New insights on photosynthesis bring us one step closer to solar fuels

Wed, Aug 20, 2014

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For billions of years, nature has been harnessing the energy from the sun through photosynthesis. This way, plants, algae and cyanobacteria use sunlight to split water and produce energy-rich chemical compounds from carbon dioxide (CO2). This energy is then transferred to animal that eat these plants, and animals that eat plant-eating animals, including us humans. It’s […]

Pig heart grafted to baboon abdomen survives for more than a year

Wed, Aug 20, 2014

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While most of the hype is centered around biotech efforts that try to engineer human organs from scratch in the lab, a better idea might be to grow human-compatible organs in foreign hosts. Researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health genetically modified pig hearts with some human […]

One third of fracking chemicals are of unknown toxicity

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

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A while ago I wrote about the disheartening status quo of energy today: frack now, ask questions later. In the article, I argue that there’s a disproportion between the amount of hydraulic fracturing (9 out of 10 wells in the US are fracking wells) and the number of research articles that discuss the bio impact […]

How loud music damages your hearing

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

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Listening to loud music has been shown time and time again to affect hearing in a negative way. The damage becomes more pronounced with age, leading to difficulties in understanding speech. A new analytic study by researchers at University of Leicester  examined the cellular mechanisms that underlie hearing loss and tinnitus triggered by exposure to loud […]

Fighting unfairness at a tender age

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

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A study by researchers at Harvard University found that children from a tender age have an advanced idea of fairness and are willing to step forward and pay a personal price to intervene a situation they perceive as an unfair. This decision is group-biased dominant in children aged six or less, but those aged eight or more were found to intervene in unfair situation and stop any selfish behavior, whether or not the victim was a member of their group.

The most detailed topography of a comet

Tue, Aug 19, 2014

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Ten years ago, the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta probe tasked to orbit a comet for the very first time and study it up close with unprecedented detail. Six billion miles later, the probe reached its target, the four-kilometer wide 67P comet, and has beamed back some of the most breathtaking images of a […]

One single scrap car battery could be turned into solar cells that power 30 homes

Mon, Aug 18, 2014

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Lead-acid car batteries used to be the norm, but luckily we’re seeing a massive shift towards more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives like lithium-ion. Still, there are fleets of hundreds of millions of cars that still employ these archaic and toxic batteries. Typically, manufacturers try to have car owners bring their old lead-acid batteries, which […]

Resetting the immune system back 500 million years

Mon, Aug 18, 2014

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Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE)  re-activated the expression of an ancient gene in mice. To their surprise, the gene in question which is dormant in all mammalian species caused the mice to develop  fish-like thymus. The thymus is an organ of paramount importance to the adaptive immune system, but in […]

Vampire parasitic plants ‘sweet talk’ victims via DNA communication

Fri, Aug 15, 2014

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A parasitic plant called the dodder, which essentially acts like a 'vampire' upon its unsuspecting prey. A new research found the dodder actually communicates using DNA with its host in order to lower its defenses. A true vampire to the end - it needs an invitation to step in.

Early modern humans were culturally diverse before leaving Africa

Fri, Aug 15, 2014

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Early modern human populations were culturally diverse and sometimes exchanged tools helped by river networks in a then savanna rich Sahara, according to the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago. At least fourdistinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other, have been identified as possessing distinct cultural practices.

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