Important regulator of immune system decoded

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:49pm
Our environment teems with microorganisms and viruses that are potentially harmful. The reason why we survive their daily attacks is the ability of the immune system to neutralize these invaders in numerous ways. Plasma cells are key players in this process. They fight infections and establish long-lasting protection against pathogens.
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How ants self-organize to build their nests

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:49pm
Ants collectively build nests whose size can reach several thousand times that of individual ants and whose architecture is sometimes highly complex. However, their ability to coordinate several thousand individuals when building their nests remains a mystery. To understand the mechanisms involved in this process, researchers combined behavioral analysis, 3D imaging and computational modeling techniques. Their work shows that ants self-organize by interacting with the structures they build thanks to the addition of a pheromone to their building material.
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Ending preventable stillbirths

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:49pm
Approximately 2.6 million babies were stillborn in 2015, or around 7200 every day globally. Falls in stillbirth rates since the year 2000 are failing to keep pace with falls in childhood and maternal mortality rates, say the authors of a new report.
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Making weak TB drugs strong again

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:44pm
Biophysicists have discovered why the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB) are naturally somewhat resistant to antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones. Their findings, based on mapping the detailed three-dimensional structure of the drugs interacting with an essential enzyme in the TB germ, also reveal why some TB drugs are more potent than others and suggest how drug developers can make fluoroquinolones more efficacious against mutations that make the lung disease drug resistant.
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Why Spiderman can't exist: Geckos are 'size limit' for sticking to walls

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:43pm
Latest research reveals why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls -- even larger climbers would require unmanageably large sticky footpads. Scientists estimate that a human would need adhesive pads covering 40 percent of their body surface in order to walk up a wall like Spiderman, and believe their insights have implications for the feasibility of large-scale, gecko-like adhesives.
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Easier diagnosis for fungal infection of the lungs

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:43pm
A new clinical imaging method may enable doctors to tackle one of the main killers of patients with weakened immune systems sooner and more effectively.
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Regular exercise critical for heart health, longevity

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:43pm
The majority of citizens in developed countries should not be concerned by potential harm from exercise but rather by the lack of exercise in their lives, according to a clinical perspective.
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Advice for prescribing antibiotics issued

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:43pm
New advice has been issued for prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTs) in adults. ARTIs, including the common cold, uncomplicated bronchitis, sore throat, and sinus infection, are the most common reason for doctor's office visits. An estimated 50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions may be unnecessary or inappropriate in the outpatient setting, which equates to over $3 billion in excess costs. Antibiotics also are responsible for the largest number of medication-related adverse events and the cause of about one in five visits to emergency departments for adverse drug reactions, say experts.
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Weekend catch-up sleep can reduce diabetes risk associated with sleep loss

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:43pm
Two consecutive nights of extended sleep, a typical weekend occurrence, appears to counteract the increased risk of diabetes associated with short-term sleep restriction during the work week, at least in lean, healthy, young men eating a controlled diet.
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Fraud Detected In Science Research That Suggested GMO Crops Were Harmful

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 11:25pm
An anonymous reader writes: Three science papers that had suggested that genetically modified crops were harmful to animals and have been used by activist groups to argue for their ban have been found to contain manipulated and possibly falsified data. Nature reports: "Papers that describe harmful effects to animals fed genetically modified (GM) crops are under scrutiny for alleged data manipulation. The leaked findings of an ongoing investigation at the University of Naples in Italy suggest that images in the papers may have been intentionally altered. The leader of the lab that carried out the work there says that there is no substance to this claim. The papers' findings run counter to those of numerous safety tests carried out by food and drug agencies around the world, which indicate that there are no dangers associated with eating GM food. But the work has been widely cited on anti-GM websites — and results of the experiments that the papers describe were referenced in an Italian Senate hearing last July on whether the country should allow cultivation of safety-approved GM crops. 'The case is very important also because these papers have been used politically in the debate on GM crops,' says Italian senator Elena Cattaneo, a neuroscientist at the University of Milan whose concerns about the work triggered the investigation.

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Whatsapp Will Become Free, Companies Can Pay To Reach Users

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 10:40pm
speedplane writes: The popular messaging service, Whatsapp, will soon become free (they previously charged $0.99 per year after the first). The troubling news is that to compensate for the lost revenue, companies will now be able to pay to contact users directly. "[Whatsapp founder] Mr. Koum said that his team was still experimenting with how such services could work, and that many companies were already using the messaging service, particularly in developing countries, to connect with mobile-savvy customers." If this smells like advertising, Whatsapp vehemently disagrees. A portion of their statement reads: "...people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today's announcement means we're introducing third-party ads. The answer is no."

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What's In a Tool? a Case For Made In the USA

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 9:57pm
szczys writes: You have the choice of buying a wrench made in the USA and one made in China. Which one should you buy? The question is not a straightforward one. Tools are judged by their ability to do the job repeatedly and without fail. To achieve this, only the best of design and manufacturing will do. But this is a high bar when you factor in price competition which often leads to outsourcing production. Gerrit Coetzee looks at this issue, comparing two instances of the same model of Crescent brand adjustable wrench; one a legacy manufactured in the USA, another outsourced for manufacture in China.

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Sensors Slip Into the Brain, Then Dissolve When Their Job Is Done

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 9:12pm
An anonymous reader writes: Silicon-based electronic circuits that operate flawlessly in the body for some number of days--soon weeks--and then harmlessly dissolve: they're what University of Illinois professor John Rogers says is the next frontier of electronics. Today he released news of successful animal tests on such transient electronics designed for use in brain implants, but says they could be used just about anywhere in the body. As these devices move into larger animal and eventually human tests, Rogers says he'll be working on the next generation--devices that intervene to accelerate healing or manage medical conditions, not just monitor them.

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AMD Rips 'Biased and Unreliable' Intel-Optimized SYSmark Benchmark

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 8:27pm
MojoKid writes: AMD is making a stink about SYSMark, a popular benchmarking program that's been around for many years, and one the chip designer says is not reliable. Rather than provide meaningful results and information, AMD claims SYSMark unfairly favors Intel products and puts too much emphasis on strict CPU performance above all else. John Hampton, director of AMD's client computing products, explained in a video why SYSMark itself is an unreliable metric of performance. He even brought up the "recent debacle" involving Volkswagon as proof that "information provided by even the most established organizations can be misleading." Salinas says SYSMark's focus on the CPU is so "excessive" that it's really only evaluating the processor, not the system as a whole. In comparison, PCMark 8 probes not only the CPU, but graphics and subsystems as well. In an attempt to drive the point home, AMD ran a set of custom scripts it developed based on Microsoft Office and timed how long it took each system to complete them. The Intel system took 61 seconds to finish the benchmark versus 64 seconds for the AMD platform, a difference of about 6-7 percent and in line with what PCMark 8 indicated, though Sysmark shows a stark delta of 50 percent in favor of Intel with comparable CPUs.

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Airbus Joins Uber For On-Demand Chopper Rides

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 7:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: Airbus is teaming up with Uber to provide on-demand helicopter rides, due to debut at the Sundance Film Festival which opens in Utah this month. The flight service will employ H125 and H130 aircraft to transport passengers, while Uber vehicles will ferry them to and from the helipad sites. A Utah-based firm, called Air Resources, will be coordinating the service. This is not the first time Uber has experimented with helicopter partnerships, transporting people via chopper ride at the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Cannes Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and from New York into the Hamptons in 2013.

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Interviews: Ask David Peterson About Inventing Languages

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 7:00pm
samzenpus writes: David J. Peterson is a language creator and author. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO's Game of Thrones, and more recently has created languages for the CW's The 100 and MTV's The Shannara Chronicles. His new book, The Art of Language Invention, details how to create a new language from scratch, and goes over some of the specific choices he made in creating the languages for Game of Thrones and Syfy's Defiance. David has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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Scientists demonstrate basics of nucleic acid computing inside cells

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 6:53pm
Using strands of nucleic acid, scientists have demonstrated basic computing operations inside a living mammalian cell. The research could lead to an artificial sensing system that could control a cell's behavior in response to such stimuli as the presence of toxins or the development of cancer.
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Blackouts in the brain: New complex systems perspective on Alzheimer's Disease

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 6:51pm
Alzheimer’s disease relentlessly targets large-scale brain networks that support the formation of new memories. However, it remains a mystery as to why the disease selectively targets memory-related brain networks and how this relates to misfolded proteins seen by pathologists at autopsy.
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Heightened ability to imagine odors linked to higher body weight

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 6:51pm
The ability to vividly imagine the smell of popcorn, freshly baked cookies and even non-food odors is greater in obese adults, new research suggests. Vivid mental imagery is a key factor in stimulating and maintaining food cravings, which can be induced by the thought, smell and sight of food, say authors of a new report on the work.
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No sex required

Science Daily - Mon, 18/01/2016 - 6:49pm
When a sperm and an egg cell merge a new life begins. This is the case in humans and in animals, but in principle also in plants. A team of biologists has discovered a gene trigger in the moss Physcomitrella patens that leads to offspring without fertilization. The researchers assume that this mechanism is conserved in evolution and holds the key to answer fundamental questions in biology.
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