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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

Earth's magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 02:08 PM PDT

Earth's last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years -- roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip, much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought, comes as new measurements show the planet's magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal and could drop to zero in a few thousand years.

Dinosaur breathing study shows that noses enhanced smelling and cooled brain

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 02:08 PM PDT

It's been millions of years since T. rex took its last breath, but a team led by Ohio University scientists is breathing life back into dinosaurs using high-powered computer simulations to model airflow through dinosaur snouts. The research has important implications for how dinosaurs used their noses to not only breathe but to enhance the sense of smell and cool their brains.

Millennials uneducated on important clothing care skills, study finds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 01:04 PM PDT

A significant gap exists in the amount of 'common' clothes repair skills possessed by members of the baby boomer generation and millennials, research has found. The study found that many more of the baby boomer generation possess skills such as sewing, hemming, button repair and general laundry knowledge than Americans 18-33 years of age.

New 'tree of life' traces evolution of a mysterious cotinga birds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 12:26 PM PDT

They are some of the brightest, loudest, oddest-looking, least-understood birds on the planet, and thanks to a comprehensive new evolutionary 'tree of life' generated for the tropical cotinga family of South America, the door is now open to new discoveries about the more than 60 species in this amazingly diverse group of birds.

Future computers could be built from magnetic 'tornadoes'

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 11:27 AM PDT

Computers of the future could be built from 'magnetic tornadoes,' according to new research into nanotechnology. Using computer simulations, the team have shown it is possible to create magnetic 'logic gates', the fundamental building blocks of a CPU, using magnetic materials.

Meteorite fragments discovered 20 years after bolide event in Czech Republic

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 11:27 AM PDT

Scientists have discovered meteorite fragments 20 years after the corresponding bolide was seen in the skies of the Czech Republic. This discovery was made possible by reanalyzing the trajectory, which moved the impact line by 330 meters. Interestingly, the meteorites found on the ground are of different types, pointing to a parent asteroid of heterogeneous composition.

Discovery of cellular snooze button advances cancer, biofuel research

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 09:40 AM PDT

The discovery of a cellular snooze button has allowed a team of scientists to potentially improve biofuel production and offer insight on the early stages of cancer.

Scientists create new protein-based material with some nerve

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 09:39 AM PDT

Scientists have taken proteins from nerve cells and used them to create a 'smart' material that is extremely sensitive to its environment. The work could lead to new types of biological sensors, flow valves and controlled drug release systems, they report.

Is matter falling into the massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way or being ejected from it?

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Is matter falling into the massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way or being ejected from it? No one knows for sure, but astrophysicists are searching for an answer.

Uncertain reward more motivating than sure thing, study finds

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 08:47 AM PDT

Researchers compared the time, money and effort that people put into winning a certain reward versus an uncertain reward, and found that the uncertain reward was more motivating.

Charged graphene gives DNA a stage to perform molecular gymnastics

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 06:53 AM PDT

When researchers investigated a method to control how DNA moves through a tiny sequencing device, they did not know they were about to witness a display of molecular gymnastics. The researchers found that a positive charge applied to a graphene nanopore speeds up DNA movement, while a negative charge stops the DNA in its tracks. However, the DNA seemed to dance across the graphene surface, pirouetting into sequence-specific shapes they had never seen.

How to train a robot: Can we teach robots right from wrong?

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:38 AM PDT

From performing surgery and flying planes to babysitting kids and driving cars, today's robots can do it all. With chatbots such as Eugene Goostman recently being hailed as "passing" the Turing test, it appears robots are becoming increasingly adept at posing as humans. While machines are becoming ever more integrated into human lives, the need to imbue them with a sense of morality becomes increasingly urgent. But can we really teach robots how to be good?

Light-activated drug could reduce side effects of diabetes medication

Posted: 14 Oct 2014 05:35 AM PDT

Scientists have created a drug for type 2 diabetes that is switched on by blue light, which they hope will improve treatment of the disease. The drug would be inactive under normal conditions, but a patient could in theory switch it on using blue LEDs stuck to the skin. Only a small amount of light would need to penetrate the skin to change the drug's shape and turn it on. This change is reversible, so the drug switches off again when the light goes off.

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