Friday, July 21, 2017

Science X Newsletter Friday, Jul 21

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for July 21, 2017:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researcher builds 'Game of Thrones' network model to predict character deaths

Deep-learning algorithm recommends ingredients and recipes based on a photo of food

Holographic imaging could be used to detect signs of life in space

Genome study offers clues about history of big cats

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

Hyperloop or hyperbole? Musk promises NY-DC run in 29 mins

Paris spotlight on latest in AIDS science

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

Bringing a 'trust but verify' model to journal peer review

New model for the origin of grid cells

Segway/Ninebot MiniPRO: Company addresses some security issues

From Mars rover—panorama above 'Perseverance Valley'

Scientists observe gravitational anomaly on Earth

New ways developed to see the formation of stars in the Milky Way

Genetically engineered yeast soak up heavy metal pollution

Astronomy & Space news

Holographic imaging could be used to detect signs of life in space

We may be capable of finding microbes in space—but if we did, could we tell what they were, and that they were alive?

From Mars rover—panorama above 'Perseverance Valley'

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity recorded a panoramic view before entering the upper end of a fluid-carved valley that descends the inner slope of a large crater's rim.

New ways developed to see the formation of stars in the Milky Way

A research team led by Adler Planetarium astronomer Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase has discovered new evidence of stars forming in our Milky Way Galaxy. By using a telescope equipped to detect infrared light invisible to our eyes, this exciting new science is revealing how stars, including our very own sun, grow up within clusters and groups. The Astrophysical Journal has published a paper on the subject titled, "MHOs Toward HMOs: A Search for Molecular Hydrogen Emission Line Objects Toward High-Mass Outflows."

Superluminous supernova marks the death of a star at cosmic high noon

The death of a massive star in a distant galaxy 10 billion years ago created a rare superluminous supernova that astronomers say is one of the most distant ever discovered. The brilliant explosion, more than three times as bright as the 100 billion stars of our Milky Way galaxy combined, occurred about 3.5 billion years after the big bang at a period known as "cosmic high noon," when the rate of star formation in the universe reached its peak.

'Mystery' signal from space is solved. It's not aliens

Astronomers have finally solved the mystery of peculiar signals coming from a nearby star, a story that sparked intense public speculation this week that perhaps, finally, alien life had been found.

Solar eclipse offers millions a chance at citizen science (Update)

Millions of people, from students to rocket scientists, are poised to contribute to a massive scientific effort to study the total solar eclipse that will sweep across the United States August 21.

Image: Lunar module at Tranquility Base

This photograph of the Lunar Module at Tranquility Base was taken by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission, from the rim of Little West Crater on the lunar surface. Armstrong's shadow and the shadow of the camera are visible in the foreground.

NASA invites you to become a citizen scientist during U.S. total solar eclipse

NASA invites eclipse viewers around the country to participate in a nationwide science experiment by collecting cloud and air temperature data and reporting it via their phones.

The moon is front and center during a total solar eclipse

In the lead-up to a total solar eclipse, most of the attention is on the sun, but Earth's moon also has a starring role.

Sentinel-5 precursor satellite ready for launch

A UK-built satellite which will be part of Europe's world-leading environmental monitoring programme – Copernicus – is ready for launch.

Lockheed Martin to build full-scale prototype of NASA cislunar habitat

Refurbishing a shuttle-era cargo container used to transfer cargo to the International Space Station, Lockheed Martin is prototyping a deep space habitat for NASA at Kennedy Space Center. This prototype will integrate evolving technologies to keep astronauts safe while onboard and operate the spacecraft autonomously when unoccupied.

Technology news

Researcher builds 'Game of Thrones' network model to predict character deaths

(TechXplore)—"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword," says Lord Eddard Stark, the head of House Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, Lord Paramount and Warden of the North, and Hand of the King to King Robert I Baratheon on HBO's Game of Thrones, on the subject of public execution. "If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die."

Deep-learning algorithm recommends ingredients and recipes based on a photo of food

There are few things social media users love more than flooding their feeds with photos of food. Yet we seldom use these images for much more than a quick scroll on our cellphones.

Hyperloop or hyperbole? Musk promises NY-DC run in 29 mins

US entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday he'd received tentative approval from the government to build a conceptual "hyperloop" system that would blast passenger pods down vacuum-sealed tubes from New York to Washington at near supersonic speeds.

Segway/Ninebot MiniPRO: Company addresses some security issues

(Tech Xplore)—Here it is July 2017 and security vulnerability stories keep coming in with the word "firmware" as one of the key words. What's up this time?

Controlling dendrites reveals secret to rechargeable lithium electrode

Imagine your cellphone being as thin as a piece of paper and not in need of near-constant charging.

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

Imagine slipping into a jacket, shirt or skirt that powers your cell phone, fitness tracker and other personal electronic devices as you walk, wave and even when you are sitting.

China announces goal of AI leadership by 2030

China's government has announced a goal of becoming a global leader in artificial intelligence in just over a decade, putting political muscle behind growing investment by Chinese companies in developing self-driving cars and other advances.

Microsoft profit rises on shift to cloud computing

Microsoft on Thursday reported that its quarterly earnings was lifted on the back of its shift to focusing on computing services hosted in the internet cloud.

Tunnel visions: China bets big on subways as cities expand

Deep under Shanghai, workers on a flood-lit construction rig carefully install massive concrete wall sections for a new subway tunnel, adding metre-by-metre to the world's longest metro system.

Social networks' reassurances over surveillance ring hollow, claims author of new study

Social media platforms are facilitating surveillance by selling their users' data to apps which are used by the police and other organisations, according to the author of a new study.

India's Ambani to launch free smartphone as he shakes up telecoms

India's richest man Mukesh Ambani said Friday that his telecoms venture Jio would launch a free smartphone, escalating a price war that is shaking up the country's ultra-competitive mobile market.

Audi to update 850,000 cars as diesel recalls widen

German automaker Audi says it will fit up to 850,000 diesel cars with new software to improve their emissions performance, following a similar move by rival Daimler as the auto industry tries to get ahead of public controversy over the technology.

Briton faces court over Deutsche Telekom cyber attack

A British man admitted in a German court Friday to staging a large-scale cyber attack on Deutsche Telekom last year, saying he was acting for a Liberian client.

Russia moves to ban tools used to surf outlawed websites

Russia's parliament on Friday voted to outlaw web tools that allow internet users to sidestep official bans of certain websites, the nation's latest effort to tighten controls of online services.

Possible melted fuel seen for first time at Fukushima plant

An underwater robot captured images of solidified lava-like rocks Friday inside a damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, spotting for the first time what is believed to be nuclear fuel that melted six years ago.

Australia's robo-footballers go for gold at world champs

A roar rings out as a small, white robot wins a tussle for the ball and kicks it into the goal.

Cheap 3D printed prosthetics could be game changer for Nepal

Ram's new hand was manufactured on a 3D printer in Nepal's capital for just $30, an innovation that could be a game changer for many in the impoverished Himalayan country.

Researchers develop wearable ways to 'be your own battery'

The University of Surrey is developing a revolutionary technology that will allow people to act as their own "power source" by wearing clothing such as "smart" shirts and shoes that harvest and store electricity.

Neural nets model audience reactions to movies

Disney Research used deep learning methods to develop a new means of assessing complex audience reactions to movies via facial expressions and demonstrated that the new technique outperformed conventional methods.

Computers using linguistic clues to deduce photo content

Scientists at Disney Research and the University of California, Davis have found that the way a person describes the content of a photo can provide important clues for computer vision programs to determine where various things appear in the image.

Lyft forms own autonomous vehicle unit, will open network

Lyft said Friday that it is setting up its own unit to develop autonomous vehicle technology, but its approach will be different from other companies and partnerships working on self-driving cars.

Best Buy rings up a rebound

Five years ago Best Buy Co. looked like a retail dinosaur, another victim of e-commerce juggernaut Amazon.com and other online sellers.

Since its IPO, Snap Inc. did exactly what it said it would, so why is its stock struggling?

The Los Angeles tech company behind Snapchat offers a simple sales pitch to investors: We'll release features niftier than anything our competitors can produce.

Silicon Valley investors embrace a new vision of college

Make School, a for-profit startup in this city's South of Market district, is one of the most unusual schools in the country: It lets students enroll in classes for free if they agree to pay later after they land a job.

Hackers had access to millions of Social Security numbers

Hackers who breached a Kansas Department of Commerce data system in March had access to more than 5.5 million Social Security numbers in 10 states, along with another 805,000 accounts that didn't include the Social Security numbers, according to records obtained from the agency.

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient scientific breakthrough serves as the foundation for the team's modern, innovative solution to remaining challenges in current 3D shape reconstruction. This new approach to 3D shape acquisition is based on the well-known fluid displacement discovery by Archimedes and turns modeling surface reconstruction into a volumetric problem. Most notably, their method accurately reconstructs even hidden parts of an object that typical 3D laser scanners are not able to capture.

High-tech mystery: Is a Facebook phone in the works?

Facebook could be working on a smartphone, according to paperwork recently spotted by cyber sleuths which the tech giant filed earlier this year.

Judge OKs $11.2M settlement for hacked Ashley Madison users

A federal judge on Friday approved an $11.2 million settlement between the marital infidelity website Ashley Madison and users who sued after hackers released personal information, including financial data and details of their sexual proclivities.

Review: Amazon meal kits offer easy dinners—for a price

Amazon's new ready-to-eat meal package is the perfect recipe for someone who doesn't have enough time to shop and cook, yet has a healthy appetite and a need for balanced meals.

Artificial intelligence boosts wine's bottom line

The Australian wine industry is turning to artificial intelligence to streamline its manufacturing.

Zing! Sprint opens 'Twice the Price' store next to Verizon retailer

The advertising war between the cell phone carriers is hitting the pavement, and once again, Sprint is taking on Verizon.

Medicine & Health news

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Paris spotlight on latest in AIDS science

Some 6,000 HIV experts gather in Paris from Sunday to report advances in AIDS science as fading hopes of finding a cure push research into new fields.

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

The neural codes for body movements

A small patch of neurons in the brain can encode the movements of many body parts, according to researchers in the laboratory of Caltech's Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Brain-Machine Interface Center Leadership Chair, and Director of the T&C Brain-Machine Interface Center of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech. Understanding this neural code could help improve the lives of people with paralysis or with motor deficits from neurological diseases such as a stroke.

Depression changes structure of the brain, study suggests

Changes in the brain's structure that could be the result of depression have been identified in a major scanning study.

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact on offspring behavior. The new study links an unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression in children.

Sleep disorders may increase cognitive problems particularly in those at risk for Alzheimer's

People who carry a genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease appear to be at greater risk of diminished cognition from sleep-disordered breathing than those without the susceptibility, according to new research published online, ahead of print in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

New study reveals that causes of severe antisocial behavior may differ for boys and girls

The causes of severe antisocial behaviour may differ between boys and girls, which could pave the way for new sex-specific treatments, according to a major new study published today (Friday 21 July).

Centenarians healthier than previously thought during last years of life

When it comes to aging and healthspan, are centenarians good role models? Or is extreme age inextricably linked with increasing levels of illness? Which diseases most commonly affect people who fail to reach the 100-year mark? Researchers from Charit√©—Universit√§tsmedizin Berlin have been studying illness trajectories in centenarians during the final years of their lives. According to their findings, people who died aged 100 or older suffered fewer diseases than those who died aged 90 to 99, or 80 to 89. The findings of this study have been published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

New mutations related to hereditary neuroendocrine tumours

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumours with a strong hereditary component. Half the genes whose alterations confer hereditary susceptibility to this condition code for enzymes involved in the Krebs cycle, a metabolic route involved in cellular respiration. A study by the Hereditary Endocrine Cancer Group of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), and published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, identifies new genes associated with this cycle that are involved in the development of these tumours.

Study reveals most impactful neuroscience research

A study of the 100 most-cited neuroscience articles has revealed that 78 of these papers cover five topics, including neurological disorders, the prefrontal cortex, brain connectivity, brain mapping and methodology studies. The study allows scientists, policy-makers and investors to quickly identify the most-cited articles and impactful research in neuroscience.

Who's avoiding sex, and why

Sex has a strong influence on many aspects of well-being: it is one of our most basic physiological needs. Sex feeds our identity and is a core element of our social life.

Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates

University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.

Tobacco control plan for England published

The Department of Health has published its long-awaited Tobacco Control Plan for England .

Native Hawaiians not very healthy, first national study says

Hawaii consistently ranks among the healthiest states, but a federal survey found Native Hawaiians are in unusually bad health.

Combination of CACNA1C-gene and stress increases risk for psychiatric disorders

Using genome-wide association studies, researchers are identifying more and more genes associated with psychiatric disorders. However, these studies do not take into account the influence of the environment, which also plays an important role in the risk for developing psychiatric disorders. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich were interested in the interaction between the environment and genes, they examined how such a candidate gene identified by genome-wide studies interacts with stress.

What to know about the tick bites that can leave you allergic to meat

As Virginians embrace the height of summer with trips into the Blue Ridge Mountains and afternoons spent on trails, most know to check their skin for pesky hangers-on at the end of the day. Peak outdoors season also means peak tick season in this neck of woods.

DNA becomes primary target in fight against glioblastoma

By exploiting a brain tumor's own biology, researchers at FIU's Biomolecular Sciences Institute (BSI) are hoping to destroy glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer with no known cure.

Researcher develops art therapy best practices for children with autism

A Florida State University researcher is working with art therapists to find better ways to treat children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

When to send a child to school causes anxiety and confusion for parents

In Australia, the rate at which parents are delaying their children's entry into school appears to be increasing. My research, undertaken with Professor Sue Walker, has indicated that in Queensland, rates of delayed entry to state schools increased between 2010 and 2014. In that five-year period, delayed entry rates almost doubled from 1.5% to 2.9%.

How the immune system causes heart disease

Heart disease is among the leading causes of death globally and imposes a significant burden on the health-care system. We know some of the causes of heart disease: smoking, unhealthy diet, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and genes.

Why your subconscious makes you crave 'naughty' foods

The UK's diet industry is thriving to say the least. More than half of British adults try to lose weight by controlling their calorie intake each year. Unfortunately, losing weight is not as easy as turning down a biscuit, or opting for salad. And even those who have been successful in their dieting endeavours find it difficult to do.

Nine things that can affect whether you get dementia – and what you can do about them

Dementia is by no means an inevitable result of ageing. In fact, one in three dementia cases can be prevented, according to new findings published in The Lancet.

Struggling to ditch meat? Here are five ways to resist the temptation

Are you a conflicted carnivore – loving meat but also hating that you love it? Perhaps you are worried about the carcinogenic, heart-clogging properties of cooked meat or the industry's use of antibiotics creating threatening superbugs. Maybe you're ashamed of all the wasted water and food that goes into meat production and the deforestation and damaging emissions caused by animal agriculture. Many of us also simply struggle to accept the justifications used to defend the killing of intelligent, emotionally sensitive animals.

Scientists discover a new way to treat type 2 diabetes

Medication currently being used to treat obesity is also proving to have significant health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes. A new study published today in Molecular Metabolism explains how this therapeutic benefit for type 2 diabetes is achieved by acting in our brain.

Offer of $100 boosts rates of colon cancer screenings

Offering $100 to patients eligible for a preventive colonoscopy screening more than doubled the rate of screening when compared to a simple emailed request, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Screening colonoscopies improve the chance of early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, but tens of millions of Americans who should have preventive screenings fail to get them. The new study, published this week in Gastroenterology, suggests that a simple financial incentive may be able to persuade many of those holdouts to undergo this important medical procedure.

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

An 'active' workstation won't lower your job performance

(HealthDay)—Companies needn't worry that job performance will suffer when employees use "active" workstations that come with potentially distracting treadmills, bikes or ellipticals.

Making the most of childhood wellness visits

(HealthDay)—Babies born today will have about a dozen wellness visits by the time they reach age 3. At that point, these checkups typically drop to just once a year, often before kids head back to school.

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults has mental illness or drug problem

(HealthDay)—Nearly 1 in 5 American adults deals with a mental illness or substance abuse problem each year, a U.S. government study says.

Visceral/subcutaneous fat ratio predicts CVD in T2DM

(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes, the ratio of visceral fat area (VFA) to subcutaneous fat area (SFA) (V/S ratio) is predictive of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online July 7 in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

Pollutant exposure may lead to multi-generational asthma risk

(HealthDay)—Maternal exposure to diesel exhaust particles during pregnancy may increase susceptibility to allergic asthma in more than one generation of offspring, according to an experimental study published online recently in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

'Expansion pathology' method could mean earlier intervention

(HealthDay)—A new method, called expansion pathology (ExPath), which is a clinically optimized form of expansion microscopy (ExM), can be used for pathology and clinical research, according to a report published online July 17 in Nature Biotechnology.

Visual analogue scale valid for assessing pediatric anxiety

(HealthDay)—A visual analogue scale (VAS) score is valid for assessing anxiety among children during induction of anesthesia, according to a study published online July 14 in Pediatric Anesthesia.

FDA approves first neonatal MRI device

(HealthDay)—The first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device designed specifically for neonatal brain and head imaging in intensive care units has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Scientists provide insight into genetic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders

A study by scientists at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) is providing insight into the genetic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders. In this research, the first mouse model of a mutation in the arid1b gene was created and then used to show that growth hormone treatments reverse some manifestations of the mutation.

New Jersey becomes 3rd state to raise smoking age to 21

Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a law Friday that made New Jersey the third state to raise its smoking age to 21.

COX-2 inhibitors may reverse IDO1-mediated immunosuppression in some cancers

In preclinical studies, tumors that consitutively expressed the protein indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1) responded to the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) and had improved infiltration of certain subsets of T cells, making them more likely to respond to anti-PD1 therapies.

For students' healthy snacking startup, it's all about chocolate

Ara Josefsson and Jaida Mercurio believe they have found the solution to unhealthy snacking.

First UK trial seeks to reduce challenging behaviour in pre-schoolers with learning disabilities

Disability charity Contact a Family and UCL are launching a national clinical trial – the first of its kind in the UK – that aims to reduce behaviour that challenges in very young children with learning disabilities.

Patients can expect to stay active, enjoy high quality of life 10 years after ACL surgery

In the first prospective ACL reconstruction cohort with over 80% follow-up at 10 years, researchers from the Multicenter Orthopaedics Outcome Network (MOON) demonstrated that patients could perform sports-related functions and maintain a high knee-related quality of life a decade after surgery, though activity levels decline over time. The study, presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, received the O'Donoghue Sports Injury Research Award.

Athletic trainers have a positive economic impact on sports coverage for health systems

The cost-effectiveness of certified outreach athletic trainers (ATC) as a type of physician extender in an orthopaedic provider and/or hospital system setting has many benefits, both financially and with patient care, say researchers presenting their work today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Different approaches offer patients improved quality of life after ACL reconstruction

The most common surgical techniques used to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) offer patients improved quality of life five years after injury, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The study followed patients for five years following surgery.

Assessing concussion symptom presentation may provide insight into rise in rates

How physicians and athletic trainers assess symptoms may give insight into why concussion rates are on the rise, say researchers presenting their work at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting today in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

UN, aid group: Cholera in Yemen to worsen in rainy season

The U.N. health agency and an international aid organization warned on Friday that Yemen's cholera epidemic, the world's worst since Haiti's 2010 outbreak, is likely to worsen in the rainy season.

Scientists and patient volunteers reunite after 12 years for new study

Patients who took part in research into bowel health more than a decade ago have reunited for a follow-up study to help experts gain a better understanding into the risks of bowel cancer.

How physical exercise prevents dementia

Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise seems beneficial in the prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia in old age. Now researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have explored in one of the first studies worldwide how exercise affects brain metabolism.

Alzheimer's drug may help treat traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of disability and death globally, but medications have generally failed to benefit patients. A new study found that memantine, a drug that is used to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease, may be a promising therapy.

Creating new model to support workers with disabilities

There was a time when not much was expected of Karly Saeks.

What's ahead for health care reform in 2018?

(HealthDay)—The Republican Party's quest to undo the Affordable Care Act—either by replacing it, repealing it or letting it fail—is creating enormous uncertainty for millions of Americans who buy their own health insurance.

The summer risk of Legionnaires' disease

Legionnaires' disease is the disease is caused by bacterium called Legionella, which is found most often in fresh water. Symptoms include pneumonia and, in some cases, the infection can be deadly.

A genetic variation may increase tuberculosis susceptibility

Researchers have shown that a single nucleotide change in a gene that affects production of hepcidin—a peptide involved in inflammation, immunity, and control of iron levels—is associated with greater susceptibility to extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Individuals with this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) make significantly less hepcidin in response to infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as reported in Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers.

Biology news

Genome study offers clues about history of big cats

(Phys.org)—A large international team of researchers has conducted a genetic analysis and comparison of the world's biggest cats to learn more about their history. In their paper published on the open source site Science Advances, the team describes their work mapping the genome of the jaguar and comparing the results with other big cats.

Researchers discover mice speak similarly to humans

Grasshopper mice (genus Onychomys), rodents known for their remarkably loud call, produce audible vocalizations in the same way that humans speak and wolves howl, according to new research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Grasshopper mice employ both a traditional whistle-like mechanism used by other mice and rats and a unique airflow-induced tissue vibration like that of humans.

Rare discovery of three new toad species in Nevada's Great Basin

Three new species of toads have been discovered living in Nevada's Great Basin in an expansive survey of the 190,000 square mile ancient lake bottom. Discoveries of new amphibians are extremely rare in the United States with only three new frog species discovered since 1985 - and toad species are even more rare, with the last species discovered north of Mexico, the now extinct Wyoming toad, in 1968.

Good fighters are bad runners

For mice and men, a strength in one area of Darwinian fitness may mean a deficiency in another. A look at Olympic athletes shows that a wrestler is built much differently than a marathoner. It's long been supposed that strength in fighting, or protecting territory and resources, comes at the expense of running, or spatial mobility. Now an experiment with house mice provides evidence for this theory. 

Optimization for self-production may explain mysterious features of the ribosome

Optimization for self-production may explain key features of ribosomes, the protein production factories of the cell, reported researchers from Harvard Medical School in Nature on July 20.

Public retains positive attitudes toward service and support animals

How do people feel about service, emotional support and therapy animals in public spaces? It can get a bit complicated, according to a new pilot study by NC State University's Regina Schoenfeld.

Rural structures pose greater relative threat to birds than urban ones

About one billion birds are killed every year when they unwittingly fly into human-made objects such as buildings with reflective windows. Such collisions are the largest unintended human cause of bird deaths worldwide—and they are a serious concern for conservationists.

Native leech preys on invasive slug?

Citizen science has revealed the spread of the invasive giant slug Limax maximus and its potential native predator in Japan, providing new insights into predator-prey dynamics between introduced prey and native predators.

When evolution and biotechnologies collide

Since 2012, genetic engineering has been revolutionised by CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing. The technology is based on an enzyme from a bacterial cell, whose work is to cut the information storing system of living beings, DNA, at one predefined location. It generates a gap within the DNA. Then, a new sequence – for example, a gene from another organism – can be included.

Digging into the harsh world of ants

Imagine working for the harshest corporation in the world.

On the path to vitamin A in rice

The lack of vitamin A in food is a major cause of health problems worldwide and can lead to blindness and even death. This is especially a problem in threshold or third-world countries, where children are likely to suffer from a lack of vitamin A or its precursor beta-carotene due to malnourishment. Among their many functions, carotenoids are responsible for the bright orange color of sweet potatoes as well as their namesake, the carrot. Thanks to its intense color, beta-carotene is used in the food industry in soft drinks, yoghurts, and other food and is known as food coloring E160. Rice, which is the most important basic nutrient in Asia, has no beta-carotene in its kernel, but there are carotenoids in the leaves of the rice plant. These long, fat-soluble pigments are used by the plant not only in photosynthesis, during which the plant generates energy and oxygen, but in other processes as well.


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