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  • February 14, 2013
  • 09:24 AM

Why Does a Massage Feel so Good?

by Carian Thus in United Academics

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day scenario? What about candlelight, romantic music, the smell of oil and the hands of your lover on your naked body, massaging your back.. We all love it when others stimulate our skin, but why is it experienced as such a pleasure? A recent study provides the neurological reason.... Read more »

  • February 13, 2013
  • 04:32 PM

Dog poo turning green – the power of science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hey Julie,Thanks for the run down on ScienceOnline and ‘Lend a Paw’ month.  I completed the survey about my cat’s behaviour, it was quick and easy to do.  I also liked your stroking video, but I’ll get back to that later, right now I need to tell you how dog poo (I think you usually say ‘poop’ in the USA?) is turning green.Dog poo is turning greenIt’s turning green and it’s thanks to the power of science. Or perhaps it’s the science of power? It’s easy to get confused. (source)The important bit is that a Melbourne-based entrepreneur, Duncan Chew, received funding in 2012 from the Inspiring Australia strategy for his idea to turn dog waste into energy to light up parks around Australia. Titled Poo Power!, his project is using science to help our communities live more sustainably. How big is this issue?In Australia, we have one of the highest incidences of pet ownership in the world with over 60% of households owning a pet. The average dog produces 0.34 kilograms (that’s 0.75 lb) of faeces per day.Do the maths, and that’s around 1.4 tonnes of dog poo needing to be disposed of DAILY in Australia, which adds up to a colossal 490,000 tonnes each year!490 MILLION KG!  That’s 1,080,270 MILLION lbs! (or almost 20 million labradors if you were following my pre-post riddle clues on our Facebook page!)The USA have more than 20 times the number of dogs as Australia. Just saying.The issue of dog waste disposal (what I like to call Poo-llution!) is an especially important issue in areas of growing urbanisation, cities with limited park spaces and in light of declining landfill site availability.Using our love of dogs to brighten the futureDog poo light? Not as silly as it might seem! (source) The project will see a series of biogas generators turn dog waste into energy for lighting up Melbourne parks, at the same time as engaging audiences on the issue of ‘what is waste?’, and the potential opportunities posed by reassessing waste management practices. 1kg of dog poo will give you about 25-30 litres of raw biogas.... Read more »

Okoroigwe E.C., Ibeto C.N., & Okpara C.G. (2010) Comparative Study of the Potential of Dog Waste for Biogas Production. Trends in Applied Sciences Research, 5(1), 71-77. DOI: 10.3923/tasr.2010.71.77  

Nemiroff Leah. (2007) Design, Testing and Implementation of a Large-Scale Urban Dog Waste Composting Program. Compost Science , 15(4), 237-242. info:other/ studies.pdf

  • February 13, 2013
  • 01:10 AM

Small Business Contributions to U.S. Space Exploration

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

Many of you have likely been following the progression of the Mars Rover Curiosity in recent weeks. I’ve personally developed an interest in the types of tests that are being done on the red planet during the mission. This interest led me to think about the types of test equipment that is being utilized not [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2013
  • 07:16 AM

Genetically Engineered Virus Fights Liver Cancer

by Zachery Urbina in United Academics

Cancer, one of the oldest and most formidable foes of humanity has an advanced, new adversary. 16 terminally-ill liver cancer patients treated with a high dose of the vaccine Pexa-Vec survived an average of 14.1 months, compared to 6.7 for patients receiving a low dose.... Read more »

  • February 11, 2013
  • 05:13 AM

Opinion | The Last Defense of Science

by Zach Urbina in United Academics

Courtney killed Kurt. Cancer has a cure. Aliens built the pyramids. 9/11 was an inside job. Territory once regarded as the domain of your hare-brained uncle, eccentric neighbor, or other vaguely threatening social leper, seems lately to have leaked precariously into the mainstream. The idea that elaborate conspiracies are being worked upon the nation –nay, the world – seem to be accepted more and more as not just true, but worthy of vitriolic defense by anyone who might call into question their claims.

Some are simplistic, many are complicated, few meet standard criteria of cause and effect. Virtually all rely on top-down thinking.

Inevitably, a layperson begins his/her story couched in a tone meant to warn against the offending they. What they do is… They do this all the time. Laypeople everywhere seem dead-serious that there exists a cadre of surreptitious malignancy, which simultaneously means us harm, yet is somehow profiting from said harm.... Read more »

  • February 8, 2013
  • 08:23 AM

New strain could be available in a few years.

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

Grapefruits, albeit sour, are nutritious and can be delicious. But they’ve also been known to interfere with many medications, and even some dietary supplements. So, many doctors try to steer some patients away from eating grapefruit.... Read more »

  • February 8, 2013
  • 04:20 AM

Are “Friends with Benefits” Relationships Sexually Satisfying?

by Carian Thus in United Academics

What do you do when you’re single and want to have sex? There’s the option to hookup with strangers. But you can also stay in your “comfort zone” and have sex with someone you already hang out with.... Read more »

  • February 7, 2013
  • 10:23 AM

Do you suffer from the IKEA Effect?

by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro in United Academics

If you are reading things from home or from the office, chances are there is something from Ikea in the room. Over the past decade, the affordable and semi-clever designs from the Swedish furniture juggernaut have become one of those recognizable symbols regardless of where in the world you live. And one aspect that is true about most Ikea stuff, is that you probably built it yourself. And if you built it yourself, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with having used that strange little tool and fit “wood screw A” into “panel 3″, a feeling that is know in the world of psychology as the “Ikea Effect”.... Read more »

Norton, M., Mochon, D., & Ariely, D. (2012) The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(3), 453-460. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2011.08.002  

  • February 7, 2013
  • 09:53 AM

The Foods that Play a Factor in Deep Sleep

by Zach Urbina in United Academics

If the quest for the perfect night’s sleep remains one of your goals, you might need to start at the grocery store.

A recently published study out of the University of Pennsylvania isolated a few key nutrients and total caloric intake as contributing factors for length and duration of sleep. They also looked at the role that overall diet, demographics, socioeconomics, physical activity, and obesity, to rule out other potential causes.... Read more »

  • February 6, 2013
  • 11:20 AM

Exposure to Pesticides Increases Risk of Diabetes

by Zachery Urbina in United Academics

North Americans and Europeans have ballooned up to noticeably fatter proportions in recent decades, and new research originating from the University of Granada has revealed a direct connection between exposure to pesticides in food, air, and water & incidence of adult-onset type 2 diabetes. The relationship was found to exist without respect to age, gender or body mass index, according to data in the study.... Read more »

Arrebola, J., Pumarega, J., Gasull, M., Fernandez, M., Martin-Olmedo, P., Molina-Molina, J., Fernández-Rodríguez, M., Porta, M., & Olea, N. (2013) Adipose tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults from Southern Spain. Environmental Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.12.001  

  • February 6, 2013
  • 04:59 AM

4 Stress Relief Strategies You’ve Never Heard of

by Carian Thus in United Academics

It’s important to find a balance in life between work and relaxation. In order to put your mind and body at ease, you may like to take a hot bath, roll out a yoga mat or enjoy a massage. But according to science there are more ways that lead to calmness. ... Read more »

Barker, R., Knisely, J., Barker, S., Cobb, R., & Schubert, C. (2012) Preliminary investigation of employee's dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 5(1), 15-30. DOI: 10.1108/17538351211215366  

Martin, F., Rezzi, S., Peré-Trepat, E., Kamlage, B., Collino, S., Leibold, E., Kastler, J., Rein, D., Fay, L., & Kochhar, S. (2009) Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects. Journal of Proteome Research, 8(12), 5568-5579. DOI: 10.1021/pr900607v  

  • February 5, 2013
  • 09:37 AM

Hospitalizations from Energy Drinks Continue to Rise

by Zachery Urbina in United Academics

Historical accounts tell us that the stimulating power of caffeine was first noticed in the 9th century by an Ethiopian goatherd who found his flock wildly excited after consuming coffee berries. Whoever he was, a substantial portion from the efforts of human progress since remains indebted to that discovery.... Read more »

Nawrot, P., Jordan, S., Eastwood, J., Rotstein, J., Hugenholtz, A., & Feeley, M. (2003) Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Additives and Contaminants, 20(1), 1-30. DOI: 10.1080/0265203021000007840  

  • February 4, 2013
  • 05:25 AM

VIDEO: Stunning Footage of a Thought Being Formed

by Zach Urbina in United Academics

Shown at three times natural speed, this video the first ever thought being documented while it was being formed. The zebrafish is an ideal candidate for this advanced area of study as its skin remains transparent during early development. The brilliant flash in this particular moment coincided with the passing of a nearby paramecium, and correlated with hunting behavior in the zebrafish. To put it bluntly, the fish was thinking; dinner. Truly a remarkable leap forward in field of neuroscience... Read more »

  • February 1, 2013
  • 07:17 AM

Scientists Amazed by Mass Grave in Field

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

The skulls have very different forms, they lay in a seemingly insignificant location, and some of them have fingers in their eyes. What happened here?... Read more »

Morehart, C., Peñaloza, A., Sánchez, C., de Tapia, E., & Morales, E. (2012) Human Sacrifice During the Epiclassic Period in the Northern Basin of Mexico. Latin American Antiquity, 23(4), 426-448. DOI: 10.7183/1045-6635.23.4.426  

  • February 1, 2013
  • 05:25 AM

The Science of Yoga (and Its Dirty Little Secrets)

by Carian Thus in United Academics

In the book ‘The Science of Yoga,’ William J. Broad discusses more than a century of research on the risks and rewards of yoga, confirming what we may already know about the ancient practice, but also revealing its dirty little secrets.... Read more »

Balasubramaniam M, Telles S, & Doraiswamy PM. (2012) Yoga on our minds: a systematic review of yoga for neuropsychiatric disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry / Frontiers Research Foundation, 117. PMID: 23355825  

  • January 31, 2013
  • 06:46 PM

Dogs & Cats, Cats & Working Dogs, Working Dogs & Emotions

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie!What a busy week I’ve found myself having! Very productive indeed, with a lot of this:and some more of that: Fuelled by a ton of this:But I did take time to notice that your cat Josh broke something new.  Oh Josh! Thanks for telling me about your ISHAR presentation about dogs and cats in the home.  I can definitely relate to the importance of early socialisation = best chance at harmony. Take my dog Elke, for example.As a pup, she met and spent time around mature cat Bobby (who opted to ignore her for the most part).Elke grew up around cats and kittens.Then she helped me raise a bunch of Shelter foster kittens until they were old enough to be adopted.By the time Tonto came to live with us as permanent family member, she was an old hand in living around cats. And when Caleb later joined us as a young adult dog, Tonto was pretty relaxed around dogs. He tended to be confident in interactions; not running away (importantly, not triggering any chase responses from our new dog).Elke ably demonstrating in top image that a cat is not worth waking up for.Gidget and some enthusiastic GDsThis was also true when we brought a new kennel cat into the Training Kennel and Vet Clinic facility I managed at Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV). We selected a kitten from the Shelter who was outgoing and confident around people and dogs. We then set her up in the main foyer of our facility to have a slow and positive introduction to the visiting puppies and dogs that we could control to maximise the positives for all the animals. Gidget now plays an important role at GDV helping to desensitise the dogs to cats by reducing their level of interest and distraction. If their key learning experiences about cats with Gidget are 'boring', they associate future cats with 'boring' and will be less likely to want to chase them. Important when you are a working Guide Dog. Or a Police Dog. Or any number of other types of working dogs. Working Dog kennel cats are really common!(source)GDV Puppy Class (source)... Read more »

  • January 30, 2013
  • 12:02 PM

Don’t Panic If You Didn’t Get 8 Hours of Sleep

by Zach Urbina in United Academics

Feeling like you’re falling behind on sleep lately? Don’t worry too much. Recently published research from the University of Sydney demonstrated that sleep duration shifts periodically over the course of the month. These shifts occur independent of lifestyle, social, and/or environmental influences.

‘Sleep requirements vary in a cyclical fashion and between individuals. If you incur a sleep debt, your body will signal a need to catch up on extra sleep,’ said Dr. Chin Moi Chow, principal investigator of the article published this month in Nature and Science of Sleep.... Read more »

  • January 30, 2013
  • 04:18 AM

Happier Children Earn Higher Wages in Adulthood

by Jalees Rehman in United Academics

There is quite a bit of debate about the scientific validity of the proverb “money can’t buy happiness”, because studies on this topic have resulted in discordant results. Some studies support the idea that richer people are happier on average than poor people, but there are also reports that while the median income in the US has grown in recent decades, average happiness among Americans has hardly changed.... Read more »

  • January 29, 2013
  • 07:31 PM

Microstructure of Film Coated Tablets

by Axel Zeitler in Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC)

Since 2007 when terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) was first developed to non-destructively measure the coating thickness of pharmaceutical tablets there has been intense research in the PSSRC into how this technique can help improve the quality of pharmaceutical coatings and thus make controlled release technology based on coatings of single dosage forms attractive to industry.... Read more »

Brock, D., Zeitler, J., Funke, A., Knop, K., & Kleinebudde, P. (2012) A comparison of quality control methods for active coating processes. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 439(1-2), 289-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.09.021  

  • January 29, 2013
  • 09:11 AM

Is Sex Necessary?

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

Sex, it turns out, is a risky affair. Besides infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy, it can also perpetuate harmful genes. Also, compared to asexual reproduction, it’s very inefficient—bacteria, strawberries and even some amphibians don’t have to look for a mate. So, why have sex—sexual reproduction, that is?... Read more »

Otto, S. (2008) Sexual reproduction and the evolution of sex. Nature Education, 1(1). info:/

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