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March 22, 2013
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Your World of Science News

  Top Story 
  • European Space Agency releases image of universe in its infancy
    Scientists released an image of the universe at a mere 370,000 years after the Big Bang, and in its infancy, the cosmos appears fatter with more matter than previously believed. The image, taken by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite, reveals the universe to be about 80 million to 100 million years older than earlier estimates. "The extraordinary quality of Planck's portrait of the infant universe allows us to peel back its layers to the very foundations, revealing that our blueprint of the cosmos is far from complete," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the ESA's director general. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Study: Tiny heads of sea snakes help them hunt in cramped spaces
    The slender-necked sea snake has a much smaller head than its relatives, a trait that may have developed to help it hunt eels in their narrow burrows, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Ecology. "One way this could have happened is if the ancestral species was large-headed, and a population rapidly evolved small heads to probe eel burrows -- and subsequently stopped interbreeding with the large-headed forms," said researcher Mike Lee. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Belgian monks drained wetlands in Middle Ages, scientists say
    Archaeologists have discovered what appears to be drained wetlands surrounding the medieval Boudelo Abbey site in present-day Belgium, a sign that medieval monks may have gone to great lengths to cultivate the area. Researchers were looking for buried geological features using electromagnetic induction when they made their wetlands discovery. The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, indicate that the monks went through a major undertaking to drain the area for habitation. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Theory: Stone ships reveal maritime culture during Bronze Age
    Researchers say 3,000-year-old stone ships discovered in the Baltic Sea region may have been a symbolic means to send the deceased to their afterlife. The stone ships may also have been a homage to the importance of maritime culture to the area during the Bronze Age, and were likely used as gathering places for rituals or as teaching tools. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Extinction before rise of dinosaurs occurred 200M years ago
    Huge volcanic eruptions may have been responsible for killing off nearly half of the Earth's living species more than 200 million years ago, according to a study published in Science. The eruptions, which spanned from present-day New Jersey to Morocco, led to the End-Triassic Extinction in which a number of species died, making way for the dinosaurs. While scientists had long speculated that volcanoes and the ensuing climate change may have been responsible for the mass extinction, this study was the first to be able to date it to 201.56 million years ago. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Studies unlock molecular structures for 2 serotonin receptors
    Scientists have untangled the mysteries of two of the brain's serotonin receptors, findings that they say could help in the development of drugs to fight depression, obesity or migraines. The decoded molecular structures are reported on in two studies, which scientists say can also help with the study of human consciousness. "Before this there was no crystal structure for any serotonin receptor. A lot of what was theoretical is now known with a great degree of certainty," said Bryan Roth, a co-author of the two studies published in Science. Nature (free content) (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Could there be one universal drug to fight all viruses?
    Researchers say they've developed a single broad-spectrum drug that could be used to fight several viruses, including rabies and Ebola, according to a study published in the journal Cell Chemistry and Biology. Scientists studied the copying methods of several viruses and developed a chemical that could prevent them from replicating. (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study finds Gulf War syndrome is linked to physical brain disruptions
    Gulf War veterans reporting mysterious symptoms including sudden aches, fatigue and memory issues may actually be suffering from a physical condition related to disrupted circuitry in the brain, according to an imaging study. Some scientists believe Gulf War syndrome is psychosomatic rather than physical. But the new results, scientists say, is further evidence that the syndrome needs to be treated as a physical issue with painkillers rather than counseling. New Scientist (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • Calif. institute grants $26M for stem cell work
    The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded Cellular Dynamics International $16 million to develop three induced pluripotent stem cell lines for each of 3,000 samples from healthy and ill donors. The institute also will give $10 million to the Coriell Institute for Medical Research to create a biobank for the cell lines and a repository for the samples. American City Business Journals/Philadelphia (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sigma Xi News 
  • Join us for the 2013 Science Across Borders meeting
    Sigma Xi cordially invites you to attend a two-day science meeting on June 4 and 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The meeting will bring together students, professional scientists, Sigma Xi members and the public. There will be various feature sessions including Science and Development; Science and Diplomacy; and Science, Technology and Peace Building. Learn more and register. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships."
--Bertrand Russell,
British philosopher, mathematician and historian

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