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Friday, December 19, 2014

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

Amputee makes history controlling two modular prosthetic limbs

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 08:35 AM PST

A Colorado man made history this summer when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two modular prosthetic limbs. Most importantly, the patient, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs, performing a variety of tasks during a short training period.

Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs may have nearly knocked off mammals, too

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 07:13 AM PST

The classic story is that mammals rose to dominance after the dinosaurs went extinct, but a new study shows that some of the most common mammals living alongside dinosaurs, the metatherians, extinct relatives of living marsupials, were also nearly wiped out when an asteroid hit the planet 66 million years ago.

Unraveling the light of fireflies

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 04:45 AM PST

How do fireflies produce those mesmerizing light flashes? Using cutting-edge imaging techniques, scientists have unraveled the firefly's intricate light-producing system for the first time.

Thumbs-up for mind-controlled robotic arm

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

A paralyzed woman who controlled a robotic arm using just her thoughts has taken another step towards restoring her natural movements by controlling the arm with a range of complex hand movements.

When you lose weight, where does the fat go? Most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide, study shows

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 06:20 PM PST

Despite a worldwide obsession with diets and fitness regimes, many health professionals cannot correctly answer the question of where body fat goes when people lose weight, a new study shows. The most common misconception among doctors, dieticians and personal trainers is that the missing mass has been converted into energy or heat. The correct answer is that most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide and goes into thin air.

NASA data underscore severity of California drought

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 03:41 PM PST

It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) -- around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir -- to recover from California's continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.

Biologist reveals how whales may 'sing' for their supper

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 02:57 PM PST

Humpback whales have a trick or two, when it comes to finding a quick snack at the bottom of the ocean. Even in the dark. Biologists have been studying these unique feeding behaviors. Her research emphasizes the importance of specific auditory cues that these mammoth creatures emit, as they search the deep ocean for their prey.

Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 12:47 PM PST

A new study found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.

DNA sheds light on why largest lemurs disappeared: Giant lemurs' demise linked to size, low numbers

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 11:41 AM PST

DNA from giant lemurs that lived thousands of years ago in Madagascar may help explain why the animals went extinct, and what makes some lemurs more at risk today. Scientists have little doubt that humans played a role in the giant lemurs' demise. By comparing the species that died out to those that survived, scientists hope to better predict which lemurs are most in need of protection in the future.

A lot or a little? Wolves discriminate quantities better than dogs

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 07:05 AM PST

Being able to mentally consider quantities makes sense for any social species. Scientists studied how well dogs can discriminate between different quantities and discovered that wolves perform better than dogs at such tasks. Possibly dogs lost this skill, or a predisposition for it, during domestication.

Is the Higgs Boson a piece of the matter-antimatter puzzle?

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 07:04 AM PST

Several experiments, including the BaBar experiment have helped explain some – but not all – of the imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe. Now theorists have laid out a possible method for determining if the Higgs Boson is involved. Why there's more matter than antimatter is one of the biggest questions confounding particle physicists and cosmologists, and it cuts to the heart of our own existence.

Discovery of official clay seals support existence of biblical kings David and Solomon, archaeologists say

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 07:04 AM PST

Six official clay seals found by an archaeological team at a small site in Israel offer evidence that supports the existence of biblical kings David and Solomon. Many modern scholars dismiss David and Solomon as mythological figures and believe no kingdom could have existed in the region at the time the Bible recounted their activities. The new finds provide evidence that some type of government activity was conducted there in that period.

Switching to vehicles powered by electricity from renewables could save lives

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 03:53 PM PST

Driving vehicles that use electricity from renewable energy instead of gasoline could reduce the resulting deaths due to air pollution by 70 percent. This finding comes from a new life cycle analysis of conventional and alternative vehicles and their air pollution-related public health impacts. The study also shows that switching to vehicles powered by electricity made using natural gas yields large health benefits.

Feeling younger than actual age meant lower early death rate for older people, study finds

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 03:53 PM PST

Turns out, feeling younger than your actual age might be good for you. Older people who felt three or more years younger than their chronological age had a lower death rate compared with those who felt their age or who felt more than one year older than their actual age, researchers found.

Massive study provides first detailed look at how Greenland's ice is vanishing

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 12:45 PM PST

Scientists used NASA satellite and aerial data to reconstruct how the ice sheet changed at nearly 100,000 locations over many years.

Virtual bodyswapping diminishes people's negative biases about others

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 09:30 AM PST

Researchers explain how they have used the brain's ability to bring together information from different senses to make white people feel that they were inhabiting black bodies and adults feel like they had children's bodies. The results of such virtual bodyswapping experiments are remarkable and have important implications for approaching phenomena such as race and gender discrimination.

Real data rather than theory used to measure the cosmos

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 05:49 AM PST

For the first time researchers have measured large distances in the Universe using data, rather than calculations related to general relativity.

New insights into origins of agriculture could help shape future of food

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 01:24 PM PST

Agricultural decisions made by our ancestors more than 10,000 years ago could hold the key to food security in the future, according to new research. Scientists, looking at why the first arable farmers chose to domesticate some cereal crops and not others, studied those that originated in the Fertile Crescent, an arc of land in western Asia from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.

Mental illness is the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings, experts say

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 11:20 AM PST

In the shadow of the two year anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings in American history, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an extensive new study challenges common assumptions about gun violence and mental illness that often emerge in the aftermath of mass shootings. When a mass shooting occurs there seems to be a familiar narrative that untreated mental illness is the primary cause for the terrifying act. But a new study finds that an isolated focus on mental illness is misguided. There are 32,000 gun deaths in the United States on average every year and people are far more likely to be shot by relatives, friends or acquaintances than they are by lone violent psychopaths, according to the researchers.

Playing action video games can boost learning, study finds

Posted: 10 Nov 2014 01:10 PM PST

A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.

Can instant noodles lead to heart disease, diabetes and stroke?

Posted: 12 Aug 2014 09:16 AM PDT

Significant consumption of instant noodles -- ramen included -- may increase a person's risk for cardiometabolic syndrome, especially in women, research shows. The findings could shed new light on the risks of a worldwide dietary habit. "This research is significant since many people are consuming instant noodles without knowing possible health risks," one researcher said. "My hope is that this study can lay a foundation for future research about the health effects of instant noodle consumption."

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