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August 7, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

Best Memorization Strategies

Best Memorization Strategies
Exploring exactly why some individuals' memory skills are better than others has led researchers at Washington University in St. Louis to study the brain basis of learning strategies that healthy young adults select to help them memorize a series of objects. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers uncovered brain regions specifically correlated with the diverse strategies that subjects adopt.

Brenda Kirchhoff, research associate in psychology in the University's School of Arts and Sciences, conducted this study in the then-Washington University lab of Randy L. Buckner, now a professor of psychology at Harvard University and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Their findings have been published in the July 20, 2006, issue of Neuron. (Kirchhoff is the article's first author and Buckner is senior author.).

"Randy and I were interested in exploring individual differences in memory - why some people are better at learning new information than others," said Kirchhoff. "Our main goal was to determine the learning strategies that people use and their relationship to memory performance. Secondly, we wanted to know if individual differences in learning strategies were associated with individual differences in brain activity".........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 11:52 PM CT

The oxygen balance

The oxygen balance
Oxygen is one of the most significant keys to deciphering past climates. Oxygen comes in heavy and light varieties, or isotopes, which are useful for paleoclimate research. Like all elements, oxygen is made up of a nucleus of protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons. All oxygen atoms have 8 protons, but the nucleus might contain 8, 9, or 10 neutrons. "Light" oxygen-16, with 8 protons and 8 neutrons, is the most common isotope found in nature, followed by much lesser amounts of "heavy" oxygen-18, with 8 protons and 10 neutrons.

The ratio (relative amount) of these two types of oxygen in water changes with the climate. By determining how the ratio of heavy and light oxygen in marine sediments, ice cores, or fossils is different from a universally accepted standard, researchers can learn something about climate changes that have occurred in the past. The standard researchers use for comparison is based on the ratio of oxygen isotopes in ocean water at a depth of 200-500 meters.

What climate factors influence the ratio of oxygen isotopes in ocean water?

Evaporation and condensation are the two processes that most influence the ratio of heavy oxygen to light oxygen in the oceans. Water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Water molecules containing light oxygen evaporate slightly more readily than water molecules containing a heavy oxygen atom. At the same time, water vapor molecules containing the heavy variety of oxygen condense more readily.........

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August 7, 2006, 11:47 PM CT

Use The Abdomen To Deliver Oxygen

Use The Abdomen To Deliver Oxygen
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have helped develop a technique in animal models for using the abdominal cavity to exchange gas, supplementing the function normally performed by the lungs. The goal is to provide a way to support patients who are on a mechanical ventilator, suffering from reversible lung failure, but who need extra time and support to heal -- beyond what a ventilator can provide -- in order to survive. The findings are in the recent issue of Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

"This is an alternate, novel way to deliver oxygen to the body that does not attempt to wring more function out of an already injured lung, by using ventilator settings that can actually exacerbate the underlying lung injury. The only other alternates that can 'rest' the lung involve variations of bypass machine technology, all of which require anticoagulation," explains Joseph Friedberg, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and principal investigator of this study. "The ability to rest the lungs and provide supplemental oxygen with a technique that appears nontoxic and does not require anticoagulants could have huge implications some day for patients suffering from potentially reversible pulmonary failure from such diseases as: anthrax, bird flu, SARS, trauma, ARDS, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and others. Sometimes patients have a condition in which they might have a chance to recover if they could survive the most severe phase of their disease".........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Surprise Finding For Stretched DNA

Surprise Finding For Stretched DNA
Most of us are familiar with the winding staircase image of DNA, the repository of a biological cell's genetic information. But few of us realize just how tightly that famous double helix is wound. Stretched to its full length, a single molecule of human DNA extends more than three feet, but, when wound up inside the nucleus of a cell, that same molecule measures about one millionth of an inch across. Biologists have long believed that as a molecule of DNA is stretched, its double helix starts to unwind. As much sense as this makes from an intuitive standpoint, a recent experiment proved it not to be the case.

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley used a combination of microscopic beads and magnetic tweezers to observe that when a DNA molecule is stretched, it actually begins to overwind. This overwinding continues until the force being applied to stretch the DNA exceeds about 30 picoNewtons. (One picoNewton is about a trillionth the force required to hold an apple against Earth's gravity.) Beyond the 30 picoNewton threshold, the DNA double helix did begin to unwind in accordance with predictions.

"DNA's helical structure implies that twisting and stretching should be coupled, hence the prediction that DNA should unwind when stretched," said biophysicist Carlos Bustamante, who led this experiment. "That is why it was such surprise when we directly measured twist-stretch coupling to find instead DNA overwinds when stretched. The DNA molecule, when studied at close range, continues to surprise us!".........

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August 7, 2006, 10:27 PM CT

Search Engines Are Not Biased Towards Well-known Web Sites

Search Engines Are Not Biased Towards Well-known Web Sites
Search engines are not biased towards well-known Web sites. In fact, they actually produce an egalitarian effect as to where traffic is directed, say scientists at the Indiana University School of Informatics.

Their study, "Topical interests and the mitigation of search engine bias," appears in the Aug. 7-11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and challenges the "Googlearchy" theory -- the perception that search engines push Web traffic toward popular sites, thus creating a monopoly over lesser-known sites.

As the Web becomes larger and more complex, search engines have taken on an increased role in guiding Internet users to their destinations. Yet, some are concerned that search engines, by means of their ranking algorithms, create a vicious cycle where popular sites receive more and more hits.

"Empirical data do not support the idea of a vicious cycle amplifying the rich-get-richer dynamic of the Web," said Filippo Mencer, associate professor of informatics and computer science. "Our study demonstrates that popular sites receive on average far less traffic than predicted by the Googlearchy theory and that the playing field is more even."

Menczer was joined in the study by IU post-doctoral fellow Santo Fortunato; Alessandro Flammini, assistant professor of informatics; and Alessandro Vespignani, professor of informatics.........

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August 7, 2006, 10:23 PM CT

Hoosier Leaders Are Closer To Having The Data

Hoosier Leaders Are Closer To Having The Data
Hoosier leaders are closer to having the data they need to make informed policy and decisions, thanks to a new grant awarded by Lilly Endowment Inc. for the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

The $1.1 million award will enable the IBRC to continue and expand its work in connection with the Information for Indiana (IFI) initiative. Information for Indiana is an effort to ensure that Indiana policymakers, businesses, educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations and citizens have access to key data and analysis needed to support intelligent choices and to evaluate their impacts.

Work on the IFI is coordinated through a partnership among the Office of the Governor, the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the IBRC.

"The Lilly Endowment grant allows us to add new domains of data and build more powerful and convenient tools to help users more easily obtain and analyze desired data. It also will help us develop more effective integration across different data domains to permit more insightful analysis," said Jerry Conover, director of the IBRC.

"We very much appreciate this additional support from Lilly Endowment to enhance the capacity of one of the key partners in the Information for Indiana project," said Neil Pickett, Gov. Mitch Daniels' senior advisor for policy and projects. "This will help us substantially improve the state's ability to collect, integrate and disseminate data of importance for both public and private sector decision makers."........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 10:02 PM CT

Storing Man-made Carbon Dioxide

Storing Man-made Carbon Dioxide
Deep-sea sediments could provide a virtually unlimited and permanent reservoir for carbon dioxide, the gas that has been a primary driver of global climate change in recent decades, as per a team of researchers that includes a professor from MIT.

The scientists estimate that seafloor sediments within U.S. territory are vast enough to store the nation's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for thousands of years to come.

"The exciting thing about this paper is that we show that CO2 injected beneath the seafloor is sequestered permanently," said Charles Harvey, an associate professor in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Harvey is a co-author of a paper on the work that appears in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"CO2 injected underground on land is buoyant, and hence has the potential to escape back to the surface," Harvey said. "This is not the case under the deep ocean. Because the ocean floor is so cold, liquid CO2 stored beneath the floor is denser than water and will not rise to surface. Furthermore, the top of the injected CO2 plume will form a hydrate, an ice-like solid that plugs up the pore spaces, 'self-sealing' the injected CO2 plume into the deep sea sediments".

The leader of the work, Daniel P. Schrag, said, "Supplying the energy demanded by world economic growth without affecting the Earth's climate is one of the most pressing technical and economic challenges of our time." Schrag is a professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 9:52 PM CT

Kayaks Adapted To Test Marine Robotics

Kayaks Adapted To Test Marine Robotics MIT research engineer Joseph Curcio and mechanical engineering graduate student Robert R. Williams
MIT scientists are working toward the day when a team of robots could be put into action like a team of Navy SEALs -- doing such dangerous work as searching for survivors after devastating hurricanes or sweeping harbors for mines.

Working in labs that resemble machine shops, these engineers are taking small steps toward the holy grail of robotics -- cooperative autonomy -- making machines work together seamlessly to complete tasks with a minimum of human direction.

The tool they're using is the simple kayak.

The scientists are taking off-the-shelf, $500 plastic kayaks and fitting them with onboard computers, radio control, propulsion, steering, communications and more to create Surface Crafts for Oceanographic and Undersea Testing (SCOUTs).

Much of the technology being tested is ultimately intended for use in underwater robots, or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), but testing software on AUVs can easily become a multimullion-dollar experiment.

"I want to have master's students and Ph.D. students that can come in, test algorithms and develop them on a shoestring budget," said Associate Professor John J. Leonard of mechanical engineering. Leonard, together with MIT research engineer Joseph Curcio of mechanical engineering and an intern, Andrew Patrikalakis, unveiled SCOUT last fall in a paper for the IEEE Oceans Conference.........

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August 7, 2006, 3:47 PM CT

Your Own Fortune-Teller

Your Own Fortune-Teller
If you believe in astrology and look forward to the weekly column with cuiosity then inspite of waiting with baited-breath get yourself this amazing Fortune Ball that will tell you what lies in your future anytime. Invented by Dr Ming Fang, a well-known developer of medical and industrial products, the Fortune Ball lets you know your fortune forecast up to thirty days in advance by using the entire Chinese calendar, theories of Astrology, Numerology, I Ching and Biorhythms. And, it can even tell you what the last 30 days were like to strengthen your belief!.

The ball looks at three aspects of your life vis your health, wealth and love life, and the intricately etched crystal ball will glow different colours to let you know what to expect in each area of your life. It takes about 15 seconds for the internal computer to correlate all the data and it will then project the relevant colour onto the etched globe within the crystal ball. The ball is nestled in a chrome base with LCD, so, will make a nice show- piece too with its modern appeal. It sells for $112.68. I want one!!!........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 3:44 PM CT

External Link

External Link
Providing users with a simple way to choose whether to follow a link by opening a new window or not is a tricky problem, and most solutions aren't easy to implement. Not so with External Link. Include our script in your blog or web page and just add classes to your links, and you give users convenient icons to open new windows, while maintaining the text links for continuing in the current window. No hassle, no fuss and no more problem.

Giving all of your links this helpful feature is easy, too. Just copy one extra line into your html head and you don't even need to add classes to your links. Plus, the script is smart enough to avoid adding the icon to links that don't go to external sites.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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