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April 10, 2013
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  Top Story 
  • NOAA team will explore cause of high rate of sick sea lions
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has called for a team of environmental experts to examine possible causes behind the unusually high rate of sick sea lion pups. The team, which includes biologists and public health officials, will investigate why hundreds of ailing pups have washed up on California's coastline. So far this year, about 900 sea lions have been admitted to facilities for rehabilitation. KCAL-TV (Los Angeles) (4/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Science in the News 
  • Researcher: Dinosaurs could swim long distances
    Clawmarks in an old riverbed may be evidence of swimming dinosaurs, debunking the long-held belief that the creatures were unable to swim, says a researcher from University of Alberta. Dinosaurs may have deployed something similar to the dog paddle to travel long distances and used their tails to move themselves forward. "It is not a surprise some could swim, but what is significant is that they would swim for quite a while," said Scott Persons, whose findings were published the journal Chinese Science Bulletin. The Edmonton Journal (Alberta) (4/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study: Ancient fish's rear fins shows the oddities of early evolution
    A primitive jawless fish may have also sported fins just below its anus, according to research published in the journal Biology Letters. The quirkiness of the 370-milion-year-old Euphanerops longaevus suggests that early evolution may have led to a number of strange body parts, some of which survived while others disappeared. "Rather than gradual acquisition of complex characteristics, maybe there was a bit more experimentation and odd acquisitions," said study co-author Robert Sansom. (4/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Bricks made of waste, sand could be a cheap solution for housing
    A team of Algerian and Malaysian researchers have developed a cost-effective and sustainable method of creating bricks using waste materials and desert sand. The findings could mean a new housing solution for developing countries. "If the compression and the thermal resistance of [the brick] are validated by Algerian building material codes, it could solve the building material crises which Algerian builders are suffering from," said researcher Ali Zaidi. (4/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Studies show time in space increases risk for colon cancer
    Exposure to the high-energy radiation present in space could increase the risk of colon cancer, according to two separate studies presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The first study looked at the effects of the radiation on mice and found increased risk, while the second found out why: Cosmic radiation blocks cells from destroying a specific protein that promotes uncontrolled cell growth. "Knowing how space radiation induces tumor formation will allow us to develop preventive strategies that target this specific signaling pathway," said study researcher Shubhankar Suman. (4/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fetal thigh measurement can determine risk of neonatal adiposity
    A small study revealed that fetal thigh measurement at 28 weeks of gestation can predict babies' likelihood of adiposity at birth. Researchers noted that prepregnancy body mass index, maternal weight gain, birth weight were not associated with neonatal adiposity, nor were fetal abdominal circumference and estimated weight. The findings were presented at the Society of Gynecologic Investigation meeting. Ob.Gyn. News online (4/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Funding Watch 
  • Energy Dept. renews grant for Wis. bionergy research center
    The Department of Energy has renewed the grant it awarded to the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The grant, $125 million over five years, will allow the center to continue its research on sustainable production of cellulosic biofuels. Last year, the center received its first U.S. patent and the licensing of center technology to Hyrax Energy, the first company created from the center. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model) (4/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Calif. to help strawberry growers find alternative pest control
    The California Department of Pesticide Regulation says it has released a plan that will assist research into helping strawberry growers fight pests without using fumigants. The outline, developed by the Nonfumigant Strawberry Production Working Group, includes plans to research and develop strawberry strains that are genetically resistant to pests and nontoxic ways to manage pests. The plan comes as the industry becomes increasingly limited in the fumigants they are allowed to use; methyl bromide will be banned after 2014 and alternative methods are being limited. Ventura County Star (Calif.) (free registration) (4/9) 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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Our political institutions work remarkably well. They are designed to clang against each other. The noise is democracy at work."
--Michael Novak,
American philosopher, journalist, novelist and diplomat

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