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The Lead

Does Sperm Harpoon the Egg?

August 27, 2015 | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Spiky filaments at the head of sperm cells may lash together, effectively allowing the swimming cells to harpoon an egg to facilitate fertilization. The new find could be a revelation in a fundamental process of life that is 14 years in the making.

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Raw Oysters Harbor Norovirus, Say Scientists – But Seafood Experts Shrug

August 28, 2015 2:24 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Oysters serve as a major reservoir for noroviruses– the raw ones should be avoided, according to a new study. But seafood industry experts say the shellfish danger is overstated.

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Gut Microbes Play Role in Fish Oil Benefits

August 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Gothenburg | Comments

Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard produce very different bacteria in the guts of mice, reports a study. The researchers transferred these microbes into other mice to see how they affected health. The results suggest that gut bacteria share some of the responsibility for the beneficial effects of fish oil and the harmful effects of lard.

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Ignore TV: CPR Isn't a Surefire Lifesaver

August 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology | Comments

A study found that two popular medical dramas show cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) successfully saving a “patient’s” life in nearly 70 percent of the scenes in which it was used. Half of the fictional patients who received CPR made enough of a recovery to eventually leave the hospital. That’s almost double the actual immediate survival rate of less than 37 percent and four times the real long-term survival rate of roughly 13 percent.

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There's More to Man than We Realize

August 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Pittsburgh | Comments

Among the many things that science is, it is a system of categorization. The human fossil record is rather poorly categorized, contends a professor, leading to a narrow view of what he believes to be a more complex and expansive evolutionary history than most anthropologists recognize.

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Laboratory Study Mimics Blast-induced Brain Trauma

August 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by Purdue Univ. | Comments

Researchers have developed a procedure to mimic in laboratory experiments a form of brain trauma commonly seen in combat veterans, and findings suggest a new diagnostic tool for early detection and a potential treatment.

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How Rain Cleans the Atmosphere

August 28, 2015 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Comments

As a raindrop falls through the atmosphere, it can attract tens to hundreds of tiny aerosol particles to its surface before hitting the ground. Now, atmospheric chemists have determined just how effective rain is in cleaning the atmosphere. Given the altitude of a cloud, the size of its droplets and the diameter and concentration of aerosols, the team can predict the likelihood that a raindrop will sweep a particle out of the atmosphere.

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Buzz Aldrin Goes to Florida Tech, Unveils Mars ‘Master Plan’

August 28, 2015 10:38 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

Buzz Aldrin has gone where no man had gone before, he’s gotten a doctorate, he’s a universally loved American icon and a star of Twitter and TV. Now, at 85, he’s starting a new adventure– in Florida.

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Method Enables Design of Hybrid Glasses, Revolutionizes Gas Storage

August 28, 2015 8:41 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

A new method of manufacturing glass could lead to the production of “designer glasses” with applications in advanced photonics, while also facilitating industrial scale carbon capture and storage. An international team of researchers has reported how they have managed to use a relatively new family of sponge-like porous materials to develop new hybrid glasses.

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Scientists Can't Duplicate Results of Many Psychology Experiments

August 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | Comments

A large group of researchers set out to repeat 100 experiments published by leading psychology journals to see how often they would get the same results. The answer: less than half the time. But, that doesn't mean all those unconfirmed studies were wrong.

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Brain's Visual Cortex is Repurposed in Blind Children

August 28, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Anne Trafton | Comments

In 2011, neuroscientists reported that, in blind adults, brain regions normally dedicated to vision processing instead participate in language tasks such as speech and comprehension. Now, in a study of blind children, the same lab has found that this transformation occurs very early in life, before the age of four.

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Does Neuroticism Spring from Overthinking?

August 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Cell Press | Comments

Isaac Newton was a classic neurotic. He was a brooder and a worrier, prone to dwelling on the scientific problems before him as well as his childhood sins. But Newton also had creative breakthroughs— thoughts on physics so profound that they are still part of a standard science education. Now, psychologists are presenting a new theory for why neurotic unhappiness and creativity go hand-in-hand.

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Epic Storm Caused 1,000 Years’ Worth of Erosion

August 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Colorado Boulder | Comments

The historic September 2013 storm that triggered widespread flooding across Colorado’s Front Range eroded the equivalent of hundreds, or even as much as 1,000 years’ worth of accumulated sediment from the foothills west of Boulder. This suggests that erosion may not always be a slow and steady process, but rather can occur in sudden, rapid bursts because of extreme weather events such as hundred- and thousand-year storms.

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South African Prototype May Solve Unsolvable Power Problem

August 27, 2015 2:25 pm | by Associated Press, Lynsey Chutel | Comments

By thinking small, a group of South African scientists may have pioneered solar technology that has stumped Internet giant Google. The Helio100 project is a cost-effective heliostat that harnesses solar power to generate electricity.

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Four-day School Week May Boost Academic Performance

August 27, 2015 2:14 pm | by Georgia State Univ. | Comments

Shortening the school week to four days has a positive impact on elementary school students' academic performance in mathematics, according to researchers. Their study analyzed the impact of a four-day school week on student achievement by comparing fourth-grade reading and fifth-grade math test scores for students who participated in a four-day school week, versus those who attended a traditional five-day school week.

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Primates Recover from Spinal Cord Injuries Better than Rats

August 27, 2015 2:02 pm | by EPFL | Comments

Monkeys and humans exhibit greater motor recovery than rats after similar spinal cord injury. The reason for this lies in differences in anatomy and function of the corticospinal tract, which are the fibers through which the cortex communicates with the spinal cord.

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