African elephant genome suggests they are superior smellers

Sense of smell is critical for survival in many mammals. The ability to distinguish different odors, which is important for sniffing out food, avoiding predators, and finding mates, depends on the number and type olfactory receptors found in an organism's genome. In a study published today in Genome Research, researchers examined the olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire encoded in 13 mammalian species and found that African elephants have the largest number of OR genes ever characterized; more than twice that found in dogs, and five times more than in humans.

More left-handed men are born during the winter: Indirect evidence of a hormonal mechanism

Men born in November, December or January are more likely of being left-handed than during the rest of the year. While the genetic bases of handedness are still under debate, scientists at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, obtained indirect evidence of a hormonal mechanism promoting left-handedness among men.

Psychologist Ulrich Tran and his colleagues published their findings in the scientific journal Cortex.

Watching too much TV may increase risk of early death

Adults who watch TV for three hours or more each day may double their risk of premature death compared to those who watch less, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Television viewing is a major sedentary behavior and there is an increasing trend toward all types of sedentary behaviors," said Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., the study's lead author and professor and chair of the Department of Public Health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. "Our findings are consistent with a range of previous studies where time spent watching television was linked to mortality."

Washing chicken 'spreads infection'

Consumers are being warned to stop washing raw chicken as doing so increases the risk of food poisoning.

An online survey of 4,500 UK adults by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found 44% washed chicken before cooking.

But it warns this spreads campylobacter bacteria onto hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment, through the splashing of water droplets.

Campylobacter affects about 280,000 people in the UK each year but only 28% in the FSA survey had heard of it.

 

However 90% had heard of salmonella and E. coli.

Google to test 200 self-driving cars

General Motors. Toyota. Google?

One of the world's largest technology companies is getting into the car business — and hoping to turn drivers into passengers. The tech giant announced on its blog Tuesday that it plans to test about 200 of its own two-seat self-driving cars.

"We've been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving," the company wrote. "They will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that's an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people."

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