82 Confirmed Dead In Kaduna Bombings
At least 25 people were killed in Kaduna, Nigeria, on Wednesday after a bomb targeting an Islamic cleric exploded in a busy commercial area, police said. A second explosion in Kaduna’s Kawo market killed 50, reports the International Business Times.
In the first explosion, the bomb was reportedly thrown from the back of a moving motorcycle in an attempted assassination of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, who led prayers in Murtala Muhammed Square shortly before the explosion, eyewitnesses told Reuters. The cleric was unharmed in the attack.
Brain imaging study examines second-language learning skills
With enough practice, some learners of a second language can process their new language as well as native speakers, research at the University of Kansas shows.
Using brain imaging, a trio of KU researchers was able to examine to the millisecond how the brain processes a second language. They then compared their findings with their previous results for native speakers and saw both followed similar patterns.
The research by Robert Fiorentino and Alison Gabriele, both associate professors in the linguistics department, and José Alemán Bañón, a former KU graduate student who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, was published this month in the journal Second Language Research.
For years, linguists have debated whether second-language learners would ever resemble native speakers in their ability to process language properties that differ between the first and second language, such as gender agreement, which is a property of Spanish but not English. In Spanish, all nouns are categorized as masculine or feminine, and various elements in the sentence, such as adjectives, need to carry the gender feature of the noun as well.
Some researchers argued that even those who spoke a second language with a high level of accuracy were using a qualitatively different mechanism than native speakers.
“We realized that these different theories proposing that either second-language learners use the same mechanism, or a different mechanism could actually be teased apart by using brain-imaging techniques,” Gabriele said.
The team studied 26 high-level Spanish speakers who hadn’t learned to speak Spanish until after age 11 and grew up with English as the majority language. The speakers used Spanish on a daily basis and had spent an average of a year and a half in a Spanish-speaking country.
They were compared with 24 native speakers, who were raised in Spanish-speaking countries and stayed in their home country until age 17.
To measure language processing as it happens, the team used a method known as electroencephalography (EEG), which uses an array of electrodes placed on the scalp to detect patterns of brain activity with high accuracy in timing.
Once hooked up to the EEG, the test subjects were asked to read sentences, some of which had grammatical errors in either number agreement or gender agreement.
The researchers then compared the results of the second-language learners to native speakers. They found that the highly proficient second-language speakers showed the same patterns of brain activity as native speakers when processing grammatical violations in sentences.
“We show that the learners’ brain activity looks qualitatively similar to that of native speakers, suggesting that they are using the same mechanisms,” Fiorentino said.
The study highlights the brain’s plasticity and its ability to acquire a new complex system even in adulthood.
“A lot of researchers have argued that there is some sort of language learning mechanism that might atrophy over the life span, particularly before puberty. And, we certainly have a lot of evidence that it is difficult to process your second language at nativelike levels and you have to go through quite a bit of effort to find people who can,” Gabriele said. “But I think what this paper shows is that it is possible.”
Gabriele and Fiorentino are working on a second phase of the research, studying how the brain processes a second language at the initial stages of exposure. Their preliminary results suggest that properties that are shared between the first and second language show patterns of brain activity that are very similar in learners and native speakers. This suggests that learners build on the representation for language that is already in place when learning a second language.
Hispanic Americans are the ethnic group with the biggest knowledge about Bitcoin
A poll carried out by Morning Consult in the United States in the beginning of July has now revealed which ethnicity is most likely to have heard of Bitcoin and have a bigger understanding of the cryptocurrency. According to the survey, which asked a large sample of people about their knowledge of and attitudes towards digital money, the ethnicity that conquered the first place is the hispanic American group.
The numbers actually reveal a striking difference: while 21 percent of hispanic Americans “a lot” about Bitcoin, only eight percent of whites and seven percent of African Americans could say the same.
The hispanics are the ethnic group most likely to consider that Bitcoin should be allowed by the government as a means to purchase goods and services, the website National Review reports.
Also, 23 percent of hispanics admitted they were “very likely” to buy and use Bitcoin. This is around three times as many as any other group polled in the same survey.
The results might be explained by the fact that the hispanic group has a younger age average. Also, some Hispanic Americans are immigrants or have relatives living in another country and are starting to see the advantages of using Bitcoin to transfer money between countries, avoiding the huge fees of the remittances market.
Image from Wikimedia
MH17: U.S. Points Finger at Russia, Russia Deflects Blame - WallStreetJournal
Yeah, right, Russia.
"A psychopath is a person who, unfortunately for him or her, lacks the ability to really empathize with other human beings. When they look around, they don’t see other human beings with deep, rich, three-dimensional personal lives and aims and ambitions.What they see is cardboard cutouts, and it’s very sad and it’s very lonely, and it’s very rare, fortunately.
But actually, aren’t most of us not really so very good at empathy? Oh sure, we’re very good at empathy when it’s a question of dealing with people who kind of look like us and kind of walk and talk and eat and pray and wear like us, but when it comes to people who don’t do that, who don’t quite dress like us and don’t quite pray like us and don’t quite talk like us, do we not also have a tendency to see them ever so slightly as cardboard cutouts too? And this is a question we need to ask ourselves. I think constantly we have to monitor it. Are we and our politicians to a degree cultural psychopaths?”
— Simon Anholt, “Which Country Does The Most Good For The World?”
Tropical fish are invading and destroying kelp forestsSCIENCEALERT STAFF
WEDNESDAY, 09 JULY 2014
They might be beautiful, but migrating tropical fish are consuming more than their fair share of kelp and seagrass.
A study by Australian researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has found evidence of the harmful impact of tropical fish migrating off the coast of the US, Japan, the eastern Mediterranean, and Australia.
As a result of the ocean warming, tropical fish including unicornfish, parrotfish and rabbitfish are moving to new temperate areas, where they overgraze on the kelp forests and seagrass meadows that line the ocean floor.
“The tropicalisation of temperate marine areas is a new phenomenon of global significance that has arisen because of climate change,” said marine ecologist and lead author of the study,Adriana Verges, in a press release. “Increases in the number of plant-eating tropical fish can profoundly alter ecosystems and lead to barren reefs, affecting the biodiversity of these regions, with significant economic and management impacts.”
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The researchers discovered that hotspots are developing in particular ocean regions that move warm tropical waters towards the poles. In the East Australian Current, which moves warm water from the tropical Coral Sea down the east coast of Australia, the waters are warming at two to three times the global average. This means tropical fish have become common in Sydney Harbour during the summer months.
Similar effects have been seen in Japan, the east coast of the US, northern Brazil and south eastern Africa.
“In tropical regions, a wide diversity of plant-eating fish perform the vital role of keeping reefs free of large seaweeds, allowing corals to flourish. But when they intrude into temperate waters they pose a significant threat to these habitats. They can directly overgraze algal forests as well as prevent the recovery of algae that have been damaged for other reasons,” said Verges.
from Science Alert
Astronomers have long pondered the origins of enormous elliptical galaxies in the young Universe. An object 11 billion light-years away spotted by the Herschel mission may help unravel the mystery.
Two massive spiral galaxies merged to create a giant elliptical galaxy, which were previously believed to form through the absorption of dwarf galaxies over time.
Price opened above weekly pivot 617, price bias for uptrend to 630, need to wait as market really ‘flat’ #btc
New research provides an intriguing glimpse into the processes that establish connections between nerve cells in the brain. These connections, or synapses, allow nerve cells to transmit and process information involved in thinking and moving the body.
Reporting online in Neuron, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a group of proteins that program a common type of brain nerve cell to connect with another type of nerve cell in the brain.
The finding is an important step forward in efforts to learn how the developing brain is built, an area of research essential to understanding the causes of intellectual disability and autism.
“We now are looking at how loss of this wiring affects brain function in mice,” said senior author Azad Bonni, MD, PhD, the Edison Professor of Neurobiology and head of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the School of Medicine.
Bonni and his colleagues are studying synapses in the cerebellum, a region of the brain that sits in the back of the head. The cerebellum plays a central role in controlling the coordination of movement and is essential for what researchers call procedural motor learning, which makes it possible to move our muscles at an unconscious level, such as when we ride a bicycle or play the piano.
“The cerebellum also regulates mental functions,” Bonni said. “So, impairment of the wiring of nerve cells in the cerebellum may contribute to movement disorders as well as cognitive problems including autism spectrum disorders.”
His new results show that a complex of proteins known as NuRD (nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase) plays a fairly high supervisory role in some aspects of the cerebellum’s construction. When the researchers blocked the NuRD complex, cells in the cerebellum called granule cells failed to form connections with other nerve cells, the Purkinje neurons. These circuits are important for the cerebellum’s control of movement coordination and learning.
Bonni and his colleagues showed that NuRD exerts influence at the epigenetic level, which means it controls factors other than DNA that affect gene activity. For example, NuRD affects the configurations of molecules that store DNA and that can open and close the coils of DNA like an accordion, making genes less or more accessible. Changing the accessibility of genes changes their activity levels. For instance, cells can’t frequently make proteins from genes in a tightly packed coil of DNA.
NuRD also alters tags on the proteins that store DNA, decreasing the chances that the gene will be used. Among the genes deactivated by NuRD are two that control the activity of other genes involved in the wiring of the cerebellum.
“This tells us that the NuRD complex is very influential—not only does it affect the activity of genes directly, it also controls other regulators of multiple genes,” Bonni said.
(Image: Courtesy of VJ Wedeen and LL Wald, Martinos Center, Harvard Medical School, Human Connectome Project)
We Are Yet To Call Off Our Strike – COEASU
Unlike the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) that is expected to resume work on Tuesday after suspending its ten months strike, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) said on Sunday that it was yet to call off its seven months old strike.
The General Secretary of COEASU, Nuhu Ogirima, who gave the indication in an interview in Abuja, said the union would end the strike only after a clear-cut commitment towards meeting the remaining part of their demands has been made by the Federal Government (FG).