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February 25 2015

New, useful feature of Moringa seeds revealed


Previous studies have shown that the extracts from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree can be used for water purification. In a new study, researchers from Uppsala University show that the Moringa seeds can also be used for separation of different materials. Separation processes are very important in mining industries and the new knowledge could contribute to reduce the needs for expensive synthetic chemicals.


Related: Environmentally friendly procedure developed for extracting silver

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February 25 2015

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize the Amazon rainforest


The Sahara Desert and the Amazon rainforest seem to inhabit separate worlds. The former is a vast expanse of sand and scrub stretching across the northern third of Africa, while the latter is a dense green mass of humid jungle covering northeast South America. And yet, they are connected: every year, millions of tons of nutrient-rich Saharan dust cross the Atlantic Ocean, bringing vital phosphorus and other fertilizers to depleted Amazon soils.


Alt: NASA Satellite Reveals How Much Saharan Dust Feeds Amazon’s Plants

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February 25 2015

How Mice Turned Their Private Paradise Into A Terrifying Dystopia


In 1972, animal behaviorist John Calhoun built a rat paradise with beautiful buildings and limitless food. He introduced eight mice to the population. Two years later, the mice had created their own apocalypse. Here's why.

Universe 25 was a giant box designed to be a rodent utopia. The trouble was, this utopia did not have a benevolent creator.

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February 25 2015

'Gerbils replace rats' as main cause of Black Death


Black rats may not have been to blame for numerous outbreaks of the bubonic plague across Europe, a study suggests.

Scientists believe repeat epidemics of the Black Death, which arrived in Europe in the mid-14th Century, instead trace back to gerbils from Asia.


Alt: Asian tree rings explain historical plague outbreaks in Europe

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February 25 2015

Rats Remember Who's Nice to Them—and Return the Favor


Rats can remember acts of kindness by other rats—and treat them accordingly, a new study says.

In experiments, Norwegian rats were most helpful to individuals that had previously helped them—perhaps to try and secure their assistance again, scientists suggest.

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February 25 2015

Longer Eyelashes May Be Sexier, But Not Always Better


Sure, eyelashes are good for batting. But the delicate hairs have a serious purpose: protecting the eyes and keeping them moist.

What's more, a recent study—perhaps the most rigorous study of eyelash aerodynamics ever conducted—found the optimal lash length for protecting the eye and discovered a number of animals that have it.

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February 25 2015

How the length of a woman's fingers reveals her career


A woman’s choice of career is linked to the length of her fingers, according to a study.

Women whose index finger was short compared to their ring finger were more likely to have what was regarded as a traditionally male job, such as a lawyer or a manager in industry, the researchers found.

And those whose index finger was longer than their ring finger were more likely to be employed in a stereotypically female career, such as nursing or primary school teaching.

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February 25 2015

Gut feeling key to fingerprint matching


Forensic experts rely on a surprising level of gut instinct to accurately match fingerprints to catch criminals, according to a new study

"Gut feeling is responsible for a lot more of the accuracy than many people think, even the experts themselves," says Dr Matthew Thompson of the University of Queensland School of Psychology.

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February 25 2015

Why Don’t You Want to Sing and Dance in Public?


Picture two birthday parties: one for 4 year olds, and one for 14 year olds. The former conjures kids bellowing “Happy Birthday” and putting their left feet in during the “Hokey Pokey”; the second conjures slump-shouldered teens huddled in corners furtively glancing at each other—even as loud music blares in the background. Why the difference?


Related: Your subconscious is smarter than you might think
Related: Newborn neurons in adult brain may help us adapt to environment

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February 25 2015

Sound of mom’s voice boosts brain growth in premature babies


Infants born prematurely are more than twice as likely to have difficulty hearing and processing words than those carried to full-term, likely because brain regions that process sounds aren’t sufficiently developed at the time of delivery. Now, an unusual study with 40 preemies suggests that recreating a womblike environment with recordings of a mother's heartbeat and voice could potentially correct these deficits.


Related: Breastfeeding, other factors help shape immune system early in life

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February 25 2015

Pregnancy Has an Odor that Reveals Unborn Baby's Sex


It’s long been suspected that males of many species, including humans, can sniff out whether a female is pregnant, and now new research suggests that some — if not all — female primates release a natural “pregnancy perfume” that males can probably detect.

What’s more, such scents appear to broadcast whether the mom-to-be is carrying a boy or a girl.

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February 25 2015

Three-parent babies: Britain becomes first country to allow technique


The UK has become the first country in the world to legalise so-called three-parent babies after the House of Lords backed the idea despite objections from church leaders and pro-life groups.

Opponents had warned that the change has been brought about too hastily and marked the start of a “slippery slope” towards designer babies and eugenics.

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February 24 2015

I’ve Just Seen a (DNA-Generated) Face


The faces here, which look a bit like video game avatars, are actually portraits drawn from DNA.

Each rendering was created by plugging an individual genetic profile into a predictive tool created by Mark D. Shriver, a professor of anthropology and genetics at Penn State University. Dr. Shriver and his colleagues have studied the ways that genes influence facial development.

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February 24 2015

Dogs Can Spot People Who Are Trying To Fool Them, Study Shows


Dogs are certainly no dummies when it comes to understanding humans. Now a study from Japan suggests that dogs can tell when a human is trying to dupe them.


Related: What is this dog thinking? Scientists now have some fascinating answers
Related: Dog Escapes From Home, Sneaks Into Hospital 20 Blocks Away To Comfort Sick Owner

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February 24 2015

Rarest Big Cat on Earth Starting to Make a Comeback


Things are starting to look up for the rarest big cat on the planet: The critically endangered Amur leopard, which is indigenous to southeastern Russia and parts of northeastern China, has doubled in population since 2007, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Census data from Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park, which covers about 60 percent of the Amur leopard's habitat, puts the number of these wild cats at 57. That's up from the 30 leopards counted in the area in 2007.

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February 24 2015

Plants found to alter soil types


Exciting research has revealed some plants have the ability to alter soil types, suggesting opportunities may exist to re-engineer WA's hostile soils to better suit agricultural purposes.

The study is at odds with previous scientific research advocating that vegetation occurs in certain environments only as a direct result of soil type.


Related: Huge, hollow baobab trees are actually multiple fused stems

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February 24 2015

British 'chocolate greenhouse' saving the world's cocoa


Chocolate lovers take heart: a steamy greenhouse near London is helping to ensure that cocoa crops globally remain disease-free and bountiful to cope with the growing appetite for sweet treats.

The centre's aim is to reduce the amount of disease affecting cocoa plants by quarantining them before sharing them with different countries to produce new, more resistant varieties.


Related: New Anti-Aging Chocolate May Make Skin Look 30 Years Younger

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