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April 17 2015

Death and taxes: Why tax day may be hazardous to your health


Do you dread tax day? If so, your instincts are good – though your anxiety is probably misdirected.

Sending your hard-earned money to the government may bring on chest pains, but the real risk to your health on April 15 is that you could die in a car crash.

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April 17 2015

Forget drones, think moles: the subterranean delivery network


While companies such as Amazon are hoping to deliver parcels by air using drones, one British company is exploring the equally high-tech concept of using a vast underground network of pipes in a bid to bypass the UK’s ever more congested roads.

The idea of underground freight deliveries using magnetic fields for propulsion may sound like something from a mediocre science fiction novel, but it is being taken seriously enough to be given development funds by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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April 17 2015

Flourishing faster: How to make trees grow bigger and quicker


Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a way to make trees grow bigger and faster, which could increase supplies of renewable resources and help trees cope with the effects of climate change.

In the study, published in Current Biology, the team successfully manipulated two genes in poplar trees in order to make them grow larger and more quickly than usual.

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April 17 2015

Major advance in artificial photosynthesis poses win/win for the environment


A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products, including biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even liquid fuels.

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April 17 2015

Absence of copyright has its own economic value, social benefits


A new study co-written by a University of Illinois expert in intellectual property law demonstrates that the value of creative works in the public domain such as books, images and music can be estimated at least as precisely as the value of commercially available copyrighted works.

The implications of the study for both copyright term extension and orphan works legislation are substantial, says law professor Paul Heald.

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April 17 2015

Why Does Scratching an Itch Make It Itchier?


To scratch an itch is to scratch many itches: placing nails to skin brings sweet yet short-lived relief because it often instigates another bout of itchiness. The unexpected culprit behind this vicious cycle, new research reveals, is serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone.

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April 17 2015

Zapping the Brain With Electricity Boosts People’s Creativity


Need some creative, out-of-the box ideas? Try adding a little jolt to your next brainstorming session.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have found that stimulating the brain with electrical impulses boosts creativity. The impulses, researchers say, activated specific brain waves associated with originative thinking, and people who were buzzed scored significantly higher on a test of creative thought.

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April 17 2015

Western guts have lower bacterial diversity


Our western lifestyle, hygiene and diet may reduce the diversity of important gut bacteria, a new study shows.

Scientists analysed the faecal bacteria of people living in the United States and rural Papua New Guinea, and found that Papua New Guineans had a greater number of different gut bacterial species.

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April 17 2015

Is your voice trustworthy, engaging or soothing to strangers?


Few people consciously think about their voice, but the way we speak is one of the most fundamental parts of our individual identity. The intricate acoustic patterns which comprise speech affect how we’re seen in terms of our personality, our emotional state and even our professional competence, but it’s only been relatively recently that scientists have tried to delve into these complex vocal traits in more detail.

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April 17 2015

Endangered butterfly species records 10-year high


The warm start to 2014 boosted the number of some butterflies, including the critically endangered High Brown Fritillary, a survey has found.

More than half of 56 species studied saw their numbers rise compared with the previous year, according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.

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April 17 2015

Dog Gazes Hijack the Brain's Maternal Bonding System


No wonder our canine companions often seem like part of the family—dogs have evolved to hijack the same mechanisms in our brains that create the strongest social bonds, including those between mother and child. This powerful example of interspecies affection is fueled when dogs and humans gaze into each other's eyes, a new study shows.

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April 17 2015

Rescued dogs find new purpose hunting giant invasive snails in the Galapagos


The species of the Galapagos Islands may have once evolved in isolation, but that isn't the case anymore. Invasive species are now one of the leading threats to the unique wildlife of the islands, many of which are endangered. One of these invasive species is the giant African snail. In fact, it's considered one of the world's most invasive species — and one of the most destructive.

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April 16 2015

Why happiness is infectious: you can actually smell joy


It is said that happiness is contagious and now scientists believe they may know why.

For the first time researchers have found that humans can pick up whether a person is feeling joyful through their smell.

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April 16 2015

Do our genes tell us how to vote? Study of twins says they might


As a society we believe that our political allegiance depends on which party best marries up with our needs and values – and that these are shaped by our life experiences. But research with twins suggests picking who to vote for in an election might have more to do with your genes than the policies of the parties.

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April 16 2015

How limiting CEO pay can be more effective, less costly


CEOs make a lot of money from incentive pay tied to stock performance. Although such schemes help align executives' interests with shareholders, they are not necessarily the best schemes as compared to schemes that rely on trust between board and executives.


Related: This CEO raised all his employees’ salaries to at least $70,000 by cutting his own

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April 16 2015

Increased television viewing linked to language delay in toddlers


Television is one of the most commonly-viewed forms of media throughout the world. The ever-increasing popularity of television has made it a common feature in nearly every home. Recently, researchers have begun to look at how television may be beneficial or detrimental.

Considering that childhood is a time of rapid learning and development, children may be especially impacted by watching television.

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April 16 2015

People less focused on recurrent bad feelings when taking probiotics


People focus less on bad feelings and experiences from the past (i.e. rumination) after four weeks of probiotics administration. Psychologists Laura Steenbergen and Lorenza Colzato from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition published their findings in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

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