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The Lead

‘Once in a Blue Moon’ is Actually Friday

July 29, 2015 | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | Comments

In astronomical terms, a blue moon is the name for the second full moon that occurs in a single month. We already had a full moon on July 2, so when a full moon rises again on Friday, July 31, it will indeed be a blue moon. It just won't appear blue in color. But that’s not to say there has never been a real blue-colored moon.


Bacterial Find Sheds Light on Digestive Issues, Diabetes, Obesity

July 29, 2015 2:00 pm | by American Crystallographic Association | Comments

A group of researchers has reached deep into the human gut, plucked out a couple enzymes produced by bacteria residing there and determined their biological activities and molecular structures— details that should shed new light on how we digest many of the foods we eat.


Plants Reacts Like Animals to Stress

July 29, 2015 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Adelaide | Comments

Research has shown, for the first time, that— despite not having a nervous system— plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress. Scientists have reported on how plants respond to their environment with a similar combination of chemical and electrical responses to animals, but through machinery that is specific to plants.


How the Brain Grasps Gripping

July 29, 2015 2:00 pm | by Brown Univ. | Comments

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates commands for the hand to grip an object. The advance could lead to improvements in future brain-computer interfaces that provide people with severe paralysis a means to control robotic arms and hands using their thoughts.


Lithium Detected in an Exploding Star

July 29, 2015 2:00 pm | by ESO | Comments

The chemical element lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 help to explain the mystery of why many young stars seem to have more of this chemical element than expected.


Imaging Revises Brain Disease Scenarios

July 29, 2015 2:00 pm | by EPFL | Comments

Diseases like Alzheimer’s are caused when proteins aggregate and clump together. In a world first, scientists have successfully distinguished between the disease-causing aggregation forms of proteins. The finding can help change pharmaceutical treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.


Mystery of the Synchronizing Pendulum Clocks, Centuries Old, Solved by Sound

July 29, 2015 11:24 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Since the 17th century, it’s been a mystery without solution: two pendulum clocks on the same wall will eventually synchronize, after a matter of days or even hours. Even the inventor of the clock could not explain it.


Minn. Dentist Kills Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, Internet Tracks Him Down

July 29, 2015 10:05 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

A Minnesota dentist went on an African safari with a bow and arrow. He illegally killed a well-known lion in a national park in Zimbabwe– and then allegedly tried to destroy the GPS collar the big protected cat was wearing.


Reducing Street Lights Doesn’t Increase Crashes, Crime

July 29, 2015 8:53 am | by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | Comments

Reduced street lighting in England and Wales is not associated with road traffic collisions or crime, according to research. The study suggests that local authorities can safely reduce street lighting at night, saving energy costs and reducing carbon emissions.


Chimps Binge on Clay to Detox

July 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Oxford | Comments

Wild chimpanzees in the forests of Uganda are increasingly eating clay to supplement the minerals in their diet, according to a long-term international study. Researchers observed wild chimpanzees in the Budongo forest eating and drinking from clay pits and termite mounds.


Diabetics Shouldn't Skip Breakfast

July 29, 2015 7:00 am | by American Friends of Tel Aviv Univ. | Comments

More and more Americans on-the-go are skipping the "most important meal of the day," not eating until lunch. This tendency to miss breakfast has already been linked to the growing epidemic of obesity and cardiovascular problems in the U.S.— and it may put the health of diabetics at risk as well.


Washington D.C. is Sinking Fast

July 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Vermont | Comments

New research confirms that the land under the Chesapeake Bay is sinking rapidly and projects that Washington, D.C., could drop by six or more inches in the next century. This falling land will exacerbate the flooding that the nation’s capital faces from rising ocean waters because of a warming climate and melting ice sheets— accelerating the threat to the region’s monuments, roads, wildlife refuges and military installations.

Today in Lab History: The First Iron Lung

July 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | Comments

On July 29, 1929, the first electric respirator, or iron lung, was installed in Bellevue hospital to fight a polio epidemic. The machine was made from two vacuum cleaners and worked on negative pressure.


AI Arms Race Would Yield 'Kalashnikovs of Tomorrow'

July 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Danica Kirka | Comments

In an open letter, scientists and tech experts— including Stephen Hawking and Steve Wozniak— argued that if any major military power pushes ahead with development of autonomous weapons, a global arms race is virtually inevitable. The endpoint, they wrote, of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.


Depression is a Gut Feeling

July 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by McMaster Univ. | Comments

Scientists have discovered that intestinal bacteria play an important role in inducing anxiety and depression. The new study is the first to explore the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress.


Hair May Shed Light on Link Between Asthma, Cortisol, Pregnancy Complications

July 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) | Comments

Hair samples can be used to measure the effects of asthma on the cortisol levels of women during pregnancy, according to research. The study also found that levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, tend to be lower among pregnant women with asthma than among pregnant women without the chronic, inflammatory lung disease.



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