Τρίτη, 30 Απριλίου 2013

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Big-Data Analysis Identifies Prognostic RNA Markers in a Common Form of Breast Cancer

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 11:58 AM PDT

A Big-Data analysis that integrates three large sets of genomic data available through The Cancer Genome Atlas has identified 37 RNA molecules that might predict survival in patients with the most common form of breast cancer.

read more

Newsletter for Tuesday 30 April


Newsletter - April 30 - Today in Science History


Feature for Today
On 30 Apr 1897, at the Royal Institution Friday Evening Discourse, Joseph John (J.J.) Thomson first announced the existence of the electron (as they are now named). He called it a corpuscle, meaning "small body."

Thomson described his discovery and calculations that the particle of matter was a thousand times smaller than the atom.

Although as director of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge,
Thomson was one of the most respected British physicists, the scientists present found the news hard to believe. It had long been held that the atom was the smallest and indivisible part of matter that could exist.

Nevertheless, the electron was the first elementary particle to be discovered.

You can read Thomson's own words, as delivered at that meeting, in his paper, Cathode Rays, from the Proceedings of the Royal Institution, 1897.

Book of the Day
On 30 Apr 1834, John Lubbock (Lord Avery) was born, an English banker, politician, naturalist and archaeologist who coined the terms Neolithic and Paleolithic. His career was astonishingly productive in a broad range of interests. He was a man always in search of knowledge and sharing knowledge. Out of this many publications, today's Science Store pick is one of his widely read books in natural history - Ants, Bees, and Wasps: A Record of Observations on the Habits of the Social Hymenoptera, by John Lubbock. In this pioneering work, mostly related to ants, he gives considerable detail including formation and maintenance of nests, relation of ants to plants and animals, behavior, recognition of friends, power of communications and senses. He also used obstacles and mazes to test the intelligence of ants, thus anticipating animal psychologists like Kohler. While Lubbock was young, his father was persuaded by Charles Darwin to give him a microscope. Thus Lubbock acquired his love and respect of nature and science - with a legacy from Darwin! With his own writing skills, was to make plain to the layman the aims and conclusions of specialists. New, Price $37.50 (as of time of writing).

Yesterday's pick: The Value of Science: Essential Writings of Henri Poincaré, by Henri Poincaré.

For picks from earlier newsletters, see the Today in Science Science Store home page.

Quotations for Today

"When you are famous it is hard to work on small problems. This is what did Shannon in. After information theory, what do you do for an encore? The great scientists often make this error. They fail to continue to plant the little acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow. They try to get the big thing right off. And that isn't the way things go. So that is another reason why you find that when you get early recognition it seems to sterilize you."
- About Claude Elwood Shannon, American mathematician (born 30 Apr 1916) by Richard Hamming Quotes Icon
"If we are ever in doubt about what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done."
- John Lubbock (Lord Avebury), English banker, politician, naturalist and archaeologist who coined the terms Neolithic and Paleolithic (born 30 Apr 1834) Quotes Icon
"Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and arithmetic is the queen of mathematics. She often condescends to render service to astronomy and other natural sciences, but in all relations, she is entitled to first rank."
Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician (born 30Apr 1777) Quotes Icon

Before you look at today's web page, see if you can answer some of these questions about the events that happened on this day. Some of the names are very familiar. Others will likely stump you. Tickle your curiosity with these questions, then check your answers on today's web page.

Eugen Bleuler, born 30 Apr 1857, was a Swiss psychiatrist, who introduced the now current term (1908) to describe the disorder previously known as dementia praecox. For his studies of this disorder, he was one of the most influential psychiatrists of his time.
What name did Bleuler give to dementia praecox, by which is now known?
Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865) was the British naval officer who commanded the round the world voyage on which Charles Darwin sailed as the ship's naturalist. That voyage provided Darwin with much of the material on which he based his theory of evolution. When Fitzroy retired he devoted himself to meteorology. He devised a storm warning system that was the prototype of the daily weather forecast, invented a barometer, and published The Weather Book (1863).
What was the name of the vessel carrying Darwin that Fitzroy commanded?

On 30 Apr 1960, the oldest banded U.S. bat was identified, from the date read on the band. It was a female little brown bat (the most abundant bat species in the U.S.)
What do you think was the age of this oldest U.S. bat?

On 30 Apr 1955, the element 101, was announced. It was named in honour of a scientist that contributed to the periodic table of the elements.
What is the name of element 101?

On 30 Apr 1897, at the Royal Institution Friday Evening Discourse, Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940) first announced the existence of electrons - as they are now named. Earlier in the year, he had made the surprising discovery of this particle of matter a thousand times smaller than the atom. He referred to it by a name he based on the Latin words for "small body." (Later, the electron became known by its present name, based on the Greek word for "amber.")
What was Thomson's original name for the electron?


When you have your answers ready to all the questions above, you'll find all the information to check them, and more, on the April 30 web page of Today in Science History. Or, try this link first for just the brief answers.

Fast answers for the previous newsletter for April 29: Gene Shoemaker; Dutch; the number of chromosomes is the same in all body cells of a single species; the Kon Tiki; Erwin Schrödinger.

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ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Sushi for peccaries?

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:59 PM PDT

It turns out the white-lipped peccary —- a piglike animal from Central and South America —- will settle for fish when fruits (its main food) are no longer on the menu, according to researchers revealing the first-ever photos of fish-eating peccaries.

Smoke signals: How burning plants tell seeds to rise from the ashes

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:59 PM PDT

In the spring following a forest fire, trees that survived the blaze explode in new growth and plants sprout in abundance from the scorched earth. For centuries, it was a mystery how seeds, some long dormant in the soil, knew to push through the ashes to regenerate the burned forest.

Microchip proves tightness provokes precocious sperm release

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 01:47 PM PDT

Sperm cell release can be triggered by tightening the grip around the delivery organ, according to a team of nano and microsystems engineers and plant biologists.

World's longest-running plant monitoring program now digitized

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:42 PM PDT

Researchers have digitized 106 years of growth data on the birth, growth and death of individual plants on Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Ariz., making the information available for study by people all over the world. The permanent research plots on the University of Arizona's Tumamoc Hill represent the world's longest-running study that monitors individual plants. Knowing how plants respond to changing conditions over many decades provides new insights into how ecosystems behave.

Sea turtles benefiting from protected areas

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:42 PM PDT

Nesting green sea turtles are benefiting from marine protected areas by using habitats found within their boundaries, according to a new study that is the first to track the federally protected turtles in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Cat and mouse: One gene is necessary for mice to avoid predators

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:41 PM PDT

A new study involving olfactory receptors provides evidence that a single gene is necessary for a mouse to avoid a cat. A research team has shown that removing one olfactory receptor from mice can have a profound effect on their behavior. The gene, called TAAR4, encodes a receptor that responds to a chemical that is enriched in the urine of carnivores. While normal mice innately avoid the scent marks of predators, mice lacking the TAAR4 receptor do not.

First snapshot of organisms eating each other: Feast clue to smell of ancient Earth

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:41 PM PDT

Tiny 1,900-million-year-old fossils from rocks around Lake Superior, Canada, give the first ever snapshot of organisms eating each other and suggest what the ancient Earth would have smelled like.

Cicadas get a jump on cleaning

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:41 PM PDT

As cicadas on the East Coast begin emerging from their 17-year slumber, a spritz of dew drops is all they need to keep their wings fresh and clean.

Dinosaur predecessors gain ground in wake of world's biggest biodiversity crisis

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:40 PM PDT

Newly discovered fossils from 10 million years after Earth's greatest mass extinction reveal a lineage of animals thought to have led to dinosaurs taking hold in Tanzania and Zambia in the mid-Triassic period, many millions of years before dinosaur relatives were seen in the fossil record elsewhere on Earth.

No Redoubt: Volcanic eruption forecasting improved

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 10:37 AM PDT

Forecasting volcanic eruptions with success is heavily dependent on recognizing well-established patterns of pre-eruption unrest in the monitoring data. But in order to develop better monitoring procedures, it is also crucial to understand volcanic eruptions that deviate from these patterns. New research retrospectively documented and analyzed the period immediately preceding the 2009 eruption of the Redoubt volcano in Alaska, which was characterized by an abnormally long period of pre-eruption seismic activity that's normally associated with short-term warnings of eruption.

Singing humpback whales tracked on Northwest Atlantic feeding ground

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 10:36 AM PDT

Male humpback whales sing complex songs in tropical waters during the winter breeding season, but they also sing at higher latitudes at other times of the year. NOAA researchers have provided the first detailed description linking humpback whale movements to acoustic behavior on a feeding ground in the Northwest Atlantic.

U. S. has surprisingly large reservoir of crop plant diversity

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 10:35 AM PDT

North America isn't known as a hotspot for crop plant diversity, yet a new inventory has uncovered nearly 4,600 wild relatives of crop plants in the United States, including close relatives of globally important food crops such as sunflower, bean, sweet potato, and strawberry.

Many stressors associated with fracking due to perceived lack of trust

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 10:05 AM PDT

Pennsylvania residents living near unconventional natural gas developments using hydraulic fracturing, known by the slang term "fracking," attribute several dozen health concerns and stressors to the Marcellus Shale developments in their area, according to a long-term analysis.

Comparing proteins at a glance: Technique for easy comparisons of proteins in solution

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 10:05 AM PDT

A revolutionary X-ray analytical technique enables researchers at a glance to identify structural similarities and differences between multiple proteins under a variety of conditions and has already been used to gain valuable new insight into a prime protein target for cancer chemotherapy.

Elucidating environmental history with 100 million laser beams

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:47 AM PDT

By combining high-resolution surface data obtained from laser scanning with subsurface geodata, scientists have succeeded for the first time in providing a full picture of so-called karst depressions on the island of Crete, including a three-dimensional view into the subsurface structure of these funnel-shaped hollows.

Grocery delivery service is greener than driving to the store

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:51 AM PDT

Engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions.

Fertilizers provide mixed benefits to soil in 50-year study

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:46 AM PDT

In a Kansas study, 50 years of inorganic fertilization increased soil organic carbon stocks but failed to enhance soil aggregate stability —- a key indicator of soil structural quality that helps dictate how water moves through soil and the soil's resistance to erosion.