Tag Archives: words

Das menschliche Gebiss als Spiegel unserer Evolution

Wissenschaftler der Universität Tübingen ermitteln, welche Eigenschaften der Zähne zur Rekonstruktion genetischer Verwandtschaft genutzt werden können

Genetische Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen individuellen Menschen oder auch Menschengruppen lassen sich anhand ihrer Zahnformen teilweise rekonstruieren. Dr. Hannes Rathmann und Dr. Hugo Reyes-Centeno von der Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe „Words, Bones, Genes, Tools“ an der Universität Tübingen haben nun mithilfe eines Algorithmus herausgearbeitet, welche der zahlreichen Zahnmerkmale sich für Verwandtschaftsanalysen besonders gut eignen und welche Zahnmerkmale weniger die Verwandtschaft, sondern eine ähnliche Anpassung an gleiche Umweltbedingungen widerspiegeln. Die Studie erschien in der Fachzeitschrift Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). (more…)

Read More

Public Acceptance of Climate Change Affected by Word Usage, Says MU Anthropologist

Better science communication could lead to a more informed American public.

Public acceptance of climate change’s reality may have been influenced by the rate at which words moved from scientific journals into the mainstream, according to anthropologist Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri. A recent study of word usage in popular literature by O’Brien and his colleagues documented how the usage of certain words related to climate change has risen and fallen over the past two centuries. Understanding how word usage affects public acceptance of science could lead to better science communication and a more informed public.

“Scientists can learn from this study that the general public shouldn’t be expected to understand technical terms or be convinced by journal papers written in technical jargon,” O’Brien said. “Journalists must explain scientific terms in ways people can understand and thereby ease the movement of those terms into general speech. That can be a slow process. Several words related to climate change diffused into the popular vocabulary over a 30-50 year timeline.” (more…)

Read More

Diana Davis dances her Ph.D.

What if the Ph.D. research becomes too complex for words? Dozens of candidates turned to the language of dance in the fifth annual national contest sponsored by Science Magazine. Diana Davis, a graduate student in mathematics, won the first-ever “Dance Your Ph.D.” prize in pure mathematics.

Math graduate student Diana Davis studies the symbolic dynamics that arise from cutting sequences on Veech surfaces and Bouw-Möller surfaces.

No idea what that means? It’s OK. She can show you. (more…)

Read More

Sticks and Stones: “That’s so gay” Negatively affects Gay Students

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—People may believe words are not harmful, but the phrase “that’s so gay” can have negative consequences for gay, lesbian or bisexual students, a new University of Michigan study indicated.

The phrase is often used by young people to describe something as stupid or undesirable. It’s part of the vocabulary among students at all types of educational institutions, including colleges.

Although subtle, such language is hostile, and can be harmful to sexual minorities, said Michael Woodford, an assistant professor of social work and the study’s lead author. (more…)

Read More

Inspired by Insects

For treatment of vocal fold disorders, UD researchers look to insect protein

A one-inch long grasshopper can leap a distance of about 20 inches. Cicadas can produce sound at about the same frequency as radio waves. Fleas measuring only millimeters can jump an astonishing 100 times their height in microseconds. How do they do it? They make use of a naturally occurring protein called resilin.

Resilin is a protein in the composite structures found in the leg and wing joints, and sound producing organs of insects. Highly elastic, it responds to exceptionally high rates of speed and demonstrates unmatched resilience after being stretched or deformed. (more…)

Read More

Berkeley Lab Researchers Create Next-Generation Chemical Mapping on the Nanoscale

A pixel is worth a thousand words? Not exactly how the saying goes, but in this case, it holds true: scientists at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry have pioneered a new chemical mapping method that provides unprecedented insight into materials at the nanoscale. Moving beyond traditional static imaging techniques, which provide a snapshot in time, these new maps will guide researchers in deciphering molecular chemistry and interactions at the nanoscale—critical for artificial photosynthesis, biofuels production and light-harvesting applications such as solar cells.

“This new technique allows us to capture very high-resolution images of nanomaterials with a huge amount of physical and chemical information at each pixel,” says Alexander Weber-Bargioni, a postdoctoral scholar in the Imaging and Manipulation of Nanostructures Facility at the Foundry. “Usually when you take an image, you just get a picture of what this material looks like, but nothing more. With our method, we can now gain information about the functionality of a nanostructure with rich detail.” (more…)

Read More

Watch Your Language! of Course–But How Do We Actually Do That?

Nothing seems more automatic than speech. We produce an estimated 150 words a minute, and make a mistake only about once every 1,000 words. We stay on track, saying what we intend to, even when other words distract us—from the radio, say, or a road sign we pass while driving.

An upcoming study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows for the first time why we so rarely speak those irrelevant words: We have a “verbal self-monitor” between the mental production of speech and the actual uttering of words that catches any irrelevant items coming from outside of the speaker. (more…)

Read More

Fighting Words: Violent Political Rhetoric Fuels Violent Attitudes

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Political leaders regularly promise to “fight” for noble causes and “combat” pressing problems. They declare “war” on social problems, such as poverty, disease, drugs and terrorism.

This violent political rhetoric—whether politicians intend to or not—can enflame violent attitudes in many Americans, especially those predisposed to behave aggressively in daily life, according to new University of Michigan research involving three studies. (more…)

Read More