How the brain keeps tabs on what happened and when is still a matter of speculation but a computational model developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies now suggests that newborn brain cells—generated by the thousands each day—add a time-related code, which is unique to memories formed around the same time.
They didn't set out to explain how the brain stores temporal information but were interested in why adult brains continually spawn new brain cells in the dentate gyrus, the entryway to the hippocampus. The hippocampus, a small seahorse-shaped area of the brain, distributes memory to appropriate storage sections in the brain after readying the information for efficient recall.
Is it possible to share a pain that you observe in another but have never actually experienced yourself? A new study uses brain-imaging to try and answer this question and the research, published in Neuron, may provide insight into the brain mechanisms involved in empathy.
Brain-imaging studies have shown similar patterns of brain activity when subjects feel their own emotions or observe the same emotions in others. It has been suggested that a person who has never experienced a specific feeling would have a difficult time directly empathizing with a person through a "mirror matching" mechanism that requires previous experience and would instead have to rely on a higher inferential processes called "perspective taking."
Triceratops had three horns but it was not just to impress the females, says a research study led by Andrew Farke, curator at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, located on the campus of The Webb Schools. They used them to settle disputes as wel. Battle scars on the skulls of Triceratops preserve rare evidence of Cretaceous-era combat, they say.
Plants' ability to sprout upward using their own woody tissues has long been considered
one of the characteristics separating the land kind from aquatic plants, which rely on water to support them.
A newly developed mathematical model that figures out the best strategy to win the popular board game CLUE© could some day help robot mine sweepers navigate strange surroundings to find hidden explosives.
At the simplest level, both activities are governed by the same principles, according to the Duke University scientists who developed the new algorithm. A player, or robot, must move through an unknown space searching for clues. In the case of CLUE©, players move a pawn around the board and enter rooms seeking information about the killer and murder weapon before moving on to the next room seeking more information.
Toxic nuclear waste is stored at sites around the U.S. and debate surrounds the construction of a large-scale geological storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which critics maintain is costly and dangerous. The storage capacity of Yucca Mountain, which is would open by 2020, is set at 77,000 tons. The amount of nuclear waste generated by the U.S. is expected to exceed this amount by 2010.
A new invention could drastically decrease the need for any additional or expanded geological repositories, say physicists at The University of Texas at Austin who have designed a new system that, when fully developed, would use fusion to eliminate most of the transuranic waste produced by nuclear power plants.