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My picks from ScienceDaily

Social Amoeba Seek Kin Association:

Starving “social amoebae” called Dictyostelium discoideum seek the support of “kin” when they form multi-cellular organisms made up of dead stalks and living spores, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University in Houston in a report that appears online today in the open-access journal Public Library of Science Biology.

Adult Brain Neurons Can Remodel Connections:

Overturning a century of prevailing thought, scientists are finding that neurons in the adult brain can remodel their connections. In work reported in the Nov. 24 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Elly Nedivi, associate professor of neurobiology at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and colleagues found that a type of neuron implicated in autism spectrum disorders remodels itself in a strip of brain tissue only as thick as four sheets of tissue paper at the upper border of cortical layer 2.

Using Invisibility To Increase Visibility:

Research into the development of invisibility devices has spurred two physicists’ thought on the behaviour of light to overcome the seemingly intractable problem of optical singularities which could soon lead to the manufacturing of a perfect cat’s eye.

Bacterial Biofilms As Fossil Makers:

Bacterial decay was once viewed as fossilization’s mortal enemy, but new research suggests bacterial biofilms may have actually helped preserve the fossil record’s most vulnerable stuff — animal embryos and soft tissues.

Global Warming Is Changing Organic Matter In Soil: Atmosphere Could Change As A Result:

New research shows that we should be looking to the ground, not the sky, to see where climate change could have its most perilous impact on life on Earth.

Secret To Workplace Happiness? Remember What You Love About The Job, Study Urges:

Urging employees to simply rethink their jobs was enough to drop absenteeism by 60 per cent and turnover by 75 per cent, a new University of Alberta study shows. A ‘Spirit at Work’ intervention program, designed to engage employees and give a sense of purpose, significantly boosted morale and job retention for a group of long-term health-care workers at the center of the study.

Helping The Embryo Implant: A New Role For One Type Of Immune Cell:

One of the most critical stages in establishing a pregnancy is the implantation of the embryo in the wall of the uterus. Although the accumulation of immune cells known as DCs has been observed in the uterus after fertilization and prior to implantation, their function was not known.

Key Link In How Plants Adapt To Climate Discovered:

How many mouths does a plant need in order to survive? The answer changes depending on climate, and some of the decisions are made long before a new leaf sprouts.

Biologists Find New Environmental Threat In North American Lakes:

A new and insidious environmental threat has been detected in North American lakes by researchers from Queen’s and York universities. Along with scientists from several Canadian government laboratories, the team has documented biological damage caused by declining levels of calcium in many temperate, soft-water lakes. Calling the phenomenon “aquatic osteoporosis,” Queen’s PhD candidate Adam Jeziorski, lead author of the study, notes that calcium is an essential nutrient for many lake-dwelling organisms. “Once calcium declines below a certain threshold, some keystone species can no longer reproduce,” he says. “These species and other organisms that feed on them are endangered.”