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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Boy moms more social in chimpanzees: Watching adult males in action may help youngsters prepare

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 03:01 PM PST

Four decades of chimpanzee observations reveals the mothers of sons are 25 percent more social than the mothers of daughters, spending about two hours more per day with other chimpanzees than the girl moms did. Researchers believe mothers are giving young males the opportunity to observe males in social situations to help them develop the social skills they'll need to thrive in adult male competition.

Babies remember nothing but a good time, study says

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 11:36 AM PST

Researchers performed memory tests with 5-month-old babies, and found that the babies better remembered shapes that were introduced with happy voices and faces. Past studies have shown that babies are very tuned to emotions, including the emotions of animals.

Asteroid impacts on Earth make structurally bizarre diamonds

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:56 AM PST

Scientists have settled a longstanding controversy over a purported rare form of diamond called lonsdaleite -- a type of diamond formed by impact shock, but which lacks the three-dimensional regularity of ordinary diamond.

Avoiding ecosystem collapse: Experts Weigh in

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:56 AM PST

From coral reefs to prairie grasslands, some of the world's most iconic habitats are susceptible to sudden collapse due to seemingly minor events. A classic example: the decimation of kelp forests when a decline of otter predation unleashes urchin population explosions. Three studies hold the promise of helping resource managers predict, avoid, and reverse the tipping points that lead to degraded habitats, economic losses, and social upheaval.

Global warming skeptics unmoved by extreme weather

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:54 AM PST

What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds. But a new study throws cold water on that theory.

Many animals steal defenses from bacteria: Microbe toxin genes have jumped to ticks, mites and other animals

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:54 AM PST

Bacteria compete for resources in the environment by injecting deadly toxins into their rivals. Researcher have now discovered that many animals steal toxins from bacteria to fight unwanted microbes growing on them. Genes for these toxins have jumped from bacterial to animals. These genes are now permanently incorporated into the genomes of these animals. Deer ticks, which can carry Lyme disease, are one of the many diverse organisms in which toxin gene transfers from bacteria to animal has occurred.

Pain and itch in a dish: Skin cells converted into pain sensing neurons

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:53 AM PST

After more than six years of intensive effort, and repeated failures that made the quest at times seem futile, researchers have successfully converted mouse and human skin cells into pain sensing neurons that respond to a number of stimuli that cause acute and inflammatory pain.

Enabling biocircuits: New device could make large biological circuits practical

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:53 AM PST

Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits -- systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular kind of output. But while individual components of such biological circuits can have precise and predictable responses, those outcomes become less predictable as more such elements are combined. Scientists have now come up with a way of greatly reducing that unpredictability, introducing a device that could ultimately allow such circuits to behave nearly as predictably as their electronic counterparts.

Underwater robot sheds new light on thick, deformed, Antarctic sea ice

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 09:53 AM PST

The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice have been developed using an underwater robot. Scientists say the new technology provides accurate ice thickness measurements from areas that were previously too difficult to access.

Cooling with the coldest matter in the world

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 08:18 AM PST

Physicists have developed a new cooling technique for mechanical quantum systems. Using an ultracold atomic gas, the vibrations of a membrane were cooled down to less than 1 degree above absolute zero. This technique may enable novel studies of quantum physics and precision measurement devices.

Turtles and dinosaurs: Scientists solve reptile mysteries with landmark study on the evolution of turtles

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 07:32 AM PST

A team of scientists has reconstructed a detailed 'tree of life' for turtles. Next generation sequencing technologies have generated unprecedented amounts of genetic information for a thrilling new look at turtles' evolutionary history. Scientists place turtles in the newly named group 'Archelosauria' with their closest relatives: birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs.

Gas cloud in the galactic center is part of a larger gas streamer

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 05:09 AM PST

Astronomers have presented new observations of the gas cloud G2 in the galactic center originally discovered in 2011. These data are in remarkably good agreement with an on-going tidal disruption. As a complete surprise came the discovery that the orbit of G2 matches that of another gas cloud detected a decade ago, suggesting that G2 might actually be part of a much more extensive gas streamer. This would also match some of the proposed scenarios that try to explain the presence of G2. One such model is that G2 is originating from the wind from a massive star.

Bad news for kids: Parents do not defend their offspring at all cost, bird study shows

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 05:09 AM PST

Do parents defend their offspring whenever necessary, and do self-sacrificing parents really exist? To answer this question, researchers examined defense behaviors of parent blue tits. They investigated whether birds would risk everything to protect their young from predators. Their conclusion: parents weigh the risks. It is not only the risk to the nestlings, but also their own risk that plays a role when defending their nests.

Molecules that came in handy for first life on Earth

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 04:48 AM PST

For the first time, chemists have successfully produced amino acid-like molecules that all have the same 'handedness', from simple building blocks and in a single test tube. Could this be how life started. On Earth? Or in space, as the Philae lander is currently exploring?

People ate mammoth; Dogs got reindeer

Posted: 24 Nov 2014 04:48 AM PST

Biogeologists have shown how Gravettian people shared their food 30,000 years ago. Around 30,000 years ago Predmosti was inhabited by people of the pan-European Gravettian culture, who used the bones of more than 1000 mammoths to build their settlement and to ivory sculptures. Did prehistoric people collect this precious raw material from carcasses -- easy to spot on the big cold steppe -- or were they the direct result of hunting for food?

HIV/AIDS drugs could be repurposed to treat AMD, researchers suggest

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Drugs that have been used for the past 30 years to treat HIV/AIDS, could be repurposed to treat the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study suggests. AMD is a progressive condition that is untreatable in up to 90 percent of patients and is a leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide. The two forms of AMD, wet and dry, are classified based on the presence or absence of blood vessels that have invaded the retina.

Most people would rather harm themselves than others for profit

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 01:42 PM PST

An experiment on 80 pairs of adults found that people were willing to sacrifice on average twice as much money to spare a stranger pain than to spare themselves, despite the decision being secret.

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