Brainless beings capable of intelligent behavior | Chinese giant salamanders close to extinction in wild | Ancient bones found in Denmark offer clues about barbarian warfare
May 22, 2018
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Brainless beings capable of intelligent behavior
A number of simple organisms that don't have brains can still exhibit intelligent behavior. Among those are slime molds, which can solve mazes; jellyfish, which appear to sleep; and various plants such as the Cornish mallow, which anticipates the morning sun by turning its leaves toward the sunrise the night before.
National Geographic online (5/21) 
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Science in the News
Chinese giant salamanders close to extinction in wild
Wild Chinese giant salamanders, which are considered living fossils because they haven't changed in 170 million years, are near extinction in their natural habitat because they are being caught to serve as a delicacy in restaurants. "The overexploitation of these incredible animals for human consumption has had a catastrophic effect on their numbers in the wild over an amazingly short time span," said Samuel Turvey, who participated in field surveys of the creatures' habitats.
BBC (5/22) 
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Ancient bones found in Denmark offer clues about barbarian warfare
More than 2,000 human bones found in Denmark are providing researchers with clues about barbarian warfare that took place in northern Europe about 2,000 years ago, according to findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The bones belonged to at least 82 people, most of whom were young males who died during a single incident, and archaeologists estimate there could have been over 380 people buried at the site because of how the bones were distributed.
National Geographic online (5/21) 
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Radioactivity trapped by mixing waste with liquid glass
Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have demonstrated they can trap radioactivity for a long period of time by mixing radioactive waste with liquid glass, which then solidifies. "The radioactive elements are chemically bound as part of the glass material, and the glass material is a durable waste form that isolates the radioactivity from the environment for a very long time," lead researcher Will Eaton said.
LiveScience (5/21) 
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Scientists observe massive Rossby waves moving across sun
Massive Rossby waves have been observed on the sun for the first time. Researchers examined the movements of granules on the sun's surface, which indicated the presence of the Rossby waves, according to findings published in Nature Astronomy.
LiveScience (5/21) 
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Experimental Ebola vaccine gets real-world test in Congo
The first real-world vaccinations for the Ebola virus are being administered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an outbreak of the deadly disease continues. The experimental vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, is being given to health care workers and people who have had contact with those who've contracted Ebola.
Science News (5/21) 
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Researchers trace malaria's genetic lineage
A genetic study has revealed how malaria became such a deadly disease over the course of 50,000 years. "Our study has pieced together the sequential series of steps that set up the critical storm, allowing the parasites to not only enter humans but to stay, divide and be transferred by mosquitoes," said Matt Berriman, an author of the study published in Nature Microbiology.
BBC (5/22) 
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Ozone exposure at birth may increase childhood asthma risk
Every 10 parts per billion increase in ozone exposure at birth was linked to 82% higher odds of asthma in childhood, Canadian researchers reported at the American Thoracic Society meeting. However, the findings, based on data involving 1,881 Canadian youths followed from birth until age 17 on average, didn't associate nitrogen dioxide or particulate matter PM2.5 exposure at birth with increased pediatric asthma risk.
Deccan Chronicle (India)/Asian News International (5/22) 
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Funding Watch
Va. translational research center awarded $21.5M grant
Virginia Commonwealth University's C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research has been awarded a $21.5 million grant from the NIH. The funds will go toward finding ways to give patients with cardiac and pulmonary issues or those dealing with addictions better access to treatment.
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) (5/21) 
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Conn. gives livestock probiotics startup $400,000 in funding
Connecticut has provided $400,000 in funding to Bactana, a startup focused on producing probiotics for livestock that will be part of the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program. The funding comes through the state's Connecticut Innovations program and will go toward designing probiotic bacteria that can be used instead of hormones and antibiotics to spur growth.
The Advocate (Stamford, Conn.) (5/21) 
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Sigma Xi News
Registration opens for the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting
How will you excel in the new era of big data? The Sigma Xi 2018 Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference on Oct. 25 to 28 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport will share lessons from researchers who have blazed the path of using big data and bring together a group of elite thinkers who are connected through a shared interest in big data and research. The meeting will feature sessions on the applications, methodologies and ethics of big data across scientific disciplines. Register today and save 20% with early-bird rates.
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