“Science Times” synthesis

This week’s edition of PRIM&R’s “Science Times synthesis” brings us hope for hair loss, insight into how the brain processes words, and a glimpse at the increasing power of artificial intelligence (AI). What does it all mean? As always, we invite you to read and comment on your favorite stories.

February 22, 2011:

The threatening scent of fertile women: Researchers examine how attraction is linked to fertility in a study on “relationship maintenance.”

A romp into theories of the cradle of life: At a conference sponsored by the Origins Project, researchers reached across disciplines to explore diverse explanations for the origin of life.

In surprise finding, bald mice find their fur again: Mice provide surprising insight into the potential role of stress in hair loss.

Brain’s reading center isn’t picky about vision: New evidence suggests that the same section of the brain is responsible for word formation in sighted and non-sighted individuals.

Hibernating bears keep thermostat turned up: Scientists in Alaska have found that black bears experience only a minimal decrease in body temperature, while decreasing their metabolic rate by almost a quarter.

February 15, 2011:

A fight to win the future: computers versus humans: A showdown between Jeopardy’s best players and an IBM computing system named Watson raises questions about AI.

Lucy walked tall, a foot bone suggests: A new discovery confirms that Australopithecus afarensis had arched feet and walked upright.