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The late Devonian, about 390 million years ago to roughly 360 million years ago, was a time of struggle and escape for fish in a drying environment, theorized paleontologist Alfred Romer.  That circumstances and necessity for continued survival were vital in fish-tetrapod transition.

The number of people with one or more of the adverse complications of obesity, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease is rapidly increasing.

Drugs designed to treat obesity have shown limited efficacy and have been associated with serious side effects, largely because we have limited understanding of the effects of obesity on our natural mechanisms of body weight control.

For example, while great strides have been made in our understanding of how the brain controls our desire to feed, as well as the processes underlying the balancing of energy intake and expenditure, little is known about how the are altered by obesity. Two independent groups of researchers have now generated data that begin to address this issue.

Los Alamos National Laboratory's top 10 science stories of 2011 include alternative energy research, world record magnetic fields, disease tracking, the study of Mars, climate change, fuel cells, solar wind, and magnetic reconnection. 

Mars Habitability 

Three Los Alamos technologies are aboard the Mars Science Laboratory mission's Curiosity rover, set to touch down on the surface of the Red Planet this coming August. Los Alamos radio-isotope batteries are providing power and heat to Curiosity, which is the largest rover vehicle ever deployed to Mars. These power sources will help drive the 10 scientific instruments on board the vehicle.

Frankincense is a milky, fragrant resin used in incense and perfumes across the world and is also a key part of the Christmas story but trees are declining so dramatically that production could be halved over the next 15 years, according to a new study in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

But global warming isn't the culprit on this one, it is most likely insect attack.  Frankincense is obtained by tapping various species of Boswellia, a tree that grows in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Yet despite its economic importance – incense has been traded internationally for thousands of years – little is known about how tapping affects Boswellia populations.
A gene mutation dating back to 11,600 B.C. is the second oldest human disease mutation discovered so far. The investigators described the mutation in people of Arabic, Turkish and Jewish ancestry, which causes a rare, inherited vitamin B12 deficiency called Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome (IGS). 

The mutation is found in different ethnic populations but it originated in a single, prehistoric individual and was passed down to that individual's descendants. The researchers say this is unusual because such "founder mutations" usually are restricted to specific ethnic groups or relatively isolated populations. 
Galaxies are theorized to have massive black holes at their centers but the one in the Milky Way is the only supermassive black hole  close enough for astronomers to study in detail. A recent violent encounter is a unique chance to observe how a black hole gulps gas, dust and stars as it grows ever bigger.

The normally quiet neighborhood around the massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is being invaded by a gas cloud that is destined in just a few years to be ripped, shredded and largely eaten. The Chandra X-ray satellite has already scheduled its largest single chunk of observation time in 2012 near the Milky Way's central black hole.