Jumat, 29 April 2016

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Origin of Earth's oldest crystals

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 02:32 PM PDT

New research suggests that the very oldest pieces of rock on Earth -- zircon crystals -- are likely to have formed in the craters left by violent asteroid impacts that peppered our nascent planet, rather than via plate tectonics as was previously believed.

Not just climate change: Human activity is a major factor driving wildfires

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:23 PM PDT

A new study examining wildfires in California found that human activity explains as much about their frequency and location as climate influences.

Do bearded dragons dream? Reptiles share sleep patterns with mammals and birds

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:21 PM PDT

Brain sleep appeared early in vertebrate evolution. Researchers describe the existence of REM and slow-wave sleep in the Australian dragon, with many common features with mammalian sleep: a phase characterized by low frequency/high amplitude average brain activity and rare and bursty neuronal firing (slow-wave sleep); another characterized by awake-like brain activity and rapid eye movements.

RNA splicing mutations play major role in genetic variation and disease

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:21 PM PDT

RNA splicing is a major underlying factor that links mutations to complex traits and diseases, according to an exhaustive analysis of gene expression in whole genome and cell line data. Researchers analyzed how thousands of mutations affect gene regulation in traits such as height, and diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The findings enable accurate functional interpretations of genome-wide association study results.

Vitamin stops the aging process of organs

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:21 PM PDT

By administering nicotinamide riboside to elderly mice, researchers restored their organs' ability to regenerate and prolonged their lives. This method has potential for treating a number of degenerative diseases.

Scientists turn skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using drugs

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:21 PM PDT

In a major breakthrough, scientists have transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals. All previous work on cellular reprogramming required adding external genes to the cells, making this accomplishment an unprecedented feat. The research lays the groundwork for one day being able to regenerate lost or damaged cells with pharmaceutical drugs.

Lifestyle has a strong impact on intestinal bacteria, which has a strong impact on health

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 12:18 PM PDT

Everything you eat or drink affects your intestinal bacteria, and is likely to have an impact on your health. That is the finding of a large-scale study into the effect of food and medicine on the bacterial diversity in the human gut.

Seeing the benefits of failure shapes kids' beliefs about intelligence

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 10:21 AM PDT

Parents' beliefs about whether failure is a good or a bad thing guide how their children think about their own intelligence, according to new research. The research indicates that it's parents' responses to failure, and not their beliefs about intelligence, that are ultimately absorbed by their kids.

Study identifies a key to bone formation, vertebrate evolution

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 10:21 AM PDT

Researchers have identified a key action of a watershed gene critical to bone formation and the evolution of vertebrates. The Sp7 or Osterix gene more than likely emerged from an ancestral gene family about 400 million years ago, expanding the diversity of life and programming the development of bone-secreting osteoblast cells. The closest living relatives to vertebrates, including sea squirts and lampreys, lack bone and an Sp7 gene.

Insect outbreaks reduce wildfire severity

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 09:25 AM PDT

Outbreaks by the mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm can actually reduce wildfire severity, surprising new research shows. The findings contrast sharply with popular attitudes -- and some US forest policies.

At last: Non-toxic and cheap thin-film solar cells for 'zero-energy' buildings

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 07:30 AM PDT

'Zero-energy' buildings -- which generate as much power as they consume -- are now much closer after engineers have achieved the world's highest efficiency using flexible solar cells that are non-toxic and cheap to make.

Are we alone? Setting some limits to our planet's uniqueness

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 06:53 AM PDT

Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe? This question -- summed up in the famous Drake equation -- has for a half-century been one of the most intractable and uncertain in science. But a new article shows that the recent discoveries of exoplanets combined with a broader approach to the question makes it possible to assign a new empirically valid probability to whether any other advanced technological civilizations have ever existed.

Excessive empathy can impair understanding of others

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 06:49 AM PDT

People who empathize easily with others do not necessarily understand them well. To the contrary: Excessive empathy can even impair understanding as a new study conducted by psychologists has established.

Possible extragalactic source of high-energy neutrinos

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 06:49 AM PDT

Nearly 10 billion years ago in a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418, a dramatic explosion occurred. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now, an international team of astronomers have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was born in the same event.

Hear no evil: Farmed fish found to be hard of hearing

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 06:44 AM PDT

Half of the world's farmed fish have hearing loss due to a deformity of the earbone, new research has found for the first time. Like humans, fish have ears which are essential for hearing and balance, so the findings are significant for the welfare of farmed fish as well as the survival of captive-bred fish released into the wild for conservation purposes.

Friends 'better than morphine'

Posted: 28 Apr 2016 06:44 AM PDT

People with more friends have higher pain tolerance, researchers have found, in a study looking at social networks and endorphin levels.

Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

Posted: 27 Apr 2016 12:09 PM PDT

A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study.

Brain's 'thesaurus' mapped to help decode inner thoughts

Posted: 27 Apr 2016 12:03 PM PDT

What if a map of the brain could help us decode people's inner thoughts? Scientists have taken a step in that direction by building a 'semantic atlas' that shows in vivid colors and multiple dimensions how the human brain organizes language.

Rainwater may play an important role in process that triggers earthquakes

Posted: 27 Apr 2016 06:48 AM PDT

Rainwater may play an important role in the process that triggers earthquakes, according to new research. Researchers have identified the sources and fluxes of the geothermal fluids and mineral veins from the Southern Alps of New Zealand where the Pacific and Australian Plates collide along the Alpine Fault.
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