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+ - Science still seen as male profession, according to international study of gende->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Close your eyes and imagine a scientist: peering into a telescope, flicking a glass vial in a lab, or sitting at a computer typing out a grant proposal. Did you picture a man or a woman? The answer depends on where you live, according to a new study. Researchers have found that people in some countries are much more likely to view science as a male profession, with the Netherlands coming in at the top of the list. Regardless of location, though, the stereotype persists that science is for men.
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+ - 'Prisonized' neighborhoods make ex-cons more likely to return to the slammer->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The gates at American prisons can seem like revolving doors. People come in, do their time, and—within 3 years—half are back behind bars, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. Now, a scientist says he has nailed down one potential risk factor. An intriguing natural experiment that followed ex-cons displaced by Hurricane Katrina suggests that when former prisoners wind up moving to the same neighborhood, they are more likely to return to a life of crime.
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+ - Arctic find confirms ancient origin of dogs->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: A small piece of wolf bone found on a remote Siberian peninsula is helping to confirm the idea that dogs have been with us a long, long time. When researchers dated the bone, they found that it belonged to a male wolf that lived 35,000 years ago. Genetic analysis reveals that the wolf existed at a critical time in canine history: when the ancestors of modern dogs and wolves split off from an ancient wolf population. The find suggests that dogs may have been domesticated as long as 40,000 years ago. If that's true, it means dogs would have lived with us for almost 30,000 years before we gave up our hunter-gatherer ways and began to settle down and take up farming.
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+ - Yeast can live with human genes->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Yeast and humans have been evolving along separate paths for 1 billion years, but there’s still a strong family resemblance, a new study demonstrates. After inserting more than 400 human genes into yeast cells one at a time, researchers found that almost 50% of the genes functioned and enabled the fungi to survive. “It’s quite amazing,” says evolutionary biologist Matthew Hahn of Indiana University, Bloomington, who wasn’t connected to the study. “It means that the same genes can carry out the same functions after 1 billion years of divergence.”
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+ - Coffin remains tell life story of ancient sun-worshiping priestess->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Once upon a time in the Bronze Age, a girl was born to a family of sun worshipers living in the Black Forest of what is today Germany. When she was young she became a priestess in the local sun cult, and soon attracted the eye of a tribal chief who lived far to the north. The girl’s family married her off, and she went to live with the chief in what is now Denmark. She often traveled back and forth between Denmark and her ancestral home and eventually gave birth to a child while she was away. Sometime before her 18th birthday, she and the child died. They were buried together in an oak coffin, the young woman wearing a bronze belt buckle in the shape of the sun.

How do we know? A new study of the 3400-year-old girl’s chemical isotopes, along with more conventional archaeological evidence, tells us so. At least, these are the conclusions of scientists who recently analyzed the teeth, fingernails, hair, and clothes of the Egtved Girl, so named for the Danish village where archaeologists first discovered her in 1921.

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+ - Martian moons may have formed like Earth's->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Astronomers have long believed that Mars snatched its two moons--Phobos and Deimos--from the asteroid belt. That would explain why the objects look like asteroids—dark, crater-pocked, and potato-shaped. But computer simulations by two independent teams of astronomers indicated that Mars's moons formed much like ours did, after a giant space rock smashed into the planet and kicked up debris.
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+ - Could a computer predict the next pandemic?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Using a computer to predict an infectious disease outbreak before it starts may sound like a bit of Philip K. Dick sci-fi, but scientists are coming close. In a new study, researchers have used machine learning — teaching computers to recognize patterns in large data sets—to make accurate forecasts about which animals might harbor dangerous viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Better predictions could help experts improve how they prevent and respond to disease outbreaks.
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+ - Pentagon to analyze grantsmaking process for gender bias->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The Department of Defense (DOD) will start collecting data on the gender of its grant applicants and award recipients to help determine whether women in science and engineering face any discrimination in the grantsmaking process. Last year, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked a congressional watchdog agency to analyze the issue at the six biggest federal research agencies. But the Government Accountability Office found that three of them—DOD, NASA, and the Department of Energy (DOE)—don’t have the information needed to answer that question. Last week, DOD’s head of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, Frank Kendall, wrote to the legislators saying that the department “has found no legal hurdles that would prevent the Department from collecting this data.” Kendall said DOD would work with agencies that already do so, notably the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, “to determine best practices before beginning data collection.”
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+ - Researchers closer to engineering yeast that make morphine, spurring worries->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The opium poppy may soon meet its match. Researchers in the United States and Canada report today that they are closing in on a long-standing goal of engineering a complex suite of genes into yeast that would allow the microbes to synthesize morphine, codeine, and other medicines that have been harvested from poppies since before written history began. The new work holds out the prospect of being able to cheaply and easily produce widely used medicines with new capabilities and fewer side effects. At the same time, policy specialists worry that the new yeast strains could allow narcotics dealers to convert sugar to morphine or heroin as easily as beer enthusiasts create homebrews today.
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+ - Scientists discover first warm-bodied fish->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Researchers have discovered the first fish that can keep its entire body warm, much like mammals and birds. The opah, or moonfish, lives in deep, cold water, but it generates heat from its massive pectoral muscles. And it conserves that warmth thanks to body fat and the special structure of blood vessels in its gills. Having a warm heart and brain likely allows the little-known fish to be a vigorous predator, the researchers suspect.
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+ - Did sexual equality fuel the evolution of human cooperation?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: When a massive earthquake struck Nepal 3 weeks ago, people around the world flooded the country with donations and other offers of support. Humans are among the most cooperative animals on the planet, yet scientists are unclear about how we got this way. A new study of hunter-gatherers suggests the answer may be gender equality: When men and women have equal say in who they associate with, our social networks get larger.
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+ - Astronomers spot one-in-10-million phenomenon in early universe->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Find one quasar—a rare, superbright galaxy core in deep space—and you’d think yourself pretty lucky. So a team of astronomers is wondering how it managed to find four closely spaced quasars all at once, a lucky break they calculate is a one-in-10-million chance. The quartet and its environs, snapped some 10 billion years ago, look like a galaxy cluster—a huge conglomeration of galaxies seen in the present-day universe—during its formative years. But current numerical simulations of how galaxy clusters form suggest they should be in areas with much hotter and less dense gas. So is this a cosmic fluke, or is it time to rewrite our theories of how the universe’s largest structures form?
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+ - Star clusters may harbor dark matter->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Globular clusters—bunches of a few thousand stars that orbit around much larger galaxies—may be harboring a dark secret. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has about 150 globular clusters around it and, until recently, these were the only ones near enough to study in detail. Now, a team of astronomers has taken a close look at some of the 2000 clusters around Centaurus A, our nearest giant galaxy. In most cases, the mass estimates of these clusters chimed closely with how bright the clusters appeared. But some deviated from this rule and seemed to be several times more massive than their brightness suggests. These seemingly overweight clusters could contain black holes or other dark remnants of old stars, but the team believes that can’t totally explain the observations. Could it be that some clusters are harboring dark matter, the mysterious stuff that provides galaxies with enough gravity to hold together? Theorists don’t currently think that globular clusters contain much dark matter, but because very little is known about the stuff it could be the answer to this unexpected breed of star cluster.
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+ - Rats forsake chocolate to save a drowning companion->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: We’ve all heard how rats will abandon a sinking ship. But will the rodents attempt to save their companions in the process? A new study shows that rats will, indeed, rescue their distressed pals from the drink—even when they’re offered chocolate instead. They’re also more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy.
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