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Science News
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Researchers practice living on Mars - without leaving Earth

NASA Hubble Space Telescope picture of MarsFor the most part, expedition leader Casey Stedman and his five crewmates have stayed inside their 1,000-square foot (93-square meter) solar-powered dome, venturing out only for simulated spacewalks and doing so only when fully attired in mock spacesuits. "I havent seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months, Stedman wrote in a blog on Instagram. Stedman is a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer, graduatestudent at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. We are simulating a long-duration mission on Mars, with a focus on crew psychology in isolation, the crew said during an online interview with Reddit on Sunday.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:45:50 -0400
Evidence suggests babies in womb start learning earlier than thought: study

A pregnant woman touches her stomach as people practice yoga on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square"It really pushed the envelope" in terms of how early babies begin to learn, lead researcher Charlene Krueger, associate professor at the University of Florida's College of Nursing, said on Thursday. Krueger had the women repeat three times out loud a set 15-second nursery rhyme, and do it twice a day for six weeks. The fetuses heart rates were monitored at 32, 33 and 34 weeks as they listened to a recording of a female stranger recite the rhyme. By the 34th week, Krueger said, the heart rates of the tested fetuses showed an overall slight decline while listening to the recording, compared with a control group of fetuses whose heart rates slightly accelerated while listening to a recording of a new nursery rhyme.

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:33:38 -0400
Bayer says Nexavar fails in breast cancer study

The logo of Germany's largest drugmaker Bayer is pictured in LeverkusenFRANKFURT (Reuters) - German drugmaker Bayer said a Phase III trial of cancer drug Nexavar in patients with advanced breast cancer did not meet its primary endpoint of delaying the progression of the disease. The study, called Resilience, evaluated Nexavar in combination with chemotherapeutic agent capecitabine, in women with HER2-negative breast cancer. Oral drug Nexavar, which Bayer is developing jointly with Amgen, is approved for use against certain types of liver, kidney and thyroid cancer. Study details are expected to be presented at an upcoming scientific conference. ...

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:37:31 -0400
Scientists to excavate Wyoming cave with trove of Ice Age fossils

Scientists will begin excavation early next week of an ancient Wyoming sinkhole containing a rare bounty of fossil remains of prehistoric animals, such as mammoths and dire wolves, preserved in unusually good condition,researchers saidon Thursday. The two-week dig, set to begin next Monday under the direction of Des Moines University paleontologist Julie Meachen, marks the first exploration of Natural Trap Cave in north-central Wyoming since its initial discovery in the 1970s.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:49:16 -0400
Keryx drug improves phosphorus, iron in kidney patients: trial

(Reuters) - A pivotal trial of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc's experimental drug Zerenex showed that it improved levels of serum phosphorus and iron in patients on kidney dialysis, according to results published on Thursday. The trial involved 441 patients, according to the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, which published the results. Over the four-week efficacy assessment period, mean serum phosphorus for Zerenex patients dropped by 2.2 milligrams per deciliter compared with placebo patients, the trial showed. Most patients with kidney disease that requires dialysis need chronic treatment with phosphate-binding agents to lower and maintain serum phosphorus at acceptable levels.

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:48:18 -0400
Is There a Happiness Gene?

Is There a Happiness Gene?Denmark and other Scandinavian countries regularly top world happiness rankings, and while many factors influence happiness, genetics may play a larger role than previously thought, according to the study authors. The new research examined the average genetic makeup of people in more than 100 countries, and compared how similar their genes were to people living in Denmark a measurement called genetic distance. They found that the greater a nation's genetic distance from Denmark, the lower the reported well-being of that nation. The findings held even after the researchers took into account other factors that could affect happiness, such as GDP level and cultural differences, said Eugenio Proto, a professor of economics at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and one of the researchers on the study.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:24:59 -0400
These Facial Features Matter Most to First Impressions

You may think you can judge a person you just met based on his or her facial expressions. First impressions of people such as whether they are trustworthy, dominant or attractive can develop from a glimpse as brief as 100 milliseconds or less. Because first impressions can affect people's future behavior and can be difficult to overturn, "it's useful to know how we're being judged on our appearance, especially since these judgments might not be accurate think of effects on court cases or democratic elections, for example," said study co-author Tom Hartley, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of York in England. Although some previous research has suggested that there may be a kernel of truth in some first impressions, Hartley noted that people typically go too far with the judgments they develop from first impressions.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:24:06 -0400
Earth May Be in Early Days of 6th Mass Extinction

Earth may be in the early stages of a sixth mass extinction, an international team of scientists says. Animals and plants are threatened. The world's remaining animals with backbones are 25 percent less abundant than in 1500 a trend also seen in invertebrate animals, such as crustaceans, worms and butterflies, the scientists reported. The previous mass extinction, which wiped out the dinosaurs, happened about 65 million years ago, likely from a catastrophic asteroid that collided with Earth.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:02:09 -0400
NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity Breaks Off-World Driving Record

NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity Breaks Off-World Driving RecordNASA's Opportunity rover on Mars has now boldly gone farther than any vehicle has before on the surface of another world, space agency officials announced today (July 28). As of Sunday (July 27), the Opportunity rover has driven 25.01 miles(40.2 kilometers) on the Red Planet, NASA officials said. "Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," Opportunity project manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:31:01 -0400
Russia Restores Contact with Gecko-Filled Space Capsule

Russia Restores Contact with Gecko-Filled Space CapsuleA Russian space capsule carrying more than 20 science experiments including a habitat full of geckos on a mission to mate in orbit was feared to be in trouble for a few days after it stopped responding to commands from the ground. Oleg Ostapenko, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, told the Itar-Tass news agency on Saturday (July 26) that all systems were working normally and that commands were successfully sent to the Foton M4 capsule to continue its mission. With the help of a live feed from inside the geckos' habitat, scientists planned to monitor how microgravity affected the adult geckos' sexual behavior and embryonic development, Spaceflight Now reported last week.Roscosmos officials had announced that the spacecraftstopped responding on July 24. Someone might want to pass along the good news to John Oliver.

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:22:01 -0400
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