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Sunday February 7th 2016

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EurekAlert! – Breaking News

Cambridge researcher develops smartphone app to map Swiss-German dialects

Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Zurich and Bern have taken advantage of ‘crowdsourcing’ to gather new information on the spread of dialects in German-speaking Switzerland, which has been recently published as a paper in PLOS One.

Posted on 6 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Uncovering secrets of elastin’s flexibility during assembly

Elastin is a crucial building block in our bodies — its flexibility allows skin to stretch and twist, blood vessels to expand and relax with every heartbeat, and lungs to swell and contract with each breath. But exactly how this protein-based tissue achieves this flexibility remained an unsolved question — until now. An international team has carried out an analysis that reveals the details of a hierarchical structure of scissor-shaped molecules that gives elastin its remarkable properties.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Online shopping might not be as green as we thought

A study by researchers in the Delaware Center for Transportation provides insight into the impacts of home shopping on vehicle operations and greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Pioneering discovery leads to potential preventive treatment for sudden cardiac death

Roughly 15 years ago, a team of Vermont researchers discovered the precise malfunction of a specific protein in the heart that leads to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common culprit in cases of sudden death in young athletes. A team of Harvard scientists and colleagues used some of these findings to develop a possible treatment to prevent this inherited disease that can cause the heart to thicken and stop pumping blood effectively, leading to heart failure.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

The iron stepping stones to better wearable tech without semiconductors

The way to better wearable electronics is dotted with iron steppingstones. Check out how Michigan Tech researcher Yoke Khin Yap’s nanotubes bridge the gap with quantum tunneling.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Record Missouri flooding was manmade calamity, scientist says

Why was the New Year’s flood in Missouri so bad? Most news reports blamed it on the heavy rain, but Robert Criss, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis says analysis of the flood data shows much of the damage was due to recent modifications to the river.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Aggression causes new nerve cells to be generated in the brain

A group of neurobiologists from Russia and the USA, including Dmitry Smagin, Tatyana Michurina, and Grigori Enikolopov from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, have proven experimentally that aggression has an influence on the production of new nerve cells in the brain. The scientists conducted a series of experiments on male mice and published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Study evaluates pay-for-performance program for Medicaid children in an ACO

The first pay-for-performance (P4P) evaluation of pediatricians under a full-risk Medicaid accountable care organization (ACO) for children shows P4P incentives were partially responsible for higher performance on quality measures across Partners for Kids’ primary care network of employed and affiliated physicians.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

Kaiser Permanente study finds effectiveness of routine Tdap booster wanes in adolescents

A new study from Kaiser Permanente’s Vaccine Study Center found that the Tdap booster vaccine provides moderate protection against whooping cough during the first year after vaccination, but its effectiveness wanes to less than 9 percent after four years among teenagers who have received only a newer form of the whooping cough vaccine (acellular pertussis vaccine) as infants and children. These findings were published today in Pediatrics.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 am

First-of-its-kind study explains why rest is critical after a concussion

Georgetown University Medical Center neuroscientists say rest — for more than a day — is critical for allowing the brain to reset neural networks and repair any short-term injury. This new study in mice also shows that repeated mild concussions with only a day to recover between injuries leads to mounting damage and brain inflammation that remains evident a year after injury

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 5:00 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.

Could You Stomach the Horrors of ‘Halftime’ in Ancient Rome?

Could You Stomach the Horrors of 'Halftime' in Ancient Rome?All of Rome came to the Games: rich and poor, men and women, children and the noble elite alike. He triumphed in one match that pitted him against a bear, a lion and a leopard, all of which were released to attack him at once.

Posted on 6 February 2016 | 2:19 pm

Super Bowl Showdown: Would Broncos or Panthers Win a Real-Life Matchup?

Super Bowl Showdown: Would Broncos or Panthers Win a Real-Life Matchup?While people are stocking up on Buffalo wings and potato chips in advance of the Super Bowl this Sunday, fans are split on who has the best chances of winning: the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers. It turns out that the Super Bowl mascots would be a fairly even match out in the wild, too: While a panther is powerful and stealthy, broncos tend to live in herds, and they have strength in numbers, said Don Moore, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, on assignment at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). "I think a panther could probably take a bronco on a good cat day and a tired bronco day," Moore told Live Science.

Posted on 6 February 2016 | 1:39 pm

Seriously? That Ancient Greek Statue Does Not Depict a Laptop

Seriously? That Ancient Greek Statue Does Not Depict a LaptopThere's a new conspiracy theory out there, but instead of invoking big government or aliens, it questions whether there's a laptop carved into an ancient Greek statue. The theory, proposed by the anonymous YouTube user StillSpeakingOut, ventures that the ancient Oracle of Delphi may have foreseen the invention of laptops, and told people about it. "Just so we are clear, I'm not saying that this relief was depicting an ancient laptop computer," StillSpeakingOut said in the 100-second-long video.

Posted on 6 February 2016 | 1:26 pm

Where the Super Bowl Meets Space: NASA’s Aerodynamics Lab

Where the Super Bowl Meets Space: NASA's Aerodynamics LabOnly a few miles away is the NASA Ames Research Center, where engineers can use wind tunnels, water channels and other tools to study the aerodynamics of rockets, airplanes — and even footballs. In Ames' Experimental Aero-Physics Branch lab, scientists use a fluid dynamics chamber to recreate the conditions of an object flying through the air. "What we are looking for in the smoke patterns is, at what speed the smoke patterns suddenly change," Rabi Mehta, chief of the Experimental Aero-Physics Branch at Ames, said in a statement.

Posted on 6 February 2016 | 1:04 pm

India says no rush on GM food but will not stand in way of science

India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar delivers his speech during a meeting at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 at Le BourgetBy Mayank Bhardwaj NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India needs more data before deciding whether to permit commercial growing of its first genetically modified food crop, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday, but indicated it would not stand "in the way of science" despite protests. A committee of government and independent experts is seeking more information from a team of Indian scientists who have spent almost a decade on laboratory and field trials for a GM mustard crop. "We have to feed more than a billion mouths and we have to raise productivity… (but)we will not compromise on people's health." The meeting, the third held to evaluate field trial data on GM mustard this year, had raised hopes among scientists that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is keen to push technology to lift food productivity.

Posted on 5 February 2016 | 1:20 pm

Italian consortium set to win giant Chile telescope contract

An Italian consortium, including construction company Astaldi Spa, is close to securing a contract to build the world’s largest telescope in the Chilean desert, project owner the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said on Thursday. The ESO said its finance committee had agreed to enter into final discussions with the consortium, which was the winning bidder to design, manufacture, transport and build the main dome and structure for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The consortium includes major Italian builder Cimolai and subcontractor the EIE Group, as well as Astaldi.

Posted on 4 February 2016 | 9:32 pm

Inadequate testing thwarts efforts to measure Zika’s impact

Municipal health worker shows off a test tube with larvae of Zika virus vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, as part of the city's efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika, in Guatemala CityBy Paulo Prada RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – One major hurdle is thwarting efforts to measure the extent of the Zika epidemic and its suspected links to thousands of birth defects in Brazil: accurate diagnosis of a virus that still confounds blood tests. Genetic tests and clinical symptoms have enabled scientists to partially track Zika, and Brazil guesses up to 1.5 million people have been infected in the country. The World Health Organization says as many as 4 million people could become infected across the Americas and that Zika has already been locally transmitted in at least 30 countries.

Posted on 4 February 2016 | 9:29 pm

Ancient wildebeest cousin boasted bizarre dinosaur-like trait

An artist's interpretation of Rusingoryx atopocranion on the Late Pleistocene plains of what is now Rusinga Island, Lake VictoriaBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In an ancient streambed on Kenya's Rusinga Island, scientists have unearthed fossils of a wildebeest-like creature named Rusingoryx that boasted a weird nasal structure more befitting of a dinosaur than a mammal. The hollow structure may have enabled the horned, hoofed grass-eater to produce a low trumpeting sound to communicate over long distances with others in its herd, Ohio University paleontologist Haley O'Brien said. "This structure was incredibly surprising," O'Brien said.

Posted on 4 February 2016 | 8:14 pm

Europe’s shift to dark green forests stokes global warming-study

File photo shows people walking along a forest as the sun shines over fog near Albis Pass mountain passBy Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) – An expansion of Europe's forests towards dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures. Forest changes have nudged Europe's summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colour traps the sun's heat, the scientists said. Overall, the area of Europe's forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750.

Posted on 4 February 2016 | 7:25 pm

Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue

More than 100 years ago, American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people. In an article published today (Feb. 4) in the journal Science, four scholars say racial categories are weak proxies for genetic diversity and need to be phased out. They’ve called on the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to put together a panel of experts across the biological and social sciences to come up with ways for researchers to shift away from the racial concept in genetics research.

Posted on 4 February 2016 | 7:22 pm