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Blue Skies, Red Ice Spotted on Pluto

October 9, 2015 | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The New Horizons spacecraft caused a ripple of excitement three months ago as it passed by Pluto, sending back stark images of a peach-colored sphere 93 million miles away. The first atmospheric images of the planet have now arrived back on Earth, showing the sky on the dwarf planet is blue – and that there is frozen water on the surface, according to NASA.

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Genome from 4,500 Years Ago Pulled from Ear in Africa

October 9, 2015 4:00 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Anthropologists have pulled a complete genome from a 4,500-year-old skeleton found in Ethiopia, a discovery which could have far-reaching implications for understanding prehistory in the region. The ancient male remains were recovered from a cave in Ethiopia’s Gamo highlands in 2012 – and they could pull enough intact genetic information from the bones in the inner ear to make a full sequence, they announced in today’s Science.


'Publish or Perish' Model Discourages Innovative Research

October 9, 2015 2:20 pm | by UCLA | News | Comments

The traditional pressure in academia for faculty to "publish or perish" advances knowledge in established areas. But it also might discourage scientists from asking the innovative questions that are most likely to lead to the biggest breakthroughs, according to a new study.


Accidental Discovery May Lead to Next Generation of Advanced Computers

October 9, 2015 2:16 pm | by Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

An accidental discovery of a "quantum Etch-a-Sketch" that may lead to the next generation of advanced computers and quantum microchips has been made by team of scientists. The team accidentally has discovered a new way of using beams of light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits on topological insulators, a unique class of materials with intriguing electronic properties.


California Agency Votes to Ban SeaWorld Orca Breeding

October 9, 2015 2:13 pm | by Michael Blood, AP | News | Comments

The California Coastal Commission approved a $100 million expansion of the tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego — but it banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them.


Fracking Linked to Premature Births

October 9, 2015 1:52 pm | by John Hopkins University | News | Comments

Expectant mothers who live near active hydrofracking of natural gas wells are at increased risk for high-risk pregnancies and premature delivery. The findings shed light on possible adverse health outcomes associated with fracking, or hydraulic fracturing.


Researchers Digitally Reconstruct Piece of Brain

October 9, 2015 1:30 pm | by Cell Press | News | Comments

For 10 years, a global initiative has been attempting to digitally reconstruct a section of a juvenile rat brain. The project presents a first draft of this reconstruction, which contains over 31,000 neurons, 55 layers of cells, and 207 different neuron subtypes.


NASA's Curiosity Rover Team Confirms Ancient Lakes on Mars

October 9, 2015 10:43 am | by NASA | News | Comments

A new study from the team behind NASA's Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity has confirmed that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time. Using data from the Curiosity rover, the team has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed more than three years ago.


Premature Aging Toll of Smoking, Heavy Drinking Now Measurable in DNA

October 9, 2015 10:33 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

That cigarette and that tumbler of single-malt scotch have been known to make you look older – and not just with a look of sophistication. Cigarettes and heavy drinking have been known to cause premature aging – not just with skin wrinkles, but with internal organ deterioration. Now the damage to DNA caused by the stress can be measured and calculated, according to a team of geneticists.


ICYMI: Ants Make Their Own Floating Island to Survive Flooding

October 9, 2015 10:05 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | News | Comments

Welcome to Laboratory Equipment's Friday series, In Case You Missed It (ICYMI), where we bring you three trending news stories from this week. Ants building islands to stay afloat in flood waters, original photos from the Apollo missions and the financial value of the natural world are all on the menu this week. 


Study Looks to Prevent Memory Loss Before Symptoms Appear

October 9, 2015 10:01 am | by Houston Methodist Hospital | News | Comments

A new clinical trial looks to remove a key protein from the brain to prevent memory loss at least a decade before symptoms are noticed in healthy older adults. The national trial is focused on an investigational treatment to reduce the impact of the protein beta amyloid.


Using Diamonds to Detect Cancerous Tumors

October 9, 2015 9:32 am | by University of Sydney | News | Comments

Physicists have devised a way to use diamonds to identify cancerous tumors before they become life threatening. Their findings reveal how a nanoscale, synthetic version of the precious gem can light up early-stage cancers in non-toxic, non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans.


Inside-out Plants Show How Cellulose Forms

October 9, 2015 9:27 am | by University of British Columbia | News | Comments

Researchers have been able to watch the interior cells of a plant synthesize cellulose for the first time by tricking the cells into growing on the plant's surface.Cellulose is a critical resource for pulp and paper, textiles, building materials and renewable biofuels.


Rerouted Nerves Enable Paralyzed People to Use Hands

October 9, 2015 9:15 am | by Washington Univ. in St. Louis | News | Comments

A pioneering surgical technique has restored some hand and arm movement to patients immobilized by spinal cord injuries in the neck. Like railroad switchmen, the focus is on rerouting passageways. But, instead of trains on a track, surgeons redirect peripheral nerves in a quadriplegic’s arms and hands by connecting healthy nerves to the injured nerves.


Researchers Study How the Brain Copes in Space

October 9, 2015 8:49 am | by European Space Agency | News | Comments

How astronauts adapt to the stresses of living in space is helping researchers to pinpoint the causes of common disorders on Earth. From the brain’s point of view, living in space is very stressful. Despite conflicting signals the brain adapts and within a few days astronauts float through their home in space as if born there.


What Runners' High Tells Us About Drug Addiction

October 8, 2015 3:15 pm | by University of Missouri | News | Comments

The pleasure and reward centers of the brain are activated similarly by dangerous drugs as well as by exercise, which is why therapies to treat drug addiction often include lots of exercise. Scientists say activating these pleasure and reward receptors in the brain could provide the “reward” of dangerous drugs without having to consume those drugs.



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