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The Lead

Barcode May Make Counterfeiting Harder

April 17, 2014 | by ACS | News | Comments

Counterfeiters, beware: scientists are reporting the development of a new type of inexpensive barcode that, when added to documents or currency, could foil attempts at making forgeries.

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Ants Inspire Help for Human Evacuees

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Inderscience Publishers | News | Comments

An escape route mapping system, based on the behavior of ant colonies, could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map of showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones.

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Trials of the Cherokee Can Be Seen in Skulls

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have found that environmental stressors– from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War– led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

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Obesity Amplifies Bone, Muscle Loss

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Florida State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have identified a new syndrome called "osteosarcopenic obesity" that links the deterioration of bone density and muscle mass with obesity.

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Scans May Help Predict Recovery from Vegetative State

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by The Conversation, Jamie Sleigh, Catherine Warnaby | News | Comments

Positron emission tomography, which looks at energy uptake in different parts of the brain, could be particularly good at determining more accurately which people in a minimally conscious state or suffering from unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, might regain consciousness.

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Meteorites Give Clues to Mars' Early Atmosphere

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Maryland | News | Comments

Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars have unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study shows that the atmospheres of Mars and Earth diverged in important ways very early in the 4.6 billion year evolution of our solar system.

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Method Shows Excitons in Motion

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

A new technique has revealed the motion of energy-carrying quasiparticles, called excitons, in solid material for the first time.

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Floating Nuclear Plants Would Withstand Tsunamis

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Videos | Comments

A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid disasters in the future. Such floating plants would be designed to be automatically cooled by the surrounding seawater in a worst-case scenario, which would indefinitely prevent any melting of fuel rods, or escape of radioactive material.

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Scientist of the Week: Thiago Verano-Braga

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Verano-Braga and a team from the Univ. of Southern Denmark discovered that nanosilver can penetrate our cells and cause damage.

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Research Yields Better, Greener Polyester from Cork

April 17, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you’d be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester and cork. In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out how to extract a natural, waterproof, antibacterial version of the former from the latter.

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Study Contradicts Sharks as ‘Living Fossils’

April 16, 2014 1:52 pm | by American Museum of Natural History | News | Comments

The skull of a newly discovered 325-million-year-old shark-like species suggests that early cartilaginous and bony fishes have more to tell us about the early evolution of jawed vertebrates— including humans— than do modern sharks. The new study shows that living sharks are actually quite advanced in evolutionary terms.

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Composite Materials Can Repeatedly Heal Themselves

April 16, 2014 1:32 pm | by Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology | News | Comments

Scientists have created a 3-D vascular system that allows for high-performance composite materials, such as fiberglass, to heal autonomously, and repeatedly.

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Research Finds Brain Changes in Pot Smokers

April 16, 2014 1:21 pm | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | News | Comments

A small study of casual marijuana smokers has turned up evidence of changes in the brain, a possible sign of trouble ahead, researchers say.

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Coffee is Getting Less Green

April 16, 2014 1:13 pm | by The Univ. of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

The proportion of land used to cultivate shade grown coffee, relative to the total land area of coffee cultivation, has fallen by nearly 20 percent globally since 1996. Researchers say the global shift toward a more intensive style of coffee farming is probably having a negative effect on the environment, communities and individual farmers.

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EPA Recommends Too Much Bleach for Water Purification

April 16, 2014 12:36 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

The EPA’s recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens and are often impractical to carry out, a new study has found.

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Monkey Infant Hair Reveals Life in the Womb

April 16, 2014 12:04 pm | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Like rings of a tree, hair can reveal a lot of information about the past. It can provide information about things like drug use, environmental toxins exposure and hormone levels. And, according to a study, it can also reveal the womb environment in which an infant formed.

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