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CZ:Did You Know?

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Did you know?

Vision-correcting displays on their way

University of California - Berkeley.
"Vision-correcting display makes reading glasses so yesterday."
ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729152921.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).
Anthony.Sebastian 21:29, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Of naked mole rats

Anthony.Sebastian 02:35, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Ten books lost to time

The Top 10 Books Lost to Time

"Great written works from authors such as Shakespeare and Jane Austen that you'll never have a chance to read"

By Megan Gambino, Smithsonian.com, September 20, 2011

1. Homer’s Margites
2. Lost Books of the Bible
3. William Shakespeare’s Cardenio
4. Inventio Fortunata
5. Jane Austen’s Sanditon
6. Herman Melville’s The Isle of the Cross
7. Thomas Hardy’s The Poor Man and the Lady
8. First draft of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
9. Ernest Hemingway’s World War I novel
10. Sylvia Plath’s Double Exposure

If you want to learn what's known about those books, click the link above.

How to pick the best puppy of the litter

Excerpt from:

Names of Dogs in Ancient Greece, by Adrienne Mayor (Wonders & Marvels Contributor)

Which is the finest puppy in a litter? Like moderns, the ancients looked for an adventurous and friendly nature, but one test for selecting the pick of the litter seems rather heartless today. Let the mother choose for you, advises Nemesianus, a Roman expert on hunting dogs. Take away her puppies, surround them with an oil-soaked string and set it on fire. The mother will jump over the ring of flames and rescue each puppy, one by one, in order of their merit.

Wonders & Marvels

Effects of volunteering

Giving time can give you time

“(Medical Xpress) -- Many people these days feel a sense of “time famine”—never having enough minutes and hours to do everything. We all know that our objective amount of time can’t be increased (there are only 24 hours in a day), but a new study suggests that volunteering our limited time—giving it away— may actually increase our sense of unhurried leisure.”


Phytoplankton grow under Arctic sea ice

Massive Phytoplankton Blooms Under Arctic Sea Ice
Kevin R.Arigo et al. Science Published Online June 7 2012

Abstract

  • Phytoplankton blooms over Arctic Ocean continental shelves are thought to be restricted to waters free of sea ice.
  • Here, we document a massive phytoplankton bloom beneath fully consolidated pack ice far from the ice edge in the Chukchi Sea, where light transmission has increased in recent decades because of thinning ice cover and proliferation of melt ponds.
  • The bloom was characterized by high diatom biomass and rates of growth and primary production.
  • Evidence suggests that under-ice phytoplankton blooms may be more widespread over nutrient-rich Arctic continental shelves and that satellite-based estimates of annual primary production in these waters may be underestimated by up to 10-fold.

Article

Whales have cultural intelligence

14:57, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

See: [http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/09/whale-billboard-pop-culture-of-the-planets-largest-species.html Whale "Billboard" --'Pop Culture' of the Planet's Largest Species]

See: Whale Culture, by Karen Lurie ScienCentral News 13th January 2004

References

Dynamic Horizontal Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song at the Ocean Basin Scale. Ellen C. Garland et al. 2011.

Cultural transmission, the social learning of information or behaviors from conspecifics [1–5], is believed to occur in a number of groups of animals, including primates [1, 6–9], cetaceans [4, 10, 11], and birds [3, 12, 13]. Cultural traits can be passed vertically (from parents to offspring), obliquely (from the previous generation via a nonparent model to younger individuals), or horizontally (between unrelated individuals from similar age classes or within generations) [4]. Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have a highly stereotyped, repetitive, and progressively evolving vocal sexual display or ‘‘song’’ [14–17] that functions in sexual selection (through mate attraction and/or male social sorting) [18–20]. All males within a population conform to the current version of the display (song type), and similarities may exist among the songs of populations.

For smokers, eating broccoli helps keep their lungs clean

19:30, 22 April 2011 (UTC For smokers, eating broccoli helps keep their lungs clean. The normal cleaning system whereby lung macrophages remove debri and microbes is defective in patients with chronic onstructive lung disease (COPD)and in smokers. Sulphorane, a chemical in broccoli, can enhance the chemical pathway in the lungs that activates macrophages, Nrf2, a pathway damaged by smoking and COPD.

Shyam Biswal at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues, exposed defective macrophages from the lungs of 43 people with COPD to two bacterial strains that are common causes of COPD-associated infections. In the presence of sulphoraphane, the NRF2 pathway was boosted and the macrophages' ability to engulf bacteria was restored.[1]

References

  1. Christopher J. Harvey, Rajesh K. Thimmulappa, Sanjay Sethi, Xiaoni Kong, Lonny Yarmus, Robert H. Brown, David Feller-Kopman, Robert Wise, Shyam Biswal. Targeting Nrf2 Signaling Improves Bacterial Clearance by Alveolar Macrophages in Patients with COPD and in a Mouse Model. Sci Transl Med 3:78ra32.
    • From Editor's Summary: With every breath we take, the outside air assaults the lungs. Along with life-sustaining oxygen come dust, dirt, and microbes. A well-functioning lung cleanses itself with broom-like cilia that sweep out debris and with a robust innate immune defense system driven by macrophages that subdue infectious invaders. But constant exposure to cigarette smoke or pollution can interfere with this self-cleaning system and cause the lung ailment COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This common disease is characterized by two conditions that cause shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic cough, and tightness in the chest: emphysema—which is associated with progressive destruction of lung tissue—and bronchitis—an inflammation of the airway passages (bronchi). Understanding the mechanistic details of how irritants in the air disable the lung’s defenses can help uncover possible drug targets. Now, Harvey and colleagues have fingered a cigarette smoke–triggered change in a signaling pathway that regulates defense against oxidative stress, which may impair lung macrophage function. In both COPD patients and a mouse model of COPD, a phytochemical found in broccoli can activate this pathway and improve the ability of lung macrophages to sequester and inactivate the bacteria that often causes exacerbations of COPD. …Although the mechanism is unclear, lung macrophages from patients with COPD are defective in taking up (phagocytosing) bacteria for eventual destruction.

01:39, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Once, [neutrinos] were thought to have no mass and to travel at the speed of light; today we know that they do have a little mass, though so trifling that no one has yet measured it.
All we know is that if you had some subatomic scales, it would take at least 100,000 neutrinos to balance a single electron.
Even so, their vast numbers make it possible that, in total, they outweigh all the visible matter of the universe.
—Frank Close[1]

Reference

  1. Close F. (2010) Neutrino. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199574599. (Page 2)


18:30, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

In many ways music appears to be hardwired in us. Anthropologists have yet to discover a single human culture without its own form of music.
Children don't need any formal training to learn how to sing and dance.
And music existed long before modern civilization . In 2008 archaeologists in Germany discovered the remains of a 35,000•year•old flute.
Music, in other words, is universal, easily learned, and ancient.
That's what you would expect of an instinct that evolved in our distant ancestors.
—Carl Zimmer[1]

Reference

  1. Zimmer C. (2010) Column: The Brain. Discover, December. Pages 28-29.


22:10, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have linked resveratrol, a chemical compound [a polyphenol] found in red wine, to improved health of patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), also known as “pre-diabetes.” read more, page 3.

01:33, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Carl Linnaeus's passion for nature was clear from the start. His school chums nicknamed him the "little botanist" because, according to biographer Wilfrid Blunt, he was "always playing truant in the summer months and going off into the countryside to look for plants." The little botanist soon became interested in a career in medicine—a natural path, since doctors at that time were well versed in the pharmaceutical uses of plants. In 1735, at age 28, he obtained a medical degree. Six years later, after practicing in Stockholm, he accepted a position as professor of medicine and botany at the University of Uppsala. —Kathy B. Maher.

Fingerprint analysis not flawless

01:13, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

  • "FINGERPRINTS were once the cornerstone of forensic identification. Now a report into a miscarriage of justice has renewed pressure on print examiners to improve their methods, while two new studies reveal the extent of their fallibility. The results could change the fingerprint profession worldwide."

Ten scientists who mattered in 2011

Anthony.Sebastian 15:23, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Ten people who mattered this year in science. Nature. 21-Dec-2011

Dario Autiero: Relativity challenger

Sara Seager: Planet seeker

Lisa Jackson: Pollution cop

Essam Sharaf: Science revolutionary

Diederik Stapel: Fallen star

Rosie Redfield: Critical enquirer

Danica May Comacho: Child of the times

Mike Lamont: The Higgs mechanic

Tatsuhiko Kodama: Fukushima's gadfly

John Rogers: Tech exec

Read their stories.

Physics World's 2011 Books of the Year

Physics World's 2011 Books of the Year. With hundreds of popular-physics books published every year, finding the best is far from easy. Below, James Dacey, Matin Durrani and Margaret Harris reveal Physics World's choices for the 10 best books reviewed in the magazine in 2011

10. Rising Force: the Magic of Magnetic Levitation

by James Livingston

9. The Hidden Reality

by Brian Greene

8. Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists and Cinema

by David Kirby

7. Modernist Cuisine

by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet

6. Measure of the Earth: the Enlightenment Expedition that Reshaped the World

by Larrie D Ferreiro

5. Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout

by Lauren Redniss

4. Engineering Animals

by Mark Denny and Alan McFadzean

3. Hindsight and Popular Astronomy

by Alan B Whiting

2. The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

by Richard Panek

1. Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science

by Lawrence Krauss

Zen meditation increases access to unconscious information

Consciousness and Cognition Available online 28 April 2012 In Press, Corrected Proof

Zen meditation and access to information in the unconscious ☆ · Madelijn Stricka, , , · Tirza H.J. van Noordena, · Rients R. Ritskesc, · Jan R. de Ruiterb, , , · Ap Dijksterhuisa · a Social Psychology Program, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Montessorilaan 3, PO Box 9104, 6500 HE, Nijmegen, The Netherlands · b Department of Anthropology, Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom · c 6581 CL, Malden, The Netherlands · Received 15 August 2011. Available online 28 April 2012. · http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2012.02.010, How to Cite or Link Using DOI · Permissions & Reprints

Abstract In two experiments and two different research paradigms, we tested the hypothesis that Zen meditation increases access to accessible but unconscious information. Zen practitioners who meditated in the lab performed better on the Remote Associate Test (RAT; Mednick, 1962) than Zen practitioners who did not meditate. In a new, second task, it was observed that Zen practitioners who meditated used subliminally primed words more than Zen practitioners who did not meditate. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed. hh Highlights ► We examined whether Zen meditation increases access to unconscious information. ► Advanced Zen practitioners meditated in the lab or not. ► Meditation increased performance on the Remote Associate Test. ► Meditation increased the use of subliminally primed words

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