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"Long before it's in the papers"
April 12, 2016



Myths of black toughness contribute to pain undertreatment, study suggests
Even some med­ic­ally trained peo­ple wrongly think blacks have thick
­er skin or less sen­si­tive nerve end­ings, a study finds.


Green space may make city kids smarter
Ex­po­sure to green spaces may help boost chil­dren’s cog­ni­tive de­vel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to a stu­dy.

Study: Nazi propaganda still influences those who grew up with it
Find­ings de­mon­strate how offi­cial policy can shape be­liefs, re­search­ers say.


Study links war, global warming—in Syria
Re­search­ers have pub­lished the first ma­jor study to draw a link be­tween glob­al warm­ing, drought and on­go­ing civ­il un­rest.


Smarter mice with a “humanized” gene?
In­tro­duc­ing a “hu­man­ized” ver­sion of a lan­guage-linked gene in­to mice ac­cel­er­ates their learn­ing, ac­cord­ing to a stu­dy.

At least one in 25 death-sentenced people are innocent, study claims
In new work, re­search­ers argue that the false-con­vic­tion rate is not every­where as un­know­able as is some­times said.

Scientists take step toward usable fusion energy
Sci­en­tists are clos­er than ever to us­ing the pro­cess that pow­ers the Sun to pro­duce en­er­gy, says a re­port to ap­pear in the re­search jour­nal Na­ture.

An evolutionary role for “Jackass”-like stunts?
Risk-prone people are per­ceived as larg­er and strong­er, new re­search finds.


DNA “markings” may transmit learned experiences
So-called epige­net­ic changes have gar­nered in­creas­ing at­tent­ion as a route by which na­ture trans­mits traits across gen­er­a­tions.

Love your enemy? Hormone spray may help with that, too
Inhaling the hor­mone oxy­to­cin may make peo­ple em­pa­thize more with out­siders, a stu­dy sug­gests.


Scientists probe how Inca kids were drugged for sacrifice
Chil­dren of the an­cient In­ca Em­pire may have con­sumed in­ten­si­fying doses of al­co­hol and co­ca leaf for as long as a year be­fore a ri­tual slaugh­ter.

A reputation sealed? Finding suggests T. rex hunted for real
A toothy dis­cov­ery sug­gests the icon­ic di­no­saur Ty­ran­no­saur­us rex was a real hunt­er af­ter all—not a mere scav­en­ger.


Study explores how power gets to the brain
Pow­er may or may not cor­rupt, but it does change you. New re­search ex­plores what hap­pens in the brain as that takes place.

Studies may have overestimated our generosity
Scientists recre­ated a game of­ten used to as­sess peo­ple’s al­tru­ism—but this time there was a twist, and a darker re­sult.


Already-approved drug tied to longer, healthy lives in mice
The first drug to suc­cess­fully ex­tend the life­span of nor­mal lab mice al­so does so in a way that pro­longs their healthy ex­ist­ence, a stu­dy sug­gests.

Men want status from romantic relationships, research finds
A set of surveys suggests men and women get self-es­teem from rela­t­ion­ships in dif­fer­ent ways.


Killed twice in 1600s, hoax “dragon” slain again—in creationism dispute
Scient­ists say they’ve proven what some suspected three centuries ago: the swamp dra­gon from Rome was a hoax. And maybe now it mat­ters more.

Yes, gentlemen, size matters—but something else matters more, study finds
Scientists as­sessed how pe­nis size, body height and body shape inter­act to in­flu­ence fe­male rank­ings of male al­lure.


Babies may be drawn to those who mistreat the “different”
Re­searchers report new evi­dence that hard-to-eradi­cate bia­ses based on race, sex and other diff­er­ences take root early in life.

Your brain cells may be capable of outliving you—by a lot
New findings make scient­ists hope­ful that if hu­man life­span is increased, brain cells will coop­erate by liv­ing long­er accord­ing­ly.


Chimps found to play fairness game like people
In some im­por­tant ways, chimps may have more hu­man-like con­cepts of fair­ness than pre­vi­ously rec­og­nized, bi­ol­o­gists say.

For signs of life, some strange planetary systems may be most promising
Atmos­pheric chem­icals be­tray­ing the pre­sence of alien life might be de­tect­able around white dwarf stars, a study says.

Did some Neanderthals learn advanced skills from “moderns”?
Sur­pris­ing­ly, some Ne­an­der­thal peo­ple seem to have made body or­na­ments and soph­is­t­icated tools, a study re­ports.

Theory that cooking gave us big brains gains support
New research backs up a the­o­ry that the ad­vent of cook­ing al­most two mill­ion years ago en­abled hu­mans to get smart­er.

Friendliness to minorities may often be a performance—a fragile one
Many whites be­have ex­tra nicely to mi­nor­i­ties, but it’s often an act that ar­ises from a sense of obli­ga­t­ion, new re­search sug­gests.


Gospel of Matthew linked to trail of bizarre self-mutilations
A particu­lar set of verses from a book in the Bi­ble has crea­ted con­stern­ation among some med­i­cal pro­fes­sionals.

“Racial purity” DNA testing slammed as perversion, but halting practice might not be easy
A pol­i­ti­cian has sparked out­rage af­ter re­port­ed­ly tak­ing a DNA test for a shock­ing pur­pose. But just where the red line lies is not wide­ly agreed up­on.

Moral “taint” still seeps along familial lines
We are still blamed to some de­gree for the mis­deeds of our rel­a­tives, ac­cord­ing to a set of newly re­ported sur­veys.

American heads have been changing shape, but why?
White people’s heads in the Unit­ed States have got­ten taller and nar­row­er since the days the steam­ship was king, re­search indi­cates.

Cold case solved? Study probes riddle of sinking beer bubbles
Bub­bles in dark beer are seen to slide down­ward, iron­ic­ally, be­cause they’re trying to head up­ward, a study re­ports.

Move elephants into Australia, scientist proposes
Does the Land Down Under need an in­fu­sion of large mam­mals to solve its ec­o­log­i­cal and wild­fire prob­lems?

Was blackmail essential for marriage to evolve?
A study takes a cold new look at a cus­tom as ancient and firmly estab­lished as it is sa­cred to mil­lions.

A human bias against creativity is hindering science, research claims
Most of us love crea­ti­vi­ty—until it ac­tually comes knock­ing, some psy­cho­lo­gists say.

Pluto has even colder “twin” of similar size, studies find
A “d­warf plan­et” or­bit­ing our sun three times fur­ther away than Plu­to is about the size of that better-known, frig­id world, as­tro­no­mers say.


Could simple anger have taught people to cooperate?
A new study chal­lenges one of the lead­ing the­o­ries as a sol­u­tion for an evo­lu­tion­ary puz­zle.


* * * LATEST * * *

Up to half of “straight” men may carry “gay” genes
Genes pro­posed to exist would pre­dis­pose men to same-sex at­traction with­out necessarily making them gay.


Human sacrifice promoted class divisions where it occurred, study finds
Findings are said to “re­veal a darker link be­tween re­li­gion and the ev­o­lu­tion of mod­ern” so­ci­eties.

Scientists use poop to retrace famed invasion against Rome
His­to­ri­ans con­sid­er Han­ni­bal’s cam­paign one of the most bril­liant mil­i­tary feats of an­ti­qu­ity.

Competition may have killed off largest shark ever
The ancient shark C. mega­lodon was in some cases over twice as long as the fict­ion­al “Jaws.”


Distant planet said to be half-melted
As­tro­no­mers have ob­tained what they call the most de­tailed “fin­ger­print” of a rocky plan­et out­side our so­lar sys­tem to date.

Not “freaks”: doc charges colleagues with mistreating sex-change patients
A prom­i­nent U.K. doc­tor launched the broad­side in an edit­orial in a ma­jor med­i­cal jour­nal.


Blind people found to gesture like sighted ones when speaking
Find­ings sug­gest ges­tur­al varia­t­ions don’t emerge from watch­ing oth­ers speak, but from learn­ing a lan­guage it­self.

The Moon’s spin axis shifted, scientists say
The Man in the Moon might not have looked quite the same from Earth be­fore three bil­lion years ago.


Science-religion conflict may lie in our brains
The con­flict be­tween sci­ence and re­li­gion may orig­i­nate in our brain struc­ture, re­search­ers have found.

Study questions much-hyped benefits of moderate drinking
Count­less news sto­ries have re­ported on re­search ty­ing mod­er­ate drink­ing to a range of health ben­e­fits.


Photo said to show possible embryonic planet
New images from a radio ob­ser­vatory ap­pear to show a clump of ma­te­ri­al cir­cling a young star.

Bizarre findings on Americans: Less religion but more afterlife belief
Some re­search­ers are citing a some­thing-for-noth­ing ment­ality to ex­plain the head-scratch­ing re­sults.

Hyenas said to join wolf packs in unusual alliance
An­i­mals of dif­fer­ent spe­cies some­times lean on each oth­er in times of ad­vers­ity—just as hu­mans do, ac­cord­ing to a new stu­dy.


Old stars might form second crop of planets, imaging study suggests
As­tro­no­mers have snapped the sharpest pic­ture yet of a dusty disc around a close pair of old stars.

Study suggests why fasting diet may not work in humans
Strict low-food diets may hurt the im­mune sys­tem, count­er­act­ing the life­span-boost­ing ef­fects they show in lab ani­mals, re­search sug­gests.

Being short or overweight linked to reduced life chances
Be­ing a short man or an over­weight woman may lead to low­er chances in ar­eas such as educa­t­ion and in­come, a study finds.


New evidence of language-like abilities in birds
Sci­en­tists are re­port­ing new ev­i­dence that birds can com­mu­ni­cate by re-ar­rang­ing the same sounds in dif­fer­ent ways.

New signs that Zika virus may cause microcephaly
Re­search­ers sus­pect they’ve found out how Zika probably causes mi­cro­ceph­a­ly, or ab­nor­mally small heads, in fe­tus­es.


Near-suicidal trips said to make dragonfly a champion long-distance flier
One species of little in­sect seems to keep out­posts that just about span the globe.

Huge volcanoes may have twisted whole Martian surface
Mars long ago swiveled around its own core by 20 to 25 de­grees, ac­cord­ing to a study.


Scientists propose: let’s search part of sky where aliens could have seen us
A nar­row strip of the sky might be more prom­is­ing for E.T. searches, two re­search­ers say.

Go-slow cancer treatment might actually work better, study suggests
Can we learn to live with­—rather than kill—can­cer?


“Loneliest places” in cosmos may be less empty than thought
New re­search looks at cos­mic voids, vast tracts of the uni­verse thought to be al­most empty.

Warming may be raising seas faster than anytime in at least 2,800 years
A new study estimates sea-lev­el changes over the past three mil­len­nia.


Pluto moon may have an ancient, frozen ocean, scientists say
New im­ages are said to sug­gest that the moon Char­on once had a sub­sur­face ocean that has long since fro­zen and ex­pand­ed.

Strange galaxy found to have huge tail of gas
A spectacular feature found with a bright spi­ral ga­laxy might turn out to cha­rac­ter­ize others as well, some predict.

New cancer predictor: aging too fast, scientists claim
A new study al­so at­tempts to point the way to med­i­cal tests and lifestyle im­prove­ments that could mit­i­gate the prob­lem.


Ancient flowering plant was beautiful—and likely poisonous, scientists say
A newly id­en­tified spe­cies is at­tri­buted to a type that ul­ti­mately gave rise to some of the most fa­mous poi­sons.

Atmosphere of a “super-Earth” analyzed; possible poisons turn up
Scientists are try­ing to learn some gen­er­al char­ac­ter­is­tics of the big, rocky plan­ets thought to be com­mon through­out our ga­laxy.

Promising safety results for “lifespan-boosting” drug
A drug used to treat organ trans­plant re­jec­tion has also drawn grow­ing int­er­est for its ef­fects on life­span in ani­mals.


Ripples in spacetime detected after long search
Sci­en­tists say they have de­tected rip­ples in the fab­ric of space­time called gravita­t­ional waves, gen­er­at­ed by a col­li­sion of black holes.

That slime can see you—somewhat
Some mi­crobes bas­ic­ally use their whole ti­ny, glob­u­lar bod­ies as eye­balls, ac­cord­ing to re­search.


Motorboat noise may literally scare fish to their deaths
Noise can dou­ble the rate at which some fish be­come some­one else’s lunch under­wat­er, a study finds.

Photos of black boys young as 5 make whites think of guns: study
A study sug­gests peo­ple are more likely to mistake a toy for a gun af­ter see­ing a black face than a white face—even when that face be­longs to a five-year-old.


Head-on crash produced our moon, study says
A coll­ision between Earth and a plan­etary em­bryo called Theia was head-on, not glanc­ing, re­search con­cludes.

Study: protective gear may make people more reckless
Par­ti­ci­pants in a stu­dy, unaware it was meas­ur­ing risk-tak­ing, played a com­put­er game more reck­lessly when hel­met­ed, re­search­ers said.

Astronomers report finding widest known solar system by far
One planet is so far from its host star that it will take almost a mil­lion Earth years to go all around the star, scient­ists say.


Schizophrenia tied to excess trimming of connections in brain
New re­search may shed light on the ori­gins of a de­vas­tat­ing men­tal ill­ness.

The aliens are silent because they died out, study says
Life on oth­er plan­ets would likely be brief and go ex­tinct quick­ly, some sci­en­tists argue.


“Solid evidence” of ninth planet claimed
Re­search­ers say there’s an un­seen, gi­ant plan­et trac­ing a bi­zarre or­bit in the out­er so­lar sys­tem.

Review finds little evidence behind speed reading claims
A new re­port says the claims put forth by many speed read­ing pro­grams and tools are probably too good to be true.


Dinos may have made “love nests” to show off
Di­no­saurs en­gaged in mat­ing be­hav­ior si­m­i­lar to mod­ern birds, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

People prone to rage attacks found to have smaller “emotional brains”
Da­ta con­firm the con­di­tion is a brain dis­or­der, scien­tists say.

Scientists plan to test whether plants can learn like Pavlov’s dog
German researchers have re­ceived fund­ing for an un­con­vent­ion­al study.


Super-ape may have been doomed by changing landscape—and own size
Gi­gan­to­pi­the­cus, up to three times heav­ier than a large go­rilla, died out about 100,000 years ago.

Could star clusters nurture interstellar civilizations?
Globular clusters—tightly packed bunches of very old stars—may be ide­al place to look for space­far­ing civ­il­iz­a­tions.

“Promising” findings for treatment of age-related muscle decline
A “proof-of-concept” tri­al ex­am­ined a type of drug called a myo­statin an­ti­body.


Chatting may serve evolutionary need to bond
For some an­cestors of hu­mans, ex­change of vo­cal calls is pro­posed to have served as “groom­ing at a dis­tance.”

Doomed-to-fail products may appeal to one type of buyer
Some peo­ple are so drawn to doomed prod­ucts that their buy­ing ac­ti­vity may be a bad sign, re­search­ers say.


“Networks” of intelligence-linked genes reported found
Scientists want to learn whether the net­works have mas­ter switches that could be mani­pul­ated to boost brain­power.

Study: investors often deal with portfolio slumps by just looking away
An “os­trich ef­fect” ap­plies even in an era of 24/7 ac­cess to fi­nan­cial da­ta, re­search­ers say.


Parrots seen using pebble-tools in new way
Cap­tive par­rots were filmed us­ing peb­bles or date pits to grind cal­ci­um pow­der from sea­shells.

Whether genes affect intelligence may depend on class, country
Past re­search sug­gests that both genes and en­vi­ron­ment shape in­tel­li­gence.


Dinos arose quickly from predecessors, study finds
Di­no­saurs may have evolved from their small­er pre­de­ces­sors much faster than was pre­vi­ously thought.

Happiness level found to have no direct effect on mortality
Results of a study of a mil­lion U.K. wom­en chal­lenge a wide­spread be­lief.

LSD found to act by reorganizing brain networks
It hasn’t been clear what causes the drug’s pro­found ef­fects on con­scious­ness.


Strange, early ecosystems found more complex than once thought
Sci­en­tists have used sim­ula­t­ions to work out how a 555-mil­lion-year-old crea­ture, with no known mod­ern rel­a­tives, ate.

No definite structural difference between male, female brains, study says
Most brains are “mo­saics” of fea­tures, some of which are more common in one sex or the other, re­search­ers say. 

Scientists accidentally extend young adulthood in worms using drug
The investi­ga­tors plan to test the ef­fect in mice next.


Disintegrating Martian moon could become a ring
The de­mise of Pho­bos is ex­pected to oc­cur in 20 mil­lion to 40 mil­lion years.

Asteroid mining could begin within a few decades, scientists claim
Researchers have developed a sen­sor to sniff out val­u­a­ble ma­te­ri­als from aster­oids and other space ob­jects.


Fossil forest may shed light on the first big trees
A pecu­liar, thick­ly packed for­est adds to evi­dence that even the earl­iest trees were re­mark­ably diverse.

Children from different cultures may react differently to unfairness
Only in a few count­ries do young child­ren reject deals for being un­fair to oth­ers, a stu­dy found.


Radiation is slamming the “most Earth-like planet,” scientists say
Radia­t­ion may be pre­vent­ing life on a plan­et con­sid­ered the most Earth-like known out­side our so­lar sys­tem.

Which country’s people are most honest? It may depend on the test
A study yielded two rank­ings, both quite differ­ent, but both with the U.K. near the top and Chi­na near the bot­tom.


Martian moon said to be slowly falling apart
Grooves lin­ing Pho­bos may be early signs of struc­tur­al fail­ure.

“Pandemonium” seen in Pluto’s moon system
One moon is spin­ning so fast that things are close to fly­ing off its sur­face, sci­ent­ists say. 


Scientists could aid in new discovery by betting, study suggests
Large num­bers of scient­ists could en­gage in “pred­ic­tion mar­kets” to help iden­tify er­rors in new re­search.

Sleepwalkers feel no pain even when badly injured, study finds
One pa­tient slept through jump­ing out of a third-floor win­dow and tak­ing se­vere frac­tures, scien­tists said. 


T. rex may have been a cannibal
A ty­ran­no­saur bone has re­vealed a nas­ty lit­tle 66-million-year-old family se­cret, sci­en­tists claim.

World Science Archive
 Download high-resolution image from NSF website

Blue sunflower? This is really a mi­cro­scope im­age of liq­uid drop­let res­i­due from water-based chem­i­cals, one-half mil­li­me­ter wide. The drop­lets on the out­er edges are 50 times less wide, and sev­en times less wide than a hu­man hair. This im­age, ti­tled "Blue Sun Flow­er," was cre­at­ed by Devin Brown, sen­ior re­search en­gi­neer at the In­sti­tute for Elec­tron­ics and Nan­otech­nol­ogy at the Geor­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. The im­age won grand prize in the 2013 EIPBN (Elec­tron, Ion and Pho­ton Beam Tech­nol­o­gy and Nanofab­ri­ca­tion) mi­cro­graph con­test. (Cred­it: Devin K. Brown, In­sti­tute for Elec­tron­ics and Nan­otech­nol­ogy, Geor­gia Tech)

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