Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2012)

Science news and science current events archive 2012.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2012

La Draga Neolithic site in Banyoles yields the oldest Neolithic bow discovered in Europe
Researchers from UAB and CSIC have discovered the oldest Neolithic bow in Europe at La Draga Neolithic site in Banyoles. The complete bow measures 108 cm long and was constructed using yew wood. It is the newest addition to the discovery of fragments of two more bows in 2002 and 2005. The excavation includes the participation of archaeology students from UAB.

Study finds nearly 50% of retail firewood infested with insects
A new study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology reports that live insects were found in 47% of firewood bundles purchased from big box stores, gas stations and grocery stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

UCLA researchers to study depression in breast cancer survivors
UCLA researchers received a five-year, five million dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute that will fund a study seeking to uncover risk profiles of breast cancer survivors likely to suffer from depression.

Scripps researchers pinpoint hot spots as earthquake trigger points
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have come a step closer to deciphering some of the basic mysteries and mechanisms behind earthquakes and how average-sized earthquakes may evolve into massive earthquakes. In a paper published in Nature, Scripps scientists describe new information gleaned from laboratory experiments mimicking earthquake processes. The researchers discovered how fault zones weaken in select locations shortly after a fault reaches an earthquake tipping point.

Women less likely to endorse independence in gender-unequal societies
Women in countries with great gender inequality are more likely than men to support authoritarian values, according to a new study of 54 countries. The shift away from beliefs in independence and freedom is the result, social psychologists say, of authoritarianism helping such women cope with a threatening environment.

Managing soil copper in crops irrigated with cattle footbath wastewater
Getting a head start on stopping soil copper buildup will now be a bit easier, thanks to studies by US Department of Agriculture scientists. This research could help Pacific Northwest farmers develop long-term irrigation management strategies to protect crops from potentially dangerous soil copper levels.

Belief in God associated with ability to 'mentalize'
Individuals on the autism spectrum show deficits in understanding others' mental states, and in turn report decreased belief in God.

Sustainable land use strategies to support bioenergy described in Industrial Biotechnology journal
Applying 21st century tools and technologies to manage land use, maximize biomass production, and increase the efficiency of processes for extracting energy from renewable resources will enable the biofuels industry to overcome current challenges in bioenergy production, according to a comprehensive review article published in Industrial Biotechnology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

BRG1 mutations confer resistance to hormones in lung cancer
A study led by the research group on Genes and Cancer of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute has shown that the loss of BRG1 gene implies a lack of response of cells to these hormones, and therefore the tumor may continue growing. Study results have been published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Cleveland Clinic physician receives prominent award for outstanding contributions to MS research
Richard Ransohoff, M.D., a Cleveland Clinic physician and a researcher in the Neurosciences Department of Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, has been awarded the 2012 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research.

Bright X-ray flashes created in laser lab
A breakthrough in laser science was achieved in Vienna: in the labs of the Photonics Institute at the Vienna University of Technology, a new method of producing bright laser pulses at X-ray energies was developed. The radiation covers a broad energy spectrum and can therefore be used for a wide range of applications. Up until now, similar kinds of radiation could only be produced in particle accelerators (synchrotrons).

UF scientists find state record 87 eggs in largest python from Everglades
University of Florida researchers curating a 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python, the largest found in Florida, discovered 87 eggs in the snake, also a state record.

Biomarkers: New tools of modern medicine
Over the last few decades there has been an explosion in the discovery of biomarkers for diagnosis, disease monitoring, and prognostic evaluation. In the April issue of Translational Research, entitled

SwRI building 8 NASA nanosatellites to help predict extreme weather events on Earth
NASA has selected a team including Southwest Research Institute to develop the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, which will provide better prediction capabilities for extreme weather events, particularly the intensification of hurricanes.

Deep cleaning with carbon dioxide
The Fraunhofer Cleaning Technology Alliance FAR is celebrating its 10th birthday at the parts2clean trade fair in Stuttgart, from Oct. 23 - 25 2012 in Hall 1, Booth F610/G707. To mark the occasion, FAR will be presenting highlights from 10 years of the Fraunhofer alliance, along with the latest concepts, technologies, and test procedures for component cleaning and analysis techniques that can be integrated into the production process.

NSA Science of Security 'Lablet' established at NC State
North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carnegie Mellon University are each receiving an initial $2.5 million in grant funds from the US National Security Agency to stimulate the creation of a more scientific basis for the design and analysis of trusted systems.

Biochip measures glucose in saliva, not blood
Engineers at Brown University have designed a biological device that can measure glucose concentrations in human saliva. The technique could eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood to check their glucose levels. The biochip uses plasmonic interferometers and could be used to measure a range of biological and environmental substances. Results are published in Nano Letters.

OceanScope: Private-science collaboration to provide critical ocean information
A partnership between the ocean-observing community and the global shipping industry will create a systematic long-term study of the ocean water column from surface to depth. The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research/International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans Working Group 133, established the rationale for the project using information from a long-term program between University of Miami and Royal Caribbean.

Global health priorities should shift to preventing risky behaviors in adolescence: UW professor
As childhood and adolescent deaths from infectious diseases have declined worldwide, policymakers are shifting attention to preventing deaths from noncommunicable causes, such as drug and alcohol use, mental health problems, obesity, traffic crashes, violence and unsafe sex practices.

New under the sun: Recurrent genetic mutations in melanoma
Melanoma -- the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer -- has long been linked to time spent in the sun. Now a team led by scientists from the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has sequenced the whole genomes of 25 metastatic melanoma tumors, confirming the role of chronic sun exposure and revealing new genetic changes important in tumor formation.

Who's the boss? Research shows cells influence their own destiny
In a major shake-up of scientists' understanding of what determines the fate of cells, researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have shown that cells have some control over their own destiny.

Wearing 2 different hats: Moral decisions may depend on the situation
An individual's sense of right or wrong may change depending on their activities at the time -- and they may not be aware of their own shifting moral integrity -- according to a new study looking at why people make ethical or unethical decisions.

Finding reason in delusion
A new study from Prof. Jiska Cohen-Mansfield of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine suggests that many delusions experienced by older patients may have a basis in reality and could be more effectively treated through behavioral therapy than by medications. A better understanding of these delusions, she says, has direct implications for the care of those who suffer from dementia.

A giant puzzle with billions of pieces
Day after day, legions of microorganisms work to produce energy from waste in biogas plants. Researchers from Bielefeld University's Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) are taking a close look to find out which microbes do the best job. They are analyzing the entire genetic information of the microbial communities in selected biogas plants. From the beginning of 2013, the Californian Joint Genome Institute will undertake the sequencing required. The biocomputational analysis will be performed at CeBiTec.

LiDAR technology reveals faults near Lake Tahoe
Results of a new US Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada, and could potentially generate earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.3 to 6.9.

Plants in space!
How plants handle stress in space and what astronauts can learn from them is the subject of a new study at Michigan State University. Federica Brandizzi, Michigan State University plant biologist, will use a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to shed light on how plants and humans can adapt to handle the stress of long-term space missions.

Georgia State physicist, international researchers discover fastest light-driven process
A discovery that promises transistors -- the fundamental part of all modern electronics -- controlled by laser pulses that will be 10,000 faster than today's fastest transistors has been made by a Georgia State University professor and international researchers.

The MIRI has 2 faces
A short new video takes viewers behind the scenes with the MIRI or the Mid-Infrared Instrument that will fly on-board NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. MIRI is a state-of-the-art infrared instrument that will allow scientists to study distant objects in greater detail than ever before.

UN emission market needs urgent reform
The United Nations global carbon market requires substantial reform because it too often fails to support the projects and people it is meant to help, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Council.

U-M Health and Retirement Study adds genetic data to NIH database
In an important expansion of social science research to include biologic and genetic data in addition to traditional survey and experimental data, the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, a 20-year nationwide survey of the health, economic and social status of older Americans conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research, has added genetic information from 12,500 consenting participants to the online genetics database of the National Institutes of Health.

SwRI to build miniature solar observatory for manned suborbital flight
Southwest Research Institute has received funding from NASA to build a miniature, portable solar observatory for developing and testing innovative instrumentation in suborbital flight.

Study of Alzheimer's-related protein in healthy adults may shed light on earliest signs of disease
Researchers from the Center for Vital Longevity at The University of Texas at Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center have completed a large-scale neuroimaging study of healthy adults from age 30 to 90 that measured beta-amyloid protein -- a substance whose toxic buildup in the brain is a diagnostic marker for Alzheimer's disease. Their findings reveal that high levels of amyloid may have negative effects on cognitive function even in healthy adults.

Study posits a theory of moral behavior
Why do some people behave morally while others do not? Sociologists at the University of California, Riverside and California State University, Northridge have developed a theory of the moral self that may help explain the ethical lapses in the banking, investment and mortgage-lending industries that nearly ruined the US economy.

G protein-coupled receptor mediates the action of castor oil
Action mechanism of one of the oldest drugs known to man elucidated.

The power to heal at the tips of your fingers
The intricate properties of the fingertips have been mimicked and recreated using semiconductor devices in what researchers hope will lead to the development of advanced surgical gloves.

New drug for advanced melanoma offers potential breakthrough in treatment of brain metastases
Results of a Phase I trial published in this week's Lancet show substantial shrinking of metastatic tumors in patients treated with a new drug, dabrafenib, that blocks the activity of the cancer-causing mutated form of the BRAF gene, which occurs in about half of melanomas. Dabrafenib also showed the most activity of any systemic treatment to date against secondary melanoma tumors in the brain.

Climate change threatens giant pandas' bamboo buffet -- and survival
China's endangered wild pandas may need new dinner reservations - and quickly - based on models that indicate climate change may kill off swaths of bamboo that pandas need to survive.

New 3D map of massive galaxies and black holes offers clues to dark matter, dark energy
Astronomers have constructed the largest-ever three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes, which will help the investigation of the mysterious

VLT takes most detailed infrared image of the Carina Nebula
ESO's Very Large Telescope has delivered the most detailed infrared image of the Carina Nebula stellar nursery taken so far. Many previously hidden features, scattered across a spectacular celestial landscape of gas, dust and young stars, have emerged. This is one of the most dramatic images ever created by the VLT.

Unraveling intricate interactions, 1 molecule at a time
In a key step towards the design of better organic electronic devices, a Columbia Engineering team has succeeded in performing the first quantitative characterization of van der Waals interactions at metal/organic interfaces at the single-molecule level. In a study published Aug. 12 in Nature Materials, the researchers reveal the existence of two distinct binding regimes in gold-molecule-gold single-molecule junctions, using molecules containing nitrogen atoms at their extremities that are attracted to gold surfaces.

White shark diets vary with age and among individuals
White sharks, the largest predatory sharks in the ocean, are thought of as apex predators that feed primarily on seals and sea lions. But a new study by researchers at UC Santa Cruz shows surprising variability in the dietary preferences of individual sharks.

UK hotel industry alive with innovation
Large hotel chains are quick to adopt and adapt innovations developed in other industries, while smaller hotels make almost continual incremental changes in response to customers' needs. The UK hotel industry is alive with innovation and new ways of improving service for customers, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council has found.

Drug fails to curb heart bypass complications, but surgery gets safer
A drug designed to shield the heart from injury during bypass surgery failed to reduce deaths, strokes and other serious events among patients at high risk of complications, according to a large, prospective study lead by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

University of Tennessee supercomputer sets world record for energy efficiency
An Appro Xtreme-X Supercomputer named Beacon, deployed by the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS) of the University of Tennessee, tops the current Green500 list, which ranks the world's fastest supercomputers based on their power efficiency.

Church-going teens go further with school
A national study found religiously-affiliated youth are 40 percent more likely to graduate high school than their unaffiliated peers and 70 percent more likely to enroll in college.

Declines in Caribbean coral reefs pre-date damage resulting from climate change
The decline of Caribbean coral reefs has been linked to the recent effects of human-induced climate change. However, new research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests an even earlier cause. The bad news - humans are still to blame. The good news - relatively simple policy changes regarding land use and fishing activity can hinder further coral reef decline.

36 in one fell swoop -- researchers observe 'impossible' ionization
Using the world's most powerful X-ray laser in California, an international research team discovered a surprising behaviour of atoms: with a single X-ray flash, the group led by Daniel Rolles from the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg (Germany) was able to kick a record number of 36 electrons at once out of a xenon atom. According to theoretical calculations, these are significantly more than should be possible at this X-ray energy.

Researchers develop novel 3-D culture system for inflammatory breast cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is a very rare and aggressive disease. To understand how this type of cancer spreads, it's crucial to characterize the interactions between cancer cells and their 3-D environment. Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have developed a novel, 3-D culture system that mimics the environment surrounding these cancer cells. This model could be used to test new anticancer drugs capable of inhibiting the spread of IBC tumors.

Insect scientists to meet in Lincoln, Neb., in June
More than 300 entomologists from the United States and Canada will attend the 67th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America's North Central Branch in downtown Lincoln, Neb., June 3-6, 2012, at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

Elsevier to publish International Review of Economics Education beginning in January 2013
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce that beginning in January 2013 it will publish the International Review of Economics Education. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to