Scientists reading habits may be leveling off

scientist reading

Scholarly articles in digital forms overtook printed ones, but survey suggests increase in reading may have reached a peak.

A 35-year trend of researchers reading ever more scholarly papers seems to be leveling off. In 2012, US scientists and social scientists estimated that they read, on average, 22 scholarly articles per month (or 264 per year). That is, statistically, not different from what they reported in an identical survey last conducted in 2005. It is the first time since the reading-habit questionnaire began in 1977 that manuscript consumption has not increased.



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Gene patents could stand in the way of personalized medicine

Researchers worry that gene patents compromise their ability to tailor treatments to individuals based on their DNA.

One day in December 1995, scientists at Myriad Genetics, a a genetic diagnostics company in Salt Lake City, Utah, were competing in a race to discover the sequences of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that reveal a woman’s risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  Sean Tavtigian rushed to his job that day  at Myriad because he knew he could solve the final piece of the puzzle just in time to win Myriad the rights over both genes.




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Researchers analyzing New York Times archives to predict the future

Researchers are creating software that analyzes 22 years of New York Times archives, Wikipedia and about 90 other web resources to predict the future.

Microsoft and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers are creating software that analyzes 22 years of New York Times archives, Wikipedia and about 90 other web resources to predict future disease outbreaks, riots and deaths — and hopefully prevent them.



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Researchers at Harvard find creative way to make incentives work


Incentives like employee bonus pay, app badges, student grades, and even lunch with President Obama are all the rage. Despite their widespread use, most research finds that incentives are terrible at improving performance in the long-run on anything but mindless rote tasks, because the fixation on prizes clouds our creative thinking. However, a new Harvard study of teachers found that a novel approach to incentive scould dramatically improve student performance: give teachers a reward upfront and threaten to take it away if performance doesn’t actually improve. Exploiting the so-called “loss-aversion” tendency could open the door to creative incentivizing for software designers and managers.



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MIT researchers develop self-cleaning glass


A team of researchers at MIT claim to have developed a new and improved glass that is both anti-fogging and glare-free. The near-invisible glass is also said to be self-cleaning, and it could have dozens of practical applications.

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How Giant Gypsum Crystals form

gypsum 567890

Giant gypsum crystals up to 11 meters long in the Cave of Crystals, Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral which is often used in industrial processes and which in nature, if left alone for thousands of years, can grow into huge translucent, towering and eerie, crystals more than 10 metres tall. These are famed for their beauty in places such as the Cave of Crystals in Mexico. Nevertheless, the formation of gypsum has until now been largely unexplored…

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Turkey researchers working hard to build a better bird


Eastern wild turkeys have that classic turkey look, but domesticated turkeys are generally bred with breasts so big that they can’t mate naturally.

A majority of today’s domesticated turkeys may not be able to fly, but their ancestors sure got around. Meleagris gallopavo, the quintessential New World bird, was already an Old World favorite by the time colonists in North America first celebrated any Thanksgiving feasts. Today’s turkey researchers are investigating the big bird’s genetic heritage and biology as part of an effort to improve several aspects of its cultivation.


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Scientists Regenerate Rabbit Skeleton Joints

rabbit joint 4x460
Reanimator, Reanimate me!
Researchers at Columbia University have regrown the destroyed joints of rabbits by shaping a scaffolding that encourages bones to heal in particular forms:

In research published this week in The Lancet, the researchers demonstrate that the technology–a joint-shaped scaffold infused with a growth factor protein–works in rabbits. About a month after the implant, the animals began using their injured forelimbs again, and at two months the animals moved almost as well as similarly aged healthy rabbits. The study is the first to show that an entire joint can be repaired while being used.[…]

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GPS Enabled Asthma Inhaler To Track Asthma Attacks

GPS Enabled Asthma Inhaler To Track Asthma Attacks

Inhalers make way for GPS 

Thanks to David Van Sickle, we’ll soon be able to track (and hopefully eliminate) recurring asthma attack outbreaks. Sickle, a scholar in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is working with students in the biomedical engineering program to create an asthma inhaler with a built-in GPS receiver.

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Discover the Hidden Patterns of Tomorrow with Futurist Thomas Frey
Unlock Your Potential, Ignite Your Success.

By delving into the futuring techniques of Futurist Thomas Frey, you’ll embark on an enlightening journey.

Learn More about this exciting program.