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A detailed analysis of the feet of Homo floresiensis, the miniature hominins who lived on a remote island in eastern Indonesia until 18,000 years ago, may help settle a question hotly debated among paleontologists: how similar was this population to modern humans? A new research paper in Nature  may help answer this question.

While the so-called "hobbits" walked on two legs, they say, several features of their feet were so primitive that their gait was not efficient.
A new study from Northwestern University shows what many mothers already know: their babies are a lot smarter than others may realize.

Though only five months old, the study's cuties indicated through their curious stares that they could differentiate water in a glass from solid blue material that looked very much like water in a similar glass. 

The finding that infants can distinguish between solids and liquids at such an early age builds upon a growing body of research that strongly suggests that babies are not blank slates who primarily depend on others for acquiring knowledge. That's a common assumption of researchers in the not too distant past.
Most people know Edwin Hubble as a famed astronomer, the namesake of the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope (HST).  Most probably don't know he also starred as a forward on the University of Chicago Maroons' Big Ten-champion basketball teams in the early part of the 20th century.  

As an astronomer, Hubble showed that galaxies besides our own existed in the universe, and that the universe is expanding. These findings formed the cornerstone of the Big Bang theory of the universe's origin and opened the field of cosmology.  As a basketball player, the 6-foot-2 Hubble was a member of Chicago teams that posted records of 24-2 in 1907-08 and 10-3 in 1908-09.
Toddlers with autism appear more likely to have an enlarged amygdala, a brain area associated with numerous functions, including the processing of faces and emotion, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. In addition, this brain abnormality appears to be associated with the ability to share attention with others, a fundamental ability thought to predict later social and language function in children with autism.
We're not marketing experts so we miss out on golden opportunities to publish stuff and then have a contest and an awards ceremony devoted to the stuff we publish - apparently, we should, but we'd still want to make it look open and transparent, so we'd call it "Best Scientific Blogging ..." and include a few outside (i.e., not large enough to be a competitor) pieces.

Or we could just write naked.

But we can't criticize other sites for being smarter marketers than we are so here you go; the nominations for the 1st annual Naked News Awards have just been announced.   Nominee videos in all 10 categories are available for viewing - you'll never guess what URL they can be found at.


It's certainly the case that 'dark matter', like 'Smurf' or 'government regulation', has in recent times become a de facto explanation for the unexplained.   We aren't big believers in magic so mysterious, undetected forces that explain everything probably actually explain nothing - and tossing out Newton in the process  brings on a higher order of scrutiny, since he has been declared irrelevant often before only to survive quite nicely.

Dark matter is currently unable to reconcile all the current discrepancies between measurements and predictions based on theoretical models and competing theories of gravitation have therefore been developed - their problem is that they conflict with Newton's theory of gravitation.