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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

  1. Science

    Scientists Have Revived a “Hardy” 30,000 Year Old Virus From Permafrost

    If you like the word "indestructible" combined with "virus," then I'm assuming you're a supervillain with a great collection of Hazmat suits. National Geographic is reporting that scientists have just revived a large, ancient virus from permafrost in Siberia. Oh yes, another upside to global warming: increased risk of exposure to dormant pathogens.

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  2. Science

    Testicles Have Taste Receptors, And They May Be Pretty Important To Fertility

    Our tongues have taste receptors, obviously, but it turns out that's not the only place we have them. Taste receptors are found all over the body -- even in the testicles. Scientists don't understand what the taste receptors outside of our tongue do, but they've recently discovered that the taste receptors in the testicles of male mice are important to fertility.

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  3. Science

    Researchers Craft Model ‘Zombie’ Cells to Withstand High Heat and Pressure

    We're always at work making humans better, faster, and stronger, but what about individual cells? Well, we can make them stronger, too. The problem is, we... kind of have to kill them first. Once we've done that, though, what's left behind is a stronger, mineral model of the old cell's structure -- right down to its internal organs -- that could be the beginning of a new breed of high endurance nanomaterials.

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  4. Weird

    Penguin Cam Shows Life From A Penguin’s Point of View (Spoiler: There Are Lots of Fish) [Video]

    People become scientists for a lot of reasons. Because they enjoy solving the mysteries of the universe, or want to make the world a better place to live, or just because it's a career that helps them finish the death ray they're working on in their basement. These are all noble reasons for wanting to do science -- especially the death ray thing -- but none of them is the best reason. The best reason to become a scientist, clearly, is so you can strap small cameras to Adelie penguins and make videos about their lives under the sea like the one you can watch below.

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  5. Science

    Iron Age Medicine Tablets Among Treasures From Ancient Shipwreck

    Researchers sifting through the artifacts of a 2,000-year-old shipwreck have uncovered an unexpected treasure --  one not of gold or silver, but simple, unassuming zinc. A tin full of zinc tablets contained within the wreck may be one of the earliest examples of a modern, prepared medicinal compound, say researchers in a story published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  6. Science

    The Littlest Extinction: Amazon Deforestation Wipes Out Microbial Communities, Too

    Deforestation can wipe out trees and cause habitat loss that leads to the extinction of animals like birds and mammals. Some of the impacts of massive, sudden tree loss in places like the Amazon, though, may have been too small to notice until now. Reporting this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers found that deforestation can profoundly change the makeup of bacteria in soil, wiping out microbial communities that help to make ecosystems unique.

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  7. Science

    Different Photosynthesis Rates Show The Grass Really Is Greener Sometimes

    Researchers at Brown University have found the anatomical and evolutionary basis behind the fact that some varieties of grass really are greener than others -- or at least why they're able to produce food for themselves via photosynthesis more effectively than their cousins. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a slight difference in the cellular structure around the veins in blades of grass can make the difference between a grass that is highly efficient and successful and one that just putters along.

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  8. Science

    New Odor “Laurax” Is the Smell Equivalent of White Noise

    We're all for things that cover up the many terrible smells we encounter in our everyday lives, but let's be real -- sometimes that squirt of air freshener or powerfully scented pine tree dangling from your rearview mirror is just as headache inducing as the foul odor it's striving to cover up. Many have been the times that we have wished with all our hearts that we could just smell nothing at all. Our wish could be on the way to being granted, as researchers at The Weizmann Institute have engineered an odor that they claim is the chemical equivalent of the color white, or the sound of white noise -- a totally neutral scent.

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  9. Science

    Name That Feeling: Musical Tone Deafness Could Also Mean Emotional Tone Deafness

    Think the fact that you can't carry a tune in a paper bag is only a problem at karaoke night? Think again. Being tone deaf may also affect your ability to find emotional cues in people's speech, making it harder to determine from a person's tone of voice whether they're happy, angry, sad, or frustrated, according to a recent study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  10. Science

    We Need To Go Deeper: Researchers Discover Multiple New Viruses In One Woman’s Disgusting Contact Lens Case

    A team of French doctors got more than they bargained for while trying to solve the mystery of what was causing eye inflammation in one of their patients. On examining her contact lens case, they discovered the culprit -- a simple amoeba. On closer inspection, though, that amoeba held no shortage of surprising discoveries, not the least of which was an entirely new species of giant virus, dubbed Lentille. Some diligent poking around inside Lentille, though, showed that it wasn't travelling alone.

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  11. Space

    Magnetic Pulses to The Brain Bring People Down To Earth, Reduce Optimism

    As a species, humans tend to be glass half-full, optimistic sorts of folks, actively seeking out good news while simultaneously ignoring things that upset or disagree with us. It can be a fun way to live sometimes and it's definitely made a few of our days more relaxing, but the good news bias can work against us as well, detaching us from reality and leading us to make poor decisions. It turns out we may be able to take off those rose-colored glasses and think logically about things, though -- and all it requires out of us is a quick shot of magnetic energy to the brain.

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  12. Science

    Key Difference Between Embryonic and Induced Stem Cells Discovered, Could Make Treatments Safer

    While there's maybe no medical technology today with more potential, stem cell treatments are not without their own problems. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) -- those created in a laboratory after being devolved from other adult cells -- are getting easier to make every day, but are still expensive to manufacture and run the risk of causing health problems of their own, possibly even becoming cancerous. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), meanwhile, have been shown to be effective and largely safe for patients, but their use in medicine remains controversial. A team of researchers working at the Salk Institute and the University of California San Diego has taken a step toward understanding what makes both sorts of cells tick, though. They've discovered a unique molecular signature that indicates when a stem cell has been created in a lab rather than harvested from an unimplanted embryo.

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  13. Science

    Tigers Work Swing Shift to Avoid Humans in Nepal

    If you don't think of "being exceedingly reasonable about scheduling matters" as a trait generally shown by big cats who chase down and eat small, fluffy things, you're not alone. A group of tigers in Nepal, however, is demonstrating a degree of tact and diplomacy not usually seen in quarter-ton feline killing machines. The tigers of Nepal's Chitwan National Park have changed from their normal daytime feeding habits to make their living as nocturnal predators, seemingly in the interest of avoiding conflict with the humans who call the area home and share many of the same roads and trails used by tigers.

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  14. Science

    Oldest Bugs Trapped in Amber Found, Jurassic Park Still a Fantasy

    Researchers working with the University of Padova and the University of Gottingen have found some of the oldest bugs on Earth trapped in amber samples. The tiny gall mite pictured above -- one of two species of mite discovered along with a new variety of early fly -- was found in a series of amber samples from northeastern Italy. These early arthropods are about 100 million years older than the next oldest amber preserved creatures known to science. While these new critters promise to offer science new insights to the wide world of ancient creepy-crawlers, the fact that they could get trapped in amber at all is also proving valuable to the study of ancient trees.

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  15. Science

    Bonobos Capable Of Making Tools On Par with Early Humans

    While many species of birds and mammals have been seen using tools in the wild, crafting lasting tools from stone is one of the things that has long been thought to mark a key difference between apes and early humans. One species of great ape, though -- the bonobo -- may have just made that line a little less reliable. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that, once offered a little insight on the matter, bonobos are at least as skilled at crafting tools as chimpanzees, and may demonstrate the same level of talent shown in artifacts left behind by early humans.

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