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Bumblebees learn to avoid camouflaged predators by sacrificing foraging speed for predator detection, according to scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

One of the bumblebee's main predators is the crab spider. Crab spiders hunt pollinating insects like bees and butterflies by lying in wait on flowers, and are particularly difficult for their prey to spot because they can change their colour to blend in with their surroundings.

Dr Tom Ings and Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences wanted to discover whether bumblebees could learn to avoid these crab spiders. Their study, funded by the NERC and published in the journal Current Biology, shows how a run in with a spider affected the bees' foraging patterns.

Why is it that the origins of many serious diseases remain a mystery? In considering that question, a scientist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has come up with a unified molecular view of the indivisible unit of life, the cell, which may provide an answer.

Reviewing findings from multiple disciplines, Jamey Marth, Ph.D., UC San Diego Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, realized that only 68 molecular building blocks are used to construct these four fundamental components of cells: the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), proteins, glycans and lipids. His work, which illustrates the primary composition of all cells, is published in the September issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Like the periodic table of elements, first published in 1869 by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, is to chemistry, Marth’s visual metaphor offers a new framework for biologists.

Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, is different from many female leaders around the world in at least one respect – her political career does not follow that of a male relative, according to an expert on women in global politics.

Many female leaders around the world had a family connection to a politically powerful male, said Pamela Paxton, associate professor of sociology and political science at Ohio State University.

“In many countries with traditional cultures, women are easily seen as ‘stand-ins’ for their father or husband,” said Paxton, who is co-author of the book "Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective" (Pine Forge Press, 2007) with Melanie Hughes from the University of Pittsburgh. Often, women leaders achieve power when their male relative dies, is martyred, or otherwise is forced to leave office.

As if things weren’t tough enough for premature babies who have tubes down their throats and noses to survive, once the tubes are removed, they are often unable to take nourishment orally — that is, suck.

But 20 tube-fed preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome treated with the NTrainer, a therapeutic device patented by the University of Kansas, rapidly learned to suck far better and transitioned to oral feeding faster than a control group of babies with the syndrome.

Respiratory distress syndrome, also known as hyaline membrane disease, is a common condition of prematurity, particularly in the youngest infants, because babies’ lungs are too immature to survive outside the womb without the help of a ventilator and/or oxygen. Overall, it is the seventh leading cause of death among infants younger than one year, fifth for African-American and third for Hispanic infants.

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Seoul National University (SNU) have learned how to tweak a new class of polymer-based semiconductors to better control the location and alignment of the components of the blend.

Their recent results—how to move the top to the bottom—could enable the design of practical, large-scale manufacturing techniques for a wide range of printable, flexible electronic displays and other devices.

Organic semiconductors—novel carbon-based molecules that have similar electrical properties to more conventional semiconducting materials like silicon and germanium—are a hot research topic because practical, high-performance organic semiconductors would open up whole new categories of futuristic electronic devices. Think of tabloid-sized “digital paper” that you could fold up into your pocket or huge sheets of photovoltaic cells that are dirt cheap because they’re manufactured by—basically—ink-jet printing.

The largest study ever conducted of DNA evidence extracted from long-dead woolly mammoths points to a rockier past for the iconic Ice Age giants than many had suspected. The last mammoths left in Siberia 50,000 to 5,000 years ago weren't natives, they report in the September 4th Current Biology. Rather, they were North Americans that had migrated in and replaced the dwindling Siberian populations.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed mitochondrial DNA from 160 mammoth samples from across Holarctica (a region encompassing present day North America, Europe and Asia), representing most of radiocarbon time.