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October 22 2014

Special $2.99 offer on Kindle editions of "War God"


I've persuaded the US publishers of my War God series of novels to offer the Kindle editions of both Volume 1 (War God: Nights of the Witch) and volume 2 (War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent) for just US$2.99 for a limited period. This special price, equivalent to less than the cost of a gallon of gas or a cup of coffee per book, will only be available for the next few days, and in the US only. Please note --You don't need to own a Kindle to read a Kindle book -- the Kindle app is available free of charge for many other mobile devices.

Links to all editions (print and Kindle) of the War God series, along with chapters free to read online, a video trailer and other background material, can be found here: http://www.grahamhancock.com/wargod/

And here are the specific links to the US Kindle editions, currently under special offer:
Volume 1: War God: Nights of the Witch: http://amzn.to/1tIZQ1D
Volume 2: War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent http://amzn.to/1onsu6o

1 minute 40 secs video trailer for the "War God" series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL55JKleYA4

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October 22 2014

Witch bottle found during Newark Civil War Centre dig


A suspected witch bottle has been unearthed by archaeologists during a dig at the site of the new Civil War Centre in Nottinghamshire.

The green bottle, which is about 15cm (5.9in) tall, was probably used in the 1700s to ward off evil spells cast by witches, researchers believe.

The witch bottles were usually filled with fingernails, hair and even urine.

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October 22 2014

No, Bram Stoker Did Not Model Dracula On Vlad The Impaler


It's one of those so-called facts that everyone knows: Bram Stoker's character Count Dracula was loosely based on Vlad the Impaler. But while there's no doubt that Stoker took the name from Vlad III's patronymic, it's doubtful that the Impaler was actually the basis for the famous vampire.

It certainly makes sense that scholars and other readers have connected Count Dracula with the Wallachian warlord Vlad III, nicknamed "Vlad Tepes" or, in English, "Vlad the Impaler." After all, Vlad III was a member of the House of Draculesti, and is one of a handful of historical figures whose title is rendered as "Voivode Dracula" in English-language texts.

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October 22 2014

Stonehenge tunnel plans considered by government again


Plans to build a tunnel underneath Stonehenge are again being considered by the government.

Similar proposals were dropped seven years ago on cost grounds.

The plans are being discussed by a working group that has been looking at ways to reduce congestion on the A303 since the spring.

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October 22 2014

Researchers Discover Prehistoric Human Habitation Sites in the Nefud Desert


Looking down from space in earth orbit, the Nefud Desert appears as an arid oval depression across the northern reaches of the Arabian Peninsula. On the ground, it is known for its sudden violent winds, large crescent-shaped dunes, and brick-red colored sand. It is 290 km (180 miles) long and 225 km (140 miles) wide, with an area of 103,600 km² (40,000 square miles). It sees rain only once or twice a year.

But in antiquity, there were lakes scattered across this otherwise unforgiving land.

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October 22 2014

Human or Hobbit?


Old debates die hard in the study of human origins. In October 2004 paleoanthropologists announced the discovery of a new human species that lived as recently as 17,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Flores. Homo floresiensis, also known as the hobbit, was an overnight sensation. Just over a meter tall, with a brain a third the size of our own, the creature was in many ways as primitive as our 3.2-million-year-old relative, Lucy. Yet it was a contemporary of Homo sapiens and apparently made relatively advanced stone tools and hunted large animals — activities associated with brainier humans. Noting the conflicting observations, skeptics immediately countered that the bones belonged to a diseased H. sapiens individual, not a new species. And so began a battle over bones that continues to this day.

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October 22 2014

Let there be light: Evolution of complex bioluminescent traits may be predictable


A longstanding question among scientists is whether evolution is predictable. A team of researchers from University of California Santa Barbara may have found a preliminary answer. The genetic underpinnings of complex traits in cephalopods may in fact be predictable because they evolved in the same way in two distinct species of squid.

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October 22 2014

Scientists create possible precursor to life


How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions not only occupy the minds of scientists interested in the origin of life, but also researchers working with technology of the future. If we can create artificial living systems, we may not only understand the origin of life - we can also revolutionize the future of technology.

Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. The oldest ancestor of life on Earth was a protocell, and when we see, what it eventually managed to evolve into, we understand why science is so fascinated with protocells. If science can create an artificial protocell, we get a very basic ingredient for creating more advanced artificial life.

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October 22 2014

Major breakthrough could help detoxify pollutants


Scientists at The University of Manchester hope a major breakthrough could lead to more effective methods for detoxifying dangerous pollutants like PCBs and dioxins. The result is a culmination of 15 years of research and has been published in Nature. It details how certain organisms manage to lower the toxicity of pollutants.

The team at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology were investigating how some natural organisms manage to lower the level of toxicity and shorten the life span of several notorious pollutants.

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October 22 2014

‘Starfish’ crystals could lead to 3D-printed pills


Engineers have figured out how to make rounded crystals with no facets, a design that mimics the hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells.

The discovery could one day lead to 3D-printed medications that absorb better into the body.

Both the crystals’ shape and the way they’re made—using organic vapor jet printing—have other promising applications, researchers say. The geometry could potentially be useful to guide light in advanced LEDs, solar cells, and nonreflective surfaces.

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October 22 2014

4-D Printer Makes Shape-Shifting Wood


Just as 3-D printers create objects that have three-dimensional characteristics, 4-D printers create objects that have four-dimensional characteristics, in that they include a dynamic component that causes their structure to change over time -- relying on water, heat, or light to activate them.

Using a multi-material printer, it’s possible to generate objects with these properties all in one go. Such “programmable materials” may one day mean that you can buy flat-pack furniture at Ikea, take it home, spray it with a garden hose and then watch it assemble itself. We don’t even have to speculate: MIT is working on this exact thing.

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October 22 2014

Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery


A man who was completely paralysed from the waist down can walk again after a British-funded surgical breakthrough which offers hope to millions of people who are disabled by spinal cord injuries.

Polish surgeons used nerve-supporting cells from the nose of Darek Fidyka, a Bulgarian man who was injured four years ago, to provide pathways along which the broken tissue was able to grow.

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October 22 2014

The Real Cyborgs


Forget wearable tech. The pioneers of our “post-human” future are implanting technology in to their bodies and brains. Should we stop them or join them?

Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s hand spasmed into life.

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October 22 2014

Wearable tech lets boss track your work, rest and play


How will our lives change as more and more firms digitally monitor their employees' movements and health, at work and beyond. We're about to find out

Many companies – including BP, eBay and Buffer – already encourage employees to wear activity trackers like the Fitbit, often in exchange for discounts on health insurance. Last month, California-based Misfit, which makes a sleep and fitness monitor called Shine, announced that it is teaming up with Coca-Cola as part of the drink-maker's employee well-being programme. Several professional sports teams even monitor their athletes' sleep habits

In cases like these, wearables are designed to boost the health and general productivity of the employees.

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October 22 2014

Sony Tests a Ball That Hovers


In many sports, mastery of the ball is crucial to success. But what happens if the ball disobeys the laws of physics? Researchers at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory and the University of Tokyo are working on just such a device: HoverBall.

HoverBall is a 90-millimeter-wide quadcopter enclosed in a cage a bit bigger than a bocce ball.

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October 21 2014

Hoverboard? Still in the Future


LOS GATOS, Calif. — A lot of things can hover. There are helicopters. There are hovercraft. But for the last three decades, a generation of engineers and movie fans have been waiting for something else: a hovering skateboard like the one in “Back to the Future Part II.”

Inside a drab office park here in Northern California, Greg and Jill Henderson are working on the latest effort. On a recent visit the couple allowed a reporter to stand atop a noisy magnetic skateboard that can float above a copper surface.

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October 21 2014

Aussie bees fight 'hive wars'


Bee colonies in Brisbane are waging war for months on end, sending waves of workers who collide, grapple and die.

A genetic analysis of the battlefield fatalities showed that two different species of stingless bees were fighting for control of a single hive.

The attacking swarm eventually took over the hive entirely, placing a new queen of its own in the usurped nest.

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