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  • Growth Curve

    A little tablet time probably won’t fry a toddler’s brain

    Laura Sanders is away on maternity leave.Give a toddler an iPhone and 10 minutes, and she’ll take at least 50 selfies and buy a car on eBay. Give her an iPad, and she’ll stumble upon decidedly non-kid-friendly episodes of Breaking Bad.With smartphones and tablets, children are exposed to an unprecedented amount of screen...
    02/26/2015 - 16:00 Human Development, Neuroscience
  • Science Ticker

    Mysterious bright spot on Ceres has a partner

    An enigmatic bright patch on the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest body between Mars and Jupiter, has a dimmer companion in the same basin. The duo, seen in an image from the Dawn spacecraft when it was about 46,000 kilometers from Ceres, could be a sign of...
    02/26/2015 - 14:45 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Wheat reached England before farming

    Hunter-gatherers living on England’s southern coast imported wheat 2,000 years before agriculture sprouted in the British Isles, a new study suggests.This trading among hunter-gatherers and farmers laid the groundwork for agriculture’s spread across Northwest Europe, propose archaeogeneticist Oliver Smith of the University...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Anthropology, Genetics
  • News

    Sexual conflict in mosquitoes may have worsened spread of malaria

    The relentless spread of malaria may be largely a side effect of a long, slow battle of the sexes among mosquitoes.Certain reproductive quirks of male and female Anopheles mosquitoes look as if they evolved in some back-and-forth scenario, researchers report in the Feb. 27 Science. In four of 16 species...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Evolution, Animals, Biomedicine
  • News

    Genetic tweaks built humans’ bigger brains

    Human brains ballooned to about triple the size of their ancestors’ thanks to just a few genetic tweaks, new research suggests.When scientists inject a gene found only in humans into the brains of mouse embryos, the normally smooth mouse brain develops the crinkles and folds reminiscent of wrinkly human brains, scientists ...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Human Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Beetle RNA makes crops a noxious meal

    To keep pests at bay, try giving them a taste of their own genes. Hungry beetles spurn crops bearing the insects’ genetic material, scientists report in the Feb. 27 Science. When pests munch the engineered plants, beetle RNA in the leaves switches off key genes in the bugs.The Colorado potato beetle is a voracious...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Plants, Animals, Agriculture
  • News

    Bees may merge their flower memories

    Humans may not be the only ones to mix up old memories. Bumblebees seem to do it, too.Using fake flowers, researchers in London have shown that bumblebees sometimes prefer to visit a flower that combines the colors and patterns of flowers the bees previously visited – even if they’ve never seen the combo flower before. Preferring the novel flowers suggests that the bees are merging memories of...
    02/26/2015 - 12:00 Neuroscience, Animals
  • Mystery Solved

    Chili peppers’ pain-relieving secrets uncovered

    Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers spicy, has long been an ingredient in pain-relief creams, but scientists have only just discovered how the fiery molecule quiets sore nerves, muscles and joints.Capsaicin turns on a protein that senses heat and starts an unexpected chain reaction that inhibits proteins that detect stretching of cell membranes, Tibor Rohacs of Rutgers New Jersey...
    02/26/2015 - 09:00 Cells, Physiology
  • Science Ticker

    Some cicadas drum up a beat with the help of their wings

    Even supposedly mute cicadas have a way to make themselves heard.Male Karenia cicadas lack the specialized body parts that other cicada species use to make their characteristic buzzing calls, prompting entomologists to declare them mute. But that doesn’t stop the insects from making music, and researchers have finally uncovered their unique set of instruments.Whereas other cicadas...
    02/25/2015 - 14:00 Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Artificial intelligence conquers Space Invaders, Pong, Q*bert

    View the videoWith a single algorithm, a computer can learn dozens of classic video games, researchers from Google DeepMind in London report in the Feb. 26 Nature. With no prior knowledge of video games, the algorithm considers the visual elements of Atari 2600 games including Pong, Q*bert and Ms. Pac-Man. It then...
    02/25/2015 - 13:09 Computing, Technology, Numbers