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The Lead

Death-trap Cave to be Excavated

July 24, 2014 | by Associated Press | Comments

For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of late Pleistocene fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

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Modern Cells Still Perform Ancient Reactions

July 24, 2014 3:01 pm | by Univ. of East Anglia | Comments

Parts of the primordial soup in which life arose have been maintained in our cells today. Research reveals how cells in plants, yeast and very likely also in animals still perform ancient reactions thought to have been responsible for the origin of life- some four billion years ago.

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Immune Response Worsens Brain Injuries, Disorders

July 24, 2014 2:35 pm | by Cleveland Clinic | Comments

Could the body's own immune system play a role in memory impairment and cognitive dysfunction associated with conditions like chronic epilepsy, Alzheimer's, dementia and concussions? According to a new study, yes.                                

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Biologist: Early Signs of Sixth Mass Extinction

July 24, 2014 2:27 pm | by Stanford Univ. | Comments

The planet's current biodiversity is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point. In a new review of scientific literature and analysis of data, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet's sixth mass biological extinction event.

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Chemist Develops X-ray Vision for QA

July 24, 2014 2:20 pm | by Technical Univ. of Denmark | Comments

A researcher has developed a method that uses X-rays for the rapid identification of substances present in an indeterminate powder. The new technique has the capacity to recognize advanced biological molecules, such as proteins.                  

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A.I. Shows Musical Progression of the Beatles

July 24, 2014 2:11 pm | by Lawrence Technological Univ. | Comments

Music fans and critics know that the music of the Beatles underwent a dramatic transformation in just a few years, but until now there hasn’t been a scientific way to measure the progression. That could change now that computer scientists at Lawrence Technological Univ. have developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that can analyze and compare musical styles, enabling research into the musical progression of the Beatles.

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Recessions are Good for your Health

July 24, 2014 2:07 pm | by Univ. of Drexel | Comments

Being unemployed increases your risk of death, but recessions decrease it. Sound paradoxical? Researchers thought so too. While previous studies of individuals have shown that employees who lose their jobs have a higher mortality rate, more comprehensive studies have shown, unexpectedly, that population mortality actually declines as unemployment rates increase.

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Audit: NASA Doesn't Have the Money for Big Rockets

July 24, 2014 1:42 pm | by Associated Press | Comments

NASA doesn't have enough money to get its new, $12 billion rocket system off the ground by the end of 2017 as planned, federal auditors say.                                               

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China Lifts Quarantine After Man Dies of Bubonic Plague

July 24, 2014 8:51 am | by Associated Press | Comments

A nine-day quarantine imposed on parts of a northern Chinese city where a man died of bubonic plague has been lifted. A total of 151 people were under observation in the city of Yumen in Gansu province after authorities determined they had come in contact with a man who died of the plague July 16.

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Urban Heat Boosts Pests 200x, Kills Red Maples

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by NC State Univ. | Comments

New research shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect – a significant tree pest – by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.

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Our Genes are Disadvantageous in Changing Environment

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Exeter | Comments

Breaking the mold of inherited family characteristics could help you survive in a fast-changing world, scientists have discovered. A new study has shown that such slowly changing genes are only beneficial in a steady environment.                  

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Intestinal Parasites are Actually Beneficial

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Canadian Institute for Advanced Research | Comments

Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, hookworms and a protist called Blastocystis can be beneficial to human health, according to a new paper that argues we should rethink our views of organisms that live off the human body.                     

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Study Links Enzyme to Autistic Behaviors

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of California, Riverside | Comments

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder that causes obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and other behaviors on the autistic spectrum, as well as cognitive deficits. It is the most common inherited cause of mental impairment and the most common cause of autism. Now, biomedical scientists have published a study that sheds light on the cause of these behaviors.

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Searching for ET: Target Alien Polluters

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Comments

By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs? They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. 

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Strong Community Forest Rights Battle Climate Change

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by WRI and RRI | Comments

Strengthening community forest rights is an essential strategy to reduce billions of tons of carbon emissions, making it an effective way for governments to meet climate goals, safeguard forests and protect the livelihoods of their citizens, according to a major new report.

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Scientist of the Week: Jeffrey Bada

July 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | Comments

Jeffrey Bada and a team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego analyzed samples of prebiotic materials created in 1958 by the famous chemist Stanley Miller.

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