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Showing posts from September 14, 2016

Endangered Hawaiian crow shows a knack for tool use

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An endangered crow species from Hawaii that already is extinct in the wild displays remarkable proficiency in using small sticks and other objects to wrangle a meal, joining a small and elite group of animals that use tools. Scientists said on Wednesday that in a series of experiments the crow, known by its indigenous Hawaiian name 'Alala, used objects as tools with dexterity to get at hard-to-reach meat, sometimes modifying them by shortening too-long sticks or making tools from raw plant material. "Tool use is exceedingly rare in the animal kingdom," evolutionary ecologist Christian Rutz of the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who led the study published in the journal Nature, said in an email.

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High Tides Raise Odds of Powerful Earthquakes

Gravitational forces that create high tides during full and new moons may also intensify tremors to the point that they become big earthquakes, according to a new study. Ocean tides are caused primarily by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on Earth. The researchers focused on large earthquakes of magnitude-5.5 or greater that occurred over the last two decades.


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Surprise! Another Massive Reef Is Hiding Behind the Great Barrier Reef

Behind Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef hides another large, doughnut-shaped reef, according to a recent study. Using laser data from the Royal Australian Navy, scientists found a large field of unusual circular mounds behind the familiar Great Barrier Reef. "We've known about these geological structures in the northern Great Barrier Reef since the 1970s and '80s, but never before has the true nature of their shape, size and vast scale been revealed," Robin Beaman, a research fellow at James Cook University in Australia and part of the team that discovered the reef, said in a statement.


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Wearable Camera Lets You 'Go Back in Time' to Record Fleeting Moments

A new wearable camera lets you do just that: go back in time, so to speak, to retroactively capture those fleeting moments you thought you missed. Called the Perfect Memory camera, developed by New York-based General Streaming Systems, the 12-megapixel device is pocket-size and lightweight. "You don't know when a surprising, magical moment will happen ... capturing a baby's first words, for instance," said Jules Winnfield, chief operating officer of General Streaming Systems.


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Sober People Make Drinkers Feel Drunker

The researchers found that people who were surrounded by other intoxicated individuals were more likely underestimate their own level of drunkenness. "Researchers have historically worked under the assumption that those who drink [the] most alcohol incorrectly 'imagine' everyone else also drinks to excess," Simon Moore, a professor of public health research at Cardiff University in Wales and the lead author of the study, said in a statement.

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Alexis Arquette's Death: How Do People Die from AIDS?

Actress Alexis Arquette has died from complications related to AIDS, according to news reports, but how exactly, does someone die from the disease? Members of Arquette's family, including her sister Patricia Arquette and brother David Arquette, who are both actors, also released statements about their loss on social media. "Alexis was a brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor," the family said in a Facebook post.

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Possible air pollution link to Alzheimer's

By Jim Drury A possible causal link between air pollution and Alzheimer's disease has been suggested by scientists after they conducted detailed studies of brain tissue, in a joint British-Mexican project. Study co-author Professor Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University, and her research team examined the brain tissue of 37 individuals who had lived in either Mexico City or Manchester, both air pollution hotspots. Using microscopic and spectroscopic analysis, Maher's team found tiny magnetic particles from air pollution lodged in the brains, the first time such a discovery has been made.


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Live Mice Are Bred from Artificially Developed Egg

For the first time, live baby mice have been successfully produced by injecting sperm into a modified, inactive mouse embryo rather than from a fertilized egg cell, according to scientists. Mammalian eggs that are not fertilized can be "tricked" into starting the development process toward becoming an embryo, previous research has shown. In the new research, the scientists took these inactive embryos and injected sperm directly into them, which resulted in the birth of healthy baby mice with a success rate of up to 24 percent.


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'Unusual' Bee Species Drills Apartment-Style Nests Out of Rock

The species, dubbed Anthophora pueblo, has been found in Utah, in southwest Colorado and in Death Valley in California, where it pocks vertical sandstone rock faces with tiny holes. "The bee is very unusual," study researcher Michael Orr, a doctoral student in biology at Utah State University, told Live Science. The first hint of Anthophora peublo's existence dates back to the early 1980s, when entomologist Frank Parker — an author on the current study and the former head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bee Lab in Utah — discovered bees nesting in holes dug into sandstone in Utah's San Rafael Desert.


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Asterias stem cell therapy shows promise in spinal cord paralysis: U.S. study

By Bill Berkrot NEW YORK (Reuters) - An experimental stem cell therapy developed by Asterias Biotherapeutics restored some movement to patients paralyzed by recent spinal cord injuries, according to interim data from a small study being presented on Wednesday. One of the five patients in the trial regained use of both arms and hands, and is now able to feed himself, send texts on a phone and operate a wheelchair, the Fremont, California-based company said. All five people in the study have experienced some upper extremity improvement so far, Asterias said.

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China to launch second space lab module, another manned mission

China will launch its second experimental space laboratory late on Thursday and another manned space mission next month, the government said, part of a broader plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022. Advancing China's space program is a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power, and apart from its civilian ambitions, Beijing has tested anti-satellite missiles. China insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

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