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Genetic maps help conservation managers maintain healthy American black bears

Last year, researchers at the University of Missouri published a study on genetic diversity in American black bears in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma and determined that conservation management is needed to maintain healthy populations in the region. Now, those scientists have expanded the study to include black bears throughout North America. They discovered that black bears in Alaska are more closely related to bears in the eastern regions of the U.S. and Canada than those located in western regions. Details from the study revealed ancient movement patterns of black bears and provide detailed "genetic maps" that could help conservation management officials maintain healthy bear populations throughout North America.

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New model predicts fish population response to dams, other ecological factors

Researchers have developed a model to assess how dams affect the viability of sea-run fish species that need to pass dams as they use both fresh and marine waters during their lifetimes. NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) have partnered on this project to test how varying passage efficiency at dams related to survival rates for these species.

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Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome-based estimates have suggested that the ancestors of modern-day dogs diverged from wolves no more than 16,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age.

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Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2015

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) as the Top 10 New Species for 2015.


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The Lancet: International study reveals that cold weather kills far more people than hot weather

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analysing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries [1]. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

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The world's oldest tools date back 3.3 million years

Scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. The tools, whose makers may or may not have been some sort of human ancestor, push the known date of such tools back by 700,000 years; they also may challenge the notion that our own most direct ancestors were the first to bang two rocks together to create a new technology.

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The dreadful beauty of Medusa

This beautiful planetary nebula is named after a dreadful creature from Greek mythology -- the Gorgon Medusa. It is also known as Sharpless 2-274 and is located in the constellation of [Gemini] (The Twins). The Medusa Nebula spans approximately four light-years and lies at a distance of about 1500 light-years. Despite its size it is extremely dim and hard to observe.

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Drought-induced tree mortality accelerating in forests

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have found that drought and heat-induced tree mortality is accelerating in many forest biomes as a consequence of a warming climate in their paper "Darcy's law predicts widespread forest mortality under climate warming," published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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USGS: Atmospheric Release of BPA May Reach Nearby Waterways

Water contamination by hormone-disrupting pollutants is a concern for water quality around the world. Existing research has determined that elevated concentrations of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in consumer products such as plastic food storage and beverage containers, have been deposited directly into rivers and streams by municipal or industrial wastewater. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri and the U.S. Geological Survey have assessed Missouri water quality near industrial sites permitted to release BPA into the air. As a result, scientists now believe that atmospheric releases may create a concern for contamination of local surface water leading to human and wildlife exposure.

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UCSF-Led Study Explains How Early Childhood Vaccination Reduces Leukemia Risk

A team led by UCSF researchers has discovered how a commonly administered vaccine protects against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer.

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65 rights groups from 31 countries and regions pen letter to Mark Zuckerberg citing issues with Internet.org

Today, 65 organizations from 31 countries and regions released an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailing significant concerns about Facebook's Internet.org initiative. The project, which seeks to “connect two-thirds of the world that don’t have internet access,” is increasingly under fire for violating net neutrality and, in its latest iteration, fails to protect the security and privacy of users.

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Climate change secondary in predicted species diversity loss; Changes in land use pose the greatest threat to biodiversity in rivers and streams

For the first time, scientists at the Senckenberg Research Center for Biodiversity and Climate and the Research Institute Senckenberg in Gelnhausen have modeled the effects of land use changes on the species diversity in rivers and streams. Their results show that the loss of biodiversity is caused to a significantly higher degree by changes in land use practices than by climate change. In consequence, conservation concepts for this valuable ecosystem and the organisms that live in flowing water should be adapted accordingly. The study was recently published in the scientific journal “Freshwater Biology.”

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Aging baby boomers, childless and unmarried, at risk of becoming 'elder orphans'

With an aging Baby Boomer population and increasing numbers of childless and unmarried seniors, nearly one-quarter of Americans over age 65 are currently or at risk to become "elder orphans," a vulnerable group requiring greater awareness and advocacy efforts, according to new research by a North Shore-LIJ geriatrician and palliative care physician.

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Study: CEO greed is bad for business

That gut feeling many workers, laborers and other underlings have about their CEOs is spot on, according to three recent studies in the Journal of Management, the Journal of Management Studies and the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies that say CEO greed is bad for business.

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World's largest herbivores -- including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas -- in danger of becoming extinct

Many of the world's largest herbivores -- including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas -- are in danger of becoming extinct. And if current trends continue, the loss of these animals would have drastic implications not only for the species themselves, but also for other animals and the environments and ecosystems in which they live, according to a new report by an international team of scientists.

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NASA Study Shows Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf Nearing Its Final Act

A new NASA study finds the last remaining section of Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf, which partially collapsed in 2002, is quickly weakening and likely to disintegrate completely before the end of the decade.

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First U.S. Center to Study Lyme Disease Launched at Johns Hopkins Medicine

Fundamental research into the causes and cures of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome now has its first home base at a major U.S. medical research center with the launch of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center. Inaugurated on May 12, 2015, with a major gift from the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, the center plans an ambitious research program targeting this increasingly common disease, which costs the U.S. economy up to $1.3 billion per year in treatment costs alone.

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Comet Wild 2: A window into the birth of the solar system?

Our solar system, and other planetary systems, started as a disk of microscopic dust, gas, and ice around the young Sun. The amazing diversity of objects in the solar system today - the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets - was made from this primitive dust.

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New study shows Antarctic ice shelf is thinning from above and below

A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves is settled this week (Wednesday 13 May) with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.

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The dark side of star clusters

Globular star clusters are huge balls of thousands of stars that orbit most galaxies. They are among the oldest known stellar systems in the Universe and have survived through almost the entire span of galaxy growth and evolution.

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Fracking may affect air quality and human health

People living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.

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New research reveals Europa's mystery dark material could be sea salt

New laboratory experiments suggest the dark material coating some geological features of Jupiter’s moon Europa is likely sea salt from a subsurface ocean, discolored by exposure to radiation. The presence of sea salt on Europa’s surface suggests the ocean is interacting with its rocky seafloor — an important consideration in determining whether the icy moon could support life.

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80 percent of cervical cancers found to be preventable with latest 9-valent HPV vaccine

The new 9-valent human papillomavirus vaccine, can potentially prevent 80 percent of cervical cancers in the United States, if given to all 11- or 12-year-old children before they are exposed to the virus.

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140 countries, or 80% of the world's population - do not have reliable cause of death statistics

In a sobering finding for global health authorities and governments around the world, a group of leading epidemiologists say two in three deaths globally – or 40 million people - go unreported. And one in three births – another 40 million people – go unregistered.

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Can nuclear weapons fallout mark the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch?

An international group of scientists has proposed that fallout from hundreds of nuclear weapons tests in the late 1940s to early 1960s could be used to mark the dawn of a new geological age in Earth history - the Anthropocene.

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Infographic: Dive Deep Into the Electromagnetic Spectrum

It can be difficult in our everyday lives to appreciate the extraordinary range of wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic radiation—from radio waves to visible light to x-rays—rises and falls as it travels through space, like waves rippling across the ocean. The length of these waves—measured from peak to peak or valley to valley—helps define their properties and potential uses.

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Fresh evidence for how water reached Earth found in asteroid debris

Water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems, just as it happened on Earth, new research strongly suggests.

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How climate science denial affects the scientific community

Climate change denial in public discourse may encourage climate scientists to over-emphasise scientific uncertainty and is also affecting how they themselves speak - and perhaps even think - about their own research, a new study from the University of Bristol, UK argues.

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Supercycles in subduction zones

When tectonic plates collide, they produce earthquakes like the recent one in Nepal. Researchers at ETH Zurich are providing new ways to explain how and why superquakes occur in zones where one plate moves under another, such as off the coast of Japan.

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Astronomers unveil the farthest galaxy

An international team of astronomers led by Yale University and the University of California-Santa Cruz have pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5% of its present age.

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