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Jeb, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois with alert ears and a dark muzzle, was sentenced to death in September.

The Michigan judge who ordered the dog be euthanized said he had no choice. A neighbor had testified that he saw Jeb standing over the lifeless body of his Pomeranian, Vlad. And state law requires that dangerous dogs — ones that cause serious injury or death to people or other dogs — be destroyed.

But Jeb’s family did not believe he was capable of killing Vlad, said Kandie Morrison, who had given Jeb to her disabled father for use as a service animal. This was a dog whose body 80-year-old Kenneth Job relied on to hoist himself up when he fell, she said; a dog that ignored the rabbit he lived with.

“I knew in my heart from day one that he didn’t do it,” she said in an interview.

Armed with that confidence, Job and Morrison turned to the kind of evidence well known for exonerating human suspects and increasingly used to help animals: DNA. And last week, after a Florida lab determined samples collected from the frozen corpse of the Pomeranian did not come from Jeb, the big dog was sprung from jail.Read more...Collapse )

Source: WaPo
Dr. Eugene Gu, a 30-year-old surgical resident at Vanderbilt University, is on the verge of his second major scientific breakthrough.

While doing side research as a surgical intern in 2014, Gu became the first person to successfully implant the heart and kidney of a human fetus into a rat. The organs actually grew inside the rat and sustained its life ― a result that could have enormous implications for the treatment of life-threatening birth defects.

“This is the 21st century! Instead of studying cells in a dish, like Louis Pasteur used, why don’t we have a whole human heart?” Gu said in a phone interview, his voice crackling with excitement. “Having a whole organ working for you ― beating, surviving, growing ― that’s really powerful in science. It has a potential to cure a lot of diseases.”

Gu, who was awarded a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship when he was 25, says his ultimate goal is to transplant healthy fetal organs in utero to babies with fatal congenital diseases, so they can survive to adulthood with fully functioning hearts and kidneys. He also hopes to grow human organs in animals that biomedical researchers could then use to develop cures for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the world, and end-stage renal failure, the No. 1 reason patients are on transplant waiting lists.

“I want to someday end the organ donor shortage,” he said.


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Source: HuffPo

The whole thing is worth a read. We went to school together and his life is basically the first half of Hated in The Nation. It really angers me how medicine is undermined at every level in this country.
The New Hillary Library?

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Carla Hayden, the new head of the Library of Congress, at a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, April 2016
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When the new president, if she is Hillary Clinton, moves into the White House, will she unpack her library in the spirit of Walter Benjamin—releasing memories of adventures attached to books? Not likely. Will she think of books and libraries at all? Probably not. She has more important things to do. But the arrival of a new president at this moment, not long after the dawn of the digital age, could open an opportunity to reorient literature and learning in a way that was envisioned by the Founders of our country, one that would bring books within the reach of the entire citizenry.
More under the cut...Collapse )
OP: I just thought I'd post about this because I really feel that scholarly research (to address only one topic in this rather long article :) should be freely available to all, including the average layperson.

Another important point which the article I posted doesn't make is that access to scholarly publications doesn't just affect the U.S.: many non American researchers will aim to publish in American journals because of their relative importance and prestige. And the same business model exists in other countries: as a test, I attempted to determine how much it would cost to have access to ONE article of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and apparently it would cost me 25 U.S.$ to have access to ONE (two page) article for ONE day. Yikes!


It's up to 99.5% effective at stopping pregnancy.

One of the physicists who helped find the Higgs boson, Elina Berglund, has spent the past three years working on something completely different - a fertility app that tells women when they're fertile or not.

It's not the first fertility app out there, but Berglund's app works so well that it's been shown to help women avoid pregnancy with 99.5 percent reliability - an efficacy that puts it right up there with the pill and condoms.

Best of all, the app doesn't have any side effects, and just requires women to input their temperature daily to map their fertility throughout the month.

Back in 2012, Berglund was working at CERN on the Large Hadron Collider experiment to find the famous Higgs boson. But after the discovery of the particle, she felt it was time to work on something completely different.

"I wanted to give my body a break from the pill," she told Daniela Walker from Wired, "but I couldn't find any good forms of natural birth control, so I wrote an algorithm for myself."

The resulting app is called Natural Cycles...Collapse )


SOURCE
The Killer Cats Are Winning!

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A tropical bird and a tabby cat, Herowana, Papua New Guinea, 1993
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More under the cut...Collapse )

OP: Hmmm. I did not know this about kitties... Still, it seems to me that, as usual, the fundamental problem is not cats but people (=who created the problem in the first place).
Sexploits of Diego the Tortoise save Galapagos species

PUERTO AYORA (ECUADOR) (AFP) -



He's over 100 years old, but his sex life is the stuff of legend. Diego the Tortoise is quite the ladies' man, and his exploits have helped save his species from extinction.

Diego, a Galapagos giant tortoise, has fathered an estimated 800 offspring, almost single-handedly rebuilding the species' population on their native island, Espanola, the southernmost in the Galapagos Archipelago.

"He's a very sexually active male reproducer. He's contributed enormously to repopulating the island," said Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park.

Diego is a Chelonoidis hoodensis, a species found in the wild only on Espanola.

The island is one of the oldest in the Galapagos, the Pacific archipelago made famous by Charles Darwin's studies of its breathtaking biodiversity.

Around 50 years ago, there were only two males and 12 females of Diego's species alive on Espanola, and they were too spread out to reproduce.

He has done more than any other tortoise to turn that around -- with the help of his mates, of course.

hot shell on shell action right hereCollapse )
by Santiago Piedra Silva

source is France24
Clinton, Trump and Stein answer 20 top questions about science, engineering, technology, health and environmental issues



This year’s highly unusual presidential election resembles the past two campaigns in at least one way. The candidates of the two major parties— Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump—provided answers to 20 questions about the most important science-based issues the U.S. faces in coming years. Green Party candidate Jill Stein answered the questions as well. (Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has not responded so far.)

The questions were developed and refined by dozens of scientific organizations representing more than 10 million scientists and engineers after a crowd-sourcing effort led and coordinated by ScienceDebate.org. Scientific American, as the group’s media partner, plans to grade the candidates’ answers in advance of the September 26 presidential debate.

Our plan is to grade the answers on a pass/fail basis, using the following three questions as a guide: Does the answer address the question asked? Is it well informed with respect to scientific consensus about the issue? Does the response offer specific, workable details?
Please e-mail your responses to editors@sciam.com with the words “Science Debate 2016” in the subject line. We regret that we will not be able to respond to all the answers individually.

Read the questions and answers below and watch this space for our evaluation on September 22.


Six of Twenty AnswersCollapse )

Source: Scientific American Please go read all the questions & answers!

Sorry to other mods, I know we really want to have full articles posted, but this was SOOOO Long, it wouldn't post--
DNA Surprise! Giraffes Are Four Species, Not One

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation asked scientists to carry out a genetic analysis of giraffes in Namibia, southwest Africa, merely to understand how similar, or not, different populations were to each other, and how that could help in conservation efforts.

But the scientists uncovered something unexpected.

Though modern giraffes had long been recognized as a single species, Giraffa camelopardalis, divided into a few subspecies, the researchers found four distinct species.

“We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited,” said study lead researcher Dr. Axel Janke, a geneticist at Germany’s Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Resear

Following a comprehensive genetic analysis using the DNA from 190 giraffes, Janke and his team discovered that the four species of giraffe had been separated for 1 to 2 million years, “with no evidence of genes being exchanged between them.”

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source is huffpo who may have had a misleading title

Google to test drone burrito delivery with Virginia Tech students, researchers



Virginia Tech is teaming up with Google researchers and Chipotle Mexican Grill to test burrito drone delivery on a select group of students.

Google hopes to conduct hundreds of test flights beginning this month. They will not be open to the public or media, according to Google spokeswoman Jacquelyn Miller.

The selected customers, who were chosen because they work near the undisclosed test site, will stand at a kiosk and punch in their orders, Miller said. The burritos will be prepared at a food truck "several hundred meters" away, loaded onto a drone and flown to the customers. The drones will then hover in the sky and lower the meals down from a significant height with a tether and winch.

who's going to pay for it? MEXICO!!Collapse )

source is roanoke times which OP was so excited over she forgot to add
This Tree Started Growing During the Viking Age

Europe's oldest officially dated tree has been uncovered in Greece, and despite living more than a millennium (and counting!), it doesn't look a day over 200.

The tree, dubbed "Adonis" by the scientists who discovered it, is a Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii) that took root in A.D. 941, high in the Pindus mountains of Greece. (In ancient Greek mythology, Adonis was the god of beauty, youth and desire.)

"It is quite remarkable that this large, complex and impressive organism has survived so long in such an inhospitable environment, in a land that has been civilized for over 3,000 years," Paul J. Krusic, a dendrochronologist at Stockholm University in Sweden, and the leader of the expedition that found the tree, said in a statement. (Dendrochronology is the study of tree-ring dating.) [Nature's Giants: Photos of the Tallest Trees on Earth]

The venerable tree lives within a pristine forest of ancient pines that are nearly as old, the researchers said.

oak hey!Collapse )
orig link cedar
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