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Sci/Tech
 

Seeing dinosaur feathers in a new light

Why were dinosaurs covered in a cloak of feathers long before the early bird species Archaeopteryx first attempted flight? Researchers from the University of Bonn and the University of Göttingen attempt to answer precisely that question in their article "Beyond the Rainbow" in the latest issue of the renowned journal Science. The research team postulates that these ancient lizards had a highly developed ability to discern color. Their hypothesis: The evolution of feathers made dinosaurs more colorful, which in turn had a profoundly positive impact on communication, the selection of mates and on dinosaurs' procreation.

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Air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US

Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrogen sulfide and formaldehyde were found. The study is the first to be based on community sampling by people who live near production sites and could be used to supplement official air-quality monitoring programs.

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Griffith scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds

Griffith University academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory based on the existence of, and interactions between, parallel universes.

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Past Climate Change Was Caused by the Ocean, Not Just the Atmosphere, New Rutgers Study Finds

Most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere.

But in a new study published in Science, a group of Rutgers researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth’s climate.

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Georgia State astronomers image the exploding fireball stage of a nova

Astronomers at Georgia State University's Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) have observed the expanding thermonuclear fireball from a nova that erupted last year in the constellation Delphinus with unprecedented clarity.

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A 3D Map of the Adolescent Universe

Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see today.

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Nation's "personality" influences its environmental stewardship, shows new study

Countries with higher levels of compassion and openness score better when it comes to environmental sustainability, says research from the University of Toronto.

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Ebola’s evolutionary roots more ancient than previously thought, study finds

The research shows that filoviruses — a family to which Ebola and its similarly lethal relative, Marburg, belong — are at least 16-23 million years old.

Filoviruses likely existed in the Miocene Epoch, and at that time, the evolutionary lines leading to Ebola and Marburg had already diverged, the study concludes.

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Association between air toxics and childhood autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of certain air toxics during their mothers' pregnancies and the first two years of life compared to children without the condition, according to the preliminary findings of a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii

A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii’s recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai.

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University of Tennessee study finds fish just wanna have fun

Fish just want to have fun, according to a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study that finds even fish "play."

The research is published in the academic journal Ethology and can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1tLunpC.

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Scientists say national Alzheimer's plan milestones must be strengthened to meet goal by 2025

The U.S. Government has initiated a major effort to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025. However, a workgroup of nearly 40 Alzheimer's researchers and scientists says the research milestones in the U.S. Government's National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease must be broadened in scope, increased in scale, and adequately funded in order to successfully achieve this goal. A series of proposals by the workgroup to enlarge and strengthen the Plan are published today in Alzheimer's & Dementia: the Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

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Climate change alters cast of winter birds

Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America's backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate.

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Annals of Internal Medicine: Conventional medical centers may be unable to prevent spread of Ebola

A group of infectious disease experts suggests that conventional U.S. medical centers are unprepared and ill equipped to manage Ebola and a national network of specialized containment and treatment facilities may be needed to reduce the virus' spread, according to an article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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NASA's Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass

Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy -- one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away.

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Human Cancer Prognosis Is Related to Newly Identified Immune Cell

A newly discovered population of immune cells in tumors is associated with less severe cancer outcomes in humans, and may have therapeutic potential, according to a new UC San Francisco study of 3,600 human tumors of 12 types, as well as mouse experiments.

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Corruption of the U.S. health care delivery system: foundation of evidence-based research has eroded

The foundation of evidence-based research has eroded and the trend must be reversed so patients and clinicians can make wise shared decisions about their health, say Dartmouth researchers in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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Academies call for consequences from the Ebola virus epidemic

The Ebola virus is spreading rapidly and to an unexpected extent. The outbreak does not follow the patterns experienced in the past and the virus shows a new disease dynamic in regions, where it has never been recorded before. For this reason, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech – the German Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities have presented a statement on the Ebola epidemic today.

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Drexel study suggests 21-day quarantine might not be enough to completely prevent spread of Ebola virus

As medical personnel and public health officials are responding to the first reported cases of Ebola Virus in the United States, many of the safety and treatment procedures for treating the virus and preventing its spread are being reexamined. One of the tenets for minimizing the risk of spreading the disease has been a 21-day quarantine period for individuals who might have been exposed to the virus. But a new study by Charles Haas, PhD, a professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, suggests that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent spread of the virus.

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Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Imagine the world waking up one morning to discover that all compasses pointed south instead of north.

It’s not as bizarre as it sounds. Earth’s magnetic field has flipped – though not overnight – many times throughout the planet’s history. Its dipole magnetic field, like that of a bar magnet, remains about the same intensity for thousands to millions of years, but for incompletely known reasons it occasionally weakens and, presumably over a few thousand years, reverses direction.

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What Do Wildfires Have to Do With Climate Change?

As the western U.S. faces its third year of severe drought, firefighters are still battling two large fires in California. The state, which is experiencing its worst drought since record keeping began in 1895, has already exhausted the year’s $209 million budget for fighting wildfires and its fall fire season has just begun. With 1,200 more wildfires than average, state officials have called this wildfire season “unprecedented.” In Oregon and Washington, more acres burned this year than in any other region of the country. So far in 2014, 3,070,737 acres across the U.S. have been ravaged by fires—that’s an area almost the size of Connecticut.

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Three Studies Shed New Light on the Effectiveness of Cannabis in Epilepsy

In advance of the American Epilepsy Society’s (AES) Annual Meeting in December, the organization has offered highlights of groundbreaking research being studied at a number of institutions regarding the effectiveness of cannibidiol (CBD) and its derivatives as a viable treatment for people with epilepsy.

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Rising sea levels this century of 1.8 meters in worst-case scenario, translating into 20 times more frequent Hurricane Sandy level surges

The climate is getting warmer, the ice sheets are melting and sea levels are rising – but how much? The report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 was based on the best available estimates of future sea levels, but the panel was not able to come up with an upper limit for sea level rise within this century. Now researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute and their colleagues have calculated the risk for a worst-case scenario. The results indicate that at worst, the sea level would rise a maximum of 1.8 meters. The results are published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

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1934 drought was worst of the last millennium, study finds

The 1934 drought was by far the most intense and far-reaching drought of the last 1,000 years in North America, and was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may have also led to the current drought in California, according to a new study.

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Aluminium and its likely contribution to Alzheimer's disease

A world authority on the link between human exposure to aluminium in everyday life and its likely contribution to Alzheimer’s disease, Professor Christopher Exley of Keele University, UK, says in a new report that it may be inevitable that aluminium plays some role in the disease.

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Icebergs once drifted to Florida, new climate model suggests

Using a first-of-its-kind, high-resolution numerical model to describe ocean circulation during the last ice age about 21,000 year ago, oceanographer Alan Condron of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has shown that icebergs and meltwater from the North American ice sheet would have regularly reached South Carolina and even southern Florida. The models are supported by the discovery of iceberg scour marks on the sea floor along the entire continental shelf.

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A new land snail species named for equal marriage rights -- A. diversifamilia

Scientists from the Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University and the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica described a new endemic land snail species. The new species Aegista diversifamilia was long confused for the widely distributed A. subchinensis. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

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New Reports Reveal Pathways to School Pushout for Gender Nonconforming and LGBTQ Youth of Color

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network), a national youth empowerment organization, and Crossroads Collaborative, a think-and-do research lab led by University of Arizona faculty, today released a set of reports on Discipline Disparities, School Push-Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline for gender nonconforming youth and for LGBTQ youth of color. To accompany the reports, Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization, and GSA Network also released a set of policy recommendations based on the research for school staff, policy makers, and young people advocating for change.

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How dinosaurs divided their meals at the Jurassic dinner table

How the largest animals to have ever walked the Earth fed, and how this allowed them to live alongside one another in prehistoric ecosystems is the subject of new research from the University of Bristol and the Natural History Museum, London.

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The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy".

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