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March 11, 2013
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  • Should we restock extinct species?
    Researchers are looking at ways to use ancient DNA to resurrect long-extinct species. Species such as the Tasmanian tiger and the passenger pigeon may be good candidates for "de-extinction." In particular, scientists are exploring three possibilities: cloning, "reverse engineering" using the extinct species' closest living relative, and "breeding back" using strategic mating to bring back characteristics of the extinct animal. National Geographic News (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers find sophisticated fishhooks used by ancient hunters
    One of six fishhooks excavated from present-day Wustermark, Germany, dates to nearly 19,000 years ago, an indication that ancient hunters may have developed sophisticated fishing tools much earlier than once believed. The fishhooks were likely left by hunters, who originally hunted Ice Age reindeer, 12,300 years ago as the climate warmed and more fish appeared, according to findings published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Scientists find evidence of ancient donkey sacrifice in Israel
    Clues left with a carefully buried donkey discovered in southern Israel have led archeologists to believe the creature may have been sacrificed as part of a ritual in the Bronze Age. A copper bridle bit was found in the donkey's mouth and saddle bags at its side, according to research published in the journal PLoS ONE. In the ancient Near East, donkeys were treasured, and some have even been associated with royalty. (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Flu shot lowers hospitalization risk in elderly
    The risk of flu-related hospitalization during the 2011-12 flu season was 71.4% lower among all adults who received a shot and 76.8% lower among people ages 50 and older, according to a study. "This study is reassuring in light of recent reports that flu vaccination can be less effective in older adults," said study lead author Keipp Talbot. The findings appeared in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. United Press International (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study assesses effectiveness of iron supplements in young children
    Iron supplementation increased the hemoglobin and iron levels of children aged 2 to 5, according to an analysis in the journal Pediatrics. However, none of the trials in the study showed that the supplements helped reduce children's odds of having iron deficiency or iron deficiency-related anemia. Evidence linking the supplements to improved brain development was limited and weak, researchers said. (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Electrical brain stimulation speeds learning, with a price
    Electrical signals used to stimulate the brain may improve learning and other functions, but could also adversely affect cognitive thinking, according to a study. The experiment looked at how transcranial electrical stimulation -- which has been showed to double a person's learning speed -- affected a person's ability to automatically perform tasks. Those who received TES showed signs of learning faster, but also failed at automatically performing tasks. "It's a proof of concept to show there might be a cognitive cost to TES," said Roi Cohen Kadosh, who conducted the experiments. New Scientist (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Round of passing asteroids reminds scientists that we're not alone
    A 460-foot-long asteroid, discovered a week ago, passed the Earth this weekend at a distance of about 600,000 miles, scientists say. Asteroid 2013 ET was about eight times larger than the one that exploded over Russia in February and was among a few space rocks to pass by this weekend. Astronomers warn that many others will likely follow suit. "We're not sitting here on our pale, blue dot on our own in nice safety. ... This should be a wakeup call to governments," said Paul Cox, a telescope engineer. Reuters (3/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • Senate bill would soften sequestration blow for science agencies
    Senate Democrats are working on a spending bill that could potentially help the National Science Foundation and other science agencies manage the budget cuts resulting from the sequestration. Although the agencies' 5% budget cuts would remain in place, the bill would allow more flexibility and avoid furloughs, among other plans. Last week, the House passed a bill that would fund agencies throughout the 2013 fiscal year and include $85 billion in spending cuts. Insider blog (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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