Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir and ScottyUrb, guest editors maggiejean and annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, and the environment.
Between now and the general election, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in swing states for either the presidential election or competitive contests for the U.S. Senate, plus those states holding presidential or vice-presidential debates during the week. Competitive states will be determined based on the percentage chance to win at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog at the New York Times. Those that show the two major party candidates having probabilities to win between 20% and 80% inclusive will count as swing states.
As of October 13th, the presidential swing states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin, while the states with competitive races for the U.S. Senate are Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Virginia. Since last week's report, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin have moved back into the competitive column with 60-80% likelihoods of Obama wins, while North Carolina has moved out with an 80+% chance of a Romney victory. Also, Virginia's senate contest has returned to the competitive column because Tim Kaine's likelihood of being elected dropped to just under 80%. That's the bad news. The good news is that Heidi Heitkamp now has more than a 20% probability of winning North Dakota and Nate Silver gives Tammy Baldwin more than an 80% chance of victory in Wisconsin.
Tonight's edition highlights the science, space, environment, health, and energy stories from universities in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
This week's featured story comes from Time.
Secret to Winning a Nobel Prize? Eat More Chocolate
By Olivia B. Waxman
October 12, 2012
As the Nobel Prizes are being awarded this week, one U.S. scientist asks: could eating chocolate have anything to do with becoming a laureate?
Why would the sweet treat be linked to winning the most prestigious intellectual award, you ask? In a “note” published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Franz H. Messerli, a cardiologist at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, writes that cocoa contains flavanols, plant-based compounds that previous studies have linked to the slowing or reversing of age-related cognitive decline. (You can also get flavonols in green tea, red wine and some fruits.)
Given that, Messerli wondered “whether there would be a correlation between a country’s level of chocolate consumption and its population’s cognitive function.” But since “no data on overall national cognitive function are publicly available,” Messerli decided to use the number of Nobel laureates per capita as a stand-in.
More stories after the jump.
Recent Science Diaries and Stories
This week in science: Chutes and ladders
God seen in space from Chili Observatory!
by Anton Bursch
On Mars: Clues to the Red Planet's Wet Past Continue to Pile Up
Todd Akin believes in magic non-pregnancies, but not in evolution
Al Ahram: Gallery: Egypt's Khafre Pyramid reopens after 10 year restoration project
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for this story.
Purdue University on YouTube: Hestia project: Greenhouse gas emissions mapped at building and street level
With the help of Purdue researchers and Chemistry department head Dr. Paul Shepson, Kevin Gurney, a former Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences professor, leads Hestia, a research project that gives better views of where carbon dioxide is being emitted. Hestia started by looking at greenhouse gas emissions in Indianapolis.
Also read the article from Arizona State University under Climate and Environment.
Purdue University on YouTube: Help the Hellbender
Purdue University: Purdue part of national group bent on saving the hellbender
October 10, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University scientists are part of a nationwide effort to save a declining species of an amphibian called the hellbender, with hopes of rallying people to do the same.
The group is trying to save North America's largest salamander, also known as a "devil dog" and "old lasagna sides." These giant salamanders are typically 11-24 inches long with flat green or brown bodies that have noticeable wrinkles on the sides. They are long-lived and spend up to 30 years under flat rocks in rivers and streams across Appalachia, parts of the Midwest and the northern tips of several southern states.
But the eastern hellbender is endangered in five states and protected or of special concern in many others.
ABC News on YouTube: Space Shuttle Endeavor to Reach Final Resting Place; Retired Ship Makes Way Through Los Angeles
L.A. Times: Space shuttle Endeavour rolls on toward its new home
October 13, 2012
The space shuttle Endeavour rolled across its final frontier Saturday, successfully crossing a bridge over the 405 Freeway and pivoting through tight spots en route to its new home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.
Thousands of people thronged the streets to watch the shuttle crawl through the streets of Inglewood and then Los Angeles.
The massive space vehicle made a two-hour stop at the Forum in Inglewood, arriving early to the delight of crowds and politicians who crowed about Southern California landing what they called a national treasure.
NASA Television on YouTube: Dragon Delivers on This Week at NASA...
With its arrival at the International Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft becomes the first commercial resupply mission to the orbiting laboratory, and the first U.S. spacecraft in the post-space shuttle era capable of transporting significant amounts of supplies between Earth and the station. Also, booster progress; ISS crew training; Curiosity update; robotic exoskeleton; Whitcomb Hall of Famer; international space orchestra; and more!
NASA Television on YouTube: ScienceCasts: A Meteor Shower from Halley's Comet
Soon, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect 25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Oct. 21st.
L.A. Times: Latest images from Mars' Curiosity rover
As the Curiosity rover motors toward its 60th day on Mars, here are some recent images of the Red Planet and signs of ancient flowing water.
University of Arizona: Bounce, Skid, Wobble: How Huygens Landed on Titan
Piecing together the events of the farthest touchdown a manmade spacecraft has ever made on an alien world reveals new clues about Titan's surface and helps plan future missions to moons and planets.
By Jia-Rui Cook/JPL and Daniel Stolte/UANews
October 11, 2012
The Huygens probe, ferried to Saturn's moon Titan by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest in the 10 seconds after touching down on Titan in January 2005, a new analysis reveals. The moon’s surface is more complex than previously thought.
Scientists reconstructed the chain of events by analyzing data from a variety of instruments that were active during the impact, in particular changes in the acceleration experienced by the probe. The probe was supplied by the European Space Agency and named after the Dutch 17th century astronomer Christiaan Huygens.
The analysis reveals that, on first contact with Titan’s surface, Huygens dug a hole about 4 1/2 inches (close to 12 centimeters) deep, before bouncing out onto a flat surface. The Huygens probe had a mass of 450 pounds (204 kilograms). It hit the ground with an impact speed that was similar to dropping a ball on Earth from a height of 3 1/2 feet (1 meter). Due to the lower gravity on Titan, the probe weighed only 60 pounds or 28 kilograms on Titan.
University of Arizona: Cambrian Fossil Pushes Back Evolution of Complex Brains
Complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, as evidenced by a 520-million-year-old fossilized arthropod with remarkably well-preserved brain structures.
By Daniel Stolte, University Communications
October 10, 2012
The remarkably well-preserved fossil of an extinct arthropod shows that anatomically complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought and have changed little over the course of evolution. According to University of Arizona neurobiologist Nicholas Strausfeld, who co-authored the study describing the specimen, the fossil is the earliest known to show a brain.
Embedded in mudstones deposited during the Cambrian period 520 million years ago in what today is the Yunnan Province in China, the approximately 3-inch-long fossil, which belongs to the species Fuxianhuia protensa, represents an extinct lineage of arthropods combining an advanced brain anatomy with a primitive body plan.
The fossil provides a “missing link” that sheds light on the evolutionary history of arthropods, the taxonomic group that comprises crustaceans, arachnids and insects.
University of Florida: Researchers work across fields to uncover information about hadrosaur teeth
October 11, 2012.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An unusual collaboration between researchers in two disparate fields resulted in a new discovery about the teeth of 65-million-year-old dinosaurs.
With the help of University of Florida mechanical engineering professor W. Gregory Sawyer and UF postdoctoral researcher Brandon Krick, Florida State University paleobiologist Gregory Erickson determined the teeth of hadrosaurs — an herbivore from the late Cretaceous period — had six tissues in their teeth instead of two. The results were published in the journal Science Oct. 5.
“When something has been in the ground 65 million years, by and large we pick it up and we look at it and say, ‘oh, look at what has been preserved.’ But we don’t mechanically interrogate fossils to see if there is other information,” Sawyer said. “When we started to mechanically interrogate these teeth, what we found was all of these properties were preserved, and one other thing: these teeth were a lot more complicated than we thought.”
Cornell University: Insects drive rapid shifts in plant ecology and evolution
By Krishna Ramanujan
October 4, 2012
A five-year study of plant populations provides rare real-time data that demonstrate key predictions by Charles Darwin on the importance of ecology along with natural selection in shaping a species' evolution.
When insect pests were removed from experimental fields of evening primrose, a native wildflower, the plants evolved -- in just three to four generations -- to relax their defenses against pests and were also better able to compete for space and other resources against dandelions that unexpectedly thrived without insects.
"What was most surprising to us was how rapidly the plants evolved, and we did not expect the evolution of competitive ability in the plants," said Anurag Agrawal, a Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of the study published Oct. 5 in the journal Science.
University of Arizona: New Algae Species is Named After UA Researcher
UA research associate Patrick Ferris, who has spent nearly 30 years studying algae, recently was honored when a Japanese team named a newly discovered species after him.
By Shelley Littin, University Communications | October 9, 2012
Millions of Earth's species may have yet to be identified, according to a recent National Geographic article. But today, it's millions minus two: New algae species recently emerged from a Japan lake, and one of them is named after UA research associate Patrick Ferris.
A recent paper published in the Journal of Phycology by researchers at the University of Tokyo and Keio University describes two new species of algae, one of which is dubbed Volvox ferrisii, in honor of the scientists’ Canadian-born colleague.
“Most people see the algae that are clogging up their pools,” Ferris said. “They don’t see the little ones.”
Colorado State University: Bobcats more likely to get diseases from urban areas, CSU scientists say
October 8, 2012
Bobcats are more likely to pick up parasites such as Giardia when they're closer to urban areas with a heavier human impact on the environment, according to a new study by Colorado State University wildlife and veterinary scientists.
Researchers collected fecal samples in Ventura County, Calif., and along Colorado’s Front Range and Western Slope, and tested them for Toxoplasma gondii, Giardia duodenalis and Cryptosporidium spp.– all parasites that cause health issues in people and wildlife, with the latter two causing diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Findings revealed that bobcats near urban areas of Boulder, Colo., and Los Angeles were more likely to have those parasites than bobcats living in more rural areas in Colorado.
Ohio State University: Urban Coyotes Could be Setting the Stage for Larger Carnivores to Move Into Cities
October 5, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – About five miles from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, scientists have located the smallest known coyote territory ever observed. For at least six years, a coyote community has maintained its existence within about a third of a square mile.
“That’s an indication that they don’t have to go far to find food and water. They’re finding everything they need right there, in the suburbs of Chicago,” said Stan Gehrt, an associate professor of environment and natural resources at Ohio State University who has led the tracking of coyotes around Chicago for 12 years. “It amazes me.”
Coyotes are the largest of the mammalian carnivores to have made their way to, and thrived in, urban settings, Gehrt said.
CNN: Nobel Prize in medicine awarded to Sir John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Thu October 11, 2012
The 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded Monday to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for work that revolutionized the understanding of how cells and organisms develop.
The Nobel Assembly's announcement at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is the first for what will be a series of prizes announced this week. The Norwegian Nobel committee will announce the most anticipated of the annual honors -- the Nobel Peace Prize -- on Friday in Oslo, Norway.
Gurdon, 79, of Dippenhall, England, and Yamanaka, 50, of Osaka, Japan, share the prize jointly for their discovery that "mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body," according to the Nobel Assembly, which consists of 50 professors at the Karolinska Institute.
University of Arizona: Researchers Find Regenerated Lizard Tails Are Different From Originals
The regrown tails are functional replacements, UA-ASU researchers say.
By Al Bravo, College of Medicine-Phoenix | October 9, 2012
PHOENIX – Just because a lizard can grow back its tail, doesn’t mean it will be exactly the same. A multidisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University examined the anatomical and microscopic make-up of regenerated lizard tails and discovered that the new tails are quite different from the original ones.
The findings are published in a pair of articles featured in a special October edition of the journal, The Anatomical Record.
“The regenerated lizard tail is not perfect replica,” said Rebecca Fisher, an associate professor at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix. “There are key anatomical differences including the presence of a cartilaginous rod and elongated muscle fibers spanning the length of the regenerated tail.”
Arizona State University: Gluten-free craze not backed by science, ASU professor finds
October 8, 2012
There is no benefit for the average healthy adult to follow a gluten-free diet, according to research published by an Arizona State University professor in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The study debunks the idea that going gluten-free is an effective way to lose weight.
Glenn Gaesser, professor and director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center in the ASU School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, notes that while gluten-free dieting has gained considerable popularity, there is no published evidence to support such claims. In fact, there are data to suggest that gluten itself may provide some health benefits.
University of Colorado, Boulder: Nurture trumps nature in study of oral bacteria in human twins, says CU study
October 12, 2012
A new long-term study of human twins by University of Colorado Boulder researchers indicates the makeup of the population of bacteria bathing in their saliva is driven more by environmental factors than heritability.
The study compares saliva samples from identical and fraternal twins to see how much “bacterial communities” in saliva vary from mouth to mouth at different points in time, said study leader and CU-Boulder Professor Kenneth Krauter. The twin studies show that the environment, rather than a person’s genetic background, is more important in determining the types of microbes that live in the mouth.
For the new study, doctoral student Simone Stahringer sequenced the microbial DNA present in the saliva samples of twins. She and the research team then determined the microbes’ identities through comparison with a microbe sequence database. Saliva samples were gathered from twins over the course of a decade beginning in adolescence to see how salivary microbes change with time.
University of Florida: Cellphone data helps researchers target likely spots for malaria control
October 11, 2012.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Cellphone records could be a valuable tool for controlling and eliminating malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Florida researcher.
Mosquitoes that carry malaria have a limited flight range, but that doesn’t stop the disease from traveling long distance. Humans infected with the disease can carry it anywhere a car or plane can reach. That makes eliminating the disease challenging, especially when limited resources for health care and mosquito control are available to cover a large geographic region. In Kenya, a team of researchers has shown how cellphone records can be used to identify which regions should be targeted first to maximize the benefit of malaria control and elimination efforts.
The study appears in the Oct. 12 issue of the journal Science.
Virginia Tech: Mosquito genetics may offer clues to malaria control, Virginia Tech researchers say
Oct. 8, 2012
BLACKSBURG, Va., – An African mosquito species with a deadly capacity to transmit malaria has a perplexing evolutionary history, according to a discovery by researchers at the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech.
Closely related African mosquito species originated the ability to transmit human malaria multiple times during their recent evolution, according to a study published Oct. 4, 2012, in PLoS Pathogens by Igor Sharakhov, an associate professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Maryam Kamali of Tehran, Iran, a Ph.D. student in the department of entomology. The discovery could have implications for malaria control by enabling researchers to detect and target specific genetic changes associated with the capacity to transmit a parasite.
Malaria causes as many as 907,000 deaths each year, mostly among children in sub-Saharan Africa. Anopheles mosquitoes, which bite mainly between dusk and dawn, transmit human malaria by spreading Plasmodium parasites that multiply in the human liver and infect red blood cells. But of the more than 400 species of mosquito belonging to the Anopheles genus, only about 20 are effective vectors of human malaria, according to the World Health Organization.
Indiana University: Filming bacterial life in multicolor as a new diagnostic and antibiotic discovery tool
Multicolored probes target cell wall synthesis in the arms race with bacteria
Oct. 11, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An international team of scientists led by Indiana University chemist Michael S. VanNieuwenhze and biologist Yves Brun has discovered a revolutionary new method for coloring the cell wall of bacterial cells to determine how they grow, in turn providing a new, much-needed tool for the development of new antibiotics.
Discovery of the new method is expected to broadly impact both basic and applied research tied to understanding, controlling or preventing bacterial cell growth in specific environments, said the two scientists in IU Bloomington's College of Arts and Sciences.
"Understanding the mechanisms controlling bacterial cell growth and shape is of tremendous importance in any area where we seek strategies for controlling bacteria, be it for the eradication of pathogens from the human body or the improvement of bacterial growth in bioremediation and industrial processes," VanNieuwenhze said. "Now, with the development of this one-step method to identify the zones of growth in bacterial cells, we have a dramatically improved toolkit to understand the basic mechanisms of bacterial growth that will directly enable the development of antibacterial strategies."
University of Iowa: Enzyme triggers heart failure
Inhibiting CaMKII activity could lead to new heart disease therapies
By: Jennifer Brown
October 11, 2012
University of Iowa researchers have previously shown that an enzyme called CaM kinase II plays a pivotal role in the death of heart cells following a heart attack or other conditions that damage or stress heart muscle. Loss of beating heart cells is generally permanent and leads to heart failure, a serious, debilitating condition that affects 5.8 million people in the United States.
Now the UI team, led by Mark Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of internal medicine at the UI Carver College of Medicine, has honed in on how CaM kinase II triggers heart cell death following heart damage, showing that the action takes place in the cells’ energy-producing mitochondria. In animal tests, the team reports that blocking the enzyme can prevent heart cells from dying, and protects the animals from heart failure.
Mitochondrial are the cells’ batteries, generating the energy cells need to work. In heart cells, energy produced by these small cellular components fuels each heartbeat. However, when the heart is stressed, for example during a heart attack, the mitochondria become leaky and non-functional, which triggers cell death and heart failure.
University of Iowa: UI research may help build a better drug
New finding may help scientists eliminate diabetes drug's adverse side effects
By: Jennifer Brown
October 9, 2012
Many drugs work by “fixing” a particular biological pathway that’s gone awry in a disease. But sometimes drugs affect other pathways too, producing undesirable side effects that can be severe enough to outweigh the drug’s benefits.
Such is the case for the thiazolidinedione drugs (also known as TZDs), which are used to treat type 2 diabetes. These are highly effective in controlling blood glucose levels and have an added benefit of lowering blood pressure in some patients.
However, TZDs cause unrelated but potentially severe side effects in some patients, including heart failure, bone fracture, and to a lesser degree, heart attack or bladder cancer depending on the specific TZD. The actual risks vary depending upon a patient’s specific circumstances. Nonetheless, because of increased recognition of these unwanted effects, the rate of new TZD prescriptions is on the decline.
SUNY Stony Brook: Stony Brook Researchers Develop Neuroimaging Technique Capturing Cocaine's Devastating Effect on Brain Blood Flow
The findings, reported in Molecular Psychiatry, provide evidence of cocaine-induced stroke
October 10, 2012
Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University have developed a high-resolution, 3D optical Doppler imaging tomography technique that captures the effects of cocaine restricting the blood supply in vessels – including small capillaries – of the brain. The study, reported in Molecular Psychiatry, and with images on the journal’s October 2012 cover, illustrates the first use of the novel neuroimaging technique and provides evidence of cocaine-induced cerebral microischemia, which can cause stroke.
Stroke is one of the most serious medical risks of cocaine abuse. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) is disrupted due to the vasoactive effects of cocaine, and research has shown that the process contributes to stroke in cocaine abusers. An effective treatment has yet to be discovered because of minimal knowledge on the underlying mechanisms that cause cerebrovascular changes resulting from cocaine abuse. Current neuroimaging methods that could reveal clues to underlying mechanisms that cause cocaine-induced restricted CBF, such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography angiography, are limited in scope. The Stony Brook team’s neuroimaging technique offers a promising method to investigate structural changes in the small neurovascular networks of the brain that may be implicated in stroke.
In “Cocaine-induced cortical microischemia in the rodent brain: clinical implications,” the researchers discovered that cocaine administered in doses equivalent to those normally taken by abusers caused constriction in blood vessels that inhibited CBF for varying lengths of time. Brain arteries, veins, and even capillaries, the smallest vessels, were affected by the doses. CBF was markedly decreased within just two-to-three minutes after drug administration. In some vessels, a decrease in CBF reached 70 percent. Recovery time for the vessels varied. Cocaine interrupted CBF in some arteriolar branches for more than 45 minutes. This effect became more pronounced after repeated cocaine administration.
University of Wisconsin, Madison: Unusual genetic structure confers major disease resistance trait in soybean
by David Tenenbaum
Oct. 11, 2012
Scientists have identified three neighboring genes that make soybeans resistant to the most damaging disease of soybean. The genes exist side-by-side on a stretch of chromosome, but only give resistance when that stretch is duplicated several times in the plant.
"Soybean cyst nematode is the most important disease of soybean, according to yield loss, worldwide, year after year," says senior author Andrew Bent, professor of plant pathology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. "As we try to feed a world that is going from 6 billion toward 9 billion people, soybean is one of the most important sources of protein and food oil."
The nematode is a tough opponent, able to live for years in the soil, and chemicals that kill it are highly toxic and persistent, Bent says. Planting soybeans bred to contain a genetic structure called Rhg1 is the preferred defense against the cyst nematode, currently in use on millions of soybean acres worldwide.
Arizona State University: Study maps greenhouse gas emissions to building, street level for U.S. cities
Posted: October 09, 2012
Arizona State University researchers have developed a new software system capable of estimating greenhouse gas emissions across entire urban landscapes, all the way down to roads and individual buildings. Until now, scientists quantified carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at a much broader level.
Dubbed “Hestia” after the Greek goddess of the hearth and home, researchers presented the new system in an article published Oct. 9 in Environmental Science and Technology. Hestia combines extensive public database “data-mining” with traffic simulation and building-by-building energy-consumption modeling. Its high-resolution maps clearly identify CO2 emission sources in a way that policymakers can utilize and the public can understand.
“Cities have had little information with which to guide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – and you can’t reduce what you can’t measure,” said Kevin Gurney, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, and senior scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability. “With Hestia, we can provide cities with a complete, three-dimensional picture of where, when and how carbon dioxide emissions are occurring.”
Colorado State University: Nitrogen-related air pollutants, climate change need study in tandem with human health impacts
October 11, 2012
Nitrogen-related air pollutants that come from sources such as cars, power plants, fertilizer and animal wastes have an impact on human health that needs to be considered together with likely impacts of global climate change, according to a new paper by a Colorado State University professor and others.
Jennifer Peel, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at CSU and four colleagues from an NSF working group, took a broad look at nitrogen in the environment in the review article, which now appears online in the journal Biogeochemistry.
Their challenge – undertaken during a Fort Collins workshop in 2011 – was to think about human health impacts likely to result from the interaction of nitrogen-related air pollutants, such as ozone, particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides, and ammonia, with climate change. They reviewed evidence on the subject and evaluated where further research could be useful. The report also was submitted as part of a larger effort for the National Climate Assessment.
“The state of knowledge regarding the likely impact of the interaction of nitrogen and climate change on ambient air quality and human health contains some critical gaps,” the scientists conclude in the paper.
Purdue University: New tools to aid in recycling flat-screen monitors, TVs
October 9, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Millions of flat-screen monitors and television sets will soon become obsolete, posing environmental hazards, and Purdue University researchers are developing tools to help industry efficiently recycle the products.
Liquid crystal displays manufactured before 2009 use cold cathode fluorescent lamps, or CCFLs, to backlight the display. The CCFL displays contain mercury, making them hazardous to dispose of or incinerate.
"Over the next few years, it is expected that hundreds of millions of CCFL-backlighted LCDs will retire each year," said Fu Zhao, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering and Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering. "Without proper treatment, these used LCDs could lead to serious damage to the environment."
Ohio State University: Non-native Plants Show a Greater Response Than Native Wildflowers to Climate Change
October 5, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Warming temperatures in Ohio are a key driver behind changes in the state’s landscape, and non-native plant species appear to be responding more strongly than native wildflowers to the changing climate, new research suggests.
This adaptive nature demonstrated by introduced species could serve them well as the climate continues to warm. At the same time, the non-natives’ potential ability to become even more invasive could threaten the survival of native species already under pressure from land-use changes, researchers say.
The research combines analyses of temperature change and blooming patterns of 141 species of Ohio wildflowers since 1895. Overall, the average temperature increased 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) in Ohio between 1895 and 2009. And 66 wildflower species – or 46 percent of the 141 studied – flowered earlier than usual in response to that warming.
This change in flowering patterns not only alters the landscape, but affects the availability of food for insects and birds and can influence the reproductive success of the plants themselves.
Arizona State University: Hold on, the ShakeOut is coming
October 11, 2012
For the first time, more than 22,000 Arizonans will participate in the Great ShakeOut, an annual earthquake drill held on Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m.
The ShakeOut began in 2008 in California as a way to educate the public about earthquake preparedness. Since then it has grown into an international event with nearly 17 million participants.
Although not traditionally thought of as a frequent epicenter for earthquakes, Arizona is not free from earthquake hazard. The USArray component of EarthScope, an earth science program that researches the structure and evolution of the North American continent, detected over 1,000 earthquakes in Arizona during the past two years.
Purdue University: Halloween films can be scarier than you think: What parents should know
October 11, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Scary movies with increasingly realistic visual effects can significantly frighten children of all ages, says a Purdue University mass media effects expert.
"This time of year there are a number of films vying for the Halloween season, and parents need to be careful because paranormal themes can be upsetting for children who are trying to sort out what is real and not real," says Glenn Sparks, professor of communication, who studies the effects of frightening images. "Reality can be just as frightening as fantasy for children ages 7-11, and they don't yet have the coping systems to handle such fear."
Sparks encourages parents to look beyond the age-based movie rating system for more information about a film's content, especially potentially frightening images. Parents can research the film in advance by using resources such as http://www.kids-in-mind.com/
University of Iowa: Parental bonding=happy, stable child
Study finds that closeness with either parent has behavioral, emotional benefits
By: Richard C. Lewis
October 11, 2012
Parents: Want to help ensure your children turn out to be happy and socially well adjusted? Bond with them when they are infants.
That’s the message from a study by the University of Iowa, which found that infants who have a close, intimate relationship with a parent are less likely to be troubled, aggressive or experience other emotional and behavioral problems when they reach school age. Surprisingly, the researchers found that a young child needs to feel particularly secure with only one parent to reap the benefits of stable emotions and behavior, and that being attached to dad is just as helpful as being close to mom.
The study bolsters the still-debated role of the influence that a parent can exercise at the earliest stages in a child’s mental and emotional development, the authors contend in the paper, published in the journal Child Development.
University of Iowa: Iowa researchers find that giving people rewards uncovers true motivations
October 10, 2012
Money is great for buying stuff, but a new study by University of Iowa finance professors suggests it's also useful for keeping score and might help people make better decisions.
"If you offer incentives to people, it generates more economically rational decisions," says Thomas Rietz, professor of finance in the Tippie College of Business. "The incentive doesn't even have to be money. If it's just a way to keep score, it still makes a difference."
Without any kind of incentive, he said peoples' decisions may seem irrational and have little logical connection.
Ohio State University: Poorer Lung Health Leads to Age-Related Changes in Brain Function
October 8, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Keeping the lungs healthy could be an important way to retain thinking functions that relate to problem-solving and processing speed in one’s later years, new research suggests.
While these two types of “fluid” cognitive functions were influenced by reduced pulmonary function, a drop in lung health did not appear to impair memory or lead to any significant loss of stored knowledge, the study showed.
Researchers used data from a Swedish study of aging that tracked participants’ health measures for almost two decades. An analysis of the data with statistical models designed to show the patterns of change over time determined that reduced pulmonary function can lead to cognitive losses, but problems with cognition do not affect lung health.
“The logical conclusion from this is that anything you could do to maintain lung function should be of benefit to fluid cognitive performance as well,” said Charles Emery, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “Maintaining an exercise routine and stopping smoking would be two primary methods. Nutritional factors and minimizing environmental exposure to pollutants also come into play.”
University of Cincinnati: Suicide Attempts by Poisoning Found to be Less Likely Around Major Holidays
October 11, 2012
CINCINNATI—A joint study by University of Cincinnati (UC) Department of Emergency Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center researchers has found that, in contrast to popular opinion, major holidays are associated with a lower number of suicide attempts by poisoning.
The study found that holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving may actually be protective against suicide attempts, possibly due to the increased family or social support structures present around those times. In contrast, New Years Day had significantly higher numbers of suicide attempts by overdose.
"There are multiple studies out showing that there’s a worsening suicide epidemic internationally, and numbers for suicide attempts are rising as well, says co-author and third-year emergency medicine resident Gillian Beauchamp, MD. "Researchers have observed a seasonality and daily variations in completed suicides, and because of that, it’s been suggested that environmental factors and their effect on mood may play a role.”
Heritage Daily: Abusing the past – Bad Archaeology
by Keith J Fitzpatrick Matthewsin Americas
October 6, 2011
For many people, archaeological evidence – the physical remains of the past – are the ultimate proof of “what happened in history”. Even a radical post-modernist cannot deny the physical existence of objects or buildings, so they can be presented as incontestable relics to be trotted out to prove one’s point and to illustrate the ‘truth’ of assertions about the past.
And this is where the trouble starts. In reality, the remains of the past are highly contestable: witness the uses to which archaeological data have been put by political and religious extremists from Nazi Germany to Hindu fundamentalists, from Christian evangelicals to Bosnian nationalists, and you will soon appreciate how easy it can be to appropriate the past and twist it to suit specific agendas.
Egregious examples like these are easy to spot. It is more insidious when those with less strident aims twist archaeological data to their own ends. Think of the infiltration of popular culture with ideas about the supposed mysteries of Ancient Egyptian pyramids, the existence of ley lines or the drowned continent of Atlantis. Television, especially, accepts many of these ideas uncritically, and promotes them through glossy ‘documentaries’ and more subtly through their incorporation as if fact into drama.
Seattle Times: Kennewick Man bones not from Columbia Valley, scientist tells tribes
In a historic first meeting of two very different worlds, Columbia Plateau tribal leaders met privately Tuesday with scientist Doug Owsley, who led the court battle to study Kennewick Man.
By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
ELLENSBURG — In a historic first meeting of two very different worlds, Columbia Plateau tribal leaders met privately Tuesday with the scientist who led the court battle to study Kennewick Man.
The skeleton, more than 9,500 years old, has long been at the center of a rift between tribal members and scientists, led by Doug Owsley, a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History who spearheaded the legal challenge to gain access to the skeleton for scientific study.
Owsley says study shows that not only wasn't Kennewick Man Indian, he wasn't even from the Columbia Valley, which was inhabited by prehistoric Plateau tribes.
Luxor Times Magazine (Netherlands): Khafre pyramid is open again and 6 tombs of the Old Kingdom in Giza
During the press conference that was held in Giza and was attended by many local and international media representatives and foreign ambassadors including the H.E. Ambassador of Canada, H.E. Ambassador of Belgium and a number of archaeological institutes directors in Cairo.
Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister state of Antiquities, announced on Thursday 11th October, the reopening of Khafre pyramid after 3 years being closed for restoration plus replacement of electricity, ventilation and humidity control systems and installing new wooden floors in the corridors.
LiveScience: Spot Where Julius Caesar Was Stabbed Discovered
Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 11 October 2012 Time: 12:23 PM ET
Archaeologists believe they have found the first physical evidence of the spot where Julius Caesar died, according to a new Spanish National Research Council report.
Caesar, the head of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death by a group of rival Roman senators on March 14, 44 B.C, the Ides of March. The assassination is well-covered in classical texts, but until now, researchers had no archaeological evidence of the place where it happened.
Sofia Globe (Bulgaria): Worker at Sofia’s Serdica archaeological site arrested for alleged theft of ancient coins
by The Sofia Globe staff
Posted Oct 11 2012
A 46-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly stealing ancient coins from the Serdica archaeological excavations site in the centre of the capital city Sofia, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said.
The man had been a temporary employee at the site, hired through a company to assist in excavations.
Art Daily: Mexican archaeologists discover the tomb of a pre-hispanic governor in Copalita
HUATULCO, MEXICO.- The sepulcher of an individual that (possibly) governed a place known today as Bocana del Río Copalita in Huatulco, Oaxaca, 1300 years ago, was discovered by investigators of the ceremonial area of this archaeological site. Here another 38 burials were found, some of which were individuals whom they believe part of the elite.
The pre Hispanic burials were registered by specialists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH-Conaculta) during the sixth season of the investigation. This investigation takes place in the superior façade of the site’s Mayan Temple, where the elite resided; there, archaeologists found a sepulcher made with masonry’s stone blocks of about 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) high and 1 meter (3.28 feet) wide. The sepulcher contained the skeleton of an individual, presumably of the male sex who was between 20 and 23 years old at death.
WKYT: Vandals caught on camera damaging Civil War artifacts
BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials say vandals are damaging historical artifacts used in the Civil War that are on display at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
Park Rangers are now using surveillance cameras to catch those responsible.
The cannon on top of the Pinnacle in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is part of history.
"The gun tube itself was used in the Civil War. We're talking a real artifact here, not just some decoration," said Chief Ranger Dirk Wiley.
Hat/Tip to annetteboardman, who sent in the above articles.
Washington Post: Nobel Prize in physics goes to federal scientist
By Joe Davidson
Published: October 10
If there was an international nice-guy prize, David Wineland probably could win that too.
As it is, he’ll have to settle for the Nobel Prize in physics.
Wineland is a physicist with the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a little-known agency that does very important work.
Wineland’s award, which he shares with Serge Haroche of the Collège de France and École Normale Supérieure in Paris, is “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.”
That means Wineland’s work helps us to tell time and keeps us from getting lost, among other things.
University of Colorado, Boulder: Nobel Prize-winner David Wineland praised as mentor to CU-Boulder graduate students
October 9, 2012
David J. Wineland, a lecturer in the University of Colorado Boulder physics department who today won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics, was described as both “brilliant and humble” by one of his former graduate students.
Wineland is a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder and internationally recognized for developing the technique of using lasers to cool ions to near absolute zero. His experiments have been used to test theories in quantum physics and may lead to the development of quantum computers. He shared the prize with Serge Haroche of France.
Wineland joined the CU-Boulder physics faculty as a lecturer in 2000 and currently works with four CU-Boulder graduate students pursuing doctorates, said physics department chair Paul Beale.
“It would be difficult to find a more brilliant and humble scientist,” said John Jost, who worked in Wineland’s group for about 10 years as a CU-Boulder doctoral student and postdoctoral researcher. “I feel lucky to have worked in his lab for my Ph.D. regardless of whether or not he won the Nobel Prize. He was always available when we had questions and problems in the lab and usually had some great idea about what to try next. At the same time, he gave us the freedom to figure things out on our own.”
University of Arizona: Freezing Electrons in Flight
Using the world's fastest laser pulses, which can freeze the ultrafast motion of electrons and atoms, UA physicists have caught the action of molecules breaking apart and electrons getting knocked out of atoms. Their research helps us better understand molecular processes and ultimately be able to control them in many possible applications.
By Daniel Stolte, University Communications | October 12, 2012
In 1878, a now iconic series of photographs instantly solved a long-standing mystery: Does a galloping horse touch the ground at all times? (It doesn’t.) The images of Eadweard Muybridge taken alongside a racetrack marked the beginning of high-speed photography.
Approximately 134 years later, researchers in the University of Arizona department of physics have solved a similar mystery, one in which super-excited oxygen molecules have replaced the horse, and ultrafast, high-energy laser flashes have replaced Muybridge’s photo emulsion plates.
Using extreme ultraviolet light bursts lasting 0.0000000000000002 seconds – that’s 200 quintillionths of a second – Arvinder Sandhu and his team have managed to freeze the unimaginably fast action that ensues when oxygen molecules are zapped with high energies for incredibly short amounts of time.
The Christian Science Monitor via ABC News: Chemistry Nobel Prize Could Lead to Drugs with Fewer Side Effects
By Pete Spotts, Staff writer, The Christian Science Monitor
Oct. 13, 2012
Two US researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for uncovering and mapping a key mechanism used by cells to detect and respond to the presence of hormones and other chemicals they encounter, a mechanism seen as vital to the pharmaceutical industry's development of new drugs.
The prize, which carries an 8 million krona ($1.2 million US) purse, was given to Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and the Maryland-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and to Brian Kobilka of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
The two were awarded for work on a family of proteins embedded in cell walls that detect the presence of a hormone such as adrenaline outside a cell, then conduct that information through the cell wall to a protein switch inside that touches off a cell's response.
Arizona State University: Water-hating knife slices droplet in half
Posted: October 08, 2012
To quote Jacob Aron reporting for the New Scientist blog, “Cutting a drop of water in half may sound like the kind of impossible task given to heroes of folk tales. You don't need a magic knife, though – just one that really, really hates liquid (water).”
Recently published work led by graduate student Ryan Yanashima and associate professor Mark Hayes in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and initiated by professor Antonio Garcia in ASU’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, has shown that a superhydrophobic knife can create two cleanly separated drops of water, with potential applications in biomedical research.
University of Colorado, Boulder: Graphene membranes may lead to enhanced natural gas production, less CO2 pollution, says CU study
October 8, 2012
Engineering faculty and students at the University of Colorado Boulder have produced the first experimental results showing that atomically thin graphene membranes with tiny pores can effectively and efficiently separate gas molecules through size-selective sieving.
The findings are a significant step toward the realization of more energy-efficient membranes for natural gas production and for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plant exhaust pipes.
Mechanical engineering professors Scott Bunch and John Pellegrino co-authored a paper in Nature Nanotechnology with graduate students Steven Koenig and Luda Wang detailing the experiments. The paper was published Oct. 7 in the journal’s online edition.
Purdue University: Poinsettias cultivars can take cooler temperatures, save growers
October 8, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Growers who carefully select their poinsettia cultivars can lower their greenhouse thermostats in mid-October to save on energy costs and produce high-quality plants, according to a Purdue University and University of New Hampshire study.
Roberto Lopez, an associate professor of horticulture, said that poinsettia cultivars that initiate and finish within six to eight weeks, are moderate to high vigor and have naturally large bracts that will do just fine in cooler temperatures if flower producers want to save on heating expenses. The team's findings, reported in the journal HortScience, showed that 10 red poinsettia cultivars finished under cooler temperatures simply need to be planted a little earlier to be ready for holiday sales.
"Over the past 10 years, energy prices for growers have increased more than 230 percent. As a result, many growers stopped growing poinsettias or lowered their thermostats without knowing what the cultivar-specific consequences would be," Lopez said. "Now we know that they can save money by reducing finishing temperatures, but they have to plan ahead a little and work with the breeding companies to make sure they are using the correct cultivars."
Iowa State University: Evolving microbes help Iowa State engineers turn bio-oil into advanced biofuels
October 11, 2012
AMES, Iowa – Microbes are working away in an Iowa State University laboratory to ferment biofuels from the sugar and acetate produced by rapidly heating biomass such as corn stalks and sawdust.
But it’s not an easy job for E. coli and C. reinhardtii.
The bacteria and microalgae, respectively, don’t like something in the bio-oil produced by fast pyrolysis – the rapid heating of biomass without oxygen and with catalysts. The result of the thermochemical process is a thick, brown oil that smells like molasses.
University of Wisconsin, Madison: Energy from Wisconsin cow manure could replace a coal plant
October 9, 2012
According to a recent Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI) study, Wisconsin can be a national leader in bioenergy production using waste from the state's prosperous agriculture and food processing sectors.
In dairy cow manure alone, the report found 4.77 million dry tons available per year, which is the potential energy equivalent of replacing a large-scale coal plant.
Science, Space, Environment, and Energy Policy
Arizona State University: US citizens call for political action to stop the decline in biodiversity
October 12, 2012
Boston, Denver, Phoenix and Washington area residents are among 3,000 participants from 25 countries to express strong support for taking further political action in order to stop the global decline in biodiversity. The results report from the World Wide Views (WWViews) on Biodiversity, released at the 11th Conference of Parties (COP 11) of the UN Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at Hyderabad India, indicate significant similarities of opinion between countries, across continents and among different age groups.
In the United States, more than nine in 10 participants thought most people in the world are affected by biodiversity loss, and almost 85 percent were “very concerned” about the issue. Nearly all the rest were “concerned.” The citizens strongly supported education at all levels (85%) as the best means to stop the decline in biodiversity. A significant minority thought new natural areas should be established even if doing so conflicts with economic interests. Nearly six in 10 respondents favored eating less meat as a way to reduce the pressure on agricultural land, and nine in 10 favored creating additional marine protected areas on the High Seas.
Despite the general consistency between views in developed and developing countries, a surprising difference emerged regarding who should pay for preserving biodiversity. Most citizens in both developed and developing countries thought developed countries should pay the main part of costs for preserving biodiversity in developing countries, replacing the system of voluntary donations currently in place. However, citizens in developing countries were even more likely than those in developed countries to say developing countries should pay the main part among the minority who took this view.
Northern Arizona University: NAU adds voice to research that calls for national conservation plan
October 12, 2012
Northern Arizona University found itself among prestigious company in a collaborative course five years ago, and today the conclusions of research based on that experience have been published in a scholarly journal.
“NAU participated with some of the top conservation schools in the country,” Vaughn said, naming Indiana University, Duke University and the University of Michigan, among others. “It was sort of a coup for NAU to be included.”
What the faculty found, after years of compiling and analyzing data generated by the graduate students, was that state wildlife action plans are rife with inconsistencies and lack a comprehensive approach.
Vaughn said that coordination has become more important because politics has not kept up with science.
University of Wisconsin, Madison: UW study proposes “swimways” to help save migratory fish
October 10, 2012
A University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher says states should be looking to the skies in order to save fish.
Brenda Pracheil, a postdoctoral fellow at the UW-Madison Center for Limnology, thinks it's time for fish to garner the same protection afforded migratory birds. Migratory birds are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and state collaboration and federal oversight span borders and encompass large conservation efforts in migratory flyways, especially for waterfowl.
But many freshwater fish migrate, too, says Pracheil. In fact, she notes, some work their way through thousands of miles of water and cross half a dozen state lines in the process. And that's why, she argues, fish need "swimways."
Historically, fisheries have been managed on a state-by-state basis. The result is a patchwork of protection and spotty data on things like habitat, range and population numbers — data that can show researchers and managers how different species are faring or where they're moving.
SUNY Binghamton: U.S. senator visits Center for Autonomous Solar Power at Binghamton
By Katie Ellis
October 8, 2012
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Oct. 8 visited Binghamton University to announce the America Innovates Act — federal legislation to spur the growth of new science and technology jobs in the Southern Tier and across New York state. The bill is designed to help scientists and researchers secure valuable resources and training to help commercialize their discoveries and create marketable products, new high-tech companies and jobs.
“High-tech innovation is the future of our economy and Binghamton University is paving the way. Your students and researchers are doing incredible things,” said Gillibrand, after touring the Center for Autonomous Solar Power at the University’s Innovative Technologies Complex. “Many researchers lack the resources to turn their scientific breakthroughs into jobs. We need to bridge that disconnect. I know we can have a thriving economy for years to come and want to accelerate the process to bring ventures to market.”
“This legislation will help us do what we do – better,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. “It will help us educate, innovate and improve community outreach through economic development. Our faculty are working on world-changing technology and this act will spur new high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the Southern Tier.”
Ohio State University: State-Mandated Planning, Higher Resident Wealth Linked to More Sustainable City Transportation
October 2, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Transportation practices tend to be more environmentally friendly in wealthier metropolitan areas located within states that mandate comprehensive planning, new research suggests.
The study involved an examination of 225 U.S. metropolitan areas between 1980 and 2008 to gauge how sustainable their transportation practices were and determine what kinds of socioeconomic factors appeared to influence those practices.
Overall, transportation has become less sustainable across the country over this period, but some communities have slowed the decline more effectively than others.
Among the best at slowing that decline were Seattle, Las Vegas and even Los Angeles, which owes its success to fewer-than-average solo commuters and relatively high public transit use, the research suggests. In contrast, transportation sustainability declined more quickly than average over those years in such cities as Pittsburgh and New Orleans.
Virginia Tech: Aerospace engineering student team wins space vehicle design contest
Oct. 12, 2012
BLACKSBURG, Va., – A student team from Virginia Tech’s Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, part of the College of Engineering, has won first place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation’s 2011–2012 Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition.
Representatives of the team presented their design at the institute’s September SPACE 2012 Conference & Exposition in Pasadena, Calif. The contest required entrants to design, and produce a business plan for a commercial Earth-to-orbit passenger vehicle. Among the tasks: The theoretical vehicle should take paying customers from Earth to orbit and back for a variety of research and tourism purposes.
Science Writing and Reporting
University of Arizona: Study: Doctors Wary of Research Funded by Pharmaceutical Industry
Physicians are about half as willing to prescribe drugs tested in pharmaceutical-industry funded trials than those in NIH-funded studies, a new study finds.
By Alexis Blue, University Communications
October 8, 2012
Physicians are less likely to trust the results of clinical trials when they know those trials were funded by pharmaceutical companies, regardless of the quality of the research, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows.
The study, led by Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of the Harvard Medical School in Boston and co-authored by University of Arizona associate professor of law Christopher Robertson, evaluated physicians’ confidence in the results of drug trials conducted with a high, medium or low level of methodological rigor. It then looked at how their confidence in those same results changed when a trial’s funding source was revealed as either the National Institutes of Health or a company in the pharmaceutical industry, versus when no funding source was disclosed.
When presented with fictitious clinical trials of varying quality and no funding source identified, physicians said they would be most likely to prescribe drugs tested in high-rigor trials, slightly less likely to prescribe drugs from medium-rigor trials and least likely to prescribe drugs from the least rigorous studies.
However, when funding sources for those same studies were revealed, doctors’ confidence in the results changed, with physicians being about half as willing to prescribe drugs tested in pharmaceutical-industry funded trials than those in NIH-funded studies. That was true no matter how high quality a trial’s methods.
Science is Cool
Arizona State University: Origins Project will explore why we deceive
October 9, 2012
Little white lies, sleight of hand, con games, hornswoggling. Deception has been around since the rise of life, but why is this so and why do we, to this day, spend so much time and effort trying to deceive? ASU’s Origins Project will explore the genesis of deception, demonstrate deception at its best and put it in context of today’s society at the next Great Debate.
After a demonstration of deception by two of the world’s best close-up magicians, panelists will explore how deception is an essential part of the human condition, the evolutionary purposes deception fills, and how we can recognize deception on an individual level and overcome it on a societal level.
“Like xenophobia, the subject of our last Great Debate, deception has an evolutionary basis that is vital, but also has societal consequences which can be counterproductive,” said Lawrence Krauss, director of ASU’s Origins Project. “How the brain works to be able to deceive and also to detect deception is fascinating. We will have some fun exploring both sides of the brain in a magical evening.”
Purdue University: New interactive system detects touch and gestures on any surface
October 9, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – People can let their fingers - and hands - do the talking with a new touch-activated system that projects onto walls and other surfaces and allows users to interact with their environment and each other.
The system identifies the fingers of a person's hand while touching any plain surface. It also recognizes hand posture and gestures, revealing individual users by their unique traits.
"Imagine having giant iPads everywhere, on any wall in your house or office, every kitchen counter, without using expensive technology," said Niklas Elmqvist, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. "You can use any surface, even a dumb physical surface like wood. You don't need to install expensive LED displays and touch-sensitive screens."