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Science News Archive - March 12, 2008

By Singleton, Scott Karnes and Live Oak counties and surrounding areas in South Texas (fig.

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Researchers from EPFL and Caltech have made an important neurobiological discovery of how humans learn to predict risk. The research, appearing in the March 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shed light on why certain kinds of risk, notably financial risk, are often underestimated, and whether abnormal behavior such as addiction (e.g. to gambling or drugs) could be caused by an erroneous evaluation of risk.

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Canada’s far north region, once known for its gold mining, is now pulling diamonds from the ground, and unearthing some of the purest diamond deposits ever found.

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A cup of black tea could be the next line of defense in the threat of bio-terrorism according to new international research.

Biologist Pablo Cermeño Villanueva defended his PhD thesis at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), providing a tool to determine the age of anchovies with greater accuracy on a monthly or even weekly basis, thus enabling studies of the earliest phases of life to be undertaken.

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Competing against older brothers and sisters can be tough work, as any youngest child will tell you. But new research from a biologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that when it comes to some birds, you should reserve any underdog sympathies for the first born – or rather, first laid – siblings as well.

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A research team supervised by Université Laval scientist Marc-André Sirard has identified genetic markers that allow the selection of eggs with the best chance of leading to successful pregnancy after in vitro fertilization (IVF). This finding could both increase the success rate of single embryo transfer and diminish the risk of multiple pregnancies. The details of the method developed by the researchers, for which an international patent application has been filed, are explained on the website of the scientific journal Human Reproduction.

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A researcher from the Physical Anthropological Laboratory of the University of Granada has developed the most complete database today to identify human remains and bodies in advanced states of decomposition using 3D computerized techniques for facial reconstruction. This method will reduce the cost and time needed in identification processes and it will avoid the need to perform an expensive, unnecessary DNA test since facial reconstruction will provide additional information that will be used to decide whether it is advisable to carry out the DNA test or not.

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Ten questions driving the geological and planetary sciences were identified today in a new report by the National Research Council. Aimed at reflecting the major scientific issues facing earth science at the start of the 21st century, the questions represent where the field stands, how it arrived at this point, and where it may be headed.

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A wheat disease that could destroy most of the world’s main wheat crops could strike south Asia’s vast wheat fields two years earlier than research had suggested, leaving millions to starve.

Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'