Science Shorts 20100604

Drilling into the unknown: First exploration of a sub-glacial Antarctic lake is a major step closer (ScienceDaily)
Scientists have revealed the optimal drill site for exploring Lake Ellsworth, a sub-glacial lake comparable in size to England’s Lake Windermere which is covered by three kilometers of ice. This development is likely to facilitate a revolution in climate-change research and may lead to the discovery of life-forms cut off from the main line of evolution for millions of years.

Tiny blood vessels in brain spit to survive (ScienceDaily)
Scientists have discovered capillaries have a unique method of expelling debris, such as blood clots, cholesterol or calcium plaque, that blocks the flow of essential nutrients to brain cells. The capillaries spit out the blockage by growing a membrane that envelopes the obstruction and then shoves it out of the blood vessel. Scientists also found this critical process is up to 50 percent slower in an aging brain and likely results in the death of more capillaries.

Spending Time In NatureSpending time in nature makes people feel more alive, study shows (ScienceDaily) >
Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive, finds a series of studies. And that sense of increased vitality exists above and beyond the energizing effects of physical activity and social interaction that are often associated with our forays into the natural world.

Outcrop of long-sought rare rock on Mars found (ScienceDaily)
A mineral-scouting instrument has found an outcrop of rock rich in carbonate minerals in the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater on Mars.

Beethoven unlikely to have died from lead exposure (ScienceDaily)
A researcher has measured the amount of lead in two skull fragments of Ludwig van Beethoven and found that it was unlikely for lead poisoning to have caused the renal failure that was partly responsible for Beethoven’s death, eliminating one of the many suggested causes of death for the famed composer.

Link identified between lower IQ scores and attempted suicide in men (ScienceDaily)
Low IQ scores in early adulthood are associated with an increased risk of attempted suicide in men, according to new research. In the largest study of its kind, a team of researchers studied the medical records of over one million men in Sweden dating back over a period of twenty four years and compared rates of hospital admission for attempted suicide against IQ scores.

Early Earth haze likely provided ultraviolet shield for planet (ScienceDaily)
A thick organic haze that enshrouded early Earth several billion years ago may have been similar to the haze now hovering above Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and would have protected primordial life on the planet from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation.

How did higher life evolve? Brown algal genome opens new door to understanding multicellularity and photosynthesis (ScienceDaily)
With the world’s first complete sequencing of a brown algal genome, an international research team has made a big leap towards understanding the evolution of two key prerequisites for higher life on Earth — multicellularity and photosynthesis. About 100 scientists and technicians, during a five-year research project, successfully decoded all hereditary information on the brown seaweed Ectocarpus siliculosus.

Yangtze River’s ancient origins revealed (EurekAlert!)
A study of minerals by a team led by Durham University reveals that the Yangtze River began to cut the Three Gorges area around 45 million years ago, making it much older than previously believed.

Pheromone responsible for male mouse ‘sex appeal’ (EurekAlert!)
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified a protein pheromone in mouse urine that is responsible for female attraction to particular male mice.

The complex lives of bubbles revealed (PhysOrg)
The mystery surrounding what happens when bubbles collide has finally been busted. And knowing how bubbles bounce apart and fuse together could improve the quality of ice-cream and champagne as well as increase efficiency in the mining industry.

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