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August 22 2014

How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic 'recipe'


By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers from Arizona State University is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

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August 22 2014

Cities Are Making Spiders Grow Bigger and Multiply Faster


Something about city life appears to be causing spiders to grow larger than their rural counterparts. And if that’s not enough to give you nightmares, these bigger urban spiders are also multiplying faster.

A new study published today in PLOS One shows that golden orb weaver spiders living near heavily urbanized areas in Sydney, Australia tend to be bigger, better fed, and have more babies than those living in places less touched by human hands.

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August 22 2014

Paving the way for cyborg moth 'biobots'


Researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals moths use to control those muscles. The work opens the door to the development of remotely-controlled moths, or 'biobots,' for use in emergency response.

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August 22 2014

Digital textbooks adapt to your level as you learn


Struggling with chapter 3? Adaptive textbooks will give you extra, personalised help when you need it

TIRED of learning from a dusty old textbook? Try a book that learns from you. Students in Houston, Texas, are about to get their hands on the first digital schoolbooks that use artificial intelligence to personalise lessons. The aim, says the books' creator, is to "explode the book" and rethink how students learn from texts.

"We want to be able to create the perfect book for every person,".

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August 22 2014

Body Odor and Brain Waves: 5 Cool New ID Technologies


Many driver's licenses and passports have holograms and other types of sophisticated security embedded in them, but for the most part, people still heavily rely on ID cards to prove who they are. Biometric identification technologies, such as fingerprinting and iris scanning, are already being used to speed up security clearance at several airports in the United States. Iris scanning is also gaining support in the health care industry, as a way to prevent fraud and combat identity theft. Now, ID tech is moving into new realms, with devices that could distinguish individuals by their veins, brain waves and even body odor.

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August 22 2014

Here’s The Real Secret to Detecting Lies (And It’s Not Body Language)


Despite all the advice about lie detection going around, study after study has found that it is very difficult to spot when someone is lying.

Previous tests involving watching videos of suspects typically find that both experts and non-experts come in at around 50/50: in other words you might as well flip a coin.

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August 22 2014

Some Types of Fables May Be Better at Teaching Kids Not to Lie


To teach children not to lie, extolling the virtues of honesty may be more effective than focusing on the punishing consequences of deception.

After listening to how a young George Washington admitted to chopping down a cherry tree—”I cannot tell a lie,” he famously said—children were significantly less likely to lie about their own dishonesty than if they heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” or “Pinocchio.”.

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August 22 2014

Child's drawing 'predicts later intelligence'


The way children draw at the age of four can be a predictor of later intelligence, a study has suggested.

Researchers asked 7,752 pairs of twins to draw a picture of a child which was then scored by the number of features such as head, legs, hands and feet.

The children were also asked by the King's College, London team to complete intelligence tests at age four and 14.

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August 22 2014

Physically fit kids have beefier brain white matter than their less-fit peers


A new study of 9- and 10-year-olds finds that those who are more aerobically fit have more fibrous and compact white-matter tracts in the brain than their peers who are less fit. 'White matter' describes the bundles of axons that carry nerve signals from one brain region to another. More compact white matter is associated with faster and more efficient nerve activity.

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August 22 2014

The Advantages of Dyslexia


“There are three types of mathematicians, those who can count and those who can’t.”

Bad joke? You bet. But what makes this amusing is that the joke is triggered by our perception of a paradox, a breakdown in mathematical logic that activates regions of the brain located in the right prefrontal cortex. These regions are sensitive to the perception of causality and alert us to situations that are suspect or fishy — possible sources of danger where a situation just doesn’t seem to add up.

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August 22 2014

Gut Bacteria May Play a Role in Autism


Autism is primarily a disorder of the brain, but research suggests that as many as nine out of 10 individuals with the condition also suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and “leaky gut.” The latter condition occurs when the intestines become excessively permeable and leak their contents into the bloodstream. Scientists have long wondered whether the composition of bacteria in the intestines, known as the gut microbiome, might be abnormal in people with autism and drive some of these symptoms. Now a spate of new studies supports this notion and suggests that restoring proper microbial balance could alleviate some of the disorder's behavioral symptoms.

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August 21 2014

Confirmed: Microbial life found half mile below Antarctic ice sheet


In an icy lake half a mile beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, scientists have discovered a diverse ecosystem of single-celled organisms that have managed to survive without ever seeing the light of the sun.

The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature is not so much a surprise as a triumph of science and engineering. The research team spent 10 years and more than $10 million to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that life did indeed exist in subglacial lakes near the South Pole.

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August 21 2014

Sea plankton found outside International Space Station


It's not quite extraterrestrial life, but scientists have discovered sea plankton growing in space.

Russian space officials have confirmed traces of plankton and other micro-organisms were found living on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS), and it appears they've been living there for years.

Russian astronaut Olek Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov made the discovery after a routine spacewalk around the ISS.

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August 21 2014

Roof-Crashing Meteorite Linked to Giant Impact that Made the Moon


A meteorite that crashed into a California house in 2012 can be traced back to the giant impact that formed Earth's moon 4.5 billion years ago, a new study reveals.

NASA's Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance system captured photos of the meteorite's fiery fall from space on Oct. 17, 2012, allowing researchers to determine that it likely fell in the city of Novato, just north of San Francisco. This supposition was confirmed after Novato residents Lisa Webber and Glenn Rivera followed up on an odd noise from their garage roof.

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August 21 2014

How Do Monster Black Holes Form? New Find May Provide 'Missing Link'


Black holes are some of the strangest objects in the universe, and they typically fall into one of two size extremes: "small" ones that are dozens of times more massive than the sun and other "supermassive" black holes that are billions of times larger than our nearest star. But until now, astronomers had not seen good evidence of anything in between.


Related: Mysterious Shifting Lights Observed Near Huge Black Hole

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August 21 2014

Rare meteorite points to volcanism in early solar system


Volcanic activity was present on small asteroids in the first few million years after the solar system's birth, according to a new study.

The results, reported in the journal PNAS, are based on an analysis of one of the most unique meteorites ever found.

"We found rocks were being produced by volcanism on small asteroids just six-and-a-half million years after the formation of the first solid material in the solar system,".

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August 21 2014

Is a different Icelandic volcano about to act up?


The Iceland Meteorological Office has increased the risk level of an eruption at the Bárðarbunga (or Bardarbunga) volcano after hundreds of earthquakes were reported over the weekend. The risk level has been set to orange, which is the fourth-highest rating on a five-level scale.


Related: Thousands of intense earthquakes rock Iceland

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