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Nature Video – Brain training: does it work?

Brain-training computer games are a multimillion pound industry. But this week, a study published in Nature suggests they may not live up to their promise. Neuroscientist Adrian Owen teamed up with the BBC popular science programme ‘Bang Goes The Theory to recruit more than 11,000 volunteers for a massive online experiment. The results demolish the widely held belief that the regular use of brain-training games improves general cognitive function. To read the story in full, go to: No gain from brain training.

Caterpillar ‘talking’ from walking

Watch how the masked birch caterpillar defends its leaf shelter. New research shows that the noisy, bottom-scraping display you see here evolved from walking. The finding has implications for the evolution of animal communication in many species. Read the original research here: The evolutionary origins of ritualized acoustic signals in caterpillars (open access).

Quotes of the day

“Usually an injustice happens and nobody really cares.”

Robert Dougans, lawyer for Simon Singh, discusses the high profile science and libel case with The Lawyer.

“No doubt all those named contributed to the research. However, I find it difficult to understand how 144 individuals, however close their working relationship, could be involved in writing it.”

Gavin Fairbairn, professor of ethics and language at Leeds Metropolitan University, is perplexed by the author list of a paper with “more authors than any other publication I have ever come across in any of the areas in which I have worked” (Times Higher). No one tell him about the human genome project papers

“When we’re measuring glacier margins, by the time we go home the glacier is already smaller than what we’ve measured.”

Dan Fagre, an ecologist with the US Geological Survey, comments on the fact that Glacier National Park has lost two of its glaciers (Discovery News).

“The casual reader might have the impression that there are real doubts about whether emissions can be reduced without inflicting severe damage on the economy. In fact, once you filter out the noise generated by special-interest groups, you discover that there is widespread agreement among environmental economists that a market-based program to deal with the threat of climate change — one that limits carbon emissions by putting a price on them — can achieve large results at modest, though not trivial, cost.”

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes about climate economics in the New York Times.

On Nature News

Future funding for agricultural research uncertain

Financial donors wrangle over global research group’s strategy.

River reveals chilling tracks of ancient flood

Water from melting ice sheet took unexpected route to the ocean.

Atomic clocks use quantum timekeeping

Entanglement could make state-of-the art clocks more precise.

VIDEO: The stethoscope in your iPhone

Cross posted from Nature’s Spoonful of Medicine blog.

You might not realize it, but if you have an iPhone, you also have a stethoscope and a CPR trainer within reach. Those are just two of the more than 2,000 medical applications available on the iPhone — and with Apple’s iPad launching this Saturday, you can expect plenty more apps to soon help doctors and researchers alike.

For more on this growing area of mobile medicine, check out the ten apps we’ve highlighted below.

On Nature News

Breast cancer gene patents judged invalid

Court ruling may spell bad news for biotech industry.

Geoengineers get the fear

Researchers fail to come up with clear guidelines for experiments that change the planet’s climate.

Synching Europe’s big science facilities

Momentum grows for body to coordinate the continent’s research infrastructure.

Space probe set to size up polar ice

Europe’s ice-monitoring project gets a second chance after 2005 launch mishap.

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