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(no subject) [Jan. 15th, 2009|07:23 pm]
The Free Speech Zone
From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
Alcohol taxes have clear effect on drinking
A new study published online today finds that the more alcoholic beverages cost, the less likely people are to drink.

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
Countries undergoing economic change urged to limit social and health costs for populations
Countries seeking to make massive changes in the way their economies are run, for example by privatizing formerly state-run sectors, must take into account the potential impact of such changes on people's health, experts warn today.
"Huge rise in male mortality coincided with move from communism to capitalism"

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
Next generation cloaking device demonstrated
A device that can bestow invisibility to an object by "cloaking" it from visual light is closer to reality.
US Air Force

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
Current Biology
Cooling the planet with crops
By carefully selecting which varieties of food crops to cultivate, much of Europe and North America could be cooled by up to 1 degree Celsius during the summer growing season, say researchers from the University of Bristol, UK. This is equivalent to an annual global cooling of over 0.1 degrees Celsius, almost 20 percent of the total global temperature increase since the Industrial Revolution. Unlike growing biofuels, such a plan could be achieved without disrupting food production.
The Royal Society

Public Release: 14-Jan-2009
USDA Small Changes Summit
Calories from home-cooked recipes grow over time
Research shows that calories in recipes have increased over time. Dr. Brian Wansink, of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion said, "The calories in recipes in the cookbook, 'The Joy of Cooking,' have increased 63 percent from its publication, 1937, to its latest edition, 2006. Overweight and obesity have resulted in small steps going the wrong direction. The solution is to bring government, industry and academia together to promote small changes in the right direction."

Public Release: 14-Jan-2009
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
Free-range chickens are more prone to disease
Chickens kept in litter-based housing systems, including free-range chickens, are more prone to disease than chickens kept in cages, according to a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica.
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(no subject) [Dec. 17th, 2008|11:01 pm]
The Free Speech Zone
From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
'Smart' surveillance system may tag suspicious or lost people
Engineers here are developing a computerized surveillance system that, when completed, will attempt to recognize whether a person on the street is acting suspiciously or appears to be lost. Intelligent video cameras, large video screens and geo-referencing software are among the technologies that will soon be available to law enforcement and security agencies.
National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Laboratory

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
American Geophysical Union
Study: Did early climate impact divert a new glacial age?
The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
Earth's original ancestor was LUCA, not Adam nor Eve
An evolutionary geneticist from the University of Montreal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (last universal common ancestor). Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.
Action Concertee Incitative IMPBIO-MODELPHYLO, ANR PlasmoExplore

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
American Sociological Review
Growing income gap among US families suggests increasing economic insecurity
The incomes of American families with children have become increasingly stratified since 1975, with income inequality increasing two-thirds during a 30-year period, according to findings published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed science journal American Sociological Review.
Russell Sage Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York University

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
Autism and schizophrenia share common origin
Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin, hypothesizes Dutch researcher Annemie Ploeger following an extensive literature study. The developmental psychologist demonstrated that both mental diseases have similar physical abnormalities which are formed during the first month of pregnancy.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Public Release: 16-Dec-2008
Physical Review D
Caltech researchers interpret asymmetry in early universe
The Big Bang is widely considered to have obliterated any trace of what came before. Now, astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology think that their new theoretical interpretation of an imprint from the earliest stages of the universe may also shed light on what came before.
US Department of Energy, California Institute of Technology
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Article: I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq [Dec. 5th, 2008|10:27 am]
The Free Speech Zone

[mood |satisfiedsatisfied]

Article by an Air Force interrogator who served in Iraq on why torturing prisoners is the wrong thing to do.

I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq
By Matthew Alexander
Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page B01

I should have felt triumphant when I returned from Iraq in August 2006. Instead, I was worried and exhausted. My team of interrogators had successfully hunted down one of the most notorious mass murderers of our generation, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the mastermind of the campaign of suicide bombings that had helped plunge Iraq into civil war. But instead of celebrating our success, my mind was consumed with the unfinished business of our mission: fixing the deeply flawed, ineffective and un-American way the U.S. military conducts interrogations in Iraq. I'm still alarmed about that today.

I'm not some ivory-tower type; I served for 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, began my career as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me -- both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn't work."

Continues at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/28/AR2008112802242.html
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(no subject) [Nov. 25th, 2008|06:59 pm]
The Free Speech Zone
Caution: These are synopses of scientific press releases whose findings might not hold up. Also, I might have skipped the ones you would consider most important.

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Understanding donor-recipient genetics could decrease early kidney transplant complications
Researchers have found an association between the genetics of donor-recipient matches in kidney transplants and complications during the first week after transplantation. The team has shown that small differences in the building blocks of cell-surface proteins used to match donors and recipients for deceased-donor kidney transplantation was associated with an increased risk for delayed allograft function.
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
Carnegie Mellon scientists offer explanation for 'face blindness'
For the first time, scientists have been able to map the disruption in neural circuitry of people suffering from congenital prosopagnosia, sometimes known as face blindness, and have been able to offer a biological explanation for this intriguing disorder. Currently thought to affect roughly two percent of the population, congenital prosopagnosia manifests as the lifelong failure to recognize faces in the absence of obvious neurological damage, and in individuals with intact vision and intelligence.

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Sweet molecule could lead us to alien life
Scientists have detected an organic sugar molecule that is directly linked to the origin of life, in a region of our galaxy where habitable planets could exist.
Science and Technology Facilities Council

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Flies may reveal evolutionary step to live birth
A species of fruit fly from the Seychelles Islands often lays larvae instead of eggs, UC San Diego biologists have discovered. Clues to how animals switch from laying eggs to live birth may be found in the well-studied species' ecology and genes.
UC San Diego

Public Release: 25-Nov-2008
Psychological Science
In sickness and health: Caring for ailing spouse may prolong your life
Older people who spent at least 14 hours a week taking care of a disabled spouse lived longer than others. That is the unexpected finding of a University of Michigan study forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
NIH/National Institute on Aging
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(no subject) [Nov. 24th, 2008|05:56 pm]
The Free Speech Zone
These are synopses of scientific press releases. They are not yet established as scientific fact, and may turn out to be wrong.

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Chinese forest project could reduce number of environmental disasters
A study published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association states that the "Green Great Wall," a forest shelterbelt project in northern China running nearly parallel to the Great Wall, is likely to improve climatic and hydrological conditions in the area when completed.

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Mammals can be stimulated to regrow damaged inner retina nerve cells
For the first time the mammalian retina has now shown the capacity to regenerate new neurons after damage. This research in mice shows that at least some types of retinal damage can be repaired. The loss of neurons in the retina in people in conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration leads to visual loss and blindness. This new research shows there might someday be a way to restore vision in people with these conditions.
NIH/National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Award, German Research Foundation, ProRetina Travel Grant

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
76 percent of American middle-class households not financially secure
As the economy continues to reel, a new report finds that 4 million American households lost economic security between 2000 and 2006 and that a majority of America's middle class households are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether. The new report, "From Middle to Shaky Ground: The Economic Decline of America's Middle Class, 2000-2006" was published by the policy center Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University.

Public Release: 24-Nov-2008
British Journal of Sociology
Race bigotry falling in Britain
Racial prejudice in Britain has been declining sharply in Britain since the 1980s thanks to the greater tolerance of younger generations, according to a new study. Dr. Rob Ford from the University of Manchester says that social contact with black or Asian Britons is becoming increasingly unremarkable to white people in their 20s and 30s.

Public Release: 23-Nov-2008
Nature Chemical Biology
Scripps research team defines new painkilling chemical pathway
Marijuana can be an effective painkiller, but social issues and unhealthy smoke inhalation complicate its use. As a result, researchers have focused great attention on understanding the biochemical system involved so they might manipulate it by other means. Toward that end, a Scripps Research Institute group has definitively identified a chemical pathway that, in mice, imitates marijuana's painkilling effect. The work could enable the development of new pain treatments.
National Institutes of Health, Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology

Public Release: 23-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
'Wiring' in the brain influences personality
Some people are constantly seeking a new kick; some prefer to stick to tried and tested things. Which group you belong to seems to be connected, inter alia, with the 'wiring' of specific centers of the brain. This was discovered by scientists at the University of Bonn using a new method. Even how much acceptance people seek is apparently also determined by nerve fibers in the brain. The study will appear in the next issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.
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WTF is wrong with that police department? [Nov. 19th, 2008|01:47 pm]
The Free Speech Zone

[mood |angryangry]

I don't know if you guys have kept up with this story, but I am referring to the case of an 8-year old boy accused of shooting and murdering his own father and another man who lived with them.  I just saw a video clip of the police officers interrogating the boy - without a lawyer, without his mother - and getting a confession out of the boy after much coercion.  I literally got sick to my stomach seeing this clip, because it is such a huge violation of this child's rights as a victim and as a suspect.  He was not read his Miranda Rights (supposedly), and clearly had no adult to "stick up for him" during the interrogation.  You can hear the fear in his voice throughout the whole event.  He is due to appear in court today, and I hope this case (and I don't even care about his guilt or innocence) is thrown right out the window due to the flagrant violation of this child's rights. 
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Trouble [Nov. 11th, 2008|10:10 pm]
The Free Speech Zone

Proposition 8 isn't the only negative coming out of this election: Mississippi students are being punished for saying Obama's name.
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(no subject) [Nov. 11th, 2008|06:56 pm]
The Free Speech Zone
From http://eurekalert.org:

Physical Review Letters
Evolution's new wrinkle
A team of Princeton University scientists has discovered that chains of proteins found in most living organisms act like adaptive machines, possessing the ability to control their own evolution. The research, which appears to offer evidence of a hidden mechanism guiding the way biological organisms respond to the forces of natural selection, provides a new perspective on evolution, the scientists said.
National Science Foundation

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Quarterly Review of Biology
The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers, study finds
There may be a silver -- and healthy -- lining to the miserable cloud of allergy symptoms: Sneezing, coughing, tearing and itching just may help prevent cancer -- particularly colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus and cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract cancer, according to a new Cornell study.

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Lab on a Chip
New laser method reproduces art masterworks to protein patterns
To illustrate the precision of their protein patterning technique, the research team reproduced a masterwork of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, specifically Girl with a Pearl Earring, in the miniature dimension of 200 microns wide or about the thickness of two hairs. The researchers also used their novel technology to replicate the brain's complex cellular environment.
Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada, Fonds quebecois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
Without enzyme, biological reaction essential to life takes 2.3 billion years
All biological reactions within human cells depend on enzymes. Their power as catalysts enables biological reactions to occur usually in milliseconds. But how slowly would these reactions proceed spontaneously, in the absence of enzymes -- minutes, hours, days? And why even pose the question?
NIH/National Institute of General Medicine

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Journal of Neuroscience
Fatty diet during pregnancy makes new cells in fetal brain that cause early onset obesity
A study in rats shows that exposure to a high-fat diet during pregnancy produces permanent changes in the offspring's brain that lead to overeating and obesity early in life. This surprising finding provides a key step toward understanding mechanisms of fetal programming involving the production of new brain cells that may help explain the increased prevalence of childhood obesity during the last 30 years.
National Institutes of Health

Public Release: 11-Nov-2008
Miniaturizing memory: Taking data storage to the molecular level
Researchers at The University of Nottingham are now exploring ways of exploiting the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create a cheap and compact memory cell that uses little power and writes information at high speeds.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
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(no subject) [Nov. 9th, 2008|04:47 pm]
The Free Speech Zone
From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 9-Nov-2008
Nature Neuroscience
Simple brain mechanisms explain arbitrary human visual decisions
Scientists report in Nature Neuroscience that a simple decision-making task does not involve the frontal lobes, where many of the higher aspects of human cognition, including self-awareness, are thought to originate. Instead, the regions that decide are the same brain regions that receive stimuli relevant to the decision and control the body's response to it.
European Union, NIH/National Institutes of Mental Health, Italian Ministry of University and Research
"Tosoni and Corbetta plan next to probe whether more complicated decisions are carried out by this relatively simple sensory-motor mechanism and how decisions are affected by the amount of reward the subject expects when performing simple and complex decisions."

Public Release: 9-Nov-2008
Nature Nanotechnology
New small-scale generator produces alternating current by stretching zinc oxide wires
Researchers have developed a new type of small-scale electric power generator able to produce alternating current through the cyclical stretching and releasing of zinc oxide wires encapsulated in a flexible plastic substrate with two ends bonded.
National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

From http://arxiv.org via http://arxivblog.com:

MMOGs as Social Experiments: the Case of Environmental Laws
Authors: Joost Broekens
(Submitted on 5 Nov 2008)

Abstract: In this paper we argue that Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), also known as Large Games are an interesting research tool for policy experimentation. One of the major problems with lawmaking is that testing the laws is a difficult enterprise. Here we show that the concept of an MMOG can be used to experiment with environmental laws on a large scale, provided that the MMOG is a real game, i.e., it is fun, addictive, presents challenges that last, etc.. We present a detailed game concept as an initial step.

Subjects: Computers and Society (cs.CY)
Cite as: arXiv:0811.0709v1 [cs.CY]

Full paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0811.0709v1
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