Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, and the environment. In keeping with the theme of the past four months, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday is featuring science and other news from the major public research universities in the midwestern states where Republican governors and legislatures are threatening the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
This week's featured story comes from Agence France Presse via Discovery News with video from NASA Television on YouTube.
Obama Dials for Pizza, Gets the Space Station
The U.S. President joked with the space station astronauts on Friday, but had a heartfelt message for the final shuttle crew.
Sat Jul 16, 2011 09:44 AM ET
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) got a very long-distance call Friday from US President Barack Obama, who joked that he thought he was dialing out for pizza.
Hot from giving a press conference at which he pushed Republicans to reach a deal on raising the US debt ceiling, the American president took time out to chat with the 10 astronauts and cosmonauts currently aboard the ISS.
"I was just dialing out for pizza, and I didn't expect to end up in space," Obama quipped, raising a laugh from the gathered crew.
But turning serious, he told the astronauts how proud he was of them and said their work "ushers in an exciting new era to push the frontiers of space exploration and human spaceflight."
"The space program has always embodied our sense of adventure and exploration and courage," the president said.
More after the jump.
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This week in science
Adopting a psychologically distanced perspective enhances wisdom, new U-M research by assistant professor Ethan Kross shows. And getting that distance may be easier than we think.
University of Michigan: Cultivating wisdom: U-M studies identify a promising way
July 11, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Adopting a psychologically distanced perspective enhances wisdom, according to University of Michigan research just published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
"Although humans strive to be wise, they often fail to do so when reasoning about issues that have profound personal implications," said U-M psychologist Ethan Kross, who co-authored the article with doctoral student Igor Grossmann. "These experiments suggest a promising way for people to reason wisely about such issues."
Previous research has shown that two common aspects of wise reasoning are: dialecticism—realizing that the world is in flux and the future is likely to change; and intellectual humility—recognizing the limits of one's own knowledge.
The beauty and peacefulness of the University of Michigan's Diag derive in large part from its trees. Many were planted as long ago as the Civil War, some just last week. Here's a glimpse at a spot we love through the generations.
Norm Lownds, curator of the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden, talks about the different types of interactivity that happen in the garden.
And now, a moment of geek--Adam Savage at a steampunk convention inside a Faraday cage between two Tesla coils dancing to the theme from "Doctor Who."
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Supernova record found in Kashmir
Posted by TANN Asia, Astronomy, Heritage, India, Kashmir, South Asia, Universe 4:37 PM
A painting on the arch-door of the 17th century tomb of Sufi saint Syed Mohammad Madni in Srinagar is the "first firm record" of a supernova sighting in India, claim researchers. The mural, which shows two archers, a representation of the Sagittarius constellation, depicts the celestial event dating back to 1604, according to researchers from Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and University of Kashmir.
German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed the supernova - a spectacular explosion of a massive star - and described it as an archer in his book De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii. The supernova, the last in our galaxy, was subsequently named Kepler's Supernova after him.
The mural at Madni's tomb depicts the same celestial event. The tomb, however, was built 15 years after the event.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.
Discovery News: Dawn Now Orbits Asteroid Vesta. Or Does It?
We'll have to wait to find out whether the NASA spacecraft was successfully captured by Vesta's gravity.
By Ian O'Neill
Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:49 AM ET
Mission managers of NASA's Dawn asteroid probe have a long day ahead of them as they wait for news from the asteroid belt.
At 10 p.m. PT on Friday (1 a.m. ET, Saturday), the ion thruster-propelled spacecraft was due to arrive in orbit around Vesta, one of the largest asteroids living in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
However, the probe has been firing its thrusters for several days straight, and until the thrusters switch off, the probe cannot orientate its antenna to communicate with Earth.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Algorithm provides new insights into evolutionary exodus out of Africa
Posted by TANN Africa, Breakingnews, Evolution, Genetics, Human Evolution 5:26 PM
Researchers have probed deeper into human evolution by developing an elegant new technique to analyse whole genomes from different populations. One key finding from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's study is that African and non-African populations continued to exchange genetic material well after migration out-of-Africa 60,000 years ago. This shows that interbreeding between these groups continued long after the original exodus.
For the first time genomic archaeologists are able to infer population size and history using single genomes, a technique that makes fewer assumptions than existing methods, allowing for more detailed insights. It provides a fresh view of the history of mankind from 10,000 to one million years ago.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.
University of Michigan: Peregrine Falcons make home on University of Michigan hospital roof
Rescued baby falcon presents naming opportunity for kids at U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
July 12, 2011
A two-month-old peregrine falcon chick was recently reunited with her parents in their nest on the roof of University Hospital at the University of Michigan Health System.
She had been in the care of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources after she attempted to fly and was unable to get back up to the nest.
The young falcon is one of three chicks that hatched in a nesting box built by a local Eagle Scout and U-M staff. Peregrines are protected as an endangered species under state law.
Although a breeding pair of peregrine falcons has nested on U-M’s campus for several years, these are the first known hatchlings.
Michigan State University: Landscape change leads to increased insecticide use in the Midwest
July 13, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The continued growth of cropland and loss of natural habitat have increasingly simplified agricultural landscapes in the Midwest. Having a single, dominant crop rather than a variety of wild plants is associated with increased crop pest abundance and insecticide use, consequences that could be tempered by perennial bioenergy crops.
While the relationship between landscape simplification, crop pest pressure and insecticide use has been suggested before, it has not been well supported by research until now. The study was published by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a partnership between the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University, and was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Although simplification of agricultural landscapes is likely to continue, the research suggests that the planting of perennial bioenergy crops – like switchgrass and mixed prairie – can offset some negative effects, said Doug Landis, MSU entomologist and landscape ecologist.
"Perennial crops provide year-round habitat for beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife, and are critical for buffering streams and rivers from soil erosion and preventing nutrient and pesticide pollution," he said.
University of Wisconsin also has an article on this story
, complete with maps.
Michigan State University: DuPont’s Imprelis could be turning evergreens brown
July 15, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Browning shoots and needles, twisting and stunted shoots – especially near the tops of evergreen trees and shrubs – are signs that plants may have injuries associated with the herbicide Imprelis, according to a Michigan State University researcher.
“Unlike most conifer insect and disease problems, suspected Imprelis damage occurs rapidly – usually within two to three weeks of application,” said Bert Cregg, associate professor of horticulture and forestry and MSU Extension specialist. “The most commonly affected trees are Norway spruce, Colorado blue spruce and eastern white pine. Other conifers and some hardwood trees also may be affected.”
Imprelis, a relatively new herbicide developed by DuPont, is intended for use by lawn care professionals. It appears trees may be taking up Imprelis that has been applied to turf near the tree’s drip line. Affected trees are showing symptoms commonly associated with herbicide injury.
Purdue University: Popular fungicides failing, may cause hard choices for apple growers
July 12, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Orchard growers have started finding that some of the most commonly used fungicides are no longer effective at controlling apple scab, according to a Purdue University study.
Janna Beckerman, an associate professor of botany and plant pathology, said that extensive, long-term use of four popular fungicides has led to resistances in apples in Indiana and Michigan, the focus of her study.
"The fungicides that are regularly used to control scab have started to fail," said Beckerman, whose findings were published in the early online version of the journal Plant Disease. "But the most disturbing thing we found is that many of the samples we tested were resistant to all four fungicides. It's kind of like multidrug resistance in antibiotics. This is full-blown resistance."
Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, is highly destructive to apples, causing brown lesions on leaves and fruit. A single lesion can reduce an apple's value by 85 percent. Over time, the scabby lesion will crack and allow insects, other fungi and bacteria inside, causing a loss of the crop.
University of Michigan: Drug Shortages Harming Patients, Increasing Costs to Hospitals
Hospital Pharmacists' Study Demonstrates Impact of Shortages
July 12, 2011
Increasing drug shortages are impacting patient care and increasing costs to the nation’s health system, according to a new study released today by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). The study, Impact of Drug Shortages on U.S. Health Systems, was conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan Health System, and published online by the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, ahead of the October 1 print date.
The authors, led by Burgunda V. Sweet, Pharm.D., FASHP, director of drug information and medication use policy at the University of Michigan Health System, surveyed 353 directors of pharmacy in hospitals across the country of varying sizes, to quantify the personnel resources required to manage the drug shortages, define the extent to which recent drug shortages impacted health systems nationwide, and to assess the adequacy of information resources available to manage shortages.
"The number of drugs experiencing shortages has increased considerably in the past few years with 211 new drug shortages reported in 2010," Sweet says. "Of even greater concern is that many of these drugs are critical care medications used in acute, life threatening situations. The national cost of healthcare personnel resources needed to manage these shortages amounted to over $200 million. These labor needs required to manage drug shortages were commonly met by reallocating existing staff, thereby pulling pharmacists away from other patient-care duties.”
University of Michigan: Large human study links phthalates, BPA and thyroid hormone levels
July 11, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A link between chemicals called phthalates and thyroid hormone levels was confirmed by the University of Michigan in the first large-scale and nationally representative study of phthalates and BPA in relation to thyroid function in humans.
The U-M School of Public Health study also reported suggestive findings consistent with a previously reported link between a chemical called bisphenol-A and thyroid hormone levels. BPA is best known for its use in certain plastic water bottles and in the linings of canned foods.
Researchers used publicly available data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to compare urine metabolites and serum thyroid measures from 1,346 adults and 329 adolescents. Generally speaking, greater concentrations of urinary phthalate metabolites and BPA were associated with greater impacts on serum thyroid measures, said John Meeker, assistant professor at U-M SPH and lead study author.
Specifically, researchers found an inverse relationship between urinary markers of exposure and thyroid hormone levels, meaning as urinary metabolite concentrations increased, serum levels of certain thyroid hormone levels decreased.
University of Michigan: Elderly patients can safely undergo treatments for severe circulation disease
Statewide study shows interventions are successful in the elderly despite more severe peripheral arterial disease
July 11, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A new study led by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center shows that it is safe for the elderly to undergo minimally invasive procedures to treat a common circulation problem.
Like clogged arteries in the heart, a build-up of plaque can affect circulation in the legs and limit the ability to exercise or even walk and sometimes lead to amputation.
The restricted blood flow is known as peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, and more than 4 million American adults, nearly 15 percent of those over age 70, have the vascular disease.
U-M researchers and colleagues in the Michigan Cardiovascular Consortium showed elderly patients were no more likely than younger patients to suffer major complications or deaths after endovascular procedures such as angioplasty or stents to restore blood flow in the lower extremities.
Wayne State University: Severity of spinal cord injury in adults has no impact on how they rate their health, Wayne State University research finds
July 11, 2011
DETROIT - Severity of spinal cord injury in adults is not related to how they rate their health, Wayne State University researchers have found.
In a study of self-rated health (SRH) published this month in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Cathy Lysack, Ph.D., deputy director of WSU's Institute of Gerontology, along with former Wayne State researcher Katerina Machacova, Ph.D., and Stewart Neufeld, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Institute of Gerontology, evaluated people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in an effort to better understand the relationship between their self-rated physical ability to perform necessary daily activities and their SRH - the way people perceive their own health.
The study of 140 men and women with SCI found that self-rated physical ability topped injury severity as a determining factor of SRH, which may be surprising to the nondisabled.
"Many nondisabled people would think a person with SCI - confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed, etc. - would have very low ratings of health," said Lysack, an occupational therapist. "But we did not find that. A person with a disability is certainly limited in many ways, but just because they are disabled does not mean they feel their health is poor. This is important because health and disability are not the same thing. You can be living with a disability and still be in very good or even excellent health."
Wayne State University: Environmental factors predict underserved children's physical activity, Wayne State University researcher finds
July 14, 2011
DETROIT - In 2005, Jeffrey Martin, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies in Wayne State University's College of Education, found that children living in underserved communities are less physically active than their higher-income counterparts. Now, in a follow-up study, Martin has found environmental factors that may affect underserved children's physical activity and fitness levels: classmate support, gender and confidence. The study was published in the June 2011 issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.
"Underserved children, such as minority children living in low-income households, do not engage in enough physical activity either in or out of school and often lack fitness compared to Caucasian children," said Martin.
To find out why, Martin tested social and physical environmental factors at underserved schools. "Examining the school environment is a particularly important consideration in underserved communities, because often children have limited equipment, and play areas are unsafe or in poor condition," Martin said.
Martin measured social factors, including how much confidence children have in their own abilities, how much confidence they have in seeking support from teachers, how much support they receive from classmates and how conducive to physical activity they perceive their school to be. Participants in the study included African American, Caucasian, Asian American, Arab American, Hispanic American and Bengali middle school children between the ages of 10 and 14.
University of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Study Shows Fewer Injuries Among Athletes with Ankle Braces
July 11, 2011
Madison, Wisconsin – Using an ankle brace? Wise choice.
A new study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health shows that high-school basketball players who wore stabilizing lace-up ankle braces had 68 percent fewer injuries than athletes who did not.
The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine in San Diego, examined athletes who used the lace-up ankle brace-one of the most popular type of braces currently used by collegiate and high school players in the U.S. The study is the first of its kind to examine the efficacy of lace-up ankle braces to prevent both first-time and recurrent ankle injuries in adolescent basketball players.
"The research suggests that wearing lace-up ankle braces is a cost-effective injury-prevention strategy for adolescent basketball players," said Tim McGuine, UW Health Sports Medicine researcher, athletic trainer and lead author. "Basketball has one of the highest rates for ankle injuries, and this study illustrates how a simple brace can help keep an athlete on the court."
Purdue University: Purdue biologists identify new strategy used by bacteria during infection
July 12, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University biologists identified a new way in which bacteria hijack healthy cells during infection, which could provide a target for new antibiotics.
Zhao-Qing Luo, the associate professor of biological sciences who led the study, said the team discovered a new enzyme used by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila - which causes Legionnaires' disease - to control its host cell in order to take up residence.
"Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia, and this finding could lead to the design of a new therapy that saves lives," Luo said. "At the same time it also provides great insight into a general mechanism of both bacterial infection and cell signaling events in higher organisms including humans."
Michigan State University: Perfecting the meat of the potato
July 11, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. — By honing in on the mysterious potato genome and its tuber – its edible portion – researchers are unveiling the secrets of the world’s most-important nongrain food crop.
Robin Buell, Michigan State University plant biologist, is part of an international research team that is mapping the genome of the potato. In the current issue of Nature, the team revealed that it accomplished its goal, thus quickly closing the gap on improving the food source’s elusive genome.
The potato is a member of the Solanaceae, an economically important family that includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, petunia and tobacco. Despite the importance of tubers, the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms of how they grow and reproduce remained elusive – until now, Buell said.
“This is the first plant with a tuber to be sequenced,” she said. “It will still take researchers awhile to use the genome information to improve its agronomic traits, such as improved quality, yield, drought tolerance and disease resistance. But our most-recent research will accelerate efforts on improving potato varieties and help close the gap in bringing a better potato to the farmer.”
University of Wisconsin also has an article on this story
worth reading for a different perspective and more detail.
University of Wisconsin: Conference takes next step in genetic analysis
by David Tenenbaum
July 15, 2011
Now that the human genome has been deciphered, many scientists are turning to study the myriad proteins that are encoded in tens of thousands of genes — a field called proteomics.
On Aug. 4-6, the Human Proteomics Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute will present the Wisconsin Human Proteomics Symposium: Proteomics Technologies and Applications to Human Disease.
"State-of-the-art proteomics techniques have laid the foundation for enormous advances in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields," says Richard L. Moss, honorary chair of the symposium and senior associate dean for basic research, biotechnology, and graduate studies at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. "The outstanding program assembled for the Wisconsin Human Proteomics Symposium highlights ways in which these advances will beneficially impact human health."
University of Michigan: World Population Day: Will 7 billion people create a crisis?
July 11, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—World population will reach 7 billion this year, prompting new concerns about whether the world will soon face a major population crisis.
"In spite of 50 years of the fastest population growth on record, the world has done remarkably well in producing enough food and reducing poverty," said University of Michigan economist David Lam.
Lam is a professor of economics and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research. He delivered the presidential address, titled "How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons from 50 Years of Exceptional Demographic History," at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America earlier this year.
In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb," triggered alarm about the impact of a rapidly growing world population, growth rates were about 2 percent and world population doubled in the 39 years between 1960 and 1999.
According to Lam, that is something that never happened before and will never happen again.
University of Wisconsin: Climate change reducing ocean's carbon dioxide uptake
by Jill Sakai
July 13, 2011
How deep is the ocean’s capacity to buffer against climate change?
As one of the planet’s largest single carbon absorbers, the ocean takes up roughly one-third of all human carbon emissions, reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide and its associated global changes.
But whether the ocean can continue mopping up human-produced carbon at the same rate is still up in the air. Previous studies on the topic have yielded conflicting results, says University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor Galen McKinley.
In a new analysis published online July 10 in Nature Geoscience, McKinley and her colleagues identify a likely source of many of those inconsistencies and provide some of the first observational evidence that climate change is negatively impacting the ocean carbon sink.
“The ocean is taking up less carbon because of the warming caused by the carbon in the atmosphere,” says McKinley, an assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a member of the Center for Climatic Research in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Purdue University: Purdue researcher travels to China to promote EcoPartnership, sustainability
July 11, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue earth and atmospheric sciences professor Timothy Filley has been awarded a Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists, marking the university's first activity under a new Purdue-China EcoPartnership.
Filley will spend the next three months at the CAS Institute for Applied Ecology in Shenyang, China, promoting scientific and educational collaborations that address issues in the earth sciences. Specifically, the research projects will focus on the human impacts to terrestrial ecosystems and their influence on global change issues related to soil and water use.
"My goal is to link Purdue to research conducted at long-term field experiments in northeast China and Inner Mongolia," Filley said. "Of particular interest is how soil organic matter responds to stresses such as invasive species, grassland and forest fires, and excess nitrogen addition from a variety of sources including fertilizers, and the burning of fossil fuels."
Purdue University: High feed costs and increased exports lead to rising pork prices
July 12, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Pork prices are on the rise as international exports increase and high feed costs are passed on to consumers, said a Purdue Extension agricultural economist.
Retail prices this year are averaging a record $3.35 per pound, up 14 percent from $2.93 per pound in early 2010.
Increases in exports to South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have led to stronger demand for U.S. pork, said Chris Hurt. Meat designated for export comprised 22 percent of all U.S. pork in production this spring, and he said that is leaving less for U.S. consumers.
"While it now appears pork production will rise about 1 percent this year, the large sales to foreign customers mean tight supplies here at home," Hurt said.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Ethiopian lake reveals history of African droughts
Posted by TANN 4:49 PM
A new survey of Lake Tana in Ethiopia – the source of the Blue Nile – suggests that drought may have contributed to the demise of the Egyptian Old Kingdom, around 4200 years ago.
A team led by the University of Aberystwyth used seismic surveys and sediment cores to work out how the lake's water levels has varied over the past 17,000 years and linked this to evidence for global climate change.
Understanding how and why rainfall patterns change is particularly important for sub-Saharan Africa, where prolonged droughts have such serious social and economic consequences.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: The Olympia tsunami hypothesis
Posted by TANN ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Europe, Greece, Southern Europe 12:52 PM
Olympia, site of the famous Temple of Zeus and original venue of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, was presumably destroyed by repeated tsunamis that travelled considerable distances inland, and not by earthquake and river floods as has been assumed to date.
Evidence in support of this new theory on the virtual disappearance of the ancient cult site on the Peloponnesian peninsula comes from Professor Dr Andreas Vött of the Institute of Geography of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Vött investigated the site as part of a project in which he and his team are studying the paleotsunamis that occurred along the coastlines of the eastern Mediterranean over the last 11,000 years.
According to his account, the geomorphological and sedimentological findings in the area document that Olympia and its environs were destroyed by tsunami impact. The site of Olympia, rediscovered only some 250 years ago, was buried under a massive layer of sand and other deposits that is up to 8 meters deep.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
Ohio State University: RISE IN RISK INEQUALITY HELPS EXPLAIN POLARIZED U.S. VOTERS
July 13, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study of political polarization in the United States suggests that changes in the labor market since the 1970s has helped create more Republican and Democratic partisans and fewer independents.
The growth in partisanship has to do with people’s current income and – importantly – their expectations of job security, said Philipp Rehm, author of the study and assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University.
At one time, many voters were “cross-pressured” – when looking at what they earned now and their risks of losing that income, they felt torn between Republican and Democratic policies. The result is that they were natural independents, Rehm said.
But since the 1970s, a growing number of workers have found their current incomes and beliefs about their job security have converged – in other words, their preferences aligned completely behind either Democratic or Republican policies. Rehm calls these people natural partisans.
University of Wisconsin: Early Detection of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Does Little to Patient Behavior
July 15, 2011
Madison, Wisconsin - A screening test that predicts your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) is more likely to change your physician's behavior than your own.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that physicians who conducted in-office carotid ultrasound screenings (CUS) significantly modified their treatment approach for patients with abnormal test results, but the patients themselves did little to change behaviors that could improve their long-term health.
"Primary-care providers who used these screenings were more likely to employ preventive strategies earlier for some patients, many of whom would not have previously qualified for cholesterol-lowering medication or aspirin," said Dr. James Stein, director of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and professor of medicine at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. "Unfortunately, the screenings had only a modest impact, at best, on helping patients exercise more, eat healthier and lose weight."
Ohio State University: OMEGA-3 REDUCES ANXIETY AND INFLAMMATION IN HEALTHY STUDENTS
July 12, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study gauging the impact of consuming more fish oil showed a marked reduction both in inflammation and, surprisingly, in anxiety among a cohort of healthy young people.
The findings suggest that if young participants can get such improvements from specific dietary supplements, then the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more.
The findings by a team of researchers at Ohio State University were just published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. It is the latest from more than three decades of research into links between psychological stress and immunity.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: World's oldest ritual discovered
Posted by TANN Africa, ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Botswana 1:57 PM
A startling archaeological discovery that may have gone un-noticed changes our understanding of human history. While, up until now, scholars have largely held that man's first rituals were carried out over 40,000 years ago in Europe, it now appears that they were wrong about both the time and place.
Associate Professor Sheila Coulson, from the University of Oslo, has shown that modern humans, Homo sapiens, have performed advanced rituals in Africa for 70,000 years. She has, in other words, discovered mankind's oldest known ritual.
The archaeologist made the surprising discovery several years ago while she was studying the origin of the San people. A group of the San live in the sparsely inhabited area of north-western Botswana known as Ngamiland.
Coulson made the discovery while searching for artifacts from the Middle Stone Age in the only hills present for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. This group of small peaks within the Kalahari Desert is known as the Tsodilo Hills and is famous for having the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Study to create the first archive of human evolution at Mungo
Posted by TANN Anthropology, Australia, Breakingnews, Evolution, Human Evolution 5:31 PM
A foundational project is currently underway at Lake Mungo and those lakes that abound it to document the history of human settlement, past environmental change and landscape evolution that has occurred in this area. This immense undertaking comes after a long hiatus of research being conducted here and hopes to provide the first systematic archive of its archaeological traces.
Documenting the history of human settlement seems like an epic task in any part of the world; in the stark beauty of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, it involves tracing back no less than 45,000 years.
The Seattle Times: Teams scramble to save Afghan artifacts before copper mining begins
A dozen archaeologists and 100 Afghan laborers are working like army ants to finish the dig at the site of the ancient Mes Aynak ruins in Afghanistan.
By Alex Rodriguez
MES AYNAK, Afghanistan — The ruins poke out of a monotonous stretch of scrub and beckon the world to visit Afghanistan as it was more than 1,400 years ago, when Buddhist monasteries dotted the landscape.
An ancient citadel juts from a tall crag, standing sentinel over what once was a flourishing settlement. The monastery stands largely preserved, as does a series of reliquaries adorned with schist arches and shelves.
But few people today will have a chance to see these ruins, which French and Afghan archaeologists are unearthing.
Sometime soon, perhaps in as little as 14 months, the sprawling, 9,800-acre Mes Aynak site will be crushed by Chinese bulldozers hunting for copper — a clear choice of economic development over historic preservation for a country trying to overcome decades of war, religious extremism and occupation.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: 16th c. Chinese bronze sculpture found on Mexico coast
Posted by TANN Americas, ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Central America, Mexico, Underwater Archaeology 2:58 PM
A bronze sculpture more than 430 years old was found on the Pacific coast in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.
The discovery was made by INAH members and researchers from the United States two weeks ago and is a unique piece within the collection of goods recovered over a 12-year period by the Manila Galleon Project in Baja California.
The sculpture, 12 centimeters (4 3/4 inches) tall and of an equal width, represents a Chinese "Dog of Fo," and the first analyses have determined that it is either the lid of a censer or a candlestick.
The find comes from one of the first galleons of the 16th century to set sail from Manila in the Philippines en route to Acapulco in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, INAH marine archaeology unit member Roberto Junco said.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Digging into Henry VIII's defences
Posted by TANN ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Europe, UK, Western Europe 2:04 PM
Archaeologists are about to start excavating the site of a blockhouse thought to have been built by Henry VIII on the Angle Peninsula to defend against French invasion. Clinging to the edge of a sea cliff in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the blockhouse is a crumbling reminder of a bitter feud between Britain and France.
It was probably built as part of Henry VIII’s coastal defences after his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, when Britain was left politically isolated by a treaty between France and Spain – and the King was determined to defend his country from attack.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: 500yo canoe found in Alaska forest
Updated July 15, 2011 08:29:06
An unfinished Indian canoe, apparently abandoned 500 years ago, has been discovered in a remote section of an Alaska rainforest, according to officials.
The canoe, carved from cedar, was discovered under a thick layer of moss and is surrounded by trees that are several hundred years old, Sealaska Corp, the Alaska Native corporation that owns the land, said in a statement.
The artefact was first spotted last winter by a surveyor checking potential timber-harvest sites, but the discovery was kept confidential until now, the company said.
Kodiak Mirror via Anchorage Daily News: Project yields likely Russian structure
By WES HANNA / Kodiak Daily Mirror
Published: July 12th, 2011 05:07 AM
Last Modified: July 12th, 2011 05:42 AM
KODIAK, Alaska - Excavation work for a new retaining wall for the Baranov Museum Saturday unearthed a part of Kodiak history when an on-site archaeologist recognized deliberately stacked rocks and old wood planks in the exposed earth. She then began documenting what is most likely a structure from the era of Russian colonization.
The find was not completely unexpected. For the 200th anniversary of the museum building, known in Kodiak as the Erskine House, a 2008 community archaeology project excavated two pits near the area of the retaining wall. The archaeology project was conducted in partnership with the Alutiiq Museum.
Andover Townsman: Andover Stories: Digging into a life, a garden
By Jennifer Tarbox and Joan Patrakis Andover Historical Society
Lucy Foster was born in Boston, the daughter of a slave. Not much personal detail is known about her, however the information that Andover does possess gives people some idea of what life was like for a slave living in the North in the late 18th through mid-19th centuries.
When Lucy was a young child she was given to Hannah Foster, the wife of Job Foster, a well-to-do yeoman farmer in Andover. In July of 1771, Lucy was baptized at South Church at the age of 4. As was the custom, she took the name of the family she served. It was common throughout New England and the North for female slaves to be used as domestics. Lucy remained with Hannah until 1789 when Hannah, who was widowed in 1782, married Philemon Chandler, another well-to-do yeoman farmer in Andover.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Artifacts yield clues about steamboat captains' lives
By Mary Pickels, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Carl Maurer and Jonathan Crise looked for buried treasure, sifting through the soil in a sectioned-off property on Brownsville's Bank Street.
Their reward came with bits of history -- a button, a nail, a shard of pottery or glass -- that might shed light on the life of James Gormley, a 19th-century riverboat captain.
The two were among dozens of volunteers who have spent weeks excavating the property Gormley bought in 1832, along with a Church Street site on the opposite end of Brownsville where Capt. Michael Cox lived in the 1870s. The clues to the past began to show just 6 inches below the soil.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman, who sent in the above articles.
Science News: Astronomers probe matter in early universe
Smeared light from the dawn of time confirms ideas about dark energy
By Alexandra Witze
Web edition : Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
In a feat of cosmic observation, astronomers have used the distortions of ancient light left over from the Big Bang to explore how clumps of matter are distributed in the distant universe.
The work also independently confirms the existence of dark energy, an enigmatic force that appears to be pushing the cosmos apart faster and faster.
Researchers using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in the Chilean Andes reported the discoveries July 5 in two papers in Physical Review Letters. The new work “will be a really powerful probe for figuring out dark energy and a lot of other interesting things,” says team member Blake Sherwin, a graduate student in astronomy at Princeton University.
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences via Science Daily: Chemistry: Separation a Thousand-Fold Faster May Lead to New Composite Materials
July 14, 2011
Numerous industrial processes make use of blends. Researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have studied how the external electric field affects the rate of component separation in blends composed of polymers and liquid crystals and those composed of various types of polymers. The observations gathered open interesting opportunities, e.g., for the development of new composite materials.
Inhomogeneous blends of polymers with other polymers or liquid crystals are widely used in industrial applications -- in LCD displays, gas-flow sensors, optical memories and other devices. Researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw analysed the behaviour of such blends in alternating external electric field. „We managed to determine precisely the conditions permitting even a thousand-fold acceleration of component separation process in the blends under study," says Prof. Robert Hoyst.
University of Michigan: Solar car Quantum to tour Michigan in the ultimate road test
July 12, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The national champion solar car team will soon put its 2011 car and crew to the toughest test before the October World Solar Challenge. On Saturday (July l6), the University of Michigan team will embark on a 1,000-mile, four-day "mock race" that will ring the state's Lower Peninsula.
You can follow along online. Michigan Engineering will travel with the team, posting videos and updates on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on Tumblr at http://michiganengineering.tumblr.com. The Solar Car team will also blog, tweet and post videos at http://solarcar.engin.umich.edu/....
The Quantum, which is street legal, will cruise along mostly two-lane roads at an expected average of 40-50 mph (past Michigan solar cars can break 100 mph, but the team doesn't test for speed until after the World Solar Challenge). Five stops in St. Joseph, Ludington, Traverse City, Mackinaw City and Tawas City will simulate the mandatory control stops along the Australian race route. At these check points, the team will rest, change drivers and charge up. For details about the dates and times the team will be at each stop, check the website at http://solarcar.engin.umich.edu/....
"Mock race is a major milestone for us," said Rachel Kramer, project manager and senior neuroscience student. "We'll be on the open roads navigating and dealing with other traffic while making real-time race strategy decisions."
University of Michigan: U-M researchers aim to improve vehicle safety for kids
July 12, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute hope to make passenger cars and trucks safer for children in crashes—the leading cause of death for kids.
UMTRI researchers will measure how children sit in car seats and how safety belts fit them. The study, which runs through August, will be used to improve the design of car seats and restraints.
Purdue University: Grain production not keeping up with demand, economist says
July 14, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Grain crops are being gobbled up faster than farmers can grow them, and that could portend trouble down the road if production doesn't catch up, said a Purdue University agricultural economist.
There have been two major demand surges in the past five years, including the rising use of corn to produce ethanol and China's purchases of soybeans, Chris Hurt said. The former has been driven by government biofuels mandates and high oil prices, while the latter is the product of China's growing food demand brought on by rapidly increasing incomes that have enabled the Chinese people to buy more food.
"These greater levels of usage have placed a strain on the agricultural production system, resulting in low inventories that leave little room for any production shortfalls," Hurt said. "Producers certainly have responded to try to meet those demands, but what we've seen is that demand has really outpaced the ability of the world to supply."
"Fifty-nine percent of all the growth in corn use in the entire world over the last five years has been in a category where ethanol would be placed: industrial use," he said. "Here in the United States over the last five years 100 percent of the increase in corn usage is for ethanol, representing 2.5 billion bushels of corn."
About 27 percent of the U.S. corn crop is used for ethanol, compared to 10 percent in 2005, Hurt estimated. All told, 16 million additional acres of corn from the 2010 crop was required to produce ethanol versus 2005.
Science, Space, Environment, and Energy Policy
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Antiquities to return to Swat Museum
Posted by TANN ArchaeoHeritage, Asia, Breakingnews, Central Asia, Heritage, Pakistan 5:50 PM
Thousands of antiquities removed from the Swat Buddhist Museum for safety after militants bombed it in 2008 were returned to the museum on Wednesday.
Officials of the Taxila Museum, where the more than 2,700 pieces of Gandhara period were kept, handed the whole lot to the Directorate of Archaeology of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.
The Swat Museum was closed following the bomb attack on it in February 2008 and its unique archaeological trove was shifted to the vaults of Taxila Museum for safekeeping.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement: ICE makes arrests and seizes cultural artifacts stolen from Egypt
Set of Sarcophagi more than 2,000 years old
NEW YORK — Antiquity dealers and collectors from Michigan, New York, Virginia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were charged today in connection with a scheme to smuggle illicit cultural property into the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents dismantled an organization responsible for conspiring to smuggle Egyptian Middle Eastern and Asian antiquities into the United States and conspiring to launder money in furtherance of smuggling.
ICE HSI agents who specialize in cultural property investigations seized Egyptian antiquities to include but are not limited to a Greco-Roman style Egyptian sarcophagus, a unique three-part coffin set belonging to Shesepamuntayesher from the Saite period or 26th Dynasty, approximately 664-552 B.C. In addition to Egyptian antiquities, other Middle Eastern and Asian artifacts along with more than a thousand antique coins have been recovered.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Peru to sue Swedish city for theft of ancient textiles
Posted by TANN Americas, ArchaeoHeritage, Heritage, Peru, South America 10:54 AM
Peru will sue the Swedish city of Gothenburg on charges of being accomplices in the theft of ancient pre-Columbian textiles on exhibit in their museum, President Alan Garcia said.
Garcia said that Peru wants back more than 100 colorful Paracas culture textiles, which are more than 2,000 years old. The textiles are on exhibit at the city-owned Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, in southern Sweden.
Archeology News Network on Blogspot: Chaos threatens Philippines' cultural treasures
Posted by TANN
Thieves and art dealers are the usual suspects, but mildew and flashbulbs are just as dangerous for some of the Philippines' beleaguered cultural treasures.
From a 30,000-year-old skull fragment of one of its first human inhabitants to imposing churches built during Spanish colonial rule, the Southeast Asian archipelago has a stunning display of artefacts showcasing its diverse history.
But they are under threat on every front.
Even at the National Museum where half a million archaeological items are supposed to be protected, a lack of funds means they could be as vulnerable as treasures outside its walls, said its chief conservator Orlando Abinion.
"They are in danger, yes, they are prone to deterioration, robbery, vandalism," Abinion told AFP inside the rundown hallways of one of the museum's twin 85-year-old neoclassical buildings in the historic old quarter of Manila.
The Voice of San Diego: A Surprise Museum Raid, Then ... Silence
Officials at the Mingei International Museum say they've only received one follow-up call from the federal government since its agents swarmed the building in 2008 as part of an investigation into suspected smuggling.
by Kelly Bennett
Disturbing the post-holiday quiet in Balboa Park one early January morning, federal agents swarmed into the Mingei International Museum.
The agents ordered museum workers to escort them through corridors and galleries, pointing out anything thought to have originated from Ban Chiang, an ancient culture in Thailand. They pulled 67 items: artifacts, jewelry and pottery.
Federal agents commanded the museum to whisk those items from public view and lock them away in storage. Museum staff plucked their images from museum literature, too, as if the items had vanished from the collection.
The 67 items are still sitting there, hidden, three-and-a-half years later.
- Other Science Policy Stories
The Salt Lake Tribune: Budget casualty: state botanist position scrapped
By JUDY FAHYS
The Salt Lake Tribune
Budget cuts have prompted the state to lop another science position from the payroll — this one for the lone botanist who kept a statewide list of rare and declining plant species.
Elimination of the position comes the month after the state antiquities program — also citing a budget crunch — eliminated three archaeology positions.
Amy Canning, a spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said her agency offered M.A. “Ben” Franklin another position in the agency when federal funding for his position dried up. But he opted to retire instead, she said.
N.Y. Times via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Revolution Dims Star Power of Egypt's Antiquities Chief
By KATE TAYLOR, The New York Times
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Until recently Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities minister, was a global symbol of Egyptian national pride. A famous archaeologist in an Indiana Jones hat, he was virtually unassailable in the old Egypt, protected by his success in boosting tourism, his efforts to reclaim lost artifacts and his closeness to the country's first lady, Suzanne Mubarak.
But the revolution changed all that.
Now demonstrators in Cairo are calling for his resignation as the interim government faces disaffected crowds in Tahrir Square.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
Discovery News: James Webb Space Telescope Closer to the Axe
Analysis by Ian O'Neill
Wed Jul 13, 2011 08:16 PM ET
This could be considered "strike two" for the deeply troubled James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
Last week, the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee made the recommendation that the advanced infrared space telescope -- and Hubble's replacement -- be cancelled. On Wednesday, the full House Science, Space and Technology Committee has approved the subcommittee's plan.
Hubble WATCH VIDEOS: Hubble is always seeing the cosmos in a new light. Browse the next big Hubble scoop in the Discovery News Hubble video playlist.
Although the project isn't dead yet, the 2012 budget still needs to be voted on by the House an the Senate, but things are looking grim.
Despite a last minute appeal to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday, the Republican-dominated committee were unmoved.
University of Michigan: Children with public health insurance less likely to receive comprehensive primary care
U-M researchers find significant disparities between children with public and private health insurance
July 14, 2011
Children with public insurance are 22 percent less likely to receive comprehensive primary care than those with private insurance, according to new research from the University of Michigan Medical School.
Public insurance programs cover one-third of U.S. children, many of whom belong to the most vulnerable groups, including minorities, the underprivileged and those in poor health. This includes children covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The study, available online ahead of print in Academic Pediatrics, determined how often children with public health insurance reported having a ‘medical home,’ a model for pediatric primary care endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Indiana University: IU experts respond to Defense Department cyber strategy
July 15, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday (July 14) unveiled declassified portions of its long-awaited strategy for handling cyberattacks, declaring publicly for the first time that it would treat cyberspace -- just as land, sea, and air -- as an "operational domain."
While the department's five-pronged approach to combating cyber threats signaled an important first step in the development of a national cyberwarfare strategy, it also raised many unanswered questions, including policy issues such as how the U.S. could use the Internet to respond to a cyber threat.
University of Michigan: U-M will launch Planet Blue Ambassador program this fall
July 12, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Students won't be the only ones in the classroom this fall, as a unique pilot program involving University of Michigan students and staff kicks off as part of the university's commitment to sustainability.
Through a collaboration involving the Graham Sustainability Institute, University Housing, the Office of Campus Sustainability, the Voices of the Staff Environmental Stewardship Team and the Student Sustainability Initiative, a new seminar-based program will provide the necessary skills and training for "Planet Blue Ambassadors," while exploring similarities and differences between student and staff experiences. Planet Blue Ambassadors will model and teach sustainability practices and serve as "eco-reps" to the U-M community. The ultimate program goal is to create a culture of sustainability across all U-M units.
"This is an opportunity to connect students from diverse academic backgrounds with members of the U-M faculty and staff by providing an action-based learning experience," said Mike Shriberg, education director for the Graham Institute and a lecturer in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). "The primary goal is to teach best practices so that students and staff can encourage environmentally responsible behaviors both in the residence halls and in organizational units throughout campus."
Michigan State University: MSU to host youth garden symposium
July 14, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University will host the 19th annual National Children and Youth Garden Symposium July 21-23.
The conference, which is sponsored by the American Horticultural Society, includes a number of keynote speakers and about 50 educational lectures, workshops and learning stations.
The educational sessions include:
"From Schoolyard to Backyard"
"Helpful Hints from Horticultural Therapy"
"Green Corps: Sustainable Youth and Urban Agriculture"
"Digging Into Worm Composting"
"Butterfly Gardening Using Native Plants"
Michigan State University: MSU’s Mott Group to host six FoodCorps members
July 14, 2011
Thanks to a recent grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University will help increase vulnerable children's knowledge of, engagement with and access to healthy food.
The C.S. Mott Group will aid six of Michigan's FoodCorps members in conducting nutrition education, building and tending school gardens and expanding farm-to-cafeteria sourcing of healthy food at the Michigan Land Use Institute, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Food System Economic Partnership and the Crim Fitness Foundation.
Wayne State University: State grant will expand and enhance Wayne State University College of Nursing simulation laboratory
July 15, 2011
The Wayne State University College of Nursing received a $200,000 grant from the Michigan Nursing Corps (MNC) to enhance its simulation technology for teaching clinical nursing skills. The college's simulation laboratories use life-sized manikins programmed to exhibit a wide range of biological responses and medical conditions. This technology allows nursing students to learn and practice clinical skills in a safe, low-stress environment before their supervised training with actual patients.
The state grant will fund a second laboratory with simulation capabilities for many trauma and emergency conditions, as well as the medical equipment and supplies needed to treat patients in these situations. In addition, some of the funds will be used for software to program the new "SimMan."
University of Wisconsin: "Boot camp" prepares students for biology education at UW-Madison
by David Tenenbaum
July 14, 2011
Here's the situation: Recently, three kids succumbed within a month to a new blood parasite at your hospital, and a fourth child has just been admitted with the same parasite.
Biology instructor Jean Heitz is plunging ahead with a discussion of research techniques and priorities at the first edition of Bio Boot Camp, a new effort to acquaint incoming biology students with the rigors of life as a biology undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Heitz sharpens the issue: "If you had already learned to grow this parasite in culture, what would you do to save the patient's life?"
The boot-campers in her audience are not shy, and they invent a range of answers: Study the symptoms. Use a transfusion to give the patient more time. Explore how the kids are getting infected.
And figure out how to kill the parasite.
Science Writing and Reporting
Science News: BOOK REVIEW: The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
By Simon Baron-Cohen
Review by Erika Engelhaupt
July 30th, 2011; Vol.180 #3 (p. 30)
IBOOK REVIEW: The depths of human cruelty are often summed up in one stark term: evil. But definitions of evil are frustratingly circular, since evil is as evil does. “For a scientist this is, of course, wholly inadequate,” writes Baron-Cohen, a developmental psychologist specializing in autism. He suggests that “evil” is more properly defined as a complete lack of empathy, the ability to imagine and respond emotionally to another person’s thoughts. Empathy, he argues, is distributed througout the population as a bell curve, with those at the low end of the curve populating psychiatric categories such as psychopathy, narcissism and borderline personality disorder.
Science News: BOOK REVIEW: Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc
By Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Review by Daniel Strain
July 30th, 2011; Vol.180 #3 (p. 30)
Before phosphorus became a common ingredient in lightbulbs and bombs, early chemists isolated it from urine — at the time, an at-hand source of undiscovered chemicals. According to a recipe by English scientist Robert Hooke, it was best to start with 50 to 60 pails of the stuff.
Buckets of pee probably aren’t the first thing most people think of when they eye the periodic table, but such images seem to pop readily into Aldersey-Williams’ mind. This scientist-turned-writer dives into the discovery of many of the table’s now famous letters — P, S and O — and even some of the more obscure — Eu, Er and Yb. But he’s also interested in the cultural cachet of those elements. Phosphorus, for instance, went from a glowing, albeit stinky, symbol of scientific ingenuity to an ingredient in white-hot bombs, capable of burning entire cities.
Science is Cool
The Daily Mail (UK): Crash test mummies: Egypt's oldest pyramid saved from collapse by giant airbags
By Daily Mail Reporter
Egypt's oldest pyramid has been saved from collapse by giant airbags which have been used to prop up the ceilings.
The 4,700-year-old building has been stabilised so engineers can carry out permanent repairs.
The giant structure was built as a burial place for Pharaoh Djoser, a warrior who reigned in the third dynasty for 19 years but has been damaged in an earthquake.
Cambridge News (UK): Time Team unearths stables fit for a king
A television show has unearthed remains of King Charles II's original stables during excavations at Newmarket’s Palace House – but the roots of the site may extend further into the past.
A 15-strong team of archaeologists from Channel 4’s Time Team descended on Newmarket on Monday and uncovered remains of the stables, which were built in the 1670s.
The find came in the first trench dug in King’s Yard on the Palace House site, which is owned by Forest Heath District Council.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.
University of Michigan: People often talk about politics on blogs geared toward other topics
July 14, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A full 25 percent of blog posts about politics occur on sites that are primarily about something else, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Information. And when authors post about politics, their readers reply and engage with the political content of the posts.
The researchers say they have uncovered a significant repository of political discourse that is largely being ignored. They will present their findings July 19 at the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media in Barcelona.
Doctoral student Sean Munson and professor Paul Resnick examined 6,691 posts from a random sample of more than 8,600 blogs on Blogger.com. While most of these blogs were personal diaries or covered topics such as sports, celebrities or hobbies, about 5 percent were devoted to politics. The researchers found that the authors of many non-political blogs occasionally post about politics. These intermittent commentaries add up—so much so that they accounted for a quarter of all political posts in this large study.
"A lot of the commentary about political polarization on the Internet has focused on political websites," said Munson, who is the lead author. "That's kind of like going to a political rally and looking for diverse views. You aren't going to find them there. But you might find them at the local diner."
Indiana University: IURTC executes licensing agreement with professor's start-up, Guidewave Consulting
Agreement commercializes research which found correlations between social media and financial market activity
July 13, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Research & Technology Corp. has executed an exclusive licensing agreement with Guidewave Consulting, a start-up company created by a faculty member in the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing.
In October, an IU team led by Associate Professor Johan Bollen found a correlation between the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and public sentiment as presented on Twitter. The IURTC is licensing patent and software rights to this research.
Guidewave has signed a consulting agreement with Europe's first social-media based hedge fund, Derwent Capital Markets of London.
The agreement being announced today (July 13) includes intellectual property that led to research that received worldwide attention last fall. Bollen and Ph.D. candidate Huina Mao were able to measure the collective public mood derived from millions of tweets to predict the rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average up to a week in advance with an accuracy approaching 90 percent.
Purdue University: Through the end, Harry Potter series teaches fans about death, loss
July 13, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Harry Potter books and films can be valuable tools to teach about death and loss, but a Purdue University professor who specializes in grief suggests parents of younger children pay close attention to the final movie in which a number of characters are expected to die.
"Each child's reaction will vary based on their temperament or personal experiences with death," says Heather Servaty-Seib, a counseling psychologist and associate professor of educational studies. "One child might be sad about individual characters that don't make it or the experience might heighten a child's own sense of mortality and scare them. Parents should observe their child, be aware and sensitive, and be prepared to discuss such issues.
"Many children will be indirect about how they feel, so parents can watch for changes in behavior or actions."
She says the series is a great teaching tool about death and grieving that parents and children can explore together. Death is a meaningful part of the series from the beginning - when readers learn that Potter's parents were killed when he was an infant - through the deaths of other key characters, such as a fellow student, Potter's godfather and a favorite professor.