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March 26, 2013
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Your World of Science News

  Top Story 
  • Scientists make strides toward understanding matter, antimatter
    Researchers have made the most accurate measurements to date of both matter and antimatter, a discovery they say will help them better understand how the universe was formed. The research team used an electromagnetic trap to slow down individual protons and antiprotons before they could collide, according to the study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Measurements confirm that a single particle of matter and antimatter are similar in size, but scientists hope the more precise measurements will help them understand why matter came to dominate its polar opposite to form the world as we know it. (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Research: Venus superstorm may be a permanent fixture
    A large cyclone-like structure swirling above Venus' south pole has been evolving ever since scientists began observing it six years ago, according to research published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers used the European Space Agency's Venus Express satellite to observe the storm, about four times larger than a typical storm on Earth. The exact cause behind the storm's constant evolution is still unclear, but scientists surmise that the cyclone-like storm may be a permanent fixture of the planet's atmosphere. (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students compete to design mission sending humans to Mars' moons
    More than 30 graduate and undergraduate students from 21 universities and 11 countries are competing in a challenge to design manned missions to one of Mars' two tiny moons. The Caltech Space Challenge, which runs this week, will be judged by scientists from Caltech, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and various aerospace companies. "The Caltech Space Challenge is our way to continue to support and advance what is bound to be a long process of design, development and innovation leading to human footprints on Martian soil," said Jason Rabinovitch, a Caltech Ph.D. student and one of the team leaders. (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Social seclusion leads to a shorter life, study finds
    Isolation from people can be an indication of greater risk of illness and a shorter lifespan, according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While experts have known that social isolation and feelings of loneliness can add to the risk of getting sick or dying earlier, this study is the first to link social isolation -- regardless of loneliness -- and an earlier death. "When you're socially isolated, you not only lack companionship in many cases, but you may also lack advice and support from people," said study leader Andrew Steptoe. Nature (free content) (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study refutes link between constipation and colorectal cancer
    An analysis of 28 studies found little evidence to support a link between constipation and colorectal cancer. People who received colonoscopies primarily due to constipation were less apt to have colon cancer than average. The findings were published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Reuters (3/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Local rice proves to be adaptable to different environments
    Local "farmer rice" varieties from Asia and Africa may be hardy enough to adapt to different environmental conditions, according to research from West Africa. Local rice had been long believed to be unable to withstand new environments, being only good enough for local consumption. "These varieties should be incorporated together with improved varieties in dissemination projects to protect farmers' food security," said study author Béla Teeken. (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: 1,300 bird species died out after Pacific Islands was colonized
    As many as 1,300 bird species on the Pacific Islands are estimated to have been wiped out after human colonization, according to findings published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists studied various Pacific Islands for fossils and records of birds that might have lived thousands of years ago and created a mathematical model to calculate the rate of extinction. Researchers attribute the species' decline to the rapid deforestation that came with colonization. (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • 2013 spending bill includes "road map" for science agencies
    Congress' spending bill for the 2013 fiscal year includes the original $85 billion in cuts enacted by the sequester this month, but also contains details for the government's discretionary spending, which includes most science agencies. ScienceInsider lists specific spending details for several affected agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. Insider blog (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Feds give $925,000 award to bio-oils research project
    The Department of Energy awarded $925,000 to the Southern Research Institute to further develop a process for turning biomass into bio-oils. "We hope the project will advance liquefaction by demonstrating cost-effective biomass conversion to stable bio-oils at mild conditions," said a principal researcher at SRI. A cost-effective biomass liquefaction method could help lessen dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse-gas emissions, said Tim Hansen, director of SRI's Advanced Energy and Transportation Technologies. (3/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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