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Vegetarian piranha and cat-purring monkey among newly discovered species in the Amazon basin

Vegetarian piranha and cat-purring monkey among newly discovered species in the Amazon basin | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

A purring monkey, a vegetarian piranha and a flame-patterned lizard are among the most fascinating species to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest over the last four years. At least 441 species of plant and animal were found in the Amazon basin between 2010 and 2013. The flora and fauna has been catalogued by the World Wide Fund (WWF).

The list includes 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds and one mammal.

 

Countless insects and other invertebrates discovered that were not listed. The report was produced as part of an initiative run by WWF and Sky to help save the rainforests. I Love Amazon Week runs between 21 and 27 October 2013. 

 

Damian Fleming, head of programmes for Brazil and the Amazon at WWF-UK, said: "The more scientists look, the more they find. With an average of two new species identified every week for the past four years, it's clear that the extraordinary Amazon remains one of the most important centres of global biodiversity."

 

The mammal discovered was a purring monkey. The Caqueta titi monkey is one of about 20 species of titi monkey, all of which live in the Amazon basin. It is already considered critically endangered.

 

Thomas Defler, one of the scientists who discovered the species, said the young Caqueta titi monkeys have a particularly endearing trait: "When they feel very content they purr towards each other."

 

The Gonatodes timidus lizard has flamed "warpaint" colouring and was found in the part of the Amazon that extends into Guyana. Despite their aggressive pigmentation, the species is very shy and avoids humans.

 

A frog the size of a thimble, an Allobates amissibilis, was found in an area set to be opened to tourists, raising concerns that the already endangered species could face further threat and "may be lost" due to human activity.

 

The vegetarian piranha found living in rocky rapids was named the Tometes camunani and is in danger of losing its main food source because of mining activity threatening the flow of its river home. "The richness of the Amazon's forests and freshwater habitats continues to amaze the world," Fleming said.

 

"But these same habitats are also under growing threat. The discovery of these new species reaffirms the importance of stepping-up commitments to conserve and sustainably manage the unique biodiversity and also the goods and services provided by the rainforests to the people and businesses of the region."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Meet Your New Symbionts: Trillions of Viruses – Phenomena

Meet Your New Symbionts: Trillions of Viruses – Phenomena | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
With deadly new viruses emerging these days in Saudi Arabia and China, it can be hard to imagine that viruses can be good for anything. It's easy to forget that we are home to trillions--perhaps qu...
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excerpt: " This research has revealed a world of vast complexity–and a world on which our own well-being depends. Our resident bacteria break down tough plant matter, synthesize vitamins, and keep invading pathogens from taking over our bodies."
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A Rare Genetic Mutation in These Siblings Makes Them Immune to Viruses

A Rare Genetic Mutation in These Siblings Makes Them Immune to Viruses | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Viruses are incompetent but smart little things. Unable to make proteins on their own, they hijack ours for their own nefarious purposes. But what if we gave the viruses broken proteins?
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Laws and Ethics Can’t Keep Pace with Technology | MIT Technology Review

Laws and Ethics Can’t Keep Pace with Technology | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Employers can get into legal trouble if they ask interviewees about their religion, sexual preference, or political affiliation. Yet they can use social media to filter out job applicants based on their beliefs, looks, and habits. Laws forbid lenders from discriminating on the basis of race, gender, and sexuality. Yet they can refuse to give a loan to people whose Facebook friends have bad payment histories, if their work histories on LinkedIn don’t match their bios on Facebook, or if a computer algorithm judges them to be socially undesirable.

 
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Interesting historical facts putting our present challenges into perspective. 

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Google patents smart contact lens system with a CAMERA built in

Google patents smart contact lens system with a CAMERA built in | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The patent is believed to reveal Google's plan to shrink its controversial wearable computer to fit on a contact lens.
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From Foreign Garb To Fashion Fad, Pajamas Have Traveled Far

From Foreign Garb To Fashion Fad, Pajamas Have Traveled Far | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A Persian and Indian garment, brought home by British colonials and made stylish for women by French designers. At first, PJs were seen as a cultural challenge to the American use of nightshirts.
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Statoil | Partner Webcast | MIT Technology Review

Statoil | Partner Webcast | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
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Near death, explained

Near death, explained | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
New science is shedding light on what really happens during out-of-body experiences -- with shocking results.
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What are the conclusions here? Why does the author suggest that the scientific "findings" challenge "the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity"? I'm not seeing it.

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OUCH! Computer system spots fake expressions of pain better than people - News Center

OUCH! Computer system spots fake expressions of pain better than people - News Center | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

This ability has obvious uses for uncovering pain malingering — fabricating or exaggerating the symptoms of pain for a variety of motives — but the system also could be used to detect deceptive actions in the realms of security, psychopathology, job screening, medicine and law. 

 

- See more at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/04/008.html#sthash.QI4luUTH.dpuf

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Imaging how 85% might get supported with questioning--in the courtroom, at the job interview, in other situations. Or, imagine how the accuracy might get improved with personal data we willingly submit on social networks. Can an algorithm and other data become an expert witness? 

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Drones to the rescue

Drones to the rescue | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Drones could soon be used to help find people missing in remote parts of the country.

Via The Robot Launch Pad, Kalani Kirk Hausman
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US Navy 'game-changer': converting seawater into fuel

US Navy 'game-changer': converting seawater into fuel | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The US Navy believes it has finally worked out the solution to a problem that has intrigued scientists for decades: how to take seawater and use it as fuel.
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excerpt: "For the first time we've been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously, that's a big breakthrough," she said, adding that the fuel "doesn't look or smell very different."

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Solving Solar Power Intermittency with Mirrors, Plastic Bottles, and Salt | MIT Technology Review

Solving Solar Power Intermittency with Mirrors, Plastic Bottles, and Salt | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
New solar thermal technologies could address solar power’s intermittency problem.
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After 22 million years, hummingbird evolution is still soaring

After 22 million years, hummingbird evolution is still soaring | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds and the smallest warm-blooded animals on Earth. They have the fastest heart and the fastest metabolism of any vertebrate. They are the only birds that can fly backward. And according to a new report they also have a complicated evolutionary history.

 

Researchers constructed the family tree of these nectar-eating birds using genetic information from most of the world's 338 hummingbird species and their closest relatives. They say hummingbirds can be divided into nine groups, with differences in size, habitat, feeding strategy and body shape.

 

The common ancestor to all species in existence today lived about 22 million years ago in South America, several million years after hummingbirds were known to be flourishing in Europe, they write. Today's hummingbirds are found only in the Americas.

 

They boast a unique set of capabilities, says University of New Mexico ornithologist Christopher Witt, one of the scientists in the study published in the journal Current Biology.

 

They can hover stationarily or move in any direction with precision, even in a strong wind. They also have the highest rate of energy consumption per gram of any animal. Hummingbirds come in a spectacular range of colours, with males more colourful than females. They often have green feathers on the body, with the head coming in "virtually every colour you can imagine: gold, red, blue, purple, magenta, often iridescent," says biologist Jimmy McGuire of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study.


Molecular phylogenetics and the diversification of hummingbirds (Current Biology, April 2014)The McGuire lab
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Scientists Label 15 New Emotions, Want to Make Robots With Them

Scientists Label 15 New Emotions, Want to Make Robots With Them | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Previously, the only scientifically identified basic human emotions were happy, sad, fearful, angry, surprised, and disgusted.
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33rd Square: Researchers Develop Ultra-Fast Circuits With Quantum Plasmonic Tunnelling

33rd Square: Researchers Develop Ultra-Fast Circuits With Quantum Plasmonic Tunnelling | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A new scientific breakthrough that may potentially revolutionize high-speed electronics with nanoscale optoelectronics allows circuits to operate tens of thousands times faster than today's electronics.
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Out of sight

Out of sight | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Spot the grunt “I WEAR camo so I can feel safe,” says Sean, a member of the navy reserve. He cannot quite fathom why his combat uniform is different from that of...
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Space lettuce! Astronauts to grow greens on space station - CNET

Space lettuce! Astronauts to grow greens on space station - CNET | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Fresh salads may soon be on the menu for astronauts aboard the International Space Station as they try out a new zero-gravity greenhouse.
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Google Buys Drone Company Titan Aerospace

Google Buys Drone Company Titan Aerospace | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Google has acquired drone maker Titan...
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imagining an internet in the clouds, replaced by robotic drones that replace failing nodes automatically. The drones maintain optimal positions based on expert systems.
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Why Atoms Are The New Bits

Why Atoms Are The New Bits | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The real problem with digital technology is that its impact hasn't spread far enough yet
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How cells keep from popping | Science News

How cells keep from popping | Science News | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The protein SWELL1 stops cells from swelling so much that they burst, a new study shows.
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New Gene Map of Deadly Bird Flu Points to Pandemic Concerns

New Gene Map of Deadly Bird Flu Points to Pandemic Concerns | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The H5N1 avian flu virus isn't known to be transmissible through the air, but a study released Thursday shows how mutations to the virus could give it that ability.
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Gamification and its role in democratic engagement

Gamification and its role in democratic engagement | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
There has been a great deal of recent discussion concerning methods of encouraging voter participation. These range from community-led events, such as Bite the Ballot’s recent National Voter Regist...
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There has been a great deal of recent discussion concerning methods of encouraging voter participation. These range from community-led events, such as Bite the Ballot’s recent National Voter Registration Day, to the introduction of innovative new strategies.
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Electrical implants let paralysed patients stand again (Wired UK)

Electrical implants let paralysed patients stand again (Wired UK) | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Four paralysed individuals have voluntarily and independently moved their legs for the first time since injury, thanks to a spinal implant that delivers electrical stimulus

Via ehealthgr
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The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade

The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Childhood amnesia descends gradually — and later than you might think, researchers say. Many 7-year-olds have robust memories of experiences from when they were 3 or even younger.
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Upgrade Your Screen or Camera without Buying a New Phone | MIT Technology Review

Upgrade Your Screen or Camera without Buying a New Phone | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Google believes open hardware innovation could help it find industries and markets for its software and services.
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CRISPR-CAS9 Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First Time

CRISPR-CAS9 Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First Time | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

MIT scientists report the use of a CRISPR methodology to cure mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation. They say their study (“Genome editing with Cas9 in adult mice corrects a disease mutation and phenotype”), published in Nature Biotechnology, offers the first evidence that this gene-editing technique can reverse disease symptoms in living animals. CRISPR, which provides a way to snip out mutated DNA and replace it with the correct sequence, holds potential for treating many genetic disorders, according to the research team.

 

“What's exciting about this approach is that we can actually correct a defective gene in a living adult animal,” says Daniel Anderson, Ph.D., the Samuel A. Goldblith associate professor of chemical engineering at MIT, a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and the senior author of the paper.

 

The recently developed CRISPR system relies on cellular machinery that bacteria use to defend themselves from viral infection. Researchers have copied this cellular system to create gene-editing complexes that include a DNA-cutting enzyme called Cas9 bound to a short RNA guide strand that is programmed to bind to a specific genome sequence, telling Cas9 where to make its cut.

 

At the same time, the researchers also deliver a DNA template strand. When the cell repairs the damage produced by Cas9, it copies from the template, introducing new genetic material into the genome. Scientists envision that this kind of genome editing could one day help treat diseases such as hemophilia, and others that are caused by single mutations.

 

For this study, the researchers designed three guide RNA strands that target different DNA sequences near the mutation that causes type I tyrosinemia, in a gene that codes for an enzyme called FAH. Patients with this disease, which affects about 1 in 100,000 people, cannot break down the amino acid tyrosine, which accumulates and can lead to liver failure. Current treatments include a low-protein diet and a drug called NTCB, which disrupts tyrosine production.

 

In experiments with adult mice carrying the mutated form of the FAH enzyme, the researchers delivered RNA guide strands along with the gene for Cas9 and a 199-nucleotide DNA template that includes the correct sequence of the mutated FAH gene.

 

“Delivery of components of the CRISPR-Cas9 system by hydrodynamic injection resulted in initial expression of the wild-type Fah protein in ~1/250 liver cells,” wrote the investigators. “Expansion of Fah-positive hepatocytes rescued the body weight loss phenotype.”

 

While the team used a high pressure injection to deliver the CRISPR components, Dr. Anderson envisions that better delivery approaches are possible. His lab is now working on methods that may be safer and more efficient, including targeted nanoparticles. 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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