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Thursday July 31st 2014

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Birthday matters for wiring-up the brain’s vision centers

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have evidence suggesting that neurons in the developing brains of mice are guided by a simple but elegant birth order rule that allows them to find and form their proper connections.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Breakthrough in understanding of important blood protein

New Danish research describes a previously unknown protein mechanism. This provides an exceptionally detailed understanding of how nature works, and it can also provide the ability to control nature — in this case, it is about how coagulated blood can be dissolved, and this can lead to treatment of diseases carrying a risk of blood clots.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Groundbreaking research maps cultural history

New research from Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research presents a pioneering approach to understanding European and North American cultural history by mapping out the mobility patterns of notable intellectuals over a 2,000-year span.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Singing the same tune: Scientists develop novel ways of separating birdsong sources

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have pioneered a new study that could greatly improve current methods of localizing birdsong data.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Carnegie Mellon chemists create nanofibers using unprecedented new method

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a novel method for creating self-assembled protein/polymer nanostructures that are reminiscent of fibers found in living cells. The work offers a promising new way to fabricate materials for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Innovative ‘genotype first’ approach uncovers protective factor for heart disease

Extensive sequencing of DNA from thousands of individuals in Finland has unearthed scores of mutations that destroy gene function and are found at unusually high frequencies. Among these are two mutations in a gene called LPA that may reduce a person’s risk of heart disease. These findings are an exciting proof-of-concept for a new ‘genotype first’ approach to identifying rare genetic variants associated with, or protecting from, disease followed by extensive medical review of carriers.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

CU Denver study links self-identified ethnic labels to cultural values

A study by a researcher at the University of Colorado Denver and published in the Journal of Humanistic Counseling explores why people of Latin American descent self-identify using terms like Latina/o, Hispanic, and Chicana/o.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Childhood coxsackie virus infection depletes cardiac stem cells and might compromise heart health in adults

There is epidemiological evidence that links type B coxsackie virus infection with heart disease, and research published on July 31 in PLOS Pathogens now suggests a mechanism by which early infection impairs the heart’s ability to tolerate stress at later stages of life.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

NASA sees Genevieve squeezed between 3 tropical systems

The resurrected Tropical Depression Genevieve appears squeezed between three other developing areas of low pressure. Satellite data from NOAA and NASA continue to show a lot of tropical activity in the Eastern and Central Pacific Oceans on July 31.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Congressional rift over environment influences public

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:00 am

Science News Headlines – Yahoo News

Get the latest Science news headlines from Yahoo News. Find breaking Science news, including analysis and opinion on top Science stories.

Next ‘Big Earthquake’ in SoCal Might Be Mid-Sized

Next 'Big Earthquake' in SoCal Might Be Mid-SizedThe next big earthquake in Southern California could be smaller than expected, according to researchers who are rewriting the history of earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault. The southern section of California's master fault, the San Andreas Fault, is less reliable than scientists once thought, their study has revealed. Instead of popping off big earthquakes with the predictability of a cuckoo clock, the fault seems to release its pent-up energy through a series of quakes that vary in size and timing. The findings also confirm that the San Andreas Fault's southern section has been unusually quiet since its last big earthquake in 1857.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 6:09 pm

Weird Supernova May Blow Away Star Explosion Theories

Weird Supernova May Blow Away Star Explosion TheoriesAstronomers used the European Space Agency's International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) spacecraft to examine the star explosion's light spectrum in the gamma-ray bands and saw elements that shouldn't have been there — suggesting that widely accepted models of how such events happen might be incomplete. As the more massive star of the pair ages it evolves into a white dwarf, a star that is the size of Earth but has up to 1.4 times the mass of the sun. The hydrogen becomes helium, and then the helium goes through the "triple alpha" process, fusing into carbon and oxygen. Since the fusion is happening very quickly and the gravity of the white dwarf is so large, there's not enough time for the gas to expand and the stuff on the white dwarf surface explodes.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 6:03 pm

Going Nova: Star Explosions Unleash Gamma-Ray Blasts

Going Nova: Star Explosions Unleash Gamma-Ray BlastsIn a cosmic twist, astronomers recently discovered that a less powerful explosion, known as a nova, could give off high-energy gamma-rays as well. Novas originate in binary systems, where two stars orbit each other — they occur when a white dwarf star becomes engorged with hydrogen fuel given to it by its companion star. "Novae and supernovae are some of the earliest recognized celestial events, being recorded throughout human history," said study co-author Teddy Cheung, an astrophysicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Novas are far more common than supernovas; In 2010, astronomers detected high-energy gamma-rays from the nova V407 Cyg about 8,800 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus the Swan.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 6:03 pm

Shrinking Dinosaurs Evolved into Flying Birds

Shrinking Dinosaurs Evolved into Flying Birds"Birds are the only dinosaurs that are still alive today," said lead study author Michael Lee, an evolutionary biologist at the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide in Australia. Birds evolved from carnivorous dinosaurs known as theropods, which included giant predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex and talon-footed raptors such as Deinonychus. To learn more about how small, graceful fliers such as hummingbirds evolved from massive ground-dwelling theropods, scientists developed a detailed family tree of birds and their dinosaur ancestors, mapping out this evolutionary transformation.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 6:02 pm

‘Flying Flashbulb’ Drones Could Light Up Photo Shoots

'Flying Flashbulb' Drones Could Light Up Photo ShootsResearchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cornell University are experimenting with a new autonomous drone, equipped with a light to create special effects during photo shoots. At the conference, researchers said the drone will produce a particularly difficult effect known as "rim lighting," in which only the edge of a photographer's subject is strongly lit. "[Rim lighting is] very sensitive to the position of the light," Manohar Srikanth, a senior researcher at Nokia who worked on the drone as a graduate and postdoctoral student at MIT, said in a statement. The newly developed system allows photographers to input the direction from which they want the rim light to come, as well as the width of the desired rim, or how much of the subject should be lit.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 5:38 pm

Fly Fido to the moon in space send off for deceased pets

People stand and look at the moon one day ahead of the Supermoon phenomenon from a bridge over 42nd St. in the Manhattan borough of New YorkBy Amanda Orr HOUSTON (Reuters) – A Texas company is offering a unique send off for beloved pets by placing a portion of their cremated remains in a capsule and blasting them off into space. Celestis Inc, which has provided memorial space flights for human remains since 1997, will launch its first commercial pet memorial spaceflight in October 2014 with the remains of a blue merle Australian shepherd, named Apollo, the company said. The space send-off options go up to $12,500, which allows the pet’s remains to be launched into deep space or to visit the moon. "Our pet service flights are an idea that’s been a long time coming," Celestis Chief Executive Charles Chafer said.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 4:01 pm

Vintage NASA Spacecraft to Tackle Interplanetary Science

Vintage NASA Spacecraft to Tackle Interplanetary ScienceA private team is priming a 36-year-old NASA spacecraft to perform new science as it travels through interplanetary space after attempts to move the probe into a position closer to Earth failed. "We're disappointed we couldn't put it in the L-1 orbit, but we had a lot of scientists saying we're more interested in interplanetary space," Keith Cowing, co-leader of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, told Space.com.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 1:56 pm

Hungarian scientists aim for prototype of cancer surgery device

Inventor of the Intelligent Knife Zoltan Takats speaks to the media at St Mary's Hospital in LondonBy Krisztina Than BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian scientists are aiming for the first prototype of a new device in two years that will help surgeons distinguish between healthy tissue and tumours in a split-second as they operate and remove cancerous tissue precisely. Hungarian chemist Zoltan Takats started to work on the technology in 2002 in the United States and from 2004 onwards at the Budapest Semmelweis Medical University in cooperation with the Imperial College London, where he works now. Last week, U.S.-based Waters Corporation acquired the technology – called Rapid Evaporative Ionization Mass Spectrometry (REIMS) – from Hungarian start-up firm MediMass Ltd. Waters said in a July 22 statement on its website that the technology could be used to create the "Intelligent Knife" or "iKnife," a device "in the conceptual stages of development that could potentially be used for real-time diagnostics in surgery".

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 12:01 pm

Lead in teeth holds secrets of person’s origins, research shows

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) – The lead in human teeth holds clues about where a person grew up and can help criminal investigators and archaeologists working with old or decomposed corpses, according to a University of Florida researcher. Because lead ore deposits around the world differ, and as young people’s teeth absorb traces of the metal in the environment, the region where a person grew up can be distinguished through lead analysis of a tooth, said geologist George Kamenov. “If you were born in Europe and then came to the U.S., yes, I will be able to see that,” Kamenov said. In addition to aiding authorities in identifying bodies, the analysis can help archaeologists locate human remains on an historical timeline, he said.

Posted on 31 July 2014 | 12:11 am

Octopus mom protects her eggs for an astonishing 4-1/2 years

Handout of a deep-sea octopus is shown on the ledge near the bottom of Monterey CanyonBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If someone were to create an award for "mother of the year" in the animal kingdom, a remarkably dedicated eight-limbed mom from the dark and frigid depths of the Pacific Ocean might be a strong contender. Scientists on Wednesday described how the female of an octopus species that dwells almost a mile below the sea surface spends about 4-1/2 years brooding her eggs, protecting them vigilantly until they hatch while forgoing any food for herself. It is the longest known egg-brooding period for any animal, they wrote in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. …

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 10:27 pm