Futurity

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  • This is probably how fish evolved to walk on land

    Futurity
    Cynthia Lee-McGill
    29 Aug 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Researchers are using a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first tried to walk out of the water. Polypterus is an African fish that can breathe air, “walk” on land, and looks much like those ancient fishes that evolved into tetrapods. About 400 million years ago, a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods—today’s amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain…
  • Is the U.S. Southwest headed for a ‘megadrought’?

    Futurity » Earth & Environment
    Blaine Friedlander-Cornell
    27 Aug 2014 | 8:51 am
    The chance that the southwestern United States will experience a decade-long drought sometime in the next century is at least 50 percent, researchers say. Further, there is a 20 to 50 percent chance of a “megadrought”—one that could last up to 35 years. “For the southwestern US, I’m not optimistic about avoiding real megadroughts,” says Toby Ault, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University. Related Articles On FuturityPenn StateReading leaves to predict climate changeUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraAmazon basin shows…
  • Toxic metals in E-cigarette smoke raise red flags

    Futurity » Health & Medicine
    Robert Perkins-USC
    29 Aug 2014 | 8:18 am
    While smoke from electronic cigarettes may not have cancer-causing agents, it does have higher levels of some toxic metals compared to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarette smoke contains the toxic element chromium, which is absent from traditional cigarettes, as well as nickel at levels four times higher than normal cigarettes. Several other toxic metals such as lead and zinc were also found in second-hand e-cigarette smoke—though in concentrations lower than for normal cigarettes. “Our results demonstrate that overall electronic cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular…
  • This is probably how fish evolved to walk on land

    Futurity » Science & Technology
    Cynthia Lee-McGill
    29 Aug 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Researchers are using a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first tried to walk out of the water. Polypterus is an African fish that can breathe air, “walk” on land, and looks much like those ancient fishes that evolved into tetrapods. About 400 million years ago, a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods—today’s amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain…
  • Parenting research often skips dads

    Futurity » Society & Culture
    Marilyn Wilkes-Yale
    27 Aug 2014 | 7:47 am
    Not enough parenting interventions target men or make a dedicated effort to include them, despite fathers’ substantial impact on child development, well-being, and family functioning, researchers report. The team’s review of global publications found only 199 that offered evidence on father participation or impact. Their findings and a related commentary appear online in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of LeedsKids will eat veggies if you start early and don't give upUniversity of MissouriThe economics of declining birth…
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    Futurity

  • This is probably how fish evolved to walk on land

    Cynthia Lee-McGill
    29 Aug 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Researchers are using a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first tried to walk out of the water. Polypterus is an African fish that can breathe air, “walk” on land, and looks much like those ancient fishes that evolved into tetrapods. About 400 million years ago, a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods—today’s amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain…
  • Toxic metals in E-cigarette smoke raise red flags

    Robert Perkins-USC
    29 Aug 2014 | 8:18 am
    While smoke from electronic cigarettes may not have cancer-causing agents, it does have higher levels of some toxic metals compared to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarette smoke contains the toxic element chromium, which is absent from traditional cigarettes, as well as nickel at levels four times higher than normal cigarettes. Several other toxic metals such as lead and zinc were also found in second-hand e-cigarette smoke—though in concentrations lower than for normal cigarettes. “Our results demonstrate that overall electronic cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular…
  • Wine goes bad when microbes get ‘talking’

    Pat Bailey-UC Davis
    29 Aug 2014 | 7:45 am
    When wine fermentation gets “stuck,” the yeast turning grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide shut down too soon—and bacteria that eat the leftover sugar spoil the wine. Researchers have discovered a biochemical communication system behind this chronic problem. Related Articles On FuturityStanford UniversityHoney bees get picky over nectar choicesUniversity of California, BerkeleyBiofuel from rock 'em, sock 'em yeast RutgersWhy wine and cheese are a classic combo Working through a prion—an abnormally shaped protein that can reproduce itself—the system enables bacteria…
  • Did exploding comet leave trail of nanodiamonds?

    Jim Barlow-Oregon
    29 Aug 2014 | 6:51 am
    Tiny diamonds invisible to the human eye—but confirmed by microscope—add weight to a theory first proposed in 2007 that a comet that exploded over North America sparked catastrophic climate change 12,800 years ago. A new paper published the Journal of Geology reports the definitive presence of nanodiamonds at some 32 sites in 11 countries on three continents in layers of darkened soil at the Earth’s Younger Dryas boundary. A map of the area in the Younger Dryas boundary field covered by the research. (Credit: U. Oregon) The boundary layer is widespread. The nanodiamonds, which often…
  • Why trying to listen makes us freeze in place

    Kelly Rae Chi-Duke
    29 Aug 2014 | 5:15 am
    To listen to someone carefully, we first stop talking and then stop moving entirely. This strategy helps us hear better because it cuts unwanted sounds generated by our movements. This interplay between movement and hearing also has a counterpart deep in the brain. Indirect evidence has long suggested that the brain’s motor cortex, which controls movement, somehow influences the auditory cortex, which gives rise to our conscious perception of sound. A new study, appearing online in Nature, reveals exactly how the motor cortex, seemingly in anticipation of movement, can tweak the volume…
 
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    Futurity » Earth & Environment

  • Is the U.S. Southwest headed for a ‘megadrought’?

    Blaine Friedlander-Cornell
    27 Aug 2014 | 8:51 am
    The chance that the southwestern United States will experience a decade-long drought sometime in the next century is at least 50 percent, researchers say. Further, there is a 20 to 50 percent chance of a “megadrought”—one that could last up to 35 years. “For the southwestern US, I’m not optimistic about avoiding real megadroughts,” says Toby Ault, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University. Related Articles On FuturityPenn StateReading leaves to predict climate changeUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraAmazon basin shows…
  • Is ‘down the drain’ ibuprofen making fish sick?

    Caron Lett-York
    26 Aug 2014 | 12:21 pm
    Ibuprofen appears to be having a negative effect on the health of fish in nearly 50 percent of the rivers involved in a new study. Using a new modeling approach, researchers estimate the levels of 12 pharmaceutical compounds in 3,112 stretches of river in the UK, which together receive inputs from 21 million people. Related Articles On FuturityStanford UniversityHow crude oil exposure damages fish heartsUniversity of IllinoisSome fish are born to be caughtStanford UniversityMosaics tell 100,000-year-old fish taleCornell UniversityAncestor with an electrifying sixth senseDuke UniversityGut…
  • Fish teeth show winners of massive die-off

    Jim Shelton-Yale
    26 Aug 2014 | 5:43 am
    An analysis of ancient teeth and shark scales suggests that fish populations in the Pacific Ocean were largely unaffected by a mass extinction event 66 million years ago. Known as the Cretaceous-Palaeogene extinction, the event at the end of the Cretaceous period killed off roughly three-quarters of the animal and plant species on the planet. In Earth’s oceans, the extinction of phytoplankton created a ripple effect that ravaged prey and predator species throughout the food chain. “The Pacific just looks different during this period,” says Pincelli Hull, a Yale…
  • Sickly reefs smell bad to baby coral and fish

    John Toon-Georgia Tech
    26 Aug 2014 | 4:29 am
    Unhealthy coral reefs give off chemical cues that repulse young coral and fish, discouraging them from moving into the neighborhood. Coral reefs are declining around the world. Overfishing is one cause of coral collapse, depleting the herbivorous fish that remove the seaweed that sprouts in damaged reefs. Once seaweed takes hold of a reef, a tipping point can occur where coral growth is choked and new corals rarely settle. Related Articles On FuturityStanford UniversityToughest coral can take the heatTexas A&M UniversityOcean warming accelerated over past 100 yearsUniversity of…
  • Tourism and mining threaten tiny primate

    Brendan Lynch-KU
    25 Aug 2014 | 1:12 pm
    Genetic research could help save a tiny, carnivorous primate from the Philippines called the tarsier. “It’s really not like any animals that Americans are familiar with,” says Rafe Brown, curator-in-charge at the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute. “A tarsier has giant eyes and ears; an extremely cute, furry body; a long tail with a furry tuft at the end; and interesting expanded fingers and toe tips that look a bit like the disks on the digits of tree frogs.” Brown says the tarsier (tar-SEER) has become the “flagship” iconic species…
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    Futurity » Health & Medicine

  • Toxic metals in E-cigarette smoke raise red flags

    Robert Perkins-USC
    29 Aug 2014 | 8:18 am
    While smoke from electronic cigarettes may not have cancer-causing agents, it does have higher levels of some toxic metals compared to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarette smoke contains the toxic element chromium, which is absent from traditional cigarettes, as well as nickel at levels four times higher than normal cigarettes. Several other toxic metals such as lead and zinc were also found in second-hand e-cigarette smoke—though in concentrations lower than for normal cigarettes. “Our results demonstrate that overall electronic cigarettes seem to be less harmful than regular…
  • Insertable gel for women could deliver HIV drug

    Jeff Mulhollem-Penn State
    28 Aug 2014 | 1:24 pm
    Researchers have developed a vaginal suppository that, loaded with the antiviral drug Tenofovir, could help prevent the transmission of HIV and AIDS. The semi-soft suppository is made from the seaweed-derived food ingredient carrageenan. Women could use this method to protect against the spread of sexually transmitted infections during unprotected heterosexual intercourse, the researchers say. Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of PittsburghTo treat cystic fibrosis, drug mimics HIVUniversity of ChicagoLight gets twisted with nanoparticlesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillAIDS…
  • Monitor glaucoma with an eye implant and a phone

    Bjorn Carey-Stanford
    28 Aug 2014 | 9:22 am
    Lowering a patient’s internal eye pressure is currently the only way to treat glaucoma. A tiny eye implant paired with a smart phone could help doctors measure and lower eye pressure. For the 2.2 million Americans battling glaucoma, the main course of action for staving off blindness involves weekly visits to eye specialists who monitor—and control—increasing pressure within the eye. Related Articles On FuturityYale UniversityBirds see colors invisible to humansNew York UniversityStrike a pose. Computers are watchingBrown University‘Brain radio’ sensor lets subject move…
  • Photo app screens babies for jaundice

    Michelle Ma-Washington
    28 Aug 2014 | 8:28 am
    A new smartphone app can help parents and pediatricians recognize jaundice in newborn babies. Skin that turns yellow can be a sure sign that a newborn isn’t adequately eliminating the chemical bilirubin. But that discoloration is sometimes hard to see, and severe jaundice, left untreated, can harm the baby. Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of WashingtonBabies learn mother’s vowels in the wombMcGill UniversityStressed moms make baby squirrels grow fasterUniversity of Southern CaliforniaTurning off neurons makes cold-proof miceMichigan State UniversityA better way to estimate…
  • Drug combo heals wounds fast with less scarring

    Vanessa McMains-Johns Hopkins
    28 Aug 2014 | 8:13 am
    Doctors have stumbled onto a potential new use for two approved medications. When used in combination, they heal wounds more quickly with less scar tissue. In mice and rats, injecting the two drugs in combination speeds the healing of surgical wounds  by about one-quarter and significantly decreases scar tissue. Related Articles On FuturityMonash UniversityWomen: Hormone therapy won't harm your headYale UniversityBlood pressure meds may increase risk of fallsJohns Hopkins UniversityIs burnout putting patients at risk?University of Southern CaliforniaHow sweat glands could help fix…
 
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    Futurity » Science & Technology

  • This is probably how fish evolved to walk on land

    Cynthia Lee-McGill
    29 Aug 2014 | 1:45 pm
    Researchers are using a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first tried to walk out of the water. Polypterus is an African fish that can breathe air, “walk” on land, and looks much like those ancient fishes that evolved into tetrapods. About 400 million years ago, a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods—today’s amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain…
  • Wine goes bad when microbes get ‘talking’

    Pat Bailey-UC Davis
    29 Aug 2014 | 7:45 am
    When wine fermentation gets “stuck,” the yeast turning grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide shut down too soon—and bacteria that eat the leftover sugar spoil the wine. Researchers have discovered a biochemical communication system behind this chronic problem. Related Articles On FuturityVanderbilt UniversityTwig by twig, climbing Earth's 'Tree of Life'University of PennsylvaniaHow wine got to France 2500 years agoPrinceton UniversityYeast reveals secret of 'hitchhiker' mutationsUniversity of Texas at AustinWorms, plants, people: We are familyBrown University'Anything…
  • Did exploding comet leave trail of nanodiamonds?

    Jim Barlow-Oregon
    29 Aug 2014 | 6:51 am
    Tiny diamonds invisible to the human eye—but confirmed by microscope—add weight to a theory first proposed in 2007 that a comet that exploded over North America sparked catastrophic climate change 12,800 years ago. A new paper published the Journal of Geology reports the definitive presence of nanodiamonds at some 32 sites in 11 countries on three continents in layers of darkened soil at the Earth’s Younger Dryas boundary. A map of the area in the Younger Dryas boundary field covered by the research. (Credit: U. Oregon) The boundary layer is widespread. The nanodiamonds, which often…
  • Why trying to listen makes us freeze in place

    Kelly Rae Chi-Duke
    29 Aug 2014 | 5:15 am
    To listen to someone carefully, we first stop talking and then stop moving entirely. This strategy helps us hear better because it cuts unwanted sounds generated by our movements. This interplay between movement and hearing also has a counterpart deep in the brain. Indirect evidence has long suggested that the brain’s motor cortex, which controls movement, somehow influences the auditory cortex, which gives rise to our conscious perception of sound. A new study, appearing online in Nature, reveals exactly how the motor cortex, seemingly in anticipation of movement, can tweak the volume…
  • Neurons reveal the brain’s learning limit

    Shilo Rea-Carnegie Mellon
    28 Aug 2014 | 10:54 am
    Scientists have discovered a fundamental constraint in the brain that may explain why it’s easier to learn a skill that’s related to an ability you already have. For example, a trained pianist can learn a new melody easier than learning how to hit a tennis serve. As reported in Nature, the researchers found for the first time that there are limitations on how adaptable the brain is during learning and that these restrictions are a key determinant for whether a new skill will be easy or difficult to learn. Understanding how the brain’s activity can be “flexed”…
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    Futurity » Society & Culture

  • Parenting research often skips dads

    Marilyn Wilkes-Yale
    27 Aug 2014 | 7:47 am
    Not enough parenting interventions target men or make a dedicated effort to include them, despite fathers’ substantial impact on child development, well-being, and family functioning, researchers report. The team’s review of global publications found only 199 that offered evidence on father participation or impact. Their findings and a related commentary appear online in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Related Articles On FuturityUniversity of LeedsKids will eat veggies if you start early and don't give upUniversity of MissouriThe economics of declining birth…
  • Pot-smoking couples tend to be less violent

    Cathy Wilde-U. Buffalo
    27 Aug 2014 | 6:24 am
    A study of more than 600 married couples finds that the more often they smoked marijuana together, the less likely they were to engage in domestic violence. The study attempted to clarify inconsistent findings about domestic violence among pot-smoking couples that primarily has been based on a single point in time. “As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and the occurrence of violence within a year period. It does not examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time,”…
  • Can ‘experiential’ stuff let you buy happiness?

    Jared Wadley-Michigan
    26 Aug 2014 | 11:54 am
    Conventional wisdom says that buying experiences brings more happiness than buying material items. But, if you’re going to buy an object, pick ones that provide you with experiences, say researchers. Previous research compared how happy people feel from obtaining material items—purchases made in order “to have”—and from life experiences—purchases made in order “to do.” But this latest study examines people’s reactions to “experiential” products—purchases that combine material items and life experiences—on their well-being. Related…
  • Fewer overdose deaths in states with legal marijuana

    Susan Murrow-Johns Hopkins
    26 Aug 2014 | 6:03 am
    In 2010, states with legalized medical marijuana recorded about 1,700 fewer deaths from prescription painkiller abuse than were expected. While more research is needed, it is possible that the wider availability of medical marijuana for people in pain is reducing deaths by prescription opioid overdoses, researchers say. “Prescription drug abuse and deaths due to overdose have emerged as national public health crises,” says Colleen L. Barry, associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “As our awareness of the…
  • ‘Slacker girls’ get stuck in the middle

    Yasmin Anwar-UC Berkeley
    25 Aug 2014 | 7:35 am
    A high school subculture that encourages girls to be slackers may limit their social mobility later in life, experts say. Sociologist Michele Rossi studied white teenage girls in their last year of a well-funded high school. What she found was a group she dubbed “getting-by girls,” whose coping strategies include paying attention in class, placating teachers and other authority figures, copying one another’s schoolwork or cheating, avoiding challenges, and bringing home B-average report cards. Rossi says their slacker ways keep them from making the most of the academic…
 
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