Protecting the rainforest through agriculture and forestry

Conservationists are always looking for ways to halt the pace of deforestation in tropical rainforests. One approach involves recultivating abandoned agricultural land. An international team investigating this concept has just published its findings in Nature Communications. Working in the mountainous regions of Ecuador, the researchers found afforestation and intense pasturing to be particularly effective, clearly increasing the environmental and economic value of abandoned farmlands. —> Read More Here

How various brain areas interact in decisions

Our decisions can be pictured in the brain. Scientists at the University of Zurich were able to show in a recent study which areas are most active in decision making. Often the so-called prefrontal cortex not only apparently shows increased activity during decisions that require self-control, but in general during decision making. The results could be of use in promoting decision skills in difficult decisions. —> Read More Here

Global quantum communications — no longer the stuff of fiction?

Neither quantum computers nor quantum cryptography will become prevalent technologies without memory systems able to manipulate quantum information easily and effectively. The Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw has recently made inroads into popularizing quantum information technologies by creating an atomic memory with outstanding parameters and an extremely simple construction. —> Read More Here

First harvest of research based on the final GOCE gravity model

Just four months after the final data package from ESA’s GOCE satellite mission was delivered, researchers are laying out a rich harvest of scientific results at the 5th International GOCE User Workshop in Paris. The GOCE Gravity Consortium, coordinated by the Technische Universität München, produced all of the mission’s data products. On this basis, studies in geophysics, geology, ocean circulation, climate change, and civil engineering are sharpening the picture of our dynamic planet. —> Read More Here

Homosexuality May Have Evolved In Humans Because It Helps Us Bond, Scientists Say

Scientists have long been puzzled by homosexuality, as it seems to be at odds with the basic human drive to reproduce.

Various theories have been offered–from the notion that homosexual men make more diligent uncles than their heterosexual counterparts (and thus are better at ensuring the survival of their relatives) to the notion that the same gene that codes for homosexuality in men makes women more fertile.

Now researchers from the University of Portsmouth in England have put forth a controversial new theory. They say homosexuality evolved in humans and other primates because it helps us form bonds with one another.

“From an evolutionary perspective, we tend to think of sexual behavior as a means to an end for reproduction,” Dr. Diana Fleischman, an evolutionary psychologist at the university and one of the researchers, said in a written statement. “However, because sexual behavior is intimate and pleasurable, it is also used in many species, including non-human primates, to help form and maintain social bonds. We can all see this in romantic couples who bond by engaging in sexual behavior even when reproduction is not possible.”

For the study, 92 women were asked to indicate the extent to —> Read More Here

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