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Isthminia Panamensis: New Species Of Ancient River Dolphin Discovered

Examination of fossil fragments from Panama has led Smithsonian scientists and colleagues to the...

Why Girls Are Less Interested In Computer Science: Classrooms Are Too 'Geeky'

Despite billions of dollars in outreach programs designed to lure women into computer programming...

Fish Oil Diet Versus Gut Microbes

Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard produce very different bacteria in the guts of...

Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider Confirms Tiny Drops Of Early Universe 'Perfect' Fluid

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory smashes large nuclei...

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The thinking, talking robots of Isaac Asimov science fiction are nothing like what we actually have - programmed machines that do the simplest things.   European researchers in robotics, psychology and cognitive sciences say they have developed a robot that can predict the intentions of its human partner; this ability to anticipate (or even question) actions could make human-robot interactions more natural.

You cannot make human-robot interaction more natural unless you understand what 'natural' actually means. But few studies have investigated the cognitive mechanisms that are the basis of joint activity (i.e. where two people are working together to achieve a common goal).
New research suggests that the hunger hormone ghrelin is activated by fats from the foods we eat in order to optimize nutrient metabolism and promote the storage of body fat.  The findings, the study's author says, turn the current model about ghrelin on its head and point to a novel stomach enzyme (GOAT) responsible for the ghrelin activation process that could be targeted in future treatments for metabolic diseases. 

The laboratory study, led by Matthias Tschöp, MD, UC associate professor of psychiatry and internal medicine, is published online ahead of print Friday, June 5, 2009, in the journal Nature Medicine. 
Boys who carry a particular variation of the gene Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), called the 'warrior' gene by some, are more likely to join gangs and be among their most violent members, according to a study from a Florida State University criminologist that associates MAOA to gangs and guns.

Findings apply only to males, which makes an unsubstantiated allele argument necessary.  Girls with the same variant of the MAOA gene don't show any propensity toward gang membership or weapon use.   MAOA  has also been implicated in ADHD, bipolar disorder, cancer and smoking.  Basically, if you don't have any other explanation for something, MAOA is the way to go.
Human laughter can be traced back 10-16 million years to the last common ancestor of humans and great apes, according to new research published today.   Dr Marina Davila Ross, a primatologist of the psychology department at the University of Portsmouth, reconstructed the origins of human laughter by mapping the laughter sounds of great apes and humans on an evolutionary tree.

In Davila Ross’s reconstructed evolutionary tree, humans were closest to bonobos and chimpanzees, more distant from gorillas and most distant from orangutans.  

Biologists always love when researchers in psychology departments reconfigure the evolutionary tree for them.
New research shows that when two species of stickleback fish evolved,  different genes in each species caused the loss of their pelvises and body armor.  Researchers say they were surprised because they expected the same genes would control the same changes in both related fish.

Thank you.  Thank you very much.
Using single-molecule manipulation, researchers at Harvard University say they have uncovered a fundamental feedback mechanism that the body uses in regulating the clotting of blood. A new physical, quantitative, and predictive model of how the body works to respond to injury could improve treatment of bleeding disorders.

It also gives insight into how bleeding disorders, such as type 2A von Willebrand disease, disrupt this regulation system, potentially leading to new avenues for treatment and diagnosis.