrote the report. The type of infection that the man had is very rare, and the chances of getting this type of infection during a dental procedure are very low, said Dr. Faton Bytyci, a resident physician at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who treated the man and co-authored the report.

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Going places: machine beats top Go player in another AI milestone

SEOUL (Reuters) - Google's AlphaGo computer program on Wednesday won the first of a series of five matches against one of the world's best players of the complex board game, Go, marking a new milestone in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol, an 18-time international title winner, conceded defeat in a match broadcast live, with one Youtube stream watched by tens of thousands of people worldwide, and domestic cable gave frequent updates. ...


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