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When is diversity a bad thing?  When it comes to environmental action, according to a new paper from  the University of East Anglia (UEA). 

Scandinavian countries, low in ethnic and religious diversity, take more collective action than more diverse nations, like the UK, China and the United States. But the UEA paper frames diversity using the more negative term 'fragmentation'.

Americans may love separation of church and state and the mix of multiple religions in the USA but Dr. Elissaios Papyrakis, a senior lecturer in UEA's School of International Development and a senior researcher at Vrije Universiteit
in Holland, found that religious diversity has an even greater detrimental impact on environmental performance than ethnic diversity. 

Human hands and their remarkable dexterity have given us everything from the guitar of Segovia to the art of the Dutch masters but, says David Carrier from the University of Utah, they evolved to be what they are for a more practical reason.  As a weapon. 

Carrier and colleague Michael Morgan publish their hypothesis that human hands evolved their square palms and long thumb to stabilise the fist and produce a compact club for use in combat in The Journal of Experimental Biology.

Scientists have found that therizinosaurs defied the sterotype of sensory abilities of plant-eating animals. Their  exceptional sensory abilities - smell, hearing and balance - were well developed and might have affected or benefited from an enlarged forebrain, something typically associated with predators. 

Evaporative cooling has been used to cool atoms to extraordinarily low temperatures. The process was used in 1995 to create a new state of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) of rubidium atoms (see Nobel laureate Carl Wieman and his Science 2.0 articles here), which was so revolutionary and unnatural that BEC atoms travel at a rate of only three feet per hour.  Now in its 50th year, Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) physicists have met a goal once bordering on the impossible -  they have chilled a gas of molecules to very low temperatures by adapting the familiar process by which a hot cup of coffee cools 

Our eyes are the window to the world, but making sense of the thousands of images that flood us each day is squarely in the purview of the brain - and now researchers say they have created the first interactive map of how the brain organizes these groupings.

The result, achieved through computational models of brain imaging data collected while the subjects watched hours of movie clips, is what researchers call "a continuous semantic space."

Some relationships between categories make sense (humans and animals share the same "semantic neighborhood", for example) while others such hallways and buckets are less obvious. But the researchers found that different people share a similar semantic layout. 

It's too late to treat Lou Gehrig, but he would probably still be batting .300 and playing every day for the New York Yankees if he had not been struck down by the disease that now bears his name.

Researchers who are not in the US, or who are Red Sox fans, prefer the more scientific amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) term for Lou Gehrig's Disease and results from eleven independent ALS studies provide some hope for the afflicted community – because they reveal that the disease may be treatable by targeting new mechanisms revealed in neural stem cell-based studies.