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Showing posts from August 11, 2016

Scientists estimate a Greenland shark lived about 400 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists now calculate that Greenland sharks are Earth's oldest living animals with backbones.


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Long in the tooth: the Greenland shark may live four centuries

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Greenland shark, a big and slow-moving deep-ocean predator that prowls the frigid waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic, can claim the distinction of being the planet's longest-living vertebrate, with a lifespan perhaps reaching about 400 years. Its extremely sluggish growth rate, about four-tenths of a inch (1 cm) per year, had already tipped off scientists that it lived a very long time, and research published on Thursday calculated the Greenland shark's lifespan for the first time. Danish marine biologist Julius Nielsen said radiocarbon dating that analyzed the shark's eye lens found that the oldest of 28 sharks studied was likely about 392 years old, with 95 percent certainty of an age range between 272 and 512 years.


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Scientists Identify 20 Alien Worlds Most Likely to Be Like Earth

An international team of researchers has identified the 20 most Earth-like worlds among the more than 4,000 exoplanet candidates that NASA's Kepler space telescope has detected to date, scientists report in a new study. All 20 potential "second Earths" lie within the habitable zones of their sun-like stars — meaning they should be able to harbor liquid water on their surfaces — and are likely rocky, the researchers said. Identifying these Earth-like planets is important in the hunt for alien life, said study lead author Stephen Kane, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at San Francisco State University (SFSU).


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What3words keeps Olympics visitors on track in Rio

(Reuters) - An innovative addressing system that assigns every patch of earth in the world an easy to remember three-word address is being used to help visitors get around at the Olympics in Rio de Jeneiro. London-based company what3words has divided the world up into 57 trillion 3-by-3 meter squares, each with their own unique three word address. In developing countries where address systems are often erratic and inconsistent, what3words could be vital for delivering aid such as medicine to an exact location.

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In Surprise Recovery, Paralyzed Patients Move After Using Brain Devices

Several patients who had been paralyzed in their lower limbs for years have now regained some feeling and movement in their limbs, after learning to control a robotic exoskeleton with their brain, a new study says. The findings were unexpected — researchers had been training the patients to use so-called brain-machine interfaces, including the robotic exoskeleton, with the hope that the patients could one day use the machines to help them walk again. But the training appears to have had additional benefits: After a year, the patients experienced improvements in their ability to perceive sensations of touch below their spinal cord injury, and regained some control over muscles in their lower limbs, the study found.

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Scientists Home in on the Human 'Sociability' Gene

Williams syndrome is caused by a deletion of a specific set of 25 contiguous genes on chromosome 7. The disorder affects about 1 in 10,000 people worldwide, and about 20,000 Americans currently have the condition, according to the Williams Syndrome Association, a patient-advocacy group. People with Williams syndrome tend to crave social interactions.

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Suicide Risk May Rise in People Hospitalized with Infections

People who are hospitalized for infections may face an increased risk of dying from suicide, according to a new study that may suggest a biological basis for some suicidal behavior. The research bolsters an idea that has been gaining more weight among psychiatrists, the hypothesis that suicide is linked to bodily inflammation. "To find evidence confirming some of the current edge-cutting hypotheses in psychiatric research in an epidemiological study of this scale is highly significant," said Lena Brundin, a neurobiologist at the Van Andel Research Institute and Michigan State University, who was not involved in the research but wrote an editorial to accompany it in the journal.


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This Mysterious Gliding Mammal Is a 'Sister' to Primates

This finding could help scientists develop a clearer picture of evolution in the earliest primates, the researchers suggested. There are only two known colugo species — sometimes referred to as "flying lemurs," though they are not lemurs and do not fly — and they are poorly understood for a number of reasons, according to study co-author William Murphy, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University. Colugos' unusual gliding adaptations have hampered efforts to keep them in captivity, Murphy told Live Science in an email.


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Shark-Toothed Power Saw Reveals Most Durable Chompers

In an experiment fit for a horror movie, researchers glued shark teeth to a power saw and ran them through hunks of raw salmon — all in the name of learning how these ferocious predators attack and devour their prey, a new study reports. Though unconventional, the "toothy" saw did the trick, and helped the scientists examine the cutting abilities of differently shaped shark teeth. The sharp teeth of tiger, sandbar and silky sharks dulled quickly, whereas the less sharp teeth of the bluntnose sixgill (Hexanchus griseus) showed less dulling over time, the researchers said.


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First Americans Took Coastal Route to Get to North America

The findings clash with long-held views that the first Americans traveled through the interior of the continent from Siberia into North America, as textbooks have taught for decades. The new study reveals that a huge chunk of the interior land route was either devoid of food or sunk beneath a forbidding lake for hundreds of years after people from the Clovis culture showed up in the Southwest. "It would have been a real barrier to cross," said study co-author Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Cambridge in England.


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Perseid Lore: The Legend and Science Behind the Epic Meteor Shower

Every August, just when many people go vacationing in rural areas where skies are dark, the famous Perseid meteor shower  makes its appearance. In a matter of minutes, Swift ran across an object in the dim constellation of Camelopardalis, the Giraffe, which he believed to be Comet Schmidt, which had been discovered only a couple of weeks earlier.


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Paralysis partly reversed using brain-machine interface training

(Reuters) - Paraplegic patients recovered partial control and feeling in their limbs after training to use a variety of brain-machine interface technologies, according to new research published on Thursday in the journal "Scientific Reports." The researchers followed eight patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries as they adapted to the use of the technologies, which convert brain activity into electric signals that power devices such as exoskeletons and robotic arms. ...

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Tethered drone could fly 'forever’

An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by engineers from the University of Southampton uses a powered tether to provide unlimited flight time for drones. The developers say it could offer a more cost-effective solution for aerial monitoring and surveillance than other options on the market. The tethered drone system was a collaboration between the team from Southampton and security firm Cardinal Security, based in Essex, who wanted to build a low-cost observation platform for both military and civilian security operations.

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