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September 3 2014

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse


The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on.

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September 2 2014

Neanderthal 'art' created 40,000 years ago found in Gibraltar cave


Neanderthals, long assumed to be simple, early forms of human beings, whose looks characterise them as brutish creatures, have shown signs of being more considered and creative than the species has previously been given credit for.


Related: Newly Discovered Engraving May Revise Picture of Neanderthal Intelligence, Nat Geo

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September 2 2014

Action Movies Make You Eat More, New Study Suggests


Are thrillers making us fat?

One thing's for certain -- new research shows that the snack bowl sees a lot more action when TV viewers watch action movies than when they watch other kinds of programming.

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September 2 2014

How corals stir up their world


Coral reefs may look static to the naked eye, but scientists have now seen "violent" activity on their surface.

Using powerful microscopes, researchers filmed tiny hairs on the surface of corals "stirring up" surrounding water.

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September 2 2014

Göbeklitepe: The world’s oldest sculpture workshop


The world's oldest discovered temple, Gobeklitepe, is also the oldest known sculpture workshop, according to excavation findings at the site, which have been ongoing for 20 years.

The excavations at Gobeklitepe, which is located in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa and is described as the “zero point in history,” are being carried out by the German Archaeology Institute and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.

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September 1 2014

Stonehenge: ghostly outlines of missing stones appear


It is a mystery which has intrigued archaeologists for centuries: did the huge Neolithic stones which make up Stonehenge form a complete circle? Now the puzzle has been answered after the dry summer revealed the faint outline of the missing megaliths.


Images here

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September 1 2014

Incredible discovery of pyramid-shaped tomb in Japan adds to mystery in Asuka


Archaeologists in Japan have discovered that a large mound in the village of Asuka in Nara Prefecture contains a pyramid-shaped tomb underneath, according to a news release in the Japan Times. While work at the site is ongoing, the tomb has preliminarily been dated to the latter half of the sixth century. The finding adds to the mystery in Asuka, where multiple carved granite stones in peculiar shapes are dotted across the region, including the most well-known structure - the Rock Ship of Masuda.

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September 1 2014

Did the historical Jesus exist? A growing number of scholars don’t think so


The notion that Jesus never existed is a minority position. Of course it is! says David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All. For centuries all serious scholars of Christianity were Christians themselves, and modern secular scholars lean heavily on the groundwork that they laid in collecting, preserving, and analyzing ancient texts. Even today most secular scholars come out of a religious background, and many operate by default under historical presumptions of their former faith.
See also: The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?, by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

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September 1 2014

Millions of historical images posted to Flickr


An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historical copyright-free images.

Kalev Leetaru has already uploaded 2.6 million pictures to Flickr, which are searchable thanks to tags that have been automatically added.

The photos and drawings are sourced from more than 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive organisation.

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September 1 2014

A salty, martian meteorite offers clues to habitability


Life as we know it requires energy of some sort to survive and thrive. For plants, that source of energy is the Sun. But there are some microbes that can survive using energy from chemical reactions. Some of them even eat salts, such as perchlorates.

Perchlorate (ClO4-) is a highly oxidized form of chlorine. Perchlorate salts are found not only on Earth, but also on Mars. They're highly toxic to humans but are useful for components such as rocket fuel.

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September 1 2014

NASA's New Mega-Rocket for Deep Space Will Be Launch Ready by 2018


NASA new mega-rocket, a towering booster designed for deep space missions, will be ready for its first test flight no later than November 2018, space agency officials announced Wednesday (Aug. 27).


Related: New NASA Rocket, the Largest Ever Made, May Carry Humans to Mars

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September 1 2014

"Detecting Alien Planet Particles Smaller than a Human Hair" --New SETI Breakthrough


It may sound like science fiction, but astronomers have worked out a scheme that will allow them to detect and measure particles ten times smaller than the width of a human hair, even at many light-years distance. They can do this by observing a blue tint in the light from far-off objects caused by the way in which small particles, no more than a micron in size (one-thousandth of a millimeter) scatter light.

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September 1 2014

NASA reveals 'flurry of flares' from the Sun


It seems like the Sun finished August with a bit of bang.

The latest footage from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory showed a region of the Sun unleashing over half a dozen solar flares between August 25 and 26.

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare that erupted on the left side of the sun followed by several more. While solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, harmful radiation cannot pass through the Earth's atmosphere and affect people on the ground.

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September 1 2014

Climate Hack? How Plastics Could Help Save Us From Greenhouse Gases


What's the fix for a warming planet? Just one word: Plastics.

As the world grapples with greenhouse gas emissions still rising despite years of political wrangling over how to combat global climate change, a technology to convert carbon dioxide and methane into plastic is emerging as one potential market-driven solution. To boot, the process can be less expensive than producing plastics from petroleum.

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September 1 2014

Flapping baby birds offer clues to origin of flight


How did the earliest birds take wing? Did they fall from trees and learn to flap their forelimbs to avoid crashing? Or did they run along the ground and pump their “arms” to get aloft?

The answer is buried 150 million years in the past, but a new University of California, Berkeley, study provides a new piece of evidence – birds have an innate ability to maneuver in midair, a talent that could have helped their ancestors learn to fly rather than fall from a perch.

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September 1 2014

How the Human Brain Gets Its Wrinkles


The reason our brains have that wrinkly, walnut shape may be that the rapid growth of the brain's outer brain — the gray matter — is constrained by the white matter, a new study shows.


Related: Dennis McKenna – Plants Fueled Neural Evolution - "Plants have an incredibly symbiotic relationship with insects to complete their life cycle….There was a very specific symbiosis with us, and whatever other animals that ate these fruits. We did them a favor by disseminating the seeds. They did us a favor by providing us with this neurochemical rich environment that contributed to the complexification of the human neural structure." – DM

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September 1 2014

How goalkeepers can use an illusion to save penalty kicks


A sportsperson’s performance on the playing field can alter the way they see things, which in turn can affect their subsequent performance. A football player who scores a goal, for example, will perceive their target as being bigger than it actually is, making it easier for them to score again, whereas a miss makes them perceive it as smaller and, therefore, harder to hit.

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