Culture

SALT LAKE CITY – Certain songbirds can contract their vocal muscles 100 times faster than humans can blink an eye – placing the birds with a handful of animals that have evolved superfast muscles, University of Utah researchers found.

"We discovered that the European starling (found throughout Eurasia and North-America) and the zebrafinch (found in Australia and Indonesia) control their songs with the fastest-contracting muscle type yet described," says Coen Elemans, who conducted the study as a postdoctoral researcher in biology at the University of Utah.

Elizaberta López Pérez, a Bachelor of Fine Arts and doctor in Painting at the University of Granada, has carried out one of the first studies in a Spanish university on the use of art therapy for the treatment of acute mental sick persons. Her work, based on psychoanalysis principles, starts from a basic premise: A work of art is a sign formed as a vital trace and its essential material is the humanity of the human being who leaves his memory in the world.

Depression is the most important single factor predisposing to suicide, and more than half of all subjects completing suicide are known to have suffered from depression. Unfortunately, depression is still often untreated or undertreated, even after a suicide attempt. Antidepressive drugs represent the cornerstone of treatment of depressive patients.

In a collaborative project scientists from the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin (MPI MolGen), Germany and Genomatix with a business in Munich, Germany and Ann Arbor, MI, USA, applied next generation sequencing and analysis methods to generate an unprecedented view at the human transcriptome.

CHICAGO—A newly identified fossil and the reinterpretation of previously known fossils, all from Europe and about 50 million years old, fill in a "missing link" in the evolution of flatfishes and explain one of nature's most extraordinary phenomena.

Hidden away in museums for more that 100 years, some recently rediscovered flatfish fossils have filled a puzzling gap in the story of evolution and answered a question that initially stumped even Charles Darwin.

All adult flatfishes--including the gastronomically familiar flounder, plaice, sole, turbot, and halibut--have asymmetrical skulls, with both eyes located on one side of the head. Because these fish lay on their sides at the ocean bottom, this arrangement enhances their vision, with both eyes constantly in play, peering up into the water.

Washington, DC—Although measurement techniques surrounding earthquakes have improved enormously over the last few decades, it has remained very difficult to measure changes in the crust that could enable earthquake prediction. Now, scientists have measured interesting changes in the speed of seismic waves that preceded two small earthquakes by 10 and 2 hours. These measurements, published in the July 10 issue of Nature, are an encouraging sign that hold promise for the field of earthquake prediction.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Asteroids with moons, which scientists call binary asteroids, are common in the solar system. A longstanding question has been how the majority of such moons are formed. In this week's issue of the journal Nature, a trio of astronomers from Maryland and France say the surprising answer is sunlight, which can increase or decrease the spin rate of an asteroid.

WASHINGTON – Few domestic policy areas that the new administration must address will have greater long-range consequences than nanotechnology — a new technology that has been compared with the industrial revolution in terms of its impact on society. If the right decisions are made, nanotechnology will bring vast improvements to almost every area of daily living. If the wrong decisions are made, the American economy, human health and the environment will suffer.

Barcelona, Spain: New figures on assisted reproduction technology (ART) in Europe show that there has been an explosion in the use of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) to treat infertility, the 24th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Barcelona heard today (Wednesday). Researchers believe that some countries may now be using the procedure too often.