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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Memory problems caused by sleep deprivation prevented

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 03:24 PM PST

Scientists have found that a particular set of cells in a small region of the brain are responsible for memory problems after sleep loss. By selectively increasing levels of a signaling molecule in these cells, the researchers prevented mice from having memory deficits.

Ancient New Zealand 'dawn whale' identified

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 03:24 PM PST

Palaeontologists are rewriting the history of New Zealand's ancient whales by describing a previously unknown genus of fossil baleen whales and two species within it. The two whales, which lived between 27-25 million years ago, were preserved in a rock formation near Duntroon in North Otago. At that time the continent of Zealandia was largely or completely under water and the whales were deposited on a continental shelf that was perhaps between 50 to 100 meters deep.

Geologic maps of Vesta asteroid from NASA's Dawn mission

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 11:45 AM PST

Images from NASA's Dawn Mission have been used to create a series of high-resolution geological maps of the large asteroid Vesta, revealing the variety of surface features in unprecedented detail.

Were Neanderthals a sub-species of modern humans? New research says no

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 11:16 AM PST

Researchers have identified new evidence supporting the growing belief that Neanderthals were a distinct species separate from modern humans (Homo sapiens), and not a subspecies of modern humans.

Mother's soothing presence makes pain go away, changes gene activity in infant brain

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 09:54 AM PST

A mother's 'TLC' not only can help soothe pain in infants, but it may also impact early brain development by altering gene activity in a part of the brain involved in emotions, according to a new study.

Biologists explore link between memory deficit and misfiring circadian clock in Siberian hamsters

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 08:00 AM PST

By disrupting Siberian hamsters' circadian rhythms, scientists have identified a part of the brain that, when misfiring, inhibits memory. The work could lead to therapies for neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

Training can lead to synesthetic experiences: Does learning the 'color of' specific letters boost IQ?

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 07:55 AM PST

A new study has shown for the first time how people can be trained to 'see' letters of the alphabet as colors in a way that simulates how those with synesthesia experience their world.

Fundamental constants are still constant: Atomic clocks prove stability of mass ratio of protons to electrons

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 04:27 AM PST

Are the fundamental constants really constant? Recent investigations have shown that one essential fundamental constant -- namely the mass ratio of protons to electrons -- can have changed only by a maximum of one part in a million over the age of our solar system (i.e. extrapolated over approx. 5 billion years). Previously, scientists deemed the possible changes to be twice as high. To obtain this result, physicists from PTB compared caesium and ytterbium atomic clocks with each other for 7 years.

Gravity may have saved the universe after the Big Bang, say researchers

Posted: 18 Nov 2014 04:27 AM PST

Physicists may now be able to explain why the universe did not collapse immediately after the Big Bang. Studies of the Higgs particle -- discovered at CERN in 2012 and responsible for giving mass to all particles -- have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion of the very early universe (inflation) should have led to instability and collapse.

Finding 'lost' languages in the brain: Far-reaching implications for unconscious role of infant experiences

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 01:43 PM PST

An infant's mother tongue creates neural patterns that the unconscious brain retains years later even if the child totally stops using the language, as can happen in cases of international adoption, according to a new joint study. The study offers the first neural evidence that traces of the "lost" language remain in the brain.

Climate change was not to blame for the collapse of the Bronze Age

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 01:41 PM PST

Scientists will have to find alternative explanations for a huge population collapse in Europe at the end of the Bronze Age as researchers prove definitively that climate change -- commonly assumed to be responsible -- could not have been the culprit.

Worldwide ship traffic up 300 percent since 1992

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 10:08 AM PST

Maritime traffic on the world's oceans has increased four-fold over the past 20 years, likely causing more water, air and noise pollution on the open seas, according to a new study quantifying global ship traffic. The research used satellite data to estimate the number of vessels on the ocean every year between 1992 and 2012. The number of ships traversing the oceans grew by 60 percent between 1992 and 2002. Shipping traffic grew even faster during the second decade of the study, peaking at rate of increase of 10 percent per year in 2011.

New form of crystalline order holds promise for thermoelectric applications

Posted: 14 Nov 2014 05:53 AM PST

Scientists have discovered an entirely new form of crystalline order that simultaneously exhibits both crystal and polycrystalline properties and holds promise for improving the efficiency of thermoelectric devices.

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