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Mind over gray matter: new map lays out brain's cerebral cortex
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Neuroscientists acting as cartographers of the human mind have devised the most comprehensive map ever made of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher cognitive functions such as abstract thought, language and memory. Using MRI images from the brains of 210 people, the researchers said on Wednesday they were able to pinpoint 180 distinct areas in the cerebral cortex, the brain's thin, wrinkly outermost layer made of so-called gray matter. The map could assist in the study of brain maladies such as autism, schizophrenia, dementia and epilepsy, and shed light on the differences between the brains of people with such conditions and healthy people, the researchers said.
China completes world's largest amphibious aircraft: Xinhua
China has completed production of the world's largest amphibious aircraft after seven years of work, which it plans to use to perform marine rescue missions and fight forest fires, the Xinhua news agency reported. The AG600, which is about the size of a Boeing 737 and was developed by state aircraft maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), rolled off a production line in the southern city of Zhuhai on Saturday, Xinhua said quoting the firm. AVIC deputy general manager, Geng Rugang, said the plane was "the latest breakthrough in China's aviation industry." A plan for the development and production of the AG600 received government approval in 2009.
Stunning aurora footage captured from ISS
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams shared a stunning aurora display on Sunday as he passed over the Earth. The U.S. Army Colonel's footage showed the green lights flashing across the sky as he passed over them onboard the International Space Station.
Newly developed wheel converts any bicycle into an electric vehicle
Right off the bat, Michael Burtov said he and his team at technology startup GeoOrbital did not re-invent the wheel. After two years and five prototypes, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup has developed a new type of electric bicycle wheel that steered the company into crowdfunding stardom raising more than $1.2 million at a record-setting pace on Kickstarter. The newly developed bicycle wheel has the major components of an electric vehicle – a 500 watt motor, a lithium battery and a suit of electronics, all arranged to fit perfectly into the radial of a wheel made out of high density foam to avoid a flat. “The unique thing about this wheel is that we rearranged it," Michael Burtov, the CEO & Founder of GeoOrbital said.
Fish can recognise human faces, study finds
By Matthew Stock Scientists have shown for the first time how a species of tropical fish can distinguish between human faces. The archerfish used in experiments could demonstrate the ability to a high degree of accuracy; despite lacking the crucial neocortex part of the brain which other animals use for sophisticated visual recognition. ...
Alcohol Can Cause Certain Cancers, Study Says
Drinking alcohol may cause seven different types of cancer, a new meta-analysis finds. Previous studies have found an association between drinking alcohol and a higher risk of developing certain cancers, according to the study. In the new meta-analysis, published today (July 21) in the journal Addiction, researchers looked at the major review studies done over the last decade on alcohol and cancer, including reviews from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Human Gut Microbes Took Root Before We Were Human
The relationship between humans and the bacteria in our guts extends far back into the past — to the time before modern humans even existed, a new study finds. Microbes in two bacterial families — Bacteroidaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae, which are present in humans and African apes — likely colonized the guts of a shared ancestor of both groups around 15 million years ago, the researchers discovered. The researchers' genetic data also tell a story of parallel evolution — in the microbes, and in the primate hosts they inhabited.
Food for Thought: Americans Just Can't Stop Throwing Out Food
Food waste is piling up in America, and although the vast majority of Americans feel bad about throwing out food, most of us also think it would be hard to reduce the amount of food we throw away, a new survey finds. The survey of 500 people in the U.S. found that 77 percent of respondents said they felt guilty about throwing away food. In addition to being a waste of resources, throwing away food has a negative impact on the environment, according to the study, published today (July 21) in the journal PLOS ONE.
Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos
Early Monday (Nov. 23), the private spaceflight company Blue Origin made a major stride in the pursuit of fully reusable rockets, when it launched an uncrewed vehicle into space and then soft-landed the rocket booster on the ground. "It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's founder, speaking about the landing in a press briefing yesterday (Nov. 24). "And my teammates here at Blue Origin, I could see felt the same way.
Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in Space
Thanksgiving in space will be a lot like the holiday down here on the ground — minus the gravity, of course. Like most Americans, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren have Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) off, and they'll spend the day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) watching football and enjoying a turkey-centric feast, agency officials said. Kelly and Lindgren gave viewers a look at that feast in a special Thanksgiving video this week, breaking out bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin.
Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand
By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.
Swimming-Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand
By Alan Baldwin LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.
Parasite Evolution: Here's How Some Animals Became Moochers
Nobody likes a mooch, but new research finds that grifting off others is a sound evolutionary strategy. Parasitism — a survival strategy that involves hijacking a host's nutrients for one's own benefit — has emerged in the animal kingdom at least 223 times, according to a study published July 19 in the journal Biology Letters. The estimate of 223 independent origins of parasitism is nearly four times higher than the previous estimate of around 60.
Scientists hunt 'anti-evolution' drugs in new cancer fight
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists are opening a new front in the war on cancer with plans to develop "anti-evolution" drugs to stop tumour cells from developing resistance to treatment. Britain's Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), one of the world's top cancer centres, said on Friday its initiative was the first to have at its heart the target of overcoming cancer evolution and drug resistance. In the same way that bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, cancer cells also change to evade the medicines used to fight them, leading to "survival of the nastiest".
Brazil scientists find Zika traces in Culex mosquitoes in wild
Brazilian researchers on Thursday said they found signs of the Zika virus in a common mosquito that is a separate species from the insect known to be the primary means of transmission. The scientists, from a leading Brazilian research institute known as the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, discovered the Zika traces in Culex mosquitoes captured in and around the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife, capital of the state that was hit hardest by the Zika outbreak since last year. In March, the same researchers said they had successfully transmitted the Zika virus to Culex mosquitoes in the lab, but were not yet sure at the time whether the species could carry the virus naturally.
Scientists looking for invisible dark matter can't find any
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have come up empty-handed in their latest effort to find elusive dark matter, the plentiful stuff that helps galaxies like ours form.
Kickstarter Project Aims to 'Back Up Humanity' in Cosmic Cloud
"We sometimes use the phrase, 'We want to back up humanity,' which is not a joke — we want to do this," project co-founder Philip Lubin, a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Space.com. Indeed, Lubin, co-founder Travis Brashears (a physics undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley) and their colleagues are looking to the masses for funding, via a Kickstarter campaign that launched today (July 18). This money will be used to launch a "humanity chip" full of images and other data provided by Kickstarter contributors to low-Earth orbit, likely in mid-2017, project team members said.
Weird Science on SpaceX Dragon Is Tiny, Melty, Beating and Radioactive
SpaceX's ninth commercial cargo mission, launching early Monday (July 18), is lugging a selection of strange science to the International Space Station — living, beating heart cells, microbes from a nuclear disaster, a tiny DNA sequencer and more. The six crewmembers on the station have been preparing for the supply ship's arrival early on Wednesday, July 20, when NASA astronaut (and current space station commander) Jeff Williams will grapple the craft with the space station's 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm. Then, once the craft is berthed to the space station, the real work will begin: Over the next five weeks, the station crew will unload its provisions, including more than 2,2000 lbs. (1,000 kilograms) of research supplies and science experiments.
Zika Outbreak Could Be Over in 3 Years, Study Predicts
The current Zika outbreak taking place in much of South and Central America will be largely over in three years' time, a new study predicts. "The current explosive epidemic will burn itself out due to a phenomenon called herd immunity," Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London's School of Public Health, said in a statement. "Because the virus is unable to infect the same person twice — thanks to the immune system generating antibodies to kill it — the epidemic reaches a stage where there are too few people left to infect for transmission to be sustained," Ferguson said.
Female doctors, scientists, welders among 11 new emojis
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Female professionals will soon be better represented in emoji form.