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The Lead

Olympians to Swim, Boat in Rio’s Sewage

July 30, 2015 | by Associated Press, Brad Brooks, Jenny Barchfield | Comments

Athletes in next year's Summer Olympics will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games, an investigation has found.

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Dawn Space Mission to Ceres Continues, Despite Attention on New Horizons

July 30, 2015 9:59 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Comments

The New Horizons mission reached the outer fringes of our solar system in recent weeks, snapping vibrant pictures of Pluto, providing new scientific information from millions of miles away and exciting the curious back here on Earth. But the Dawn mission has continued to seek out new worlds and solve galactic mysteries– just without as much fanfare.

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Q&A: Paul Spagnuolo, Cancer and Avocados

July 30, 2015 9:27 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | Comments

Laboratory Equipment’s scientist of the week is Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo. He and a team found that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer.

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Exotic Material Dramatically Cuts Energy Use in Electronics

July 30, 2015 8:46 am | by MIT, Rob Matheson | Comments

An exotic material called gallium nitride (GaN) is poised to become the next semiconductor for power electronics, enabling much higher efficiency than silicon. An MIT spinout has announced a line of GaN transistors and power electronic circuits that promise to cut energy usage in data centers, electric cars and consumer devices by 10 to 20 percent worldwide by 2025.

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Stomach Acid’s Evolution Linked to Diet

July 30, 2015 8:34 am | by North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

An analysis of data on stomach acidity and diet in birds and mammals suggests that high levels of stomach acidity developed not to help animals break down food, but to defend animals against food poisoning. The work raises interesting questions about how modern life may be affecting both our stomach acidity and the microbial communities that live in our guts.

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AP: Fetal Tissue Has Long Been Used for Medical Studies

July 30, 2015 8:23 am | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | Comments

Controversy over Planned Parenthood's supplying fetal tissue for research has focused attention on a little-discussed aspect of science. Here are some basic facts about fetal tissue use in research and its history.

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Dogs May Fail Sniff Test

July 30, 2015 8:10 am | by Associated Press, Michael Tarm | Comments

A potentially influential new ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considered the question of how much police should rely on their K-9 partners to justify searches when a dog's own competence is itself suspect.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘Once in a Blue Moon’ is Actually Friday

July 29, 2015 7:00 am | 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.

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