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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
Microbiome may have shaped early human populations
Vanderbilt mathematician Glenn Webb and NYU microbiologist Martin Blaser propose that the microbes which live on our bodies may have influenced the age structure of human populations in prehistoric times.
National Institutes of Health, Ellison Medical Foundation, Diane Belfer Program in Human Microbial Ecology

Contact: David Salisbury
Vanderbilt University

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
NREL compares state solar policies to determine equation for solar market success
Analysts at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have used statistical analyses and detailed case studies to better understand why solar market policies in certain states are more successful. Their findings indicate that while no standard formula for solar implementation exists, a combination of foundational policies and localized strategies can increase solar photovoltaic installations in any state.
US Department of Energy

Contact: David Glickson
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?
A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown.

Contact: Press Office
University of Exeter

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Christmas cracker pulling: How to send everyone home a winner
According to experts' statistical analyses, if you're expecting 10 guests for dinner on Christmas day, 15 crackers -- those festive cardboard tubes filled with a one-size-fits-no-one paper hat, a small toy, and a groan-inducing joke -- should be enough to send everyone home happy. The experts came to their estimation by simulating 10,000 parties, with guest numbers ranging from two to 50. Their results are published in Significance.

Contact: Dawn Peters

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
International Conference on Data Mining
Disney Research builds computer models to analyze play in pro basketball and soccer
With the ball at the three-point line near the top of the key, what will Tim Duncan of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs do? Pass to a player posting up? Or does he take a shot? An analysis by Disney Research of player tracking data, however, suggests the highest probability is a pass to guard Tony Parker on his left.

Contact: Jennifer Liu
Disney Research

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society)
Home umpires favor their own teams in test matches
The introduction of neutral umpires in test cricket led to a drop in the number of LBW decisions going in favor of home teams, a study has revealed.

Contact: Emma Thorne
University of Nottingham

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Joint Mathematics Meetings
Mathematicians prove the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture
Monstrous moonshine, a quirky pattern of the monster group in theoretical math, has a shadow -- umbral moonshine. Mathematicians have now proved this insight, known as the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, offering a formula with potential applications for everything from number theory to geometry to quantum physics.

Contact: Megan McRainey
Emory Health Sciences

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Mobile radio passive radar makes harbors safer
Many coastal areas and harbors go almost unprotected against acts of terror. Soon a new sensor system relying on signal echoes from cell towers can quickly detect even the smallest of attack boats. This mobile radio passive radar can also help airplanes avoid colliding with wind turbines.

Contact: Herrad Schmidt

Public Release: 12-Dec-2014
5th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science
More-flexible digital communication
A new theory could yield more reliable communication protocols for digital devices.

Contact: Abby Abazorius
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Physical Review Letters
Penn research outlines basic rules for construction with a type of origami
Origami is capable of turning a simple sheet of paper into a pretty paper crane, but the principles behind it can be applied to making a microfluidic device or for storing a satellite's solar panel in a rocket's cargo bay. A team of University of Pennsylvania researchers is turning kirigami, a related art form that allows the paper to be cut, into a technique that can be applied equally to structures on those vastly divergent length scales.
National Science Foundation, American Philosophical Society, Simons Foundation

Contact: Evan Lerner
University of Pennsylvania

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
3-D maps reveal the genome's origami code
In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3-D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation -- a kind of 'genomic origami' that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. The research appears online today in Cell.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute, NVIDIA, IBM, Google, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, McNair Medical Institute

Contact: Jade Boyd
Rice University

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
WPI team develops tool to better classify tumor cells for personalized cancer treatments
A new statistical model developed by a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute may enable physicians to create personalized cancer treatments for patients based on the specific genetic mutations found in their tumors. The model uses an advanced algorithm to identify the multiple genetic cell subtypes typically found in solid tumors by analyzing gene expression data from a small biopsy sample. The results can help shape more effective treatments and also guide future research.

Contact: Michael Cohen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
New method helps map species' genetic heritage
Where did the songbird get its song? What branch of the bird family tree is closer to the flamingo -- the heron or the sparrow? These questions seem simple, but are actually difficult for geneticists to answer. A new, sophisticated technique called statistical binning developed by researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Texas at Austin can help researchers construct more accurate species trees detailing the lineage of genes and the relationships between species.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Liz Ahlberg
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Cells can use dynamic patterns to pluck signals from noise
Scientists have discovered a general principle for how cells could accurately transmit chemical signals despite high levels of noise in the system.

Contact: Susan Brown
University of California - San Diego

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
The avian tree of life
An international effort to sequence the genomes of 45 avian species has yielded the most reliable tree of life for birds to date. This new avian family tree helps to clarify how modern birds -- the most species-rich class of four-limbed vertebrates on the planet -- emerged rapidly from a mass extinction event that wiped out all of the dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago.

Contact: Natasha Pinol
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Computer scientists at UT Austin crack code for redrawing bird family tree
A new computational technique developed at The University of Texas at Austin has enabled an international consortium to produce an avian tree of life that points to the origins of various bird species. A graduate student at the university is a leading author on papers describing the new technique and sharing the consortium's findings about bird evolution in the journal Science.
National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Contact: Marc Airhart
University of Texas at Austin

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
International team maps 'big bang' of bird evolution
The first findings of the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium are being reported nearly simultaneously in 29 papers -- eight papers in a Dec. 12 special issue of Science and 21 more in Genome Biology, GigaScience and other journals. The analyses suggest some remarkable new ideas about bird evolution, including insights into vocal learning and the brain, colored plumage, sex chromosomes and the birds' relationship to dinosaurs and crocodiles.
BGI and the China National GeneBank, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lundbeck Foundation, Danish National Research Foundation, and others

Contact: Karl Bates
Duke University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Worms' mental GPS helps them find food
Salk scientists develop a theory to explain how animals gather information and switch attention.
National Science Foundation, University of California San Diego Institute, Rita Allen Foundation, National Institutes of Health, McKnight Endowment Fund, Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation

Contact: Salk Communications
Salk Institute

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Marketing Science
Ads communicate message in as little as tenth of a second, helped by color: INFORMS study
Ads can communicate their main message in as little as a tenth of a second, helped by color, according to a new study published in Marketing Science, a publication of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Contact: Barry List
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Frontiers in Neurology
Revolutionary new procedure for epilepsy diagnosis unlocked by research
Pioneering new research by the University of Exeter could revolutionize global diagnostic procedures for one of the most common forms of epilepsy.

Contact: Duncan Sandes
University of Exeter

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society A
Shifting boundaries and changing surfaces
OIST's Mathematical Soft Matter Unit explores the interaction of energies at the crossroads between physics and mathematics.

Contact: Kaoru Natori
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
National Science Review
Uncovering complex network structures in nature
Complex networks arise in a wide range of real social, technological and physical systems. The global spread of Ebola, national power grids and social networks can all be described as forms of complex networks. Particular networks might exhibit features including the small-world effect or being scale-free. In a new study, scientists based in China and Australia cover what it means to randomly choose a network from the class of networks with a particular degree distribution.
Hong Kong University Grants Council, Australian Research Council via a Future Fellowship, Discovery Project

Contact: Michael Small
Science China Press

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
It doesn't add up: People who say they are good at math, but aren't
Thinking you're good at math and actually being good at it are not the same thing, new research has found. About one in five people who say they are bad at math in fact score in the top half of those taking an objective math test. But one-third of people who say they are good at math actually score in the bottom half.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Ellen Peters
Ohio State University

Public Release: 8-Dec-2014
56th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting
Immunotherapy shows clinical benefit in relapsed transplant recipients
A multicenter phase 1 trial of the immune checkpoint blocker ipilimumab found clinical benefit in nearly half of blood cancer patients who had relapsed following allogeneic stem cell transplantation, according to investigators from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who developed and lead the study.
The Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program of the National Cancer Institute, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Blood Cancer Research Partnership

Contact: Anne Doerr
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Public Release: 8-Dec-2014
Nature Communications
Study finds early warning signals of abrupt climate change
A new study by researchers at the University of Exeter has found early warning signals of a reorganization of the Atlantic oceans' circulation which could have a profound impact on the global climate system.

Contact: Eleanor Gaskarth
University of Exeter