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Showing posts from June 13, 2016

Long-Term Marijuana Use Linked to Changes in Brain's Reward System

People who use marijuana for many years respond differently to natural rewards than people who don't use the drug, according to a new study. Researchers found that people who had used marijuana for 12 years, on average, showed greater activity in the brain's reward system when they looked at pictures of objects used for smoking marijuana than when they looked at pictures of a natural reward — their favorite fruits. "This study shows that marijuana disrupts the natural reward circuitry of the brain, making marijuana highly salient to those who use it heavily," study author Dr. Francesca Filbey, an associate professor of behavioral and brain science at the University of Texas at Dallas, said in a statement.

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Filling the Periodic Table: New Names for the Newest Elements

The new names were announced Wednesday (June 8) by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the organization that standardizes chemical element names. The endings of each of the proposed names (such as –ium) reflect the element's place in the periodic table. The rest of the name is specific to each element's discovery, according to a statement that IUPAC issued in recommending the new names.

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'Smart' Blocks Turn Lego Creations into Web-Connected Toys

The new devices, from Israel-based Brixo Smart Toys, use chrome-plated blocks that conduct electricity to connect batteries with electronics. "The human body resists electrical currents from passing though it — it has a high electrical resistance," said Brixo founder Boaz Almog, a quantum physicist at Tel Aviv University.


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Shock and Awe: Eels Leap to Deliver Electrifying Attacks

In a "shocking" turn of events, a researcher has discovered that electric eels can intensify their electrical attacks by leaping from the water to make physical contact with animals that threaten them, according to a new study. The finding provides support for a famous but previously contested observation of a dramatic interaction between electric eels and horses dating back to 1800. When 19th-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt set out to collect electric eels in South America, local fishermen introduced him to the concept of "fishing with horses" — herding 30 hapless horses into the eels' pool to sap their electrical charges so the eels could be gathered safely.


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Genius: Can Anybody Be One?

For Mensa, the exclusive international society comprising members of "high intelligence," someone who scores at or above the 98th percentile on an IQ or other standardized intelligence test could be considered genius. In his new science series "Genius" on PBS, Stephen Hawking is testing out the idea that anyone can "think like a genius." By posing big questions — for instance, "Can we travel through time?" — to people with average intelligence, the famed theoretical physicist aims to find the answers through the sheer power of the human mind. "It's a fun show that tries to find out if ordinary people are smart enough to think like the greatest minds who ever lived," Hawking said in a statement.


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