Impact of road salt on butterflies examined

The availability of the micronutrient could alter selection on foraging behavior for butterflies and other roadside developing invertebrates, research shows. Living things require micronutrients such as sodium and iron in sparing amounts, but they can play a big role in development. While a moderate rise in sodium can have some seeming benefits, too much of a good thing is toxic; for instance, the researchers saw markedly higher mortality rate in some subjects.
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Source: Science Daily

    

Facing a violent past: Evolution of human ancestors’ faces a result of need to weather punches during arguments, study suggests

An alternative to the previous long-held hypothesis that the evolution of the robust faces of our early ancestors resulted largely from the need to chew hard-to-crush foods such as nuts has been presented by researchers. The prehistoric version of a bar fight — over women, resources and other slug-worthy disagreements — are what shaped our facial evolution, new research suggests.
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Source: Science Daily

    

Retracing early cultivation steps: Lessons from comparing citrus genomes

Citrus is the world’s most widely cultivated fruit crop but it is now under attack from citrus greening, an insidious emerging infectious disease destroying entire orchards. Researchers worldwide are mobilizing to apply genomic tools and approaches to understand how citrus varieties arose and how they respond to disease and other stresses. An international consortium of researchers analyzed and compared the genome sequences of ten diverse citrus varieties.
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Source: Science Daily

    

Futurist Friday: Robotic Emoticons

By The Alliance’s Center for the Future of Museums

I will be writing soon about CFM’s experiments with robots (telepresence robots and drones) at the annual meeting in Seattle last month. Spoiler alert: some people found our robot guests charming, others were more than a bit creeped out.

People react positively to other people, and to things that obviously exaggerate or parody human characteristics, (Like anime figures with their huge, cute eyes.) But between those two extremes lies the ” about ERWIN and other “emotional robots” on Activist Post.


Kismet, from MIT

Nao, from Notre Dame, is designed to assist kids with autism

Jules, from the prolific workshop of Hanson Robotics
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Source: Future of Museums

    

Exploring legal, ethical gray area for people with dementia

Many of the legal and ethical options for refusing unwanted interventions are not available to people with dementia because they lack decision-making capacity. But one way for these people to ensure that they do not live for years with severe dementia is to use an advance directive to instruct caregivers to stop giving them food and water by mouth. This is an ethical and legal gray area explored in recent commentaries and a case study.
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Source: Science Daily