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The knock on publicly traded companies is that they only think short term, quarter to quarter, which reduces or delays investments in risky, long term innovation projects in order to boost the firm’s stock price.

Entrepreneurs always talk about innovation while larger companies hesitate to take chances that could hurt short term profits. But do investments in innovations hurt stock prices?

Not according to Gerard J. Tellis, a professor of marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, and Ashish Sood, an assistant professor at the of marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. They have devised a new metric for evaluating the total stock market returns to an innovation project. “We’re assessing whether markets respond negatively to investments in innovation and whether they enforce a shorter orientation,” explains Tellis. “The key questions are: how does the stock market react to announcements about innovation and what is the total return to the innovation project?”

Ice On Mars?

Ice On Mars?

Jun 19 2008 | 0 comment(s)

Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.

"It must be ice," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

The chunks were left at the bottom of a trench informally called "Dodo-Goldilocks" when Phoenix's Robotic Arm enlarged that trench on June 15, during the 20th Martian day, or sol, since landing. Several were gone when Phoenix looked at the trench early today, on Sol 24.


Researchers have determined that there are hundreds of biological differences between the sexes when it comes to gene expression in the cerebral cortex of humans and other primates. These findings indicate that some of these differences arose a very long time ago and have been preserved through evolution. These conserved differences constitute a signature of sex differences in the brain.

Many more obvious gender differences have been preserved throughout primate evolution; examples include average body size and weight, and genitalia design. This study, believed to be the first of its kind, focuses on gene expression within the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is involved in many of the more complex functions in both humans and other primates, including memory, attentiveness, thought processes and language.

It has been long been known that bacteria swim by rotating their tail-like structure called the flagellum. The rotating motion of the flagellum is powered by a molecular engine located at the base of the flagellum. Just as engaging the clutch of a car connects its gear to its engine and delivers power to its wheels, engaging the molecular clutch of a bacterium connects its gear to its engine and delivers power to its flagellum.

Now, a paper appearing in Science describes, for the first time, how the flagellum's rotations are stopped so that bacteria stop moving.

Here's how the stopping mechanism works: while a bacterium is swimming, it releases a protein (shown in red in the stationary bacterium in the figure) that flows between its gear and engine. The presence of this protein detaches the bacterium's gear from its engine and thereby stops the delivery of power to its flagellum. This process is analogous to disengaging the clutch of a car, which detaches its gear from its engine and thereby stops the delivery of power to its wheels.

Once the delivery of power to bacterium's flagellum stops, the flagellum stops rotating, and the bacterium's swimming ends.


In the current issue of Science, researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute [EMBL-EBI] uncover systematic errors in existing methods that compare genetic sequences of different species to learn about their evolutionary relationships.

They present a new computational tool that avoids these errors and provides accurate insights into the evolution of DNA and protein sequences. The results challenge our understanding of how evolution happens and suggest that sequence turnover is much more common than assumed.

The four letter code that constitutes the DNA of all living things changes over time; for example individual or several letters can be copied incorrectly [substitution], lost [deletion] or gained [insertion]. Such changes can lead to functional and structural changes in genes and proteins and ultimately to the formation of new species. Reconstructing the history of these mutation events reveals the course of evolution.

Health-care system constraints combined with a lack of a uniform referral process are leaving Ontario physicians brokering which patients are in greatest need of hip and knee replacement, a study led by a St. Michael's Hospital researcher funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has revealed.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from across the University of Toronto and published in Medical Decision Making, examined the impact of patient characteristics, including age, weight/obesity, comorbidity and perioperative risk, and gender and caretaker roles in the decision-making process of 18 family physicians, 15 rheumatologists and 17 orthopedic surgeons from across Ontario.

The variability in this process means not everyone who needs this surgery will actually get surgery.