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My picks from ScienceDaily


College Students Find Comfort In Their Pets During Hard Times:

A new study suggests that college students may handle stressful situations better if they have a pet. Research has already shown that pets can improve the quality of life for people who are aging or those who are chronically ill. But researchers at Ohio State University recently found that many college students may also benefit from owning a cat or a dog.

We Are Better Able To Detect Racial Tension In Members Of Our Racial Group:

In March of 2008, in a speech addressing contemporary racial tensions in America, then-Senator Barack Obama suggested that there is a “chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.” Could this be true? Is it more difficult for members of different races to understand each others’ emotions and intentions?

Men, Women Give To Charity Differently, Says New Research:

To whom would you rather give money: a needy person in your neighborhood or a needy person in a foreign country? According to new research by Texas A&M University marketing professor Karen Winterich and colleagues, if you’re a man, you’re more likely to give to the person closest to you  that is, the one in your neighborhood  if you give at all. If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to give  and to give equal amounts to both groups.

How We Make Proper Movements:

When you first notice a door handle, your brain has already been hard at work. Your visual system first sees the handle, then it sends information to various parts of the brain, which go on to decipher out the details, such as color and the direction the handle is pointing. As the information about an object is sent further along the various brain pathways, more and more details are noticed–in that way, a simple door handle turns into a silver-plated-antique-style-door-handle-facing-right.

First Experimental Evidence For Speedy Adaptation To Pesticides By Worm Species:

Scientists at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC) and the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon, in Portugal, have shown that populations of the worm Caenhorabditis elegans become resistance to pesticides in 20 generations, that is, in only 80 days.

Honeybees As Plant ‘Bodyguards’:

Honeybees are important to plants for reasons that go beyond pollination, according to a new study published in the December 23rd issue of Current Biology. The insects’ buzz also defends plants against the caterpillars that would otherwise munch on them undisturbed.

Cost Of Hatchling Turtles’ Dash For Freedom:

A newly hatched sea turtle’s first swim is the most critical of its life. Having run the gauntlet of air and land predators to make it to the sea, the tiny voyager must also evade hungry fish patrolling the beaches in its bid for freedom. For youngsters hatching on the Great Barrier Reef’s coral cays the risks are high: as many as 30% perish as they head for safe deep waters. But how much does this headlong dash through the waves cost the intrepid hatchlings?

Hot Southern Summer Threatens Coral With Massive Bleaching Event:

A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world’s most important marine environments over the next few months.

DNA Profiling For Tracing Parental Ancestry Becomes More Accurate And Reliable:

Anyone who has watched crime dramas on TV knows that forensic scientists can use DNA “profiling” to identify people from evidence gathered at a crime scene, establish a paternity link or help free an innocent person who has been wrongly jailed. A lesser known but rapidly growing application of DNA profiling is tracing a person’s paternal ancestry–a process known as genetic genealogy.

Sleep Disorders: Warning Sign For Neurodegenerative Disease?:

People with a sleep disorder that causes them to kick or cry out during their sleep may be at greater risk of developing dementia or Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

Changing Drivers’ Perceptions Of Law Enforcement May Deter Drunk Driving:

Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that an estimated 2 million drunk drivers with three or more convictions will be on the roads this holiday season. In 2007, approximately 1,500 people nationwide were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.