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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Spider electro-combs its sticky nano-filaments

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:23 PM PST

A spider commonly found in garden centers in Britain is giving fresh insights into how to spin incredibly long and strong fibers just a few nanometers thick. The majority of spiders spin silk threads several micrometers thick but unusually the 'garden centre spider' or 'feather-legged lace weaver' can spin nano-scale filaments. Now scientists think they are closer to understanding how this is done.

Sugary drinks linked to earlier onset of menstrual periods

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:22 PM PST

Girls who frequently consume sugary drinks tend to start their menstrual periods earlier than girls who do not, according to new research. The findings are important not only because of the growing problem of childhood obesity in a number of developed countries, but also because starting periods earlier is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer later in life.

Psychopathic Violent Offenders’ Brains Can’t Understand Punishment

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:21 PM PST

Psychopathic violent offenders have abnormalities in the parts of the brain related to learning from punishment, according to an MRI study.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft captures best-ever view of dwarf planet Ceres

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:11 AM PST

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned the sharpest images ever seen of the dwarf planet Ceres. The images were taken 147,000 miles (237,000 kilometers) from Ceres on Jan. 25, and represent a new milestone for a spacecraft that soon will become the first human-made probe to visit a dwarf planet.

Stomach acid-powered micromotors get their first test in a living animal

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:08 AM PST

Researchers have shown that a micromotor fueled by stomach acid can take a bubble-powered ride inside a mouse. These tiny motors, each about one-fifth the width of a human hair, may someday offer a safer and more efficient way to deliver drugs or diagnose tumors. The experiment is the first to show that these micromotors can operate safely in a living animal.

Asteroid that flew past Earth has moon

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 11:06 AM PST

Scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, have released the first radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86. The images show the asteroid, which made its closest approach on Jan. 26, 2015 at 8:19 a.m. PST (11:19 a.m. EST) at a distance of about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers, or 3.1 times the distance from Earth to the moon), has its own small moon.

Easter Island mystery: Why did the native culture die out?

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 10:11 AM PST

Long before the Europeans arrived on Easter Island in 1722, the native Polynesian culture known as Rapa Nui showed signs of demographic decline. However, the catalyst has long been debated in the scientific community. Was environmental degradation the cause, or could a political revolution or an epidemic of disease be to blame? A collaborative study suggests that the island's native culture reacted to natural environmental barriers to producing sufficient crops.

The world's oldest known snake fossils: Rolling back the clock by nearly 70 million years

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:24 AM PST

Fossilized remains of four ancient snakes have been dated between 140 and 167 million years old -- nearly 70 million years older than the previous record of ancient snake fossils -- and are changing the way we think about the origins of snakes.

Brain region vulnerable to aging is larger in those with longevity gene variant

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 09:11 AM PST

People who carry a variant of a gene that is associated with longevity also have larger volumes in a front part of the brain involved in planning and decision-making, according to researchers.

Ancient star system reveals Earth-sized planets forming near start of universe

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:14 AM PST

A Sun-like star with orbiting planets, dating back to the dawn of the Galaxy, has been discovered by an international team of astronomers. At 11.2 billion years old, it is the oldest star with Earth-sized planets ever found and proves that such planets have formed throughout the history of the Universe.

The origin of life: Labyrinths as crucibles of life

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 08:11 AM PST

Water-filled micropores in hot rock may have acted as the nurseries in which life on Earth began. A team has now shown that temperature gradients in pore systems promote the cyclical replication and emergence of nucleic acids.

Using stem cells to grow new hair

Posted: 27 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

Researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study represents the first step toward the development of a cell-based treatment for people with hair loss. In the United States alone, more than 40 million men and 21 million women are affected by hair loss.

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