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Latest Duke University Stories

2011-12-15 10:15:07

Shortcoming also may help explain how propaganda has contributed to torture and genocide A father in Louisiana bludgeoned and beheaded his disabled 7-year-old son last August because he no longer wanted to care for the boy. For most people, such a heinous act is unconscionable. But it may be that a person can become callous enough to commit human atrocities because of a failure in the part of the brain that's critical for social interaction. A new study by researchers at Duke...

2011-12-14 19:53:26

Discovery may be boon to engineers, manufacturers A stroll on the beach can mean sinking your toes into smooth sand or walking firm-footed on a surface that appears almost solid. While both properties are commonplace, exactly what it is that makes granular materials change from a flowing state to a “jammed,” or solid, state? Whether it´s sand on a beach or rice grains in a hopper, being able to predict the behavior of granular matter can help engineers and manufacturers of...

2011-12-14 19:42:38

It's easy to get in a jam. But it's much harder to explain exactly how or when it started. Scientists still aren't sure what causes clogs in flowing macroscopic particles, like corn, coffee beans and coal chunks. But new experiments by Duke physicist Robert Behringer and his colleagues suggest that when particles undergo a force called shear strain, they jam sooner than expected. The results appear in the Dec. 15 issue of Nature. Shear strain is sort of like cupping sand between your...

2011-12-13 11:23:11

Increased salinity and concentrations of trace elements in one West Virginia watershed have been tied directly to multiple surface coal mines upstream by a detailed new survey of stream chemistry. The Duke University team that conducted the study said it provides new evidence of the cumulative effects multiple mountaintop mining permits can have in a river network. "Our analysis of water samples from 23 sites along West Virginia's Upper Mud River and its tributaries shows that salinity and...

2011-12-13 01:06:50

If you're a red-headed guy with eight bulging eyes and a unibrow, size does indeed matter for getting the girl. More specifically, the bigger a male jumping spider's weapons appear to be, the more likely his rival will slink away without a fight, leaving the bigger guy a clear path to the waiting female. Duke University graduate student Cynthia Tedore, working with her dissertation advisor, visual ecologist Sönke Johnsen, wanted to know what visual signals matter most to...

2011-12-12 17:37:11

Microscopic water droplets jumping from one surface to another may hold the key to a wide array of more energy efficient products, ranging from large solar panels to compact laptop computers. Duke University engineers have developed a new way of producing thermal diodes to regulate heat by bleeding it away or keeping it in. The method solves several shortcomings of existing devices. While thermal diodes can be made from solid materials, these solid-state diodes are not nearly as...

2011-12-07 11:32:25

An attentive, nurturing mother may be able to help her children better resist the temptations of drug use later in life, according to a study in rats conducted by Duke University and the University of Adelaide in Australia. A rat mother's attention in early childhood actually changes the immune response in the brains of her pups by permanently altering genetic activity, according to Staci Bilbo, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, who led the research. High-touch...

2011-12-02 01:15:00

Clean energy can help meet growing electricity demand and minimize pollution in the Southern United States, but progress to adopt renewable energy strategies has been hindered by a number of myths, according to a new study by Duke and Georgia Tech researchers. These myths, encompassing both sides of the clean energy debate, may affect how the South responds to what is expected to be a 28 percent rise in population within the next 20 years. A study by researchers at Duke University and...

2011-11-23 12:04:13

Young girls have been viewed as far more savvy than boys at navigating the emotional pitfalls of friendships. But a new report shows that when friends let them down, girls are even more devastated than boys, researchers from Boston College and Duke University report in the journal Child Development. Researchers examined whether or not girls cope better than boys when a friend violates a core expectation of friendships. The study of fourth- and fifth-grade children found that these...


Word of the Day
mallemaroking
  • Nautical, the visiting and carousing of sailors in the Greenland ships.
This word is apparently from a confusion of two similar Dutch words: 'mallemerok,' a foolish woman, and 'mallemok,' a name for some persons among the crew of a whaling vessel.