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Friday, November 7, 2014

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

ScienceDaily: Strange Science News

Cockroach cyborgs use microphones to detect, trace sounds

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 07:40 AM PST

Researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

Tricky take-off kept pterodactyls grounded

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:29 AM PST

A new study, which teamed cutting-edge engineering techniques with paleontology, has found that take-off capacity may have determined body size limits in extinct flying reptiles.

Space enthusiasts are being given the rare opportunity to name a planet

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:26 AM PST

Several organizations are eligible to name one of 20 to 30 planets, and their host stars, in a unique competition organized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The scheme gives members of the public the chance to name the newly discovered ExoWorlds (which have all been identified and confirmed since 2008).

Zebrafish stripped of stripes

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:20 AM PST

Within weeks of publishing surprising new insights about how zebrafish get their stripes, the same group is now able to explain how to "erase" them.

Birth of planets revealed in astonishing detail in ALMA’s 'best image ever'

Posted: 06 Nov 2014 05:20 AM PST

Astronomers have captured the best image ever of planet formation around an infant star as part of the testing and verification process for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array's (ALMA) new high-resolution capabilities.

Mosquitofish genitalia change rapidly due to human impacts

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Human environmental changes can markedly -- and rapidly -- affect fish shape, specifically the shape of mosquitofish genitalia in the Bahamas. These findings indicate that sometimes the impacts of human activities on the traits of organisms can be predictable, suggesting that management, restoration and conservation efforts could be useful.

Having a Y chromosome doesn't affect women's response to sexual images, brain study shows

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Women born with a rare condition that gives them a Y chromosome don't only look like women physically, they also have the same brain responses to visual sexual stimuli, a new study shows.

The female nose always knows: Do women have more olfactory neurons?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

Using a new method called isotropic fractionator, a group of researchers has found biological evidence that may explain the superior olfactory abilities that women have over men.

For leaders, looking intelligent is less important than looking healthy

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 01:52 PM PST

People look for candidates with a healthy complexion when choosing a leader, but don't favor the most intelligent-looking candidates except for positions that require negotiation between groups or exploration of new markets, a study shows.

Direct brain interface between humans

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 12:45 PM PST

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team's initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person's brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

Clearing a path for electrons in polymers: Closing in on the speed limits

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

A new class of low-cost polymer materials, which can carry electric charge with almost no losses despite their seemingly random structure, could lead to flexible electronics and displays which are faster and more efficient.

Genesis of genitalia: We have one. Lizards have two. Why?

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

When it comes to genitalia, nature enjoys variety. Snakes and lizards have two. Birds and people have one. And while the former group's paired structures are located somewhat at the level of the limbs, ours, and the birds', appear a bit further down. In fact, snake and lizard genitalia are derived from tissue that gives rise to hind legs, while mammalian genitalia are derived from the tail bud. But despite such noteworthy contrasts, these structures are functionally analogous and express similar genes. Researchers have now discovered how functionally analogous genitalia can arise from divergent tissue.

Giant groundhog-like creature: Newly discovered fossil is a clue to early mammalian evolution

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:19 AM PST

A newly discovered 66–70 million-year-old groundhog-like creature, massive in size compared to other mammals of its era, provides new and important insights into early mammalian evolution.

Longhorn beetle inspires ink to fight counterfeiting

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 07:12 AM PST

From water marks to colored threads, governments are constantly adding new features to paper money to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters. Now a longhorn beetle has inspired yet another way to foil cash fraud, as well as to produce colorful, changing billboards and art displays. Researchers report a new kind of ink that mimics the beetle's color-shifting ability in a way that would be long-lasting and difficult to copy.

Benefits of being fat (but not too fat) for deep-diving elephant seals

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 06:35 AM PST

Researchers using a new type of tracking device on female elephant seals have discovered that adding body fat helps the seals dive more efficiently by changing their buoyancy. The study looked at the swimming efficiency of elephant seals during their feeding dives and how that changed in the course of months-long migrations at sea as the seals put on more fat.

Neuroscience of choking under pressure: New insight

Posted: 04 Nov 2014 03:36 PM PST

Everyone knows the scene: a basketball player at the free throw line, bouncing the ball as he concentrates on the basket. It's a tight game, and his team needs this point. He regularly makes baskets from much farther away while avoiding defenders, but now, when all is calm, he chokes and misses the basket, and his team loses. Recent research suggests that in situations like this, performance depends on two factors: the framing of the incentive in terms of a loss or a gain, and a person's aversion to loss.

Combining 'Tinkertoy' materials with solar cells for increased photovoltaic efficiency

Posted: 03 Nov 2014 07:22 AM PST

Researchers are working to develop a technique that they believe will significantly improve the efficiencies of photovoltaic materials and help make solar electricity cost-competitive with other sources of energy.

New technique efficiently turns antibodies into highly tuned 'nanobodies'

Posted: 02 Nov 2014 01:01 PM PST

A new system promises to make nanobodies -- antibodies' tiny cousins -- dramatically more accessible for all kinds of research.

Improving imaging of cancerous tissues by 'reversing time'

Posted: 02 Nov 2014 12:58 PM PST

A novel time-reversal technology is being applied by researchers that allows them to better focus light in tissue, such as muscles and organs. Current high-resolution optical imaging technology allows researchers to see about 1 millimeter deep into the body. In an attempt to improve this "visibility," this study used photoacoustic imaging, which combines light with acoustic waves, or sound, to form a sharper image, even several centimeters into the skin.

Strange, fanged deer persists in Afghanistan

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

More than 60 years after its last confirmed sighting, a strange deer with vampire-like fangs still persists in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan according to a research team that confirmed the species presence during recent surveys.

Captive rhinos exposed to urban rumbles

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 09:04 AM PDT

The soundtrack to a wild rhinoceros's life is wind passing through the savannah grass, birds chirping and distant animals moving across the plains. But a rhinoceros in a zoo listens to children screaming, cars passing and the persistent hum of urban life. A group of researchers believes that this discrepancy in soundscape may be contributing to rhinos' difficulties thriving and reproducing in captivity.

New tech aims to improve communication between dogs, humans

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 07:05 AM PDT

A suite of technologies that can be used to enhance communication between dogs and humans has been developed by researchers who say that it has applications in everything from search and rescue to service dogs to training our pets.

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