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February 21, 2007, 9:30 PM CT

Over a Century After Disappearing, Wild Elk Return to Ontario

Over a Century After Disappearing, Wild Elk Return to Ontario
After disappearing from Ontario due to over hunting in the 19th century, wild elk have returned to the province thanks to the efforts of the Ontario elk restoration program. As per a report on the program's success, reported in the recent issue of Restoration Ecology, 460 elk were brought from Alberta and released in various Ontario sites between 1998 and 2001.

"The Ontario elk restoration program has met with great success primarily due to the collaborative, multi-partnered approach to wildlife management," says Dr. Rick Rosatte, author of the report and senior research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Eventhough the transferred elk experienced a 41 percent mortality rate between 1998-2004, the majority of surviving elk were able to reproduce. As per the program's 2004 data, 375 to 440 elk are currently living in Ontario.

Dr. Rosatte is quick to point out that the program faced a number of challenges. A number of of the reintroduced elk did not survive long after being transferred, especially due to wolf predation, illegal hunting and stress from the transfer process. However, the death rate is decreasing each year, suggesting that the animals are adapting to their new home.

Eventhough pleased with the program's success to date, Rosatte asserts that the work is far from over. "Our challenge for the future will be to develop accurate methods to estimate elk numbers and locations, so that elk can be managed in a sustainable manner, and in a way that minimizes conflicts between elk and humans".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 21, 2007, 9:17 PM CT

Older Adults Unreliable Eyewitness

Older Adults Unreliable Eyewitness
A University of Virginia study suggests that elderly adults are not only more inclined than younger adults to make errors in recollecting details that have been suggested to them, but are also more likely than younger people to have a very high level of confidence in their recollections, even when wrong. The finding has implications regarding the reliability of older persons' eyewitness testimonies in courtrooms.

The study, "I misremember it well: Why elderly adults are unreliable eyewitnesses," is published in a recent issue of the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

"There are potentially significant practical implications to these results as confident but mistaken eyewitness testimony may be the largest cause of wrongful convictions in the United States," said Chad Dodson, the study's lead researcher and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. "Given that elderly adults will constitute an increasing proportion of the U.S. population, there may be a corresponding increase in the occurrence of wrongful convictions based on the testimony of highly confident but mistaken eyewitnesses".

Dodson and U.Va. graduate student Lacy Krueger studied "suggestibility errors," instances where people come to think that a particular event occurred, when in fact, the event was merely suggested to them and did not actually occur.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 19, 2007, 7:45 PM CT

U.S. Innovation Tags Measurement Challenges

U.S. Innovation Tags Measurement Challenges
new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), An Assessment of the United States Measurement System: Addressing Measurement Barriers to Accelerate Innovation, details results of the agency's first-ever assessment of the capacity of the nation's measurement infrastructure-a large, diverse collection of private and public-sector organizations-to sustain U.S. innovation at a world-leading pace.

Innovation is vital to the long-term health of the U.S. economy: the better we do in conceiving, developing and applying new technology, the brighter our nation's future. Innovation has helped the United States sustain the world's most productive workforce, raise our standard of living and open new avenues of opportunity that inspire a continuing quest to discover, invent and be first to market with new products and services.

In all, more than 1,000 people from industry, academia and government contributed to the wide-ranging NIST assessment of the state of the nation's measurement system and its impact on innovation. The result is a snapshot appraisal that was formed by surveying measurement needs across 11 industrial sectors and technology areas. These ranged from materials to software and from building and construction to nanotechnology. Altogether, more than 700 measurement-related barriers to innovation were identified and evaluated.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 15, 2007, 6:31 AM CT

Better Designed Roadway Intersections

Better Designed Roadway Intersections
Changes in roadway intersection design can keep older drivers safer and on the road longer, report University of Florida researchers in the current issue of Traffic Injury Prevention.

Wider road shoulders, right-turn lanes that allow drivers to merge into traffic without stopping and angle intersections no sharper than 90 degrees all led to better driving performance by older and younger drivers involved in a UF study of roadway intersection design.

"I think the research shows early support that environmental enhancements are conducive to older driver safety and improved performance," said principal investigator Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions' department of occupational therapy. "But what we found is that it didn't just benefit older drivers, it benefited the younger drivers involved in the study, some of whom were between the ages of 35 and 54, which is also the safest group of drivers".

In 2003 about one in seven licensed drivers was 65 or older. By 2029, that proportion is expected to rise to one in four drivers, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute. Although drivers 65 and older have lower rates of crashes than younger drivers, they are at higher risk for injury or death because of increased fragility.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 9:17 PM CT

Be careful with garlic treatment for children

Be careful with garlic treatment for children
Parents and practitioners should know more about garlic before using it to treat children, according to a review of data conducted in part by the University of Alberta.

While using garlic to treat children for various ailments appears to be generally safe, more research needs to be done on its specific effects, and garlic is not recommended in at least one treatment, researchers found after reviewing several studies that used the plant to treat several childhood ailments. Their findings were published recently in Pediatrics in Review.

"Data are insufficient to recommend precise dosages when treating children," said Dr. Sunita Vohra, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Despite its longtime use in many cultures for its purported pharmacologic benefits, further research will help answer questions surrounding garlic's use in children, Vohra noted.

The data review revealed that garlic tablets did appear to aid upper respiratory tract infections, resulting in a 1.7-fold reduction in morbidity compared with placebo and 2.4-fold reduction versus dibazole, a commercial parasiticide containing medication. Garlic applied briefly to warts also proved effective with resolution reported in all children after three to nine weeks of treatment.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 12, 2007, 9:24 PM CT

A clever catchphrase goes a long way

A clever catchphrase goes a long way
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research discusses the benefits of slogans with multiple meanings, like a cell phone company using the slogan, "The Clear Alternative" or a tax-preparation service advertising that "You Get More in Return." The scientists observed that some people are better at recognizing additional meanings than others, but they also observed that degree of understanding has little impact on how well people respond to the catchphrases. In fact, consumers who didnt get the joke often expressed the greatest appreciation of the punned slogans.

"This research is the first to establish that consumers differ in their ability to process multiple meaning phrases, that this difference is separate and distinct from other linguistic abilities, and that it appears associated with working memory capacity differences," write Claudiu V. Dimofte (Georgetown University) and Richard F. Yalch (University of Washington). "As the linguistic cue linked to a brand name, the slogan represents an important priming device that conveys information and occupies prime consumer memory space".

Dimofte and Yalch introduced a new scale to measure how quickly people grasped the multiple meanings. They call the scale SMAARTS (Secondary Meaning Access via the Automatic Route Test Score). A high SMAARTS score indicates recognition of additional meanings fairly automatically. But even people with low SMAARTS tend to prefer clever slogans with multiple meanings to ones with only a single meaning, the scientists found.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 12, 2007, 9:17 PM CT

Ambivalent about who to vote for?

Ambivalent about who to vote for?
In the first study to propose a model for how information is processed by people with differing levels of ambivalence, researchers from Columbia University and Austral University in Argentina find that ambivalent people are more likely to be persuaded by disreputable sources. Those who are strong in their opinions are more likely to evaluate the reliability of the messages source before deciding whether to accept it.

"In recent years, the widespread use of the Internet has made other peoples opinions readily available to consumers. People surfing the web can access third party evaluations about almost anything, from products and services to political issues or candidates," write Martin R. Zemborain (Austral University, Buenos Aires) and Gita Johar (Columbia University) in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

"However, little research has examined the conditions under which others opinions affect a consumers attitudes," they continue. "Given the ubiquity of others opinions, this is an important issue".

The researchers performed three experiments on more than 250 undergraduates. The first asked the test subjects to rate their opinions of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. The test subjects were then exposed to an additional message about the Congressman either a positive one lauding him for winning a Gandhi Peace Prize, or a negative one accusing him of flip-flopping to court voters. The subjects were told that the source of these statements was either a friend or a radio program.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 12, 2007, 9:08 PM CT

Happy endings aren't always best

Happy endings aren't always best
Advertisements for financial planning services and medications often employ mixed emotions in their advertising. They may begin by raising concern about ones future and end in vignettes evoking positive emotions. Or they may start with strong, positive feelings and then induce worry. Does it matter which sequence of emotions advertisers apply in their messages?.

A new study from the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that happy endings dont always make for the most effective advertising, especially when people become emotionally involved in an advertisement. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers do not always prefer a happy ending," write Aparna A. Labroo and Suresh Ramanathan (University of Chicago). "Sometimes, it is better to give consumers the happiness to deal with subsequent negative information".

The scientists observed that a consumers level of emotional involvement is the critical factor that determines whether a narrative arc that goes from positive-to-negative or negative-to-positive is more effective. Specifically, detached viewers prefer ending on a positive note, but emotionally involved viewers are able to draw on the positive emotion and "cope" with the subsequent negative emotions.

"When participants evaluate ads, current emotions serve as a baseline from which to evaluate later emotions," the scientists write. "In contrast, when participants experience [ads], positive emotions enhance positive feelings and facilitate coping with later negativity".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 7, 2007, 9:43 PM CT

science of prison overcrowding

science of prison overcrowding
UK Home Secretary John Reid is in deep trouble, trying to manage a criminal justice system that has filled prisons to overflowing. In his defence, Reid claims that "projecting the prison population is never an exact science". Perhaps he should visit the US state of Washington, which has been using scientific principles to try to avoid a similar crisis.

Washington may need three new prisons by 2030 if its jail population follows current trends. But with each prison costing $250 million to build and $45 million per year to run, are more jails the best option? To find out, politicians have turned to the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), which has embraced "evidence-based" criminal justice.

WSIPP's approach mirrors the "systematic reviews" that are helping to turn clinical medicine into a rigorous science. WSIPP has compiled studies on interventions to reduce crime, and then conducted statistical meta-analyses to see which have the biggest effects. It has also calculated the cost of each intervention, and their financial benefits in terms of reduced crime.

The conclusions are striking. Some interventions with young offenders are especially effective: "multidimensional therapy foster care" (MTFC), in which juvenile offenders are placed with foster families and treated with behavioural treatment, reduces crime by an average of 22 per cent, giving a net benefit of almost $78,000 over 13 years, per offender treated. By contrast, there is no evidence that electronic tagging of adult offenders to offset jail time helps prevent crime.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source


February 7, 2007, 5:11 AM CT

Children's perceptions and antisocial behavior

Children's perceptions and antisocial behavior
Children who grow up in antisocial families are more likely to be antisocial themselves. Much of the research into why this is so has focused on parents' behavior. A new study finds that the way children perceive their parents' behavior provides clues as to why children of antisocial parents may grow up to be antisocial.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, appears in the January/February 2007 issue of the journal Child Development. The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

In an effort to determine how antisocial behavior in one generation is transmitted to the next, researchers looked at 430 adolescents and their biological parents across the children's high school years. Specifically, the study examined the adolescents' level of antisocial behavior, the level of such behavior in parents, and the teens' general perceptions of their parents' behavior. Antisocial behavior was defined in terms of substance use, recklessness and breaking laws, arguments and conflicts with others, and lying. The study examined if the effect of parents' antisocial behavior on the teens' antisocial behavior could be explained by the teens' perceptions of their parents as antisocial, as well as by disrupted parenting practices, such as poor monitoring, hostility, and harsh and inconsistent discipline.........

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