Scientist at work: Katy Borner

Katy Borner Together with her collaborators, Indiana University School of Library and Information Science Associate Professor Katy Börner designs exquisite maps of science as a novel means to navigate, manage, and utilize scholars' collective knowledge. Börner is a curator of the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit, currently on display at the New York Hall of Science (see Maps of science can show where the infrastructure of a specific research industry exists, along with where ideas, research, and innovations are created. "The exhibit introduces people to the power of maps to navigate physical spaces but also abstract spaces of our collective scholarly knowledge," said Börner.  Full Story

How trees manage water in arid environments

Big Tower

Water scarcity is slowly becoming a fact of life in increasingly large areas. One way to make better use of scarce water resources would be to retain more of the water that falls during a heavy rain. To accomplish this, better understanding is needed about how water behaves in the environment. Constance Brown, a micrometeorologist in the Atmospheric Science Program of Indiana University's Department of Geography, is one of the scientists working to provide this understanding. In a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Arid Environments, she reports the first results of a study designed to characterize the surface exchanges of water and carbon dioxide in a forest in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Ariz.

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Sex ends as seasons shift and kisspeptin levels plummet

Siberian hamster

A hormone implicated in the onset of human puberty also appears to control reproductive activity in seasonally breeding rodents, report Indiana University Bloomington and University of California at Berkeley scientists in the March 2007 issue of Endocrinology. The paper is now accessible online via the journal's rapid electronic publication service. The researchers present evidence that kisspeptin, a recently discovered neuropeptide encoded by the KiSS-1 gene, mediates the decline of male Siberian hamsters' libido and reproduction as winter approaches and daylight hours wane.

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Vanishing beetle horns have surprise function

Onthophagus beetles

The function of horned beetles' wild protrusions has been a matter of some consternation for biologists. Digging seemed plausible; combat and mate selection, more likely. Even Charles Darwin once weighed in on the matter, suggesting -- one imagines with some frustration -- the horns were merely ornamental. Recently, Indiana University Bloomington scientists presented an entirely new function for the horns: during their development, Onthophagus horned beetles use their young horns as a sort of can opener, helping them bust out of thick larval shells.

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Violent Video Games May Emotionally Arouse Players

DISC video game

Adolescents who play violent video games may exhibit differences in activity levels in areas of the brain associated with emotional arousal and self-control, according to new research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and announced Nov. 28 at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting in Chicago. The study randomly assigned 44 adolescents to play either a violent video game or a nonviolent but equally fun and exciting video game for 30 minutes.

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