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May 27 2015

Blood turned into nerve cells by Canadian researchers


Canadian scientists have discovered how to turn a simple blood sample from a man or woman into a variety of nerve cells, including those that are responsible for pain, numbness and other sensations.

The technology will allow researchers to test potential drugs for treating pain using the nerve cells in a lab, all based on an individual patient's own genetic signature, said Mick Bhatia, who led the team of researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton.

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May 27 2015

Iris scanners can now identify us from 40 feet away


Biometric technologies are on the rise. By electronically recording data about individual’s physical attributes such as fingerprints or iris patterns, security and law enforcement services can quickly identify people with a high degree of accuracy.

The latest development in this field is the scanning of irises from a distance of up to 40 feet (12 metres) away.

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May 26 2015

Uploading human brain for eternal life is possible – Cambridge neuroscientist


People could “live inside a machine” by turning their brain into a program code once a computer capable of recreating some 100 trillion connections is built, a popular Cambridge neuroscientist said at a UK mass event this weekend.

Although the human brain is enormously complex, scientists are beginning to better understand its separate parts’ functions, Critchlow said, describing the brain as a complex circuit board. The scientist claimed it “would be possible” to recreate it as a computer program.

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May 26 2015

Ecstasy may soon be a treatment for social anxiety among autistic adults


Researchers are planning the first pilot study of MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of social anxiety in autistic adults.

In a recent review in press in the journal, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, a team of researchers led by Alicia Danforth, laid out their proposed methods and study rationale for what will be the first assessment of the therapeutic effects of MDMA, the active component of the street drug Ecstasy, for social anxiety in autistic adults.

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May 26 2015

Can you see what I hear? Blind human echolocators use visual areas of the brain


Certain blind individuals have the ability to use echoes from tongue or finger clicks to recognize objects in the distance, and use echolocation as a replacement for vision. Research shows echolocation in blind individuals is a full form of sensory substitution, and that blind echolocation experts recruit regions of the brain normally associated with visual perception when making echo-based assessments of objects.

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May 26 2015

Obese teens' brains unusually susceptible to food commercials, study finds


TV food commercials disproportionately stimulate the brains of overweight teenagers, including the regions that control pleasure, taste and -- most surprisingly -- the mouth, suggesting they mentally simulate unhealthy eating habits that make it difficult to lose weight later in life.


Related: Vegan Diet Eases Nerve Pain of Diabetes

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May 26 2015

Nature v nurture: research shows it’s both


One of the great tussles of science – whether our health is governed by nature or nurture – has been settled, and it is effectively a draw.

University of Queensland researcher Dr Beben Benyamin from the Queensland Brain Institute collaborated with researchers at VU University of Amsterdam to review almost every twin study across the world from the past 50 years, involving more than 14.5 million twin pairs.

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May 26 2015

Are bee hotels the answer to saving a species?


With bee populations declining to worrying levels, there has been a call for citizens to play their part by building bee hotels, man-made contraptions that act as a resting place for solitary pollinator bees, who may not produce honey, but still play a vital role in the growth of fruits and vegetables, plants and flowers. Many people have set up these artificial nesting sites in their gardens and backyards. Hotels put them on their rooftops. So are the bees multiplying as hoped?

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May 26 2015

Did Curiosity Rover Cause Mars' Mysterious Methane Spike?


Is the Red Planet giving off methane?

The question has taunted scientists for nearly 50 years, ever since the Mariner 7 spacecraft detected a whiff of the gas near the south pole of Mars. Researchers retracted the finding a month later after realizing that the signal was in fact coming from carbon dioxide ice.

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May 26 2015

Mars Express May Have Discovered Ancient Supervolcano on Red Planet


ESA’s Mars Express orbiter has captured an image of what appears to be the remains of an ancient supervolcano. The image was taken on 26 November 2014, and focuses on the Siloe Patera feature in the Arabia Terra region of Mars.

Siloe Patera comprises two large nested craters, close to the center of the image. It is around 40 km (25 miles) long and 30 km (19 miles) wide. The structure is named after the Castilian sculptor and architect Diego de Siloé (1495 – 1563).

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May 26 2015

Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain


The latest views of Ceres' enigmatic white spots are sharper and clearer, but it's obvious that Dawn will have to descend much lower before we'll see crucial details hidden in this overexposed splatter of white dots. Still, there are hints of interesting things going on here.

The latest photo is part of a sequence of images shot for navigation purposes on May 16, when the spacecraft orbited 4,500 miles (7,200 km) over the dwarf planet. Of special interest are a series of troughs or cracks in Ceres crust that appear on either side of the crater housing the spots.

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May 26 2015

This inflatable plane could explore the clouds of Venus


Northrop Grumman has a new idea for exploring Venus. Announced earlier this month, the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform (or VAMP) would let NASA skim Venus's upper atmosphere with an inflatable aircraft, deployed from space.

Since the craft is self-inflated, it would be light enough to stay aloft with little to no energy, but still be maneuverable enough to navigate Venus's significant atmospheric winds and durable enough to withstand the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere.

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May 26 2015

Strange 'Nasty' Star May Be Spawned by Cannibalism


An ongoing act of cosmic cannibalism may be responsible for the strange appearance and unprecedented behavior of a gigantic star nicknamed “Nasty 1,” a new study reports.

Observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have revealed a disk of gas nearly 3 trillion miles (4.8 trillion kilometers) wide surrounding Nasty 1, which is a massive, rapidly aging object known as a Wolf-Rayet star.

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May 26 2015

Record-Breaking Energy Unleashed in Largest Atom Smasher


The world's largest atom smasher is really cranking now: Protons zipped around the giant underground ring at near light-speed and collided head on, releasing record-breaking energies.

The beauty of the fallout from these powerful particle smash-ups can be seen in images released yesterday (May 21) by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which oversees the 17-mile-long (27 kilometers) Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

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May 26 2015

The new shape of fusion


ITER, the international fusion reactor being built in France, will stand 10 stories tall, weigh three times as much as the Eiffel Tower, and cost its seven international partners $18 billion or more. The result of decades of planning, ITER will not produce fusion energy until 2027 at the earliest. And it will be decades before an ITER-like plant pumps electricity into the grid. Surely there is a quicker and cheaper route to fusion energy.

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May 26 2015

Amazing Drone Footage of Nubian Pyramids


In a melding of modern-day technology and 3,000-year-old artifacts, a team supported by National Geographic is getting some of the first glimpses into ancient pyramids, temples, and burial sites sprawled across the Sudanese desert.


Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7tAuPi_azU

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May 26 2015

Could Egypt's empty animal mummies reveal an ancient scam?


Tens of centuries ago, animals were increasingly seen as sacred representation of gods in ancient Egypt. Pilgrims would often pay for the mummification of an animal, in return for divine favor or revelation. And so a lucrative industry began (made up of animal keepers, embalmers, priests, and laborers building the cemeteries and catacombs) and, over time, up to 70 million animals were carefully preserved -- or so Ancient Egyptians thought.

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