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+ - Why there is so little breathable oxygen in space->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: You breathe it every minute, but there's hardly any molecular oxygen—otherwise known as O2—in space. In 1998, NASA even launched a satellite that was supposed to find lots of molecular oxygen but never did—except when scientists, worried that the instrument was faulty, aimed it at Earth. Now, a ground-based experiment has revealed why this life-giving molecule is so rare in the cosmos: because oxygen atoms cling tightly to stardust, preventing them from joining together to form oxygen molecules. The discovery should yield insight into the chemical conditions that prevail when stars and planets arise.
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+ - From James Taylor to Taylor Swift: Music evolves like biological organisms->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: In the early 1990s, rap took over the radio: Songs by Snoop Dogg and Jay Z played everywhere. Was this a musical revolution or merely the result of a gradual change in tastes over time? Researchers say they’re now able to answer such questions, thanks to the largest data-driven study of pop music ever undertaken. Applying evolutionary theory to this data set, they say, could settle several debates that have raged over pop music for decades. One of the findings that stands out is that pop music shows a pattern from biological evolution known as punctuated equilibrium, in which periods of gradual change are separated by explosions of complexity.
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+ - What your smile says about where you're from->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: If you come from a country of immigrants, you’re more likely to crack a friendly smile on the street. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which may explain why Americans beam more than their Chinese and Russian counterparts.The finding has to do with the idea that the more immigrants in a country's past, the more people have had to use other forms of expression (vs. language)--like smiles and frowns--to communicate.
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+ - House panel holds hearing on 'politically driven science'—sans scientists->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Representative Louie Gohmert (R–TX) is worried that scientists employed by the U.S. government have been running roughshod over the rights of Americans in pursuit of their personal political goals. So this week Gohmert, the chair of the oversight and investigations subpanel of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing to explore “the consequences of politically driven science.” Notably absent, however, were any scientists, including those alleged to have gone astray.
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+ - Rare African plant signals diamonds beneath the soil->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: A geologist has discovered a thorny, palmlike plant in Liberia that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes—columns of volcanic rock hundreds of meters across that extend deep into Earth, left by ancient eruptions that exhumed diamonds from the mantle. If the plant is as choosy as it seems to be, diamond hunters in West Africa will have a simple, powerful way of finding diamond-rich deposits. Prospectors are going to “jump on it like crazy,” says Steven Shirey, a geologist specializing in diamond research at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.
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+ - In blow, native Hawaiian panel withdraws support for world's largest telescope->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) – a state agency established to advocate for native Hawaiins — voted Thursday to withdraw their support for construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano. The vote follows weeks of protests by Native Hawaiians who say the massive structure would desecrate one of their most holy places. The protests have shut down construction of the telescope, which would be the world’s largest optical telescope if completed.

The vote, which reverses a 2009 decision to endorse the project, strikes a powerful if symbolic blow against a project that, for many native Hawaiians, has come to symbolize more than a century of assaults against their land, culture and sovereignty.

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+ - Space radiation may damage astronauts' brains->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: NASA hopes to send the first round-trip, manned spaceflight to Mars by the 2030s. If the mission succeeds, astronauts could spend several years potentially being bombarded with cosmic rays—high-energy particles launched across space by supernovae and other galactic explosions. Now, a study in mice suggests that these particles could alter the shape of neurons, impairing astronauts’ memories and other cognitive abilities.
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+ - Silver turns bacteria into deadly zombies-> 2

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The zombie apocalypse may be more than just a horror story for some bacteria. New research shows that when exposed to a microbe-slaying silver solution, the germs can “go zombie,” wiping out their living compatriots even after death. The results may explain silver's long-lasting antibacterial power and could improve the performance of medical products that keep us safe from harmful pathogens.
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+ - Tiny plastic particles propel themselves like bacteria->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Over the past decade, research groups around the globe have created a variety of tiny particles that move on their own, powering themselves forward. Eventually, researchers hope to use such particles to deliver drugs inside the body and whisk up chemical spills. Now, two teams of researchers have given these microparticles a couple of new skills. One enables them to swim upstream, mimicking the way certain bacterial pathogens find their targets; the other churns out hydrogen gas for fuel cells at an unprecedented rate.
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+ - American Psychological Association hit with new torture allegations->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Did the American Psychological Association (APA) collude with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to enable the torture of detainees in the War on Terror? The answer won't be known until June, when an independent investigation is due to conclude. But at least one thing was made clear today in a report from an independent group of psychologists based on e-mail exchanges between APA and CIA officials from 2003 to 2006: The world's largest professional organization for psychologists has maintained a surprisingly cozy relationship with the defense and intelligence community.
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+ - Can riots be predicted by social media?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The broken glass and burned wreckage are still being cleared in the wake of the riots that convulsed Baltimore's streets on 27 April. The final trigger of the unrest was the funeral of a 25-year-old African-American man who had died in police custody, but observers point to many other root causes, from income inequality to racial discrimination. But for a few researchers who are studying Baltimore's unrest, the question is not the ultimate causes of the riot but its mechanism: How do such riots self-organize and spread? One of those researchers, Dan Braha, a social scientist at the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been collecting data from Twitter that spans the riot from buildup to aftermath, part of a larger study of social media and social unrest around the world. He spoke to Science about how researchers are helping to predict the riots of the future.
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+ - Climate change could eventually claim a sixth of the world's species->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Up to one-sixth of the species on Earth could disappear if climate change remains on its current course, according to a new analysis of more than 100 smaller studies. “All the studies are in pretty good agreement: The more warming we have, the more species we’ll lose,” says Dov Sax, a conservation biologist at Brown University who was not involved in the work. “This is really important to know, from a policy viewpoint.”
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+ - Ancient megadrought entombed dodos in poisonous fecal cocktail->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Nine hundred kilometers off the east coast of Madagascar lies the tiny island paradise of Mauritius. The waters are pristine, the beaches bright white, and the average temperature hovers between 22C and 28C (72F to 82F) year-round. But conditions there may not have always been so idyllic. A new study suggests that about 4000 years ago, a prolonged drought on the island left many of the native species, such as dodo birds and giant tortoises, dead in a soup of poisonous algae and their own feces.
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+ - Senate advances 'secret science' bill, sets up possible showdown with President->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: Republicans in Congress appear to be headed for a showdown with the White House over controversial “secret science” legislation aimed at changing how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses scientific studies. A deeply divided Senate panel yesterday advanced a bill that would require EPA to craft its policies based only on public data available to outside experts. The House of Representatives has already passed a similar measure. But Democrats and science groups have harshly criticized the approach, and the White House has threatened a veto.
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+ - Sexist peer review elicits furious Twitter response->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: A peer reviewer’s suggestion that two female researchers find “one or two male biologists” to co-author and help them strengthen a manuscript they had written and submitted to a journal has unleashed an avalanche of disbelief and disgust on Twitter today. Evolutionary geneticist Fiona Ingleby was shocked when she read the review accompanying the rejection for her latest manuscript, which investigates gender differences in the Ph.D.-to-postdoc transition, so she took the issue to Twitter: “It would probably be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors)” to prevent the manuscript from “drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions,” the reviewer wrote in one portion.
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