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When it comes to the original migration to the Islands of Southeast Asia (ISEA - namely, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo), the prevailing theory has been the "out of Taiwan" model - a Neolithic expansion from Taiwan driven by rice agriculture about 4,000 years ago.

Researchers say they have discovered genetic evidence that overturns that theory and takes the timeline back by nearly 10,000 years.

The international research team, led by the UK’s first Professor of Archaeogenetics, Martin Richards, has shown that a substantial fraction of their mitochondrial DNA lineages (inherited down the female line of descent), have been evolving within ISEA for a much longer period, possibly since modern humans arrived some 50,000 years ago.

Biologists have discovered that a fundamental building block in the cells of flowering plants evolved independently, yet almost identically, on a separate branch of the evolutionary tree--in an ancient plant group called lycophytes that originated at least 420 million years ago.

Researchers believe that flowering plants evolved from gymnosperms, the group that includes conifers, ginkgos and related plants. This group split from lycophytes hundreds of millions of years before flowering plants appeared.

The building block, called syringyl lignin, is a critical part of the plants' scaffolding and water-transport systems. It apparently emerged separately in the two plant groups, much like flight arose separately in both bats and birds.

Video games that energize players and induce a positive mood could also enhance creativity, according to media researchers. However, the study also finds that players who were not highly energized and had a negative mood, registered the highest creativity.

"You need defocused attention for being creative," said S. Shyam Sundar, professor of film, video and media studies at Penn State. "When you have low arousal and are negative, you tend to focus on detail and become more analytical."

Sundar and Elizabeth Hutton, a Penn State graduate student, are trying to understand the value of video games as a vehicle for sparking positive social traits, such as creativity. Fun and games aside, video games are viewed as a serious communication technology. Schools, corporations and even the government are increasingly employing it as a tool in enhancing learning and decision-making.

New spray-on films developed by UC San Diego chemists will be the basis of portable devices that can quickly reveal trace amounts of nitrogen-based explosives.

Contaminated fingerprints leave dark shadows on the films, which glow blue under ultraviolet light. One of the films can distinguish between different classes of explosive chemicals, a property that could provide evidence to help solve a crime, or prevent one.

A recent episode of CSI: Miami featured the technology, which linked fingerprints left on a video camera to a bomb used in a bank heist, revealing the motive for the robbery. In real life, the security systems company RedXDefense has developed a portable kit based on the technology that security officers could use with minimal training.

Do scalar fields exist across the whole universe? Unlike gravitational or magnetic fields, which have both strength and direction, scalar fields have strength alone, varying from point to point.

They definitely exist within some closed systems, such as the temperature distribution within the earth’s atmosphere, but it is not yet known whether they exist on the scale of the universe.

It's a vital question because the existence of scalar fields could help explain how the universe developed after the Big Bang and became as we observe it today. For example scalar fields could explain the existence of dark matter and energy, which can only be observed indirectly from their gravitational effects on the part of the universe we can see.

Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Cornwall, UK, have modified a photodynamic therapy (PDT) treatment that combines a topically applied cream with visible light to destroy cancer cells while leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.

The cream is applied directly to skin cancers and pre-cancers, which then naturally produces a photosensitive drug. A special red light is then shone on the tumour a few hours later, to activate this light sensitive compound. This results in cellular damage and the destruction of the tumour.

This technique results in reduced scarring and little or no damage to the surrounding healthy cells.