My picks from ScienceDaily

Social Behavior In Ants Influenced By Small Number Of Genes:

Understanding how interactions between genes and the environment influence social behavior is a fundamental research goal. In a new study, researchers at the University of Lausanne and the University of Georgia have shed light on the numbers and types of genes that may control social organization in fire ant colonies.

Regular Walking Protects The Masai — Who Eat High Fat Diet — From Cardiovascular Disease:

Scientists have long been puzzled by how the Masai can avoid cardiovascular disease despite having a diet rich in animal fats. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet believe that their secret is in their regular walking.

Dust Storms In Sahara Desert Sustain Life In Atlantic Ocean:

Research at the University of Liverpool has found how Saharan dust storms help sustain life over extensive regions of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change:

Spanish and German researchers have carried out a collaborative study that shows how during the last glacial period, small variations in the surface winds could have induced significant changes in the oceanic currents of the North Atlantic, and could even have played a role in the abrupt climate change that occurred at the time.

Spotted Hyenas Can Increase Survival Rates By Hunting Alone:

Recent research by Michigan State University doctoral student Jennifer Smith has shed new light on the way spotted hyenas live together and – more importantly – hunt for their food alone.

How A Simple Mathematic Formula Is Starting To Explain The Bizarre Prevalence Of Altruism In Society:

Why do humans cooperate in things as diverse as environment conservation or the creation of fairer societies, even when they don’t receive anything in exchange or, worst, they might even be penalized? This is a question that has puzzled academics for centuries, especially since in evolution the basis for the “survival of the fittest” is, after all, selfishness.

Loud Music Can Make You Drink More, In Less Time, In A Bar:

Commercial venues are very aware of the effects that the environment — in this case, music — can have on in-store traffic flow, sales volumes, product choices, and consumer time spent in the immediate vicinity. A study of the effects of music levels on drinking in a bar setting has found that loud music leads to more drinking in less time.

Horse Racecourse In Ancient Olympia Discovered After 1600 Years:

The site of the ancient hippodrome course in Olympia, where the emperor Nero competed for Olympian laurels, has been discovered. The hippodrome was discovered in Olympia by a research team that included Professor Norbert Müller (a sports historian from Mainz), Dr Christian Wacker (a sports archaeologist from Cologne) and PD Dr Reinhard Senff (chief excavator of the German Archaeological Institute – DAI.

Second Life Improves Real-life Social Skills:

Social interaction is enhanced rather than diminished by online interfaces, according to new research on the virtual program Second Life. Eryn Grant, a PhD student in Queensland University of Technology’s School of Humanities, recently completed a study which took an in-depth look at social order in emergent online environments.

Semantics Gives The Web Meaning – For Machines:

Where would we be without the web? It is such an immense and rich source of information; we feel that every answer is out there. All it takes is a bit of searching…

Lionfish Decimating Tropical Fish Populations, Threatening Coral Reefs:

The invasion of predatory lionfish in the Caribbean region poses yet another major threat there to coral reef ecosystems — a new study has found that within a short period after the entry of lionfish into an area, the survival of other reef fishes is slashed by about 80 percent.

If Northern Trees Suffer Because Of Global Warming, Southern Trees May Still Be Slow To Replace Them:

If a warmer Wisconsin climate causes some northern tree species to disappear in the future, it’s easy to imagine that southern species will just expand their range northward as soon as the conditions suit them.

How Birds Spot The Cuckoo In The Nest:

It’s not always easy spotting the cuckoo in the nest. But if you don’t, you pay a high price raising someone else’s chick. How hosts distinguish impostor eggs from their own has long puzzled scientists. The problem remained largely unsolved while looking at it through our own eyes. It was only when people started thinking from the birds’ perspective that they began to understand how hosts recognise a cuckoo egg in the nest.

Natural Selection May Not Produce The Best Organisms:

“Survival of the fittest” is the catch phrase of evolution by natural selection. While natural selection favors the most fit organisms around, evolutionary biologists have long wondered whether this leads to the best possible organisms in the long run.

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