Reading ability soars if young struggling readers get school’s intensive help immediately

struggling readers, wait to fail, intensive intervention, SMU, AlOtaiba, YovanoffReading skills improve very little when schools follow the current standard practice of waiting for struggling readers to fail first before providing them with additional help, say researchers at SMU.

The new study found that a dynamic intervention in which struggling readers received the most intensive help immediately, enabled students to significantly outperform their peers who had to wait for additional help. Continue reading

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New fossils intensify mystery of short-lived, toothy mammals unique to ancient North Pacific

Desmo, Ray Troll, Louis Jacobs, SMU, AlaskaIdentification of a new species of marine mammal has intensified the rare animal’s brief mysterious journey through prehistoric time.

A big, hippo-sized animal with a long snout and tusks — the new species is a marine mammal belonging to the order Desmostylia. But unlike other marine mammals alive today — such as whales, seals and sea cows — desmostylians went totally extinct. Continue reading

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Top Quark: Precise particle measurement improves subatomic tool probing mysteries of universe

Top Quark, physics, Higgs boson, FermilabPhysicists at Southern Methodist University have a new precise measurement of a key subatomic particle, opening the door to better understanding of our universe.

The researchers calculated the new measurement for a critical characteristic — mass — of the Top Quark. The new value adds growing uncertainty to physics’ Standard Model. Continue reading

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Drugs behave as predicted in computer model of key protein, enabling cancer drug discovery

Wise, P-gp, P-glycoprotein, SMUDrugs important in the battle against cancer responded the way they do in real life and behaved according to predictions when tested in a computer-generated model of one of the cell’s key molecular pumps — the protein P-glycoprotein, or P-gp.

Biologists at SMU developed the computer generated model to overcome the problem of relying on only static images for P-gp’s structure, said biologist John G. Wise, lead researcher. Continue reading

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17 million-year-old whale fossil provides 1st exact date for East Africa’s puzzling uplift

Whale, fossil, kenya, Great Rift, Africa, Jacobs, WichuraUplift associated with East Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the environmental changes it produced have puzzled scientists for decades because the timing and starting elevation have been poorly constrained.

Now paleontologists have tapped a fossil from the most precisely dated beaked whale in the world — and the only stranded whale ever found so far inland on the African continent — to pinpoint a date when the mysterious elevation began. Continue reading

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SMU analysis of recent North Texas earthquake sequence reveals geologic fault, epicenters in Irving and West Dallas

Locations of seismic instruments as of Jan. 30, 2015, with revised earthquake locations in dark red. (USGS)Initial results from the seismology team at Southern Methodist University reveal that a recent series of earthquakes near old Texas Stadium in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were relatively shallow and concentrated along a narrow two-mile line that indicates a fault extending from Irving into West Dallas. SMU and the United States Geological Survey have shared an interim report with the mayors of Dallas and Irving. Continue reading

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Scientists issue call to action for archaeological sites threatened by rising seas, urban development

Western%20Site%20Margin%20400x300.jpgShould global warming cause sea levels to rise as predicted in coming decades, thousands of archaeological sites in coastal areas around the world will be lost to erosion.

With no hope of saving all these sites, an SMU archaeologist and others call for scientists to assess the sites most at risk.

Photo: A site at Anacapa Island, southern California, is in danger of eroding into the ocean. (Credit: Reeder)
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