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Science at the Top of the News for May 16-20

The most-viewed item by subscribers to Science in the News Daily last week was an update on what went wrong at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Other top stories included research on how anesthesia numbs the brain and mysterious Morgellons disease. Subscribe now for free daily updates.

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New Treatment Lets Paralyzed Man Walk Again

A 25-year-old Los Angeles man paralyzed from the waist down after being hit by a car in 2006 has regained the ability to stand, take steps on a treadmill and move his hips, knees, ankles and toes voluntarily as a result of an experimental treatment developed at UCLA and the University of Louisville.

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

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Iceland Volcanic Ash Cloud Set to Reach UK

An ash cloud from the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland is expected to reach the UK by the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Met Office has said.

from BBC News Online

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The Case for Eating Insects

Crickets, dung beetles and giant ants may not be your idea of an ideal meal, but millions of people around the world rely on insects for food. Crickets are so popular in Thailand that people farm the critters. Big-bottomed ants are a delicacy in Colombia.

from PRI's The World Science

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Suspect Bacterium May Trigger Parkinson's

NEW ORLEANS -- Brain cells may be the latest victim of a bacterial bad guy already charged with causing ulcers and stomach cancer.

from Science News

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Atom-Smasher Retires; Lab Makes Career Switch

When scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced last month that they might have discovered a new elementary particle or fundamental force of nature, it was likely the swan song of the lab's Tevatron accelerator, once the most powerful atom-smasher in the world.

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

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Mammals' Big Brains Began With a Sniff

While dinosaurs ruled the world some 200 million years ago, a group of nocturnal, shrewlike proto-mammals unwittingly sniffed out a strategy for survival that eventually led to the evolution of larger brains. Fossil skulls of two ancient, mammal-like reptiles suggest that natural selection for a keener sense of smell was the initial spur behind bigger brains in early mammals, according to a report online today [May 19] in Science.

from ScienceNOW Daily News

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Alternative Medicine: Think Yourself Better

On May 29th Edzard Ernst, the world's first professor of complementary medicine, will step down after 18 years in his post at the Peninsula Medical School, in south-west England. Despite his job title (and the initial hopes of some purveyors of non-mainstream treatments), Dr. Ernst is no breathless promoter of snake oil. Instead, he and his research group have pioneered the rigorous study of everything from acupuncture and crystal healing to Reiki channelling and herbal remedies.

from the Economist

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VIDEO: From Biology to Military History: Patterns in Animal Weaponry

What are the parallels between an ancient war ship and a dung beetle? More than you would think, actually! Douglas J. Emlen, PhD, has a unique perspective on animal weaponry that looks at patterns in military history.

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