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Astronomers discover first self-lensing binary star system

(Phys.org) —A pair of astronomers at the University of Washington has discovered the first known instance of a self-lensing binary-star system. In their paper published in the journal Science, Ethan Kruse and Eric Agol describe how they happened across the previously theorized system while looking for undiscovered planets.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Astronomy & Space, Blog

 

Researchers create methylation maps of Neanderthals and Denisovans, compare them to modern humans

(Phys.org) —A team of Israeli, Spanish and German researchers has for the first time created a map of gene expression in Neanderthals and Denisovans and has compared them with modern humans. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they applied epigentics to the study of our two closest known ancestors and discovered variations that might account for their differences in body shape and susceptibility to some modern neurological diseases.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog, Other Sciences

 

Storms threaten second launch try to space station

SpaceX is back on the launch pad in hopes of making a critical delivery to the International Space Station.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Astronomy & Space, Blog

 

‘Dressed’ laser aimed at clouds may be key to inducing rain, lightning

The adage "Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it," may one day be obsolete if researchers at the University of Central Florida's College of Optics & Photonics and the University of Arizona further develop a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog, Physics

 

Study finds children use traditional and digital books for different purposes

A furious debate has been raging for some years now between adults. Are you a Kindle lover or a devotee of the good, old-fashioned book? As the e-book spreads into children's publishing, some look in terror at the thought of our children forgetting what an actual book is as they fall for their new devices.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog, Technology

 

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily fit in the same binocular field of view.  The twofer features Ceres (biggest) and Vesta (brightest) which are also the prime targets of NASA's Dawn Mission. Now en route to a Ceres rendezvous next February, Dawn orbited Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012 and sent back spectacular photos of two vast impact basins, craters stained black by carbon-rich asteroids and parallel troughs that stretch around the 330-mile-wide world like rubber bands.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Astronomy & Space, Blog

 

Researcher finds hidden efficiencies in computer architecture

The computer is one of the most complex machines ever devised and most of us only ever interact with its simplest features. For each keystroke and web-click, thousands of instructions must be communicated in diverse machine languages and millions of calculations computed.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog, Technology

 

3 Qs: Economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues

How can scholars get traction on environmental problems, particularly those relating to pollution? In an essay appearing in this week's issue of the journal Science, MIT economist Michael Greenstone, along with co-authors Francesca Dominici and Cass Sunstein of Harvard University, make the case for "quasi-experiments," or "natural experiments," which have gained prominence in other domains of the social sciences. Environmental economics, they suggest, can rely increasingly on quasi-experiments to sharpen its conclusions about which kinds of environmental action are most cost-effective. Greenstone sat down with MIT News to discuss the subject.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog, Other Sciences

 

New insights into how different tissues establish their biological and functional identities

The cell is an immensely complex biological system involving a multitude of components that work together to drive the cellular machine. Identifying how all of the components fit together in any given cell type is a challenge in itself—integrating the pieces into a functional whole across a wide variety of cell types is an undertaking on a different scale entirely. Yet this is the ambitious goal of the international FANTOM5 consortium, led by Alistair Forrest, Piero Carninci and colleagues from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies and Yoshihide Hayashizaki from the RIKEN Preventive Medicine & Diagnosis Innovation Program, which has made important progress in assembling a functional blueprint for the myriad genomic elements that control gene expression across hundreds of different mammalian cell types.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Biology, Blog

 

Researcher develops novel wastewater treatment fabric

Each year in India, waterborne diseases sicken approximately 37.7 million people. One and a half million children die of diarrhea alone, according to a report by WaterAid.
 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Blog, Chemistry