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Reading is good for the brain but researchers at Duke Children's Hospital say a good book can also help kids lose weight. It just has to be the right kind of book.

The Duke researchers asked obese females aged 9 to 13 who were already in a comprehensive weight loss program to read an age-appropriate novel called Lake Rescue (Beacon Street Press) - a book carefully crafted with the help of pediatric experts to include specific healthy lifestyle and weight management guidance, as well as positive messages and strong role models.


Want to cause a fight between anthropologists and evolutionary biologists? Throw out an opinion on whether early societies were heirarchical or egalitarian.

Great apes societies are very heirarchical despite the presence of alliances and 'political' maneuvering but a new paper in PLoS says the first coalition-based societies of equals (they use the term 'egalitarian') occurred tens of thousands of years ago, and that has implications for the context of social networks and cognitive evolution.

Great apes' societies have each animal occupying a particular place in the existing dominance hierarchy. A major function of coalitions in apes is to maintain or change the dominance ranking. When an alpha male is well established, he usually can intimidate any hostile coalition or the entire community.

Paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, aeronautical engineer Rick Lind of the University of Florida, and their students Andy Gedeon and Brian Roberts have reached back in time 115 million years to one of the most successful flying creatures in Earth’s history, the pterodactyl, to conjure a robotic spy plane with next-generation capabilities.

Mimicking the physical and biological characteristics of the Early Cretaceous Brazilian pterosaur Tapejara wellnhoferi -- skin, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, nerves, cranial plate, skeletal structure, and more -- the scientists are working to develop a Pterodrone -- an unmanned aerial vehicle that not only flies but also walks and sails just like the original.




In old movies we were going to improve society by making everything think like a computer. Now the goal is to make computers think like brains. Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology say they can make power network management more efficient by literally tapping brain cells grown on networks of electrodes.

The Missouri S&T group, working with researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, plans to use the brain power to develop a new method for tracking and managing the constantly changing levels of power supply and demand.

Researchers are looking to increase security at border controls by developing a computer system that can detect guilt. Obviously a successful prototype could be used in multiple other applications, like police interrogations and interview scenarios. “Who knows - it could even be used to enhance our real-time computer gaming experiences,” says Dr Hassan Ugail, Head of Visual Computing Research at the University of Bradford’s School of Informatics.

Ugail is part of a team working on a £500,000 project to develop technologies that would assist the border control agencies in identifying people trying to smuggle contraband goods or narcotics through customs.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have tested an ‘invisibility cloak’ that could reduce the risk of large water waves overtopping coastal defences.

Mathematicians at Liverpool, working with physicists at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille Universite have found that coastal defences could be made ‘invisible' when water is guided through a special structure made of metamaterials.

Metamaterial was first invented by Sir John Pendry at Imperial College London where scientists discovered that this unique structure could bend electromagnetic radiation – such as visible light, radar or microwaves – around a spherical space, making an object within this region appear invisible.