Efficient catalyst developed for producing pronucleotides

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Merck & Co., Inc. has developed an efficient catalyst for producing pronucleotides, paving the way perhaps to a new class of drugs for combatting viruses and cancer. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes the experiments they conducted that led to identification of the components of the catalyst and how well it worked when used to create a hepatitis C virus inhibitor.

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Brown bears found to leave scent signals by twisting feet into the ground

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Poland, Spain and Austria has discovered that brown bears living in Poland have glands in their paws that produce chemicals that the bears use to communicate with other bears. In their paper published in Scientific Reports, the team describes their study of multiple bears in the wild and what they observed.

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Fast electrons and the seeds of disruption

Measuring small fast electron populations hidden in a sea of colder "thermal" electrons in tokamak plasmas is very challenging. Why? The challenge comes from the fast electron signal being overwhelmed by thermal electron signal in most diagnostics. Physicists at the University of California-San Diego, with physicists from Oak Ridge National Lab and from General Atomics, have succeeded in measuring fast electron populations. They achieved this first-of-its-kind result by seeing the effect of the fast electrons on the ablation rate of small frozen argon pellets.

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The science of laughter – and why it also has a dark side

When you hear someone laugh behind you, you probably picture them on the phone or with a friend – smiling and experiencing a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Chances are just the sound of the laughter could make you smile or even laugh along. But imagine that the person laughing is just walking around alone in the street, or sitting behind you at a funeral. Suddenly, it doesn't seem so inviting.

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