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September 30 2014

Glaciers in the Grand Canyon of Mars?


For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, researchers have identified features that might have been carved by past glaciers as they flowed through the canyons; however, these observations have remained highly controversial and contested.

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September 30 2014

The Timing Of Meteor Strikes May Not Be Random


Astronomers tend to assume that the timing of Earth-striking meteors are completely random, but a recent analysis suggests that meteor impacts are more likely to occur at certain times of the year and at certain locations.

Such is the conclusion of researchers Carlos and Raul de la Fuente Marcos of the Complutense University of Madrid.

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September 30 2014

Scientists "resurrect" ancient proteins to learn about primordial life on Earth


Geological evidence tells us that ancient Earth probably looked and felt very different from the planet we all recognize today. Billions of years ago, our world was a comparatively harsh place. Earth likely had a hotter climate, acidic oceans and an atmosphere loaded with carbon dioxide. The fact that manmade climate change, through carbon dioxide pollution, is re-introducing such hotter, acidified conditions demonstrates their intertwinement.

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September 30 2014

Egyptian Mummy's Brain Imprint Preserved in 'Peculiar' Case


An ancient Egyptian mummy is sparking new questions among archaeologists, because it has one very rare feature: The blood vessels surrounding the mummy's brain left imprints on the inside of the skull.

The researchers are trying to find what process could have led to the preservation of these extremely fragile structures.

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September 30 2014

Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins


What can DNA from the skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tell us about ourselves as humans? A great deal when his DNA profile is one of the 'earliest diverged' – oldest in genetic terms – found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

The man's maternal DNA, or 'mitochondrial DNA', was sequenced to provide clues to early modern human prehistory and evolution.

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September 30 2014

Tooth buried in bone shows two prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea boundaries


About 210 million years ago when the supercontinent of Pangea was starting to break up and dog-sized dinosaurs were hiding from nearly everything, entirely different kinds of reptiles called phytosaurs and rauisuchids were at the top of the food chain.

It was widely believed the two top predators didn't interact much as the former was king of the water, and the latter ruled the land. But those ideas are changing, thanks largely to the contents of a single bone.

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September 30 2014

Sophisticated 600-Year-Old Canoe Discovered in New Zealand


Sophisticated oceangoing canoes and favorable winds may have helped early human settlers colonize New Zealand, a pair of new studies shows.

The remote archipelagos of East Polynesia were among the last habitable places on Earth that humans were able to colonize. In New Zealand, human history only began around 1200-1300, when intrepid voyagers arrived by boat through several journeys over some generations.

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September 30 2014

Ancient Musical Chamber Discovered in Turkey


Archaeologists working at the site of Issos in the province of Hatay, Turkey, a thriving city beginning in about 545 B.C. and lasting several millennia down to the Ottoman period, have discovered an ancient music chamber according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

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September 30 2014

Can Your Favorite Song Make You Smarter?


Whether your favorite song is Bach’s "Toccata And Fugue In D Minor" or Lil Wayne’s "Let It Rock," your brain reacts to it in the same way.

This finding surprised researchers, who reported their work in Scientific Reports, given the huge range of musical preferences.

When we hear our favorite music, our thoughts tend to shift inward, activating the default mode network (DMN) a network of brain regions that's active when a person is awake but at rest. Our favorite songs also seem to spark a conection between our auditory circuts and the hippocampus, a region responsible for memory and emotions.

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September 30 2014

Are You a “Pre-crastinator”?


Each of us, at times, can be a procrastinator, putting off something that is hard to do or that we don’t want to do. But three researchers at Pennsylvania State University think we humans may also be precrastinators—hurrying to get something done so we can cross it off our mental to-do list, even if the rush ends up being wasteful. The researchers also claim to have coined the term “precrastination.”.

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September 30 2014

Using the brain to forecast decisions


In research published on 09/28/2014 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists show that neural recordings can be used to forecast when spontaneous decisions will take place. "Experiments like this have been used to argue that free will is an illusion," says Zachary Mainen, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, in Lisbon, Portugal, who led the study, "but we think that interpretation is mistaken.".

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September 30 2014

Dolphins are attracted to magnets


Dolphins are indeed sensitive to magnetic stimuli, as they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects. So says Dorothee Kremers and her colleagues at Ethos unit of the Université de Rennes in France, in a study in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature. Their research, conducted in the delphinarium of Planète Sauvage in France, provides experimental behavioral proof that these marine animals are magnetoreceptive.

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September 30 2014

How Many Lakes on Earth? Researchers Finally Know


Until now, no one knew for sure how many lakes exist on Earth.

Blame geography — most of the world's lakes are in places where humans don't live, said David Seekell, an environmental scientist at Umea University in Sweden. "This is something one would have assumed had been done long ago, and was in a textbook somewhere," Seekell said.

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September 30 2014

Turbulent sea-like formation could be first new cloud type in 50 years


It looks like the heaving waves of an angry sea, and it's making its way towards an official classification - meet undulatus asperates, tipped to be the world's newest type of cloud.

Cloud classification goes all the way back to 1802, when British pharmacist Luke Howard first presented his paper, "On the modification of clouds”, in which many of the classifications we use today were first proposed, including cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and Nimbus.

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September 30 2014

DNA signature found in ice storm babies


The number of days an expectant mother was deprived of electricity during Quebec’s Ice Storm (1998) predicts the epigenetic profile of her child, a new study finds.

Scientists from the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University have detected a distinctive ‘signature’ in the DNA of children born in the aftermath of the massive Quebec ice storm. Five months after the event, researchers recruited women who had been pregnant during the disaster and assessed their degrees of hardship and distress in a study called Project Ice Storm.

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September 30 2014

Why Deadly Japan Volcano Erupted Without Warning


The death toll at Japan's Mount Ontake volcano climbed to 36 today (Sept. 29), with rescue crews still searching for missing people.

The eruption caught the hikers by surprise this weekend. More than 250 people were exploring shrines and resorts at the 10,062-foot-high (3,067 meters) peak, the country's second-tallest volcano.


Related: Japan's volcanoes: Could Fuji be next?

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September 29 2014

On the Hunt for a Sprite on a Midsummer’s Night


LAMY, N.M. — Every summer evening at 7 o’clock, Thomas Ashcraft receives a personalized weather report. It is monsoon season, and he is getting advice from a meteorologist in Colorado on where to look for the massive thunderstorms that erupt over the western High Plains.

Armed with sensitive cameras and radio telescopes, Mr. Ashcraft hunts for sprites — majestic emanations of light that flash for an instant high above the thunderheads, appearing in the shapes of red glowing jellyfish, carrots, angels, broccoli, or mandrake roots with blue dangly tendrils. (Weather buffs call the tall, skinny ones “diet sprites.”) No two are alike.

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