Mammals becoming more nocturnal due to human activity, study suggests | Farming during Bronze Age changed soil's nitrogen composition | Spiders spin extremely thin sheets to help them move through air
June 15, 2018
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Mammals becoming more nocturnal due to human activity, study suggests
Expanding human activity is causing other mammals to become more nocturnal, which could have a profound impact on individual species, according to a study published in Science. "If you have an animal that typically splits its activity 50-50 between the day and the night, that means it would then become 68% nocturnal [due to humans] -- so that's pretty striking," said lead researcher Kaitlyn Gaynor.
Scientific American online (6/14) 
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Science in the News
Farming during Bronze Age changed soil's nitrogen composition
Farmers who worked the land in Ireland during the Bronze Age altered the chemistry of the soil there, according to findings in Science Advances. "In the Bronze Age, you get these prolonged, deep shifts in the nitrogen composition of the soils due to human activity that never really go away," said zooarchaeologist Sarah McClure, who wasn't involved in the study.
Gizmodo (6/13) 
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Spiders spin extremely thin sheets to help them move through air
Contrary to the belief that spiders "fly" with the help of just a couple of fibers, a new study in PLOS Biology shows they make triangular sheets out of ballooning fibers that are almost invisible. The sheets are largely made from silk only 200 nanometers thick.
New Scientist (free content) (6/14) 
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Kilauea's lava producing strands of Pele's hair glass
Thin strands of glass known as Pele's hair are accumulating on the Big Island of Hawaii as a result of bursting bubbles of gas in lava produced by the Kilauea volcano. "The skin of the bursting bubbles flies out, and some of the skin becomes stretched into these very long threads," said geologist Don Swanson.
LiveScience (6/14) 
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Researchers developing tiny 3D-printed magnetic robots
Tiny, pliable robots that are controlled by magnets and can maneuver in tight spaces are being created using a 3D printer and special magnetic inks. The robots are intended for a variety of tasks, including medical procedures, according to a description of the process published in Nature.
National Geographic online (6/13) 
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Tiny, amber-encased frog fossils from Cretaceous period found
The fossils of four small rainforest frogs that lived 99 million years ago during the Cretaceous period have been found encased in amber in Myanmar. The specimens include a new species, Electrorana limoae, and are described in a study in Scientific Reports.
National Geographic online (6/14) 
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Type 2 diabetes may increase likelihood of later Parkinson's
Individuals with type 2 diabetes were 32% more likely to develop Parkinson's disease later in life, compared with those who didn't have diabetes, University College London researchers reported in Neurology. The findings also showed a fourfold and 49% increased odds of Parkinson's among those with diabetes ages 25 to 44 and those who already had diabetes-related complications, respectively.
HealthDay News (6/13) 
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Study explores role of exosomes in Alzheimer's
Swedish researchers found that the brains of deceased individuals with Alzheimer's disease had increased amyloid-beta protein buildup in their exosomes, which can transport amyloid-beta between neurons, compared with the brains of those without Alzheimer's, but suppressing exosome formation, release or absorption curbed the proliferation of amyloid-beta. The findings in the journal Acta Neuropathologica "imply that exosomes are centrally involved in Alzheimer's disease and that they could serve as targets for development of new diagnostic and therapeutic principles," researchers wrote.
Newsweek (6/14),  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (6/14) 
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Funding Watch
$14.5M in funding to help Benchling simplify scientific collaboration
Benchling has raised $14.5 million to develop tools to make collaboration among scientists simpler. The ultimate goal is a platform to help design and document experiments, manage inventory and search information.
TechCrunch (6/14) 
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Sigma Xi News
Call for Abstracts for Big Data Symposia
The Sigma Xi Annual Meeting program committee invites researchers worldwide to submit abstracts for oral and poster presentations, panel discussions and workshops reporting on the methodologies, applications and ethics of big data across research disciplines. Abstracts are invited in the following categories: big data in biology and medicine; big data in physics and astronomy; big data in climate, energy and the environment; communicating science in the era of big data; and ethics and the responsible use of data. Abstracts are due June 25 for events that will take place Oct. 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in California.
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There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
Nelson Mandela,
activist and political leader
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