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Monday is here once more and the time for science talk has arrived.  Time to brighten your day with selections from science sites across the globe.  New discoveries, new takes on old knowledge, and other bits of news are all available for the perusing in today's information world.  Today's tidbits include new evidence in the role of dinosaurs in the evolution of bird flight, gold nanoparticles aid the detection of dangerous particles, natural fungus may prove effective bedbug control, and ancient tombs discovered in Pakistan's Swat Valley.

Pull up that comfy chair and grab a spot on the porch.  There is always plenty of room for everyone.  Another session of Dr. Possum's science education, entertainment, and potluck discussion is set to begin.

Featured Stories
Evolution is a more complex business than we sometimes assume as shown by the latest interpretation of dinosaur's role in the evolution of bird flight.

Close examination of the earliest theropod dinosaurs suggests that feathers were initially developed for insulation, arranged in multiple layers to preserve heat, before their shape evolved for display and camouflage.

As evolution changed the configuration of the feathers, their important role in the aerodynamics and mechanics of flight became more apparent. Natural selection over millions of years ultimately modified dinosaurs’ forelimbs into highly-efficient, feathered wings that could rapidly change its span, shape and area – a key innovation that allowed dinosaurs to rule the skies.

This basic wing configuration has remained more or less the same for the past 130 million years, with bird wings having a layer of long, asymmetrical flight feathers with short covert feathers on top. They are able to separate and rotate these flight feathers to gain height, change direction and even hover.

As the world becomes more complex and the effort to protect people from dangerous chemicals of all sorts the search for a method to detect those products continues day by day.
(Researchers) have developed a system to quickly detect trace amounts of chemicals like pollutants, explosives or illegal drugs.

The new system can pick out a single target molecule from 10,000 trillion water molecules within milliseconds, by trapping it on a self-assembling single layer of gold nanoparticles.

The team of scientists, all from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College of London, say this technology opens the way to develop devices that are compact, reusable and easy to assemble, and could have a range of uses including detecting illegal drugs, explosives, pollutants in rivers or nerve gases released into the air.

For many of us who live in or travel to the cities of the US and perhaps other parts of the world news of possible bedbug control is a real wonder.
In the study, the researchers used an airbrush sprayer to apply spore formulations to paper and cotton jersey, a common bed sheet material. Then control surfaces, again paper and cotton jersey, were sprayed with blank oil only. The surfaces were allowed to dry at room temperature overnight. Three groups of 10 bedbugs were then exposed to one of the two surfaces for one hour. Afterward, they were placed on clean filter paper in a petri dish and monitored.

The researchers found that all of the bedbugs exposed to the biopesticide became infected and died within five days.

Also, there were no prominent differences in susceptibility by feeding status, sex, strain or life stage. Most importantly, the infected bedbugs carried the biopesticide back to their hiding places, infecting those that did not go out in search of blood.

A site first explored in the 1950's now reveals ancient tombs in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.
...the tombs point to the culture that predates the Buddhist Gandhara civilisation that took hold in northwest Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan from the first millennium BCE to the sixth century AD.

Knucklehead's Photo of the Week

Ricorda Mouth

RICORDA MOUTH  DSCN5058

©Knucklehead, all rights reserved, presented by permission.  (Click on the image to see more in the same series.)

Other Worthy Stories of the Week
High speed video investigates hummingbird pollination
Microbes in the stratosphere
Algae can take energy from other plants
Wormholes from centuries-old art reveal history
Mosquitos fail at flight in fog but heavy rain does not faze them
Family cluster of deadly new coronavirus found
Failed explosions explain most failed supernovae
Planck discovers filament of hot gas linking two galaxy clusters
No link between the moon and psychological disturbance
Prehistoric rhino skull preserved in volcanic ash
Discovering hidden art using tetrahertz radiation
Nutrients from farmed salmon waste can feed new marine industry
Electricity from the marshes

For even more science news:
General Science Collectors:
Alpha-Galileo
BBC News Science and Environment
Eureka Science News
LiveScience
New Scientist
PhysOrg.com
SciDev.net
Science/AAAS
Science Alert
Science Centric
Science Daily
Scientific American
Space Daily

Blogs:
A Few Things Ill Considered Techie and Science News
Cantauri Dreams space exploration
Coctail Party Physics Physics with a twist.
Deep Sea News marine biology
List of Geoscience Blogs
Science20.com
ScienceBlogs
Space Review
Science Insider
Scientific Blogging.
Space.com
Techonology Review
Tetrapod Zoologyvertebrate paleontology
Wired News
Science RSS Feed: Medworm
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe--a combination of hard science and debunking crap

At Daily Kos:
This Week in Science by DarkSyde
Overnight News Digest:Science Saturday by Neon Vincent. OND tech Thursday by rfall.
Pique the Geek by Translator Sunday evenings about 9 Eastern time
All diaries with the DK GreenRoots Tag.
All diaries with the eKos Tag
A More Ancient World by matching mole
Astro Kos
SciTech at Dkos.
Sunday Science Videos by palantir

NASA picture of the day. For more see the NASA image gallery or the Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive
Photobucket
Hubble Photo Loose Spiral Galaxy, NASA, Public Domain

Originally posted to possum on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse, J Town, and Overnight News Digest.

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