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"Long before it's in the papers"
November 25, 2015



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


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


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 * * *


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.

Physicists study how balloons burst
Frame-by-frame analyses point to two dis­tinct types of bursts, de­pend­ing on what caused the pop.

Warming helped decimate New England cod stocks, study finds
Even harsh fish­ing re­strict­ions have failed to slow a plunge in fish pop­u­la­tions.


Comet detected dumping alcohol into space
The finding adds to ev­i­dence that com­ets could have been a prov­ided com­plex mol­e­cules needed for life to emerge.

Brain uses matching rhythms to process music, study finds
Research sug­gests a new­found role for rhyth­mic repe­ti­tions of nerve cell ac­ti­vity in the brain.

Think lions are scary today? You haven’t seen the Pleistocene epoch
Packs of huge li­ons and oth­er preda­tors helped limit pop­u­la­t­ions of mam­moths and others, re­search sug­gests.


Most Earth-like worlds have yet to form, study says
But many fu­ture civ­il­iz­a­tions may arise so late that they won’t be able to fi­gure out how the uni­verse was born.

In court, genetic defense may win sympathy—and no shorter sentence
“De­fen­dants should be wary about us­ing a ge­net­ic de­fense be­cause it’s a dou­ble-edged sword,” a re­search­er said.

Early Earth wasn’t so hellish—and life was here, scientists say
New research sug­gests life may tend to form more easily than once thought.


Researchers find brain switch said to turn dreams on and off
Neu­ro­sci­en­tists say they can send a sleep­ing mouse in­to dream­land at the flip of a switch.

Differences in longevity may show up at middle age
Research in ti­ny worms sug­gested life­span-boosting genes may start to show their effects most strong­ly in mid­dle age.


Birds flew over dinosaurs’ heads, study suggests
Mus­cles con­trolling the main wing feath­ers of an an­cient, toothed bird suggest it could fly as well as many mod­ern birds, scient­ists say.

Study: women born in summer more likely to be healthy
Au­thors of a study say more sun­light, and thus vit­a­min D ex­po­sure, in preg­nan­cy might ex­plain the ef­fect.

Ancient tsunami claimed to be almost as high as Chrysler building
A disaster 73,000 years ago may have gen­er­at­ed waves that would dwarf any in hu­man history, a study says.


Finding “appears to confirm” liquid water on Mars
Re­search­ers de­tected sig­na­tures of min­er­als as­so­ci­at­ed with wa­ter on slopes where mys­te­ri­ous streaks are seen.

“Test run” planned for mission to push asteroid off-course
Scientists want to change the course of a mini-aster­oid in order to pre­pare for what some day might be an Earth-sav­ing miss­ion.

Comet watched by probe is actually two in one, scientists say
Two com­ets crashed long ago to cre­ate the dumb­bell-shaped Com­et 67P/Chur­yu­mov-Ge­ra­si­men­ko, say sci­en­tists.


“Missing” space-time waves leave scientists puzzled
The fluc­tu­ations are an inte­gral part of Al­bert Ein­stein’s well-backed-up equa­tions.

Some fish found to “stand on lookout” for each other
Fish were previously con­sid­ered, in a word, too dumb to coop­er­ate like that.

Cycle of ice turning to gas may feed comets’ tails
Data from the Eu­ro­pe­an Space Agen­cy’s Ro­set­ta space­craft con­firms exist­ing ideas, sci­ent­ists say.


“Most complete” Arctic dino found; said to have endured nasty conditions
A study de­scribes a type of duck-billed di­no­saur that roamed Alas­ka’s North Slope in herds.

Oral histories found to go back almost 10,000 years—often accurately
Traditional stories de­scribe long-ago changes in the Aus­tral­ian coast­line that ac­tu­ally oc­curred, re­search­ers say.


Cow-sized beast may be earliest known to walk upright on all fours
The “pre-reptile” is est­i­mated to have lived around 10 mil­lion years be­fore the age of the di­no­saurs.


Ocean said to underlie whole surface of Saturn moon
Re­search­ers con­clud­ed that the dis­tinc­tive, tiny wob­ble of En­cel­a­dus must be due to a body of liq­uid sit­ting be­neath the out­er ice shell.


Birds “in love” found to be more successful breeders
Biologists tried to find out the evo­lu­tion­ary func­tion of love without dragging hu­mans in­to the study.

Remote cave chamber yields huge trove of human fossils
The find­ings represent a pre­viously known hu­man species, ac­cord­ing to some sci­entists.


Study uses fictional planet to try to probe people’s real views on society
Re­search­ers asked par­ti­ci­pants about the causes of in­equa­lity on the plan­et “Teeku.”

Brain protein seen elevated in depressed people
The find­ings pro­vide more ev­i­dence that de­pres­sion is a phys­i­cal ill­ness, say the re­search­ers be­hind the stu­dy.


Giant sea scorpion fossils turn up
A pre­vi­ously un­known spe­cies meas­ured an es­ti­mated 1.5 me­ters (5 feet) or more in length.

Chimp attacks drone with stick, wins
The incident at a Dutch zoo de­mon­strates an ab­ility to both plan ahead and use tools, re­search­ers say.

Sex buyers, sexually aggressive men often the same people, study finds
The study auth­ors say their find­ings should give pause to ad­voc­ates of legal­ization.


Parrot found able to “conclude by excluding”
Gof­fin cock­a­toos can choose a cor­rect an­swer by rul­ing out al­ter­na­tives, a study finds.

Better friendships in teen years may lead to better health in adulthood
Giving in to peer press­ure is not with­out its bene­fits, re­search sug­gests.

Fewer than half of psychology papers met replication test, study finds
Only 39 out of a sam­ple of 100 re­cently pub­lished sci­en­tif­ic re­ports stood up to an at­tempt to rep­li­cate the find­ings.


Move over, Spiderman: actual spider excels at thread-free air stunt
Rain­forest spi­ders known as “flatties” know how to han­dle fall­ing from a tree, a stu­dy says.

Researchers make people indecisive by tweaking brain waves
The in­tens­ity of com­mu­nica­t­ion be­tween brain re­gions dic­tates wheth­er we’re in­de­ci­sive, sci­ent­ists claim.

Report: head lice are evolving tougher, harder to zap
Sci­en­tists re­port that lice popula­t­ions in at least 25 states have de­vel­oped re­sist­ance to over-the-coun­ter treat­ments.


Massacres may have riled European life at dawn of farming
A roughly 7,000-year-old mass grave re­veals mur­der, mutil­ation and may­hem and is not the first such find, re­search­ers re­port.

Apes may be closer to speaking than many scientists think
A study reports on the sim­ple but un­u­sual vocal abili­ties of Ko­ko, a go­rilla who has lived among hu­mans for de­cades.


“Fireworks” begin on comet under spacecraft’s eye
A com­et un­der a space­craft’s close watch is start­ing to give off out­bursts as its path takes it near the Sun, sci­ent­ists re­port.

Study: cat competition has rocked dog family for ages
A study finds that cat-dog ri­val­ry has been deadly for mil­li­ons of years, with dogs, es­pe­cial­ly, get­ting the short end of the stick.

Planetary rings follow “beautiful” law wherever they are
The par­t­i­cles mak­ing up rings around plan­ets fol­low a universal law of size dis­tri­bu­tion, a stu­dy claims.

Study: vaccine skeptics persuadable—if you avoid calling them wrong
Many peo­ple who are skep­ti­cal of vac­ci­nat­ing their chil­dren can be coaxed to do so, psych­o­lo­gists say.


In earliest complex life forms, clever reproductive strategy discerned
A strange creature known as Fracto­fu­sus could settle new areas with sur­pri­sing ef­fi­ciency, re­search sug­gests.

Bias against female leaders found as early as teen years
Bi­as against fe­male lead­ers is common even am­ong teen­agers—and some of it comes from girls as well as moth­ers, a study finds.


Plant wars: vampire weeds use chemical “radar” to stalk victims
Cer­tain par­a­sit­ic plants have seeds that don’t bother grow­ing until they de­tect host plants nearby, a study re­ports.

Premature babies may risk becoming withdrawn adults
Ba­bies born very prem­a­ture or se­verely un­der­weight can be­come so­cially with­drawn adults, re­search sug­gests.


Four-legged snake fossil reported found in plain sight
The ob­ject could help re­veal how snakes, thought to have e­volved from liz­ards, lost their legs.

Possibly Earth-like planet reported near Sun-like star, another first
The find­ing is a first in that the star is much like our Sun, astron­omers say.


First Pluto close-ups show mountains of ice, scientists say
NASA released additional photos of Pluto and its moon Charon after their first visit by a spacecraft.

Robotic telescope joins huge search for signals from aliens
A robotic tel­e­scope a­bove San Jose, Calif. will under­take an in­ten­sive search for la­ser sig­nals from ex­trater­res­trials.


New Pluto images released with historic flyby
NASA released new images with the first close flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto.

Giant black hole “outgrew its galaxy”
The find­ing runs counter to most ob­serva­t­ions about black holes.


Scientific dissenters predict “mini ice age” in 2030s
Some researchers pre­dict the return of a a solar calm spell that co­in­cided with un­usually cold win­ters in the mid-1600s.


“Earth-like” planets out there even more Earth-like than thought, simulation finds
Great­er chem­ical si­m­i­lar­ity might en­hance the like­li­hood of life on some of these worlds.

Monster black holes said to come out of hiding
En­er­get­ic X-rays have helped un­veil a pos­sibly large popula­t­ion pre­vi­ously hid­den black holes, as­tro­no­mers say.


Comet may be developing sinkholes
The deep, round pits are evi­dence that a com­et is con­stantly chan­ging, sci­ent­ists say.

24 dinos may have perished with “babysitter”
Re­search­ers say the animals seem to have been hit by a mix­ture of mud, wa­ter, rock and junk after a vol­can­ic out­burst.

To reproduce, bizarre flatworm may have sex with own head
Zoologists reported the “first de­scribed ex­am­ple of hy­po­der­mic self-injection of sperm in­to the head.”


Bird said to re-arrange sounds to create meaning—like people
Only hu­mans were thought ca­pable of mak­ing new mean­ing by re­ar­rang­ing mean­ing­less el­e­ments, scient­ists say.

Rats may dream about finding treats
When rats rest, their brains sim­u­late jour­neys to a de­sired fu­ture such as a treat, new re­search finds.

Universe may be ringing like crystal glass, scientists say
The expansion of the uni­verse seems to be re­peat­ed­ly speeding up and slowing back down, cos­mol­o­gists claim.


Planet zips around its sun sporting comet-like tail: study
Sci­en­tists at­trib­ute the ef­fect to high-energy light from the star that is push­ing hy­dro­gen off the plan­et’s up­pe­r at­mos­phere.

Consciousness no “decider,” just “interpreter,” theory claims
Con­scious­ness is like the In­ter­net in a way, ac­cord­ing to a team of scient­ists.


Human may have had Neanderthal great-great-grandparent
An anatomi­cal­ly mo­dern per­son known only from a jaw­bone had re­cent Ne­an­der­thal an­ces­try, scien­tists say.

Study could solve controversy over ancient skeleton
An 8,500-year-old ske­l­e­ton found in 1996 in Wash­ing­ton State has been the fo­cus of a bit­ter dis­pute.


Ancient Mars mostly icy, not wet, study claims
Despite lots of water, the Mars of 3 to 4 bil
­lion years ago might have been in­hosp­it­able to life.

Pedophilia may be innate
A study linked pedo­philia to a higher like­li­hood of certain types of facial flaws as­sociated with pre­natal develop­ment.

New analysis downsizes record-breaking dino
A study re-evaluates a fossil hailed last year as representing the heaviest dinosaur whose weight could be reliably calculated.


Newfound dino resembles Triceratops with frills
Scientists are reporting the discovery of a close relative of the horned dinosaur Triceratops.

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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