antdude writes "BBC News answers how accurate were Leonardo da Vinci's anatomy drawings — 'During his lifetime, Leonardo made thousands of pages of notes and drawings on the human body. He wanted to understand how the body was composed and how it worked. But at his death in 1519, his great treatise on the body was incomplete and his scientific papers were unpublished. Based on what survives, clinical anatomists believe that Leonardo's anatomical work was hundreds of years ahead of its time, and in some respects it can still help us understand the body today. So how do these drawings, sketched more than 500 years ago, compare to what digital imaging technology can tell us today?'"
jjp9999 writes "A new study at Emory University is trying to figure out what dogs think. The study uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to scan the dogs' brains while they're shown different stimuli. Results from the first study will be published by the Public Library of Science, where the dogs were shown hand signals from their owners. 'We hope this opens up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication. We want to understand the dog-human relationship, from the dog's perspective,' said Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and lead researcher of the dog project."
ygslash writes "In an opinion piece in the New York Times Sunday Review, Jack Hitt states that comments posted to on-line articles, and elsewhere on line, have de facto become an important factor in what is accepted as scientific truth. From the article: 'Any article, journalistic or scientific, that sparks a debate typically winds up looking more like a good manuscript 700 years ago than a magazine piece only 10 years ago. The truth is that every decent article now aspires to become the wiki of its own headline.'"
ananyo writes "Researchers have used radio waves to remotely activate engineered insulin-producing genes in mice. In the long term, the work could lead to medical procedures in which patients' genes are triggered on demand. The researchers coated iron oxide nanoparticles with antibodies that bind to a modified version of a temperature-sensitive ion channel. They injected these particles into tumors grown under the skins of mice, then heated the nanoparticles with low-frequency radio waves. The nanoparticles heated the ion channel, activating it and allowing calcium to flow into cells. The influx of calcium switched on an engineered calcium-sensitive gene that produces insulin (abstract)."
Lucas123 writes "Researchers at UCLA have created an online crowdsourcing game designed to let players help doctors in key areas of the world speed the lengthy process of distinguishing malaria-infected red blood cells from healthy ones. So far, those playing the game have collectively been able to accurately diagnose malaria-infected blood cells within 1.25% of the accuracy of a pathologist performing the same task (PDF). The researchers hope that users of the game can help eliminate the high cost and sometimes poor accuracy of diagnosis in areas like sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria accounts for some 20% of all childhood deaths."
New submitter horselight writes "Recent data obtained from Mars indicates the environment is not as hostile to life as once thought. 'An examination of data gathered by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reveals deposits that, on Earth, are only created by water moving through the rock.' The study's lead author, Steve Squyres, said, 'From landing until just before reaching the Endeavour rim, Opportunity was driving over sandstone made of sulfate grains that had been deposited by water and later blown around by the wind. These gypsum veins tell us about water that flowed through the rocks at this exact spot. It's the strongest evidence for water that we've ever seen with Opportunity.' Gypsum veins and other features indicating water movement on the surface of Mars have been observed to be much more common than previously thought."
ideonexus writes "NFL Linebacker Junior Seau's suicide this week bears a striking similarity to NFL Safety Dave Duerson's suicide last year, who shot himself in the chest so that doctors could study his brain, where they found the same chronic traumatic encephalopathy that has been found in the brains of 20 other dead football players. Malcom Gladwell stirred up controversy in 2009 by comparing professional football to dog fighting for the trauma the game inflicts on players' brains. With mounting evidence that the repeated concussions football players receive during their careers causing a lifetime of brain problems, it raises serious concerns about America's most popular sport and ethical questions for its fanbase."
ananyo writes "The head of NASA Ames Research Center may have fallen victim to restrictive arms regulations — just as a US government report recommends changing them to help the space industry. Simon 'Pete' Worden, who recently announced that Mars exploration would be done by private companies, has been accused of giving foreign citizens access to information that falls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). ITAR has hampered U.S. firms seeking to export satellite technology. The allegations against Worden come just as the new report recommends moving oversight of many commercial satellites and related activities from the State department to the Commerce department, and some fear they could provide lawmakers with reasons to not ease export controls."
An anonymous reader writes "Germany's minister for science and education, Annette Schavan, faces allegations that substantial parts of her PhD thesis have been copied without proper attribution. According to the Wordpress blog that brought up the accusations(German), 56 out of 325 pages of her thesis contain instances of plagiarism. Schavan is the same minister who called an earlier instance of plagiarism by the former German defense minister to be 'embarrassing.'"
nachiketas writes "Oxford University researchers David Porter and Fujia Chen examine the structure of silkworm cocoons, which are extremely light and tough, with properties that could inspire advanced materials for use in protective helmets and light-weight armour. 'Silkworm cocoons have evolved a remarkable range of optimal structures and properties to protect moth pupae from many different natural threats,' Porter and Chen said in their paper. These structures are lightweight, strong and porous and therefore 'ideal for the development of bio-inspired composite materials.' Their research could lead to lightweight armour that dissipates rather than deflects the particular components of a blast that do the most damage to the human body — much like crumple zones in modern cars or sound-absorbing sonar tiles that make submarines harder to detect."
The Bad Astronomer writes "A star in a galaxy 2.7 billion light years away wandered too close to a supermassive black hole and suffered the ultimate fate: it was literally torn apart by the black hole's gravity. The event was seen as a flash of ultraviolet light flaring 350 times brighter than the galaxy itself, slowly fading over time. Astronomers were able to determine that some of the star's material was eaten by the black hole, and some flung off into space. Although rare, this is the second time such a thing has been seen; the other was just last year."
daveschroeder writes "After a marathon debate over a pair of studies that show how the avian H5N1 influenza virus could become transmissible in mammals, and an unprecedented recommendation by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication, and its subsequent reversal, a study by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin–Madison was finally and fully published today. 'Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets' appears in the journal Nature."
sciencehabit writes "A team of researchers has zoomed in on two spots on the body of the Iceman, a mummified, 5300-year-old hunter found frozen in the Alps in 1991: a shoulder wound found with an embedded arrowhead and a hand lesion resembling a stab wound. The scientists used atomic force microscopy, a visualization method with resolution of less than a nanometer, to scan the wounds for blood residue. They discovered red blood cells — the oldest in the world to be found intact — as well as fibrin, a protein needed for blood to clot. The presence of fibrin indicates that the Iceman, nicknamed Ötzi, didn't die immediately after being wounded."
Layzej writes "The New York Times reports: 'For decades, a small group of scientific dissenters has been trying to shoot holes in the prevailing science of climate change, offering one reason after another why the outlook simply must be wrong.' Initially they claimed that weather stations exaggerated the warming trend. This was disproven by satellite data which shows a similar warming trend. Next, solar activity was blamed for much of the warming. This looked like a promising theory until the '80s, when solar output started to diverge from global temperatures. Now, climate contrarians are convinced that changes in cloud cover will largely mitigate the warming caused by increased CO2. The New York Times examines how even this last bastion for dissenters is crumbling. Over the past few years, Several papers have shown that rather than being a mitigating factor, changes in cloud cover due to warming may actually enhance further warming."
New submitter drom writes "Google released a key part of their Street View pipeline as open source on Tuesday: Ceres Solver. It's a large-scale nonlinear least squares minimizer. What does that mean? It's a way to fit a model (like expected position of a car) to data (like GPS positions or accelerometers). The library is completely general and works for many problems. It offers state of the art performance for bundle adjustment problems typical in 3D reconstruction, among others."