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February 14, 2013
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Your World of Science News

  Top Story 
  • Dogs may grasp human point of view, study suggests
    Dogs in a recent study demonstrated flexible thinking, which would allow them to understand a human's perspective, says researcher Juliane Kaminski from the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. In the study of 84 dogs, the animals were four times more likely to eat food they had been ordered to stay away from when the lights were turned off, even though the owner was still in the room. Kaminski said the findings mean dogs understood that their owners couldn't see them when the lights were off. BBC (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Researchers use implants to give rats extra senses
    Scientists implanted infrared sensors into the brains of several rats, which allowed them to sense infrared light through their whiskers. Researchers hope the extra ability could translate into human prosthetics that could receive signals from the brain using infrared light, through which messages travels faster than in our nerves. "The brain is not limited by the transducers that exist in our body. We can actually allow the brain to incorporate new information from the external world," said lead researcher Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroengineer from Duke University best known for his work with mind-controlled prosthetics. (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Salmon use magnetic field to find their way home
    Adult salmon that return to the same stream to give birth where they spawned use the Earth's magnetic field as their compass, according to a study published in Current Biology. Scientists compared five decades of fishing data with maps of magnetic field paths and discovered that the salmon chose the route that most closely matched the magnetic signature of their native stream at the time they first left it for the ocean. "These results are consistent with the idea that juvenile salmon imprint on the magnetic signature of their home river, and then seek that same magnetic signature during their spawning migration," said lead researcher Nathan Putman of Oregon State University. National Geographic News/Weird & Wild blog (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New owl species discovered on Indonesian island
    A new owl species with its unique birdsong was discovered on the Indonesian island of Lombok, according to findings published in the journal PLoS ONE. Known to locals as "burung pok," the Rinjani scops owl eluded discovery despite extensive research on the island because of its similarities to the Moluccan scops owl. "It is a wake-up call for ornithologists: There is still much to learn, and new species can reveal themselves even if you are not looking for them, and in places where no one expected to find something new," said the study's co-author George Sangster. Our Amazing Planet (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers look to use radio waves to study nearby asteroid's spin
    Scientists are readying radio telescopes to study an asteroid that's been making headlines for its anticipated close trajectory to Earth this week. Researchers plan to use a radar dish to reflect radio waves off the surface of the asteroid, and a series of telescopes will detect the bounced waves to study the spin of the 150-foot 2012 DA14 asteroid. Discovery (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Crooked proto-planet got its shape from 2 huge collisions
    Vesta, a lopsided asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, may have gotten its unique shape after being slammed twice by space rocks, causing it to lose most of its southern hemisphere, according to a study published in the journal Nature. Scientists used computer simulations to recreate the theory of the two collisions. Other scientists, however, don't buy the conclusion, saying that some evidence is inconsistent with the simulation. Nature (free content) (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Were King Tut's parents cousins?
    A researcher believes that King Tut's lineage comes from his father, Akhenaten, and Nefertiti, Akhenaten's cousin. A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association details a DNA analysis, from which scientists concluded that Tut's mother was likely Akhenaten' sister. However, researcher Marc Gabolde believes the DNA doesn't necessarily point to a sibling pair, but rather generations of first-cousin marriages. "The consequence of that is that the DNA of the third generation between cousins looks like the DNA between a brother and sister," Gabolde said. "I believe that Tutankhamun is the son of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, but that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were cousins." (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers develop a self-healing computer
    Researchers at the University College London have created a computer that can avoid crashes and repair itself, a technology that could be useful for mission-critical systems. The "systemic" computer pairs data with sets of instructions, dividing up the results into different "systems." Because the computer has many copies of its work, if one becomes corrupt, the computer can recover by accessing a clean copy. New Scientist (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Solar stations power Wi-Fi in rural Kenyan village
    A remote village in Kenya's western Rift Valley Province is getting solar-powered Wi-Fi installed. Microsoft has partnered with local telecom firms to bring affordable Internet access to rural areas. There's no electricity in this area, so Microsoft is working with Indigo, a telecom company, to install solar-powered base stations to emit wireless signals at a "white space spectrum." If successful, Kenya could be a leader in wireless broadband access. New Scientist (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • Cancer group: NIH funding should be a priority investment
    Cuts to the NIH's budget slated to take effect automatically March 1 would cost the nation hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic production, United for Medical Research estimates. The effect on cancer research would be particularly grim, advocates said at a press briefing. "The frustrating reality is that our ability to deliver on the promise of science to patients is in great jeopardy due to both a decade of stagnant budgets and the looming threat of sequestration," said Jon Retzlaff of the American Association for Cancer Research. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sigma Xi News 
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