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Your Jack-o'-Lantern may scare away more than just birds - the skin of that pumpkin contains a substance that could put a scare into microbes that cause millions of cases of yeast infections in adults and infants each year, says a new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Kyung-Soo Hahm, Yoonkyung Park and colleagues note that some disease-causing microbes are becoming resistant to existing antibiotics so scientists worldwide are searching for new antibiotics. Past studies had hinted that pumpkin, long used as folk medicine in some countries, might have antibiotic effects.

Are accident rates higher for people with a particular gene variant?    Bad drivers may, in part,  have their genes to blame, suggests a new study by UC Irvine neuroscientists.

People with a particular gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people without it – and a follow-up test a few days later yielded similar results. About 30 percent of Americans have the variant.
The performative and improvisatory aspects of music compares favorably with the temporal, polyphonic aspects of scholarly research,  says University of Illinois professor of education Liora Bresler.

Understanding that could improve both research and education, she says.   Bresler, who studied musicology and was a pianist before becoming an education professor, said that knowing there was an audience to perform for "really intensifies the relationship between the music and the performer." This, she said, is analogous to how a teacher should think of a lecture or a researcher a presentation at a conference.
Wolfgang Fink, visiting associate in physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (Caltech, to you)  says a paradigm shift in planetary exploration is coming - and it involves space robots.

Fink and a team at Caltech, the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Arizona are developing software along with a robotic test bed that can mimic a field geologist or astronaut - the software, they say, will allow a robot to think on its own. 
When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life 150 years ago next month, he avoided conjecture about the origin of life and "To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator" shows that he had limits on the cultural firestorm he wanted to create in the name of science.
Virtually every study in the last two years has blamed neighborhoods for obesity rather than the people who eat too much - but living near a variety of restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets and even fast food outlets actually lowers your risk for obesity, according to a new study from the University of Utah.

Surprisingly, people who live more than a half mile away from any food outlets are the ones who tend to be fatter.   The study suggests that placing restrictions on fast food outlets may not be effective, but that initiatives to increase healthy neighborhood food options may reduce individuals' obesity risks, especially if focused on low-income neighborhoods.