Culture

Modern microscopy technology has allowed two scorpion biologists, Carsten Kamenz of the Humboldt University in Berlin and Lorenzo Prendini of the American Museum of Natural History, to study and document what is nearly invisible. Looking at tiny morphological features like the sculpting of the hair-like outgrowths on lamellae—structures that fold like the leaves of a book and give the scorpion respiratory system its name, the book lung—Kamenz and Prendini found a wealth of new variation that gives insight into the evolutionary relationships among scorpions.

It is common knowledge that when something becomes scarce, its value goes up. This concept does not just apply to material goods—time can be an extremely valuable commodity, especially when it is in short supply. According to a new study, thinking that we have a limited amount of time remaining to participate in an activity makes us appreciate the activity that much more and motivates us to make the most of it.

Thousands of painstakingly handwritten books produced in medieval Europe still exist today, but scholars have long struggled with questions about when and where the majority of these works originated. Now a researcher from North Carolina State University is using modern advances in genetics to develop techniques that will shed light on the origins of these important cultural artifacts.

Athens, Ga. - Many of the battles to desegregate Southern colleges and universities were fought in public, but efforts to desegregate the standardized testing that is often a prerequisite to admission have, until now, received little attention. Now, a new University of Georgia study reveals how two men traveled the Deep South, facing hostility and risking violence, to ensure that students received fair and impartial treatment.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Two rare meteorites found in Antarctica two years ago are from a previously unknown, ancient asteroid with an outer layer or crust similar in composition to the crust of Earth's continents, reports a research team primarily composed of geochemists from the University of Maryland.

Published in the January 8 issue of the journal Nature, this is the first ever finding of material from an asteroid with a crust like Earth's. The discovery also represents the oldest example of rock with this composition ever found.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Southerners die from stroke more than in any other U.S. region, but exactly why that happens is unknown. A new report by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Vermont underscores that geographic and racial differences are not the sole reasons behind the South's higher stroke death rate.

The DRD theory, proposed by Prof. Yi Jin, Dr. Jun-Yong Yan and Dr.Kai-zhong Zuo, presents a theoretical and technological guide for the design of multi-valued computers.

The study of the DRD is reported in Issue 10 (October, 2008) of the Science in China Series F-Information Sciences.

New York, NY, January 9, 2009—With health reform high on the agenda of the incoming Congress and President, a new analysis of legislative proposals—including the plans of President-elect Barack Obama and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)—shows that several proposals already put forth could substantially reduce the number of uninsured Americans, and would either reduce health care spending or add only modestly to annual health care expenditures.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Southerners die from stroke more than in any other U.S. region, but exactly why that happens is unknown. A new report by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Vermont underscores that geographic and racial differences are not the sole reasons behind the South's higher stroke death rate.

White people do not get as upset when confronted with racial prejudice as they think they will, a study by researchers at Yale University, York University, and the University of British Columbia suggests. This indifference helps explains why racism persists even as the United States prepares to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama, researchers say.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – January 8, 2008 – From the structure of DNA to nautical rope to distant spiral galaxies, helical forms are as abundant as they are useful in nature and manufacturing alike. Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have discovered a way to synthesize and control the formation of nanobristles, akin to tiny hairs, into helical clusters and have further demonstrated the fabrication of such highly ordered clusters, built from similar coiled building blocks, over multiple scales and areas.

ITHACA, N.Y. – New tires allow race cars to take tight turns at high speeds. Hind wings give moths and butterflies similar advantages: They are not necessary for basic flight but help these creatures take tight turns to evade predators.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Two rare meteorites found in Antarctica two years ago are from a previously unknown, ancient asteroid with an outer layer or crust similar in composition to the crust of Earth's continents, reports a research team primarily composed of geochemists from the University of Maryland.

Published in the January 8 issue of the journal Nature, this is the first ever finding of material from an asteroid with a crust like Earth's. The discovery also represents the oldest example of rock with this composition ever found.

In popular legend, Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara (1480- 1519), stands falsely accused of poisoning her second husband. Victor Hugo portrayed her in thinly veiled fiction as a tragic femme fatale. Buffalo Bill named his gun after her.

But new research by USC historian Diane Yvonne Ghirardo reveals that the only sister of Machiavelli's Prince was less interested in political intrigue than in running a business, undertaking massive land development projects that "stand alone in the panorama of early sixteenth-century projects, not only those initiated by women," Ghirardo says.

A remarkable new discovery shows the four-eyed spookfish to be the first vertebrate ever found to use mirrors, rather than lenses, to focus light in its eyes.

Professor Julian Partridge from the University of Bristol, said: "In nearly 500 million years of vertebrate evolution, and many thousands of vertebrate species living and dead, this is the only one known to have solved the fundamental optical problem faced by all eyes – how to make an image – using a mirror."