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Thursday, November 6, 2014

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

Synthetic fish measures wild ride through dams

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:33 AM PST

A synthetic fish is helping existing hydroelectric dams and new, smaller hydro facilities become more fish-friendly. The latest version of the Sensor Fish – a small tubular device filled with sensors that analyze the physical stresses fish experience – measures more forces, costs about 80 percent less and can be used in more hydro structures than its predecessor, according to a new article.

Turning pretty penstemon flowers from blue to red

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:48 AM PST

While roses are red, and violets are blue, how exactly do flower colors change? In the case of penstemons, with over 200 species to choose from, scientists have now shown that turning their flowers from blue to red involves knocking out the activity of just a single enzyme involved in the production of blue floral pigments.

Taking a deeper look at 'ancient wing'

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 05:48 AM PST

In order to determine the feather color of ancient organisms such as Archaeopteryx, microscopic melanin-containing structures called melanosomes have been compared in a variety of living and fossil birds. However, might there be another explanation for the presence of these structures? This research uses scanning electron microscopy and high-sensitivity molecular techniques to respond to alternative interpretations and shed light -- and color -- on Jurassic feathers.

This just in: Political correctness pumps up productivity on the job

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 03:36 PM PST

Political correctness, loathed by some as censorship awash in leftist philosophy, actually boosts the creativity of mixed-sex work teams. These results highlight a paradoxical consequence: A term that has been used to undermine expectations to censor offensive language as a threat to free speech actually provides a foundation upon which diverse work groups can freely exchange creative ideas.

Scent communication in polar bears explored

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 11:19 AM PST

Scientists have provided the first systematic examination of the social information polar bears may glean from scent left in the paw prints of other polar bears. The authors also suggest that scent communication in polar bears may be compromised if climate-change driven sea ice losses in the Arctic intensify.

Dark matter may be massive: Theorists suggest the standard model may account for the stuff

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:16 AM PST

Instead of WIMPS or axions, dark matter may be made of macroscopic objects as small as a few ounces up to the size of a good asteroid, and probably as dense as a neutron star or the nucleus of an atom, researchers suggest.

Hermit thrush or humans: Who sets the tone?

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:15 AM PST

The songs of the hermit thrush, a common North American songbird, follow principles found in much human music -- namely the harmonic series. Researchers are the first to demonstrate note selection from the harmonic series in a non-human animal using rigorous analytical methods.

Improving taste of alcohol-free beer with aromas from regular beer

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 08:14 AM PST

Consumers often complain that alcohol-free beer is tasteless, but some of the aromas it is lacking can be carried across from regular beer. Researchers have developed the technique and a panel of tasters has confirmed its effectiveness. The alcohol in beer acts as a solvent for a variety of aromatic compounds; therefore, when it is eliminated, as in non-alcoholic beers, the final product loses aromas and some of its taste. It is difficult to recover these compounds, but researchers have done just this using a pervaporation process.

Forensic DNA test conclusively links snake bite marks on people to species

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 06:11 AM PST

Starting with a simple DNA swab taken from fang marks on people bitten by snakes, an international research team correctly identified the species of the biting snake 100 percent of the time in a first-of-its-kind clinical study.

Less reward, more aversion when learning tricky tasks

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:38 AM PST

We can easily learn by seeking reward or avoiding punishment. But either way, we'd rather have any task be easy. A new study finds a direct behavioral and physiological linkage between those inclinations: When even subtle conflict made an experimental task harder, it affected the perception of reward and punishment, skewing how subjects learned the task.

'Grimsel' electric racing car breaks world record

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:37 AM PST

The 'Grimsel' electric racing car today broke the previous world record for acceleration in electric cars. The vehicle accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 1.79 seconds in under 30 meters. The new record was set by the students who also designed and built the vehicle.

For some, losing weight after bariaric surgery may be a matter of taste

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 05:31 AM PST

People with obesity may have an unexpected ally after weight-loss surgery: their tongues. New research finds patients who reported a decrease in taste intensity after bariatric surgery had significantly higher excess weight loss after three months than those whose taste intensity became higher.

Election day: The saddest day of the year?

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 04:10 PM PST

Election Day is difficult for many political candidates. But it's no picnic for their supporters either. A new study shows just how tough election days can be. The study finds that winning elections barely improves the happiness of those from the winning political party.

Dance choreography improves girls' computational skills

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 08:42 AM PST

Blending movement and computer programming supports girls in building computational thinking skills, according to an ongoing study. This is important research, as even with increasing demands for computationally savvy workers, there is a lack of representation among women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), the researchers say.

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