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June 3 2015

Archaeologists restore early Islamic caliph’s palace on the shores of the Sea of Galilee


The Department of Ancient Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is to receive EUR 30,000 through the Cultural Preservation Program of the German Federal Foreign Office to help with the restoration of a caliph’s palace on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

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June 3 2015

Unconscious use of 'medical marijuana? ' Hunter-gatherer cannabis use linked to fewer parasites


Washington State University researchers have found that the more hunter-gatherers smoke cannabis, the less they are infected by intestinal worms. The link suggests that they may unconsciously be, in effect, smoking medical marijuana.

Ed Hagen, a WSU Vancouver anthropologist, explored cannabis use among the Aka foragers to see if people away from the cultural and media influences of Western civilization might use plant toxins medicinally.

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June 2 2015

Sawfish escape extinction through 'virgin births', scientists discover


A virgin birth is normally taken as a sign of divine intervention, but the phenomenon may be more common than we thought - at least in certain fish species.

Scientists have discovered that female sawfish appear to be routinely reproducing without any male input through an alternative form of reproduction known as parthenogenesis.

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June 2 2015

Medicine’s Hidden Roots in an Ancient Manuscript


The first time Grigory Kessel held the ancient manuscript, its animal-hide pages more than 1,000 years old, it seemed oddly familiar.

A Syriac scholar at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, Dr. Kessel was sitting in the library of the manuscript’s owner, a wealthy collector of rare scientific material in Baltimore. At that moment, Dr. Kessel realized that just three weeks earlier, in a library at Harvard University, he had seen a single orphaned page that was too similar to these pages to be coincidence.

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June 2 2015

Archeologists find gold artifacts in Scythian grave mounds


A team of archeologists led by Anton Gass of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation has unearthed a small trove of gold objects left behind by a people known as the Scythians, a group of fierce nomads that thrived for over a thousand years in the environs of what is now southern Russia.

The Scythians are believed to have been a warring people, occupying the steppes of central Eurasia from the ninth century BC to the fourth century AD—but they did not leave behind much evidence of their existence, much less their history—they built no cities and kept on the move.

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June 2 2015

Mystery of Amelia Earhart soon to be solved? New analysis could prove she landed on Marshall Islands


The mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart is still hotly debated.

Some say she ran out of gas over a vast stretch of the Pacific, while others argue she landed on an island now called Nikumaroro, before dying.


Alt: Hunt for Amelia Earhart Resumes in Pacific

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June 2 2015

Ancient Greek Legend Seems to Describe a Place in Peru: Early Contact?


In the 8th century BC, the Greek poet Hesiod described in his Theogony a place at the end of the Earth where the gorgons dwell, where the god Atlas appears as a giant mountain, and where a great chasm contains treacherous seas.

Hesiod’s description seems to match the mysterious labyrinth ruins of Chavin de Huantar in the Peruvian Andes, according to Dr. Enrico Mattievich, a retired professor of physics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil. Dr. Mattievich wrote a book titled “Journey to the Mythological Inferno,” in 2011 which suggests the Greek epic hero Odysseus’s journey to the underworld is set in South America.

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June 2 2015

How to learn 30 languages


Some people can speak a seemingly impossible number of tongues. How do they manage it, asks David Robson, and what can we learn from them?

Out on a sunny Berlin balcony, Tim Keeley and Daniel Krasa are firing words like bullets at each other. First German, then Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Croatian, Mandarin and Thai – they’ve barely spoken one language before the conversation seamlessly melds into another. Together, they pass through about 20 different languages or so in total.

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June 2 2015

73% of insomniacs cured after 1-hour therapy session


A simple one-hour therapy session has helped to cure 73% of people suffering from acute insomnia, according to a new study from Northumbria University released today.

In the first ever study to attempt to treat insomnia in the acute phase – before it becomes chronic– researchers found that almost three-quarters of participants saw improvements in the quality of their sleep within three months following a 60-minute cognitive behavioural therapy session.

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June 2 2015

British sports journal touts the benefits of having workers stand


In the United Kingdom, desk-bound workers may soon be following the advice of reggae master Bob Marley, who urged people everywhere to "Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight!"

In a consensus statement published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a panel convened by England's public health services and a British community interest company urged employers initially to get "predominantly desk-based workers" up from their seats, engaging in "standing and light activity" for two hours a day.

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June 2 2015

Contact Lenses May Alter Bacteria in the Eye


Wearing contact lenses may change the community of bacteria living in your eyes, according to a small new study.

In the study, the surface of the eye in the people who wore contact lenses had triple the proportion of certain bacteria species, on average, compared with the people in the study who did not wear the lenses, researchers found.

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June 2 2015

Japanese scientists reverse ageing in human cell lines


By altering the behaviour of two genes responsible for the production of simple amino acids in human cells, scientists have gained a better understanding of how the process of ageing works, and how we could delay or perhaps even reverse it.

The team, led by Jun-Ichi Hayashi at the University of Tsukuba, targeted two genes that produce the amino acid glycine in the cell’s mitochondria, and figured out how to switch them on and off. By doing this, they could either accelerate the process of ageing within the cell, which caused signifiant defects to arise, or they could reverse the process of ageing, which restored the capacity for cellular respiration.

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June 2 2015

Artificial DNA links up just like the real thing


TWO artificial DNA "letters" can link up just like the natural versions, paving the way for incorporating the newcomers into living cells.

Synthetic biologists are racing to come up with artificial versions of the building blocks of life. "We have been basically reinventing the genetic alphabet from the bottom up," says Steven Benner of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida. Hopes for such fake DNA range from developing new drugs to creating artificial life.

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June 2 2015

Engineered bacteria detect cancer and diabetes in urine


Most of us think of bacteria as the enemy, but each of our bodies harbors trillions of microbes, most of them beneficial or benign. Now, you can add two new friendlies to the list. This week, two groups of synthetic biologists seeking to repurpose living microbes for human benefit report genetically modifying bacteria to detect cancer in mice and diabetes in humans.

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June 2 2015

Earth organisms survive under low-pressure Martian conditions


New research at the University of Arkansas suggests that methanogens – among the simplest and oldest organisms on Earth – could survive on Mars.

Methanogens, microorganisms in the domain Archaea, use hydrogen as their energy source and carbon dioxide as their carbon source, to metabolize and produce methane, also known as natural gas. Methanogens live in swamps and marshes, but can also be found in the gut of cattle, termites and other herbivores as well as in dead and decaying matter.


Related: Will we ever colonize Mars?

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June 2 2015

Earth's Magnetic Shield Buffered Powerful Solar Storm


A giant eruption from the sun that scientists thought would hit Earth in 2014 missed because the sun's magnetic field channeled it away from the planet in an unexpected way, researchers say.

This finding could lead to better modeling and forecasting of disruptive solar storms in the future, the scientists added.

Solar eruptions, known as coronal mass ejections, are the hurricanes of space weather. These explosions can drive on the order of a billion tons of super-hot matter out from the sun.

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June 2 2015

Scientists one step closer to mimicking gamma-ray bursts


Using ever more energetic lasers, Lawrence Livermore researchers have produced a record high number of electron-positron pairs, opening exciting opportunities to study extreme astrophysical processes, such as black holes and gamma-ray bursts.

By performing experiments using three laser systems—Titan at Lawrence Livermore, Omega-EP at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and Orion at Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in the United Kingdom—LLNL physicist Hui Chen and her colleagues created nearly a trillion positrons (also known as anti-matter particles).

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