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March 13, 2013
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  • Analysis: Mars could have sustained life
    Mars may have been able to sustain life in the past, NASA officials concluded, based on an analysis of rock powder by the Curiosity rover that found traces of elements such as oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. The analysis also indicated that the water that existed on the planet was a neutral pH -- neither too salty nor too acidic. "The key thing here is this [is] an environment a microbe could have lived in and might have even prospered in," said lead scientist John Grotzinger. Discovery (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  • Manatees dead from red tide poisoning at a record, officials say
    An unusually warm winter has spurred the growth of toxic red tide algae, leading to the possible deaths of a record 174 manatees this year. The previous record of 151 was in 1996. In southwest Florida, red tide blooms are common, settling into the sea grass beds where manatees feed. As a result, experts are concerned the unusually high number of deaths may threaten the recovery of the endangered species. The Herald-Tribune (Batesville, Ind.) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Rhinoceros beetle horns are hollow
    The elaborate horn perched atop the heads of a rhinoceros beetle may be a weapon against its enemies, but it comes at little cost for the insect itself, according to a study. Scientists found that the horn, about two-thirds the insect's size, is dry and hollow, making it easy for the beetle to move and fly unimpeded. "This is not what I was expecting, but it's actually a nice simple explanation for my big interest in why we see so much diversity in these horns," said the study's lead researcher. "There's a big benefit to having these horns, but I haven't found any evidence for any cost." (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Vision regions in Neanderthal brains may have hurt survival chances
    The large visual region in a Neanderthal's brain may have compensated for low levels of light, but left little room for social cognition to develop, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The lack of social cognition meant the Neanderthal could not adapt to environmental change. Although the brain size for Neanderthals is the same as for modern humans, a smaller social cognition meant a weak social and cultural network, which prevented the Neanderthals from getting the resources needed to survive. (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: PTSD patients show higher metabolic syndrome rates
    Data on 207,954 VA patients showed those with post-traumatic stress disorder had greater incidence of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome compared with those who did not have a PTSD diagnosis. "This is a disorder that needs to be looked at and treated as a public health problem," said Dr. Ramin Ebrahimi, who discussed the findings at the American College of Cardiology meeting. Healio/Endocrine Today (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Regular aspirin use may reduce melanoma risk in older women
    U.S. researchers looked at data from the Women's Health Initiative involving almost 60,000 white women and found that those who took aspirin regularly were 21% less likely to develop melanoma than nonusers. The longer aspirin was used, the lower their risk, according to the study in the journal Cancer. The reduced risk could be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin, lead author Dr. Jean Tang said. (3/11) , HealthDay News (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Japan successfully taps into methane hydrate gas
    A Japanese drilling ship successfully harvested the world's first natural gas from frozen methane hydrate at the ocean floor. If Japan can successfully harvest the gas in larger quantities, the discovery could propel it as a leader in the the energy industry. Methane hydrate gas holds 164 times the energy of conventional gas. Countries such as the U.S. and Russia have also begun exploring ways to harvest it. New Scientist/Short Sharp Science blog (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Lockheed develops cheap, fast method to desalinate water
    Lockheed Martin engineers say they've found a more efficient and cost-effective way to turn saltwater into clean water. The development uses thin carbon membranes with nanometer-large holes to filter the saltwater with less energy. The development means countries would no longer have to build expensive desalination stations. Officials say access to clean water is a global security issue, pushing defense contractors such as Lockheed to find ways to increase access to it. Reuters (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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