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November 03, 2008

Science: Women found to have cooties

The feminine touch carries more germs - health - 03 November 2008 - New Scientist

Ladies, your hands are a zoo. Sampling the bacterial DNA on human skin has revealed that while women's hands get washed more often than men's, they teem with a more diverse selection of germs.

What's more, the average person's hands probably carry at least 3000 different bacteria belonging to more than 100 species. This startling cornucopia may make it possible to tell which objects have been touched by someone, just by looking at the bacteria left behind.

October 30, 2008

Scientists find that men are attracted to the color red

Psychological study reveals that red enhances men's attraction to women

(PhysOrg.com) -- A groundbreaking study by two University of Rochester psychologists to be published online Oct. 28 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology adds color—literally and figuratively—to the age-old question of what attracts men to women.

Through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, demonstrate that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.

The research provides the first empirical support for society's enduring love affair with red. From the red ochre used in ancient rituals to today's red-light districts and red hearts on Valentine's Day, the rosy hue has been tied to carnal passions and romantic love across cultures and millennia. But this study, said Elliot, is the only work to scientifically document the effects of color on behavior in the context of relationships.

October 23, 2008

New drug may reverse MS

Drug reboots immune system to reverse MS - health - 23 October 2008 - New Scientist

For the first time, a drug has successfully reversed nerve and brain damage from multiple sclerosis, trial data suggests.

"This is unprecedented," says Alasdair Coles at the University of Cambridge, UK, who coordinated a trial that found that the drug alemtuzumab blocks progress of multiple sclerosis. MS disables nerves and brain tissue by attacking the myelin sheaths that otherwise protect them from damage.

"This is the first drug that has shown the potential to halt and even reverse the debilitating effects of MS, and this news will rightly bring hope to people living with the condition day and night," commented Lee Dunster, head of research at the UK MS Society.

October 14, 2008

Narcissists Tend to Become Mediocre Leaders

Narcissists Tend to Become Leaders | LiveScience

Narcissists like to be in charge, so it stands to reason that a new study shows individuals who are overconfident about their abilities are most likely to step in as leaders, be they politicians or power brokers.

However, their initiative doesn't mean they are the best leaders. The study also found narcissists don't outperform others in leadership roles.

Narcissists tend to be egotistical types who exaggerate their talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others. The researchers stress that narcissism is not the same as high self-esteem.

Special protein lets seals hold their breath for 80 minutes at a time

Seals' muscles hide a built-in scuba tank - life - 14 October 2008 - New Scientist

AN OXYGEN reservoir within seals' muscles could explain how they can dive underwater for up to 80 minutes at a time without taking a breath.

Seal muscle contains 20 times as much myoglobin - a protein that stores and transfers oxygen within their cells - as humans. Seals also stop breathing for 20 minutes at a time while asleep on land, which probably helps them conserve energy.

October 13, 2008

Orgy-happy bonobos revealed to also be vicious killers

Loving bonobos have a carnivorous dark side - life - 13 October 2008 - New Scientist

Don't be fooled by their reputation for altruism and free love – bonobos hunt and kill other monkeys just like their more vicious chimpanzees cousins, according to new research.

"Bonobos are merciless," says Gottfried Hohmann, a behavioural ecologist at Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. He witnessed several monkey hunts among bonobos living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and says, "they catch it and start eating it. They don't bother to kill it".

Yet unlike chimps, bonobos live in female-centred societies where sex, not aggression, settles differences and enforces social order.

Continue reading "Orgy-happy bonobos revealed to also be vicious killers" »

Haemorrhagic virus found in common African mouse, deadly to humans

Haemorrhagic virus carried by common African mouse - health - 13 October 2008 - New Scientist

Haemorragic viruses are terrifying. Straight up. The effects on the human body are quite like an overdose of rat poison: you bleed through your skin, through your organs. Let's hope that this one gets contained fast.

Three people have died and another is seriously ill with a previously unknown strain of a virus carried by a common African rodent. The virus requires close contact to spread, but experts warn that more like it could be circulating.

A 36-year-old woman on a small farm outside the Zambian capital Lusaka developed flu-like symptoms in early September. When they worsened she was taken by air ambulance to South Africa, where she died.

Continue reading "Haemorrhagic virus found in common African mouse, deadly to humans" »