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December 22 2014

Is String Theory About to Unravel?


Evidence that the universe is made of strings has been elusive for 30 years, but the theory's mathematical insights continue to have an alluring pull.


Related: World record for compact particle accelerator: Researchers ramp up energy of laser-plasma 'tabletop' accelerator
Related: Interstellar mystery solved by supercomputer simulations

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December 22 2014

Scientists find meteoritic evidence of Mars water reservoir


NASA and an international team of planetary scientists have found evidence in meteorites on Earth that indicates Mars has a distinct and global reservoir of water or ice near its surface.

Though controversy still surrounds the origin, abundance and history of water on Mars, this discovery helps resolve the question of where the "missing Martian water" may have gone. Scientists continue to study the planet's historical record, trying to understand the apparent shift from an early wet and warm climate to today's dry and cool surface conditions.

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December 22 2014

Active Sun Unleashes Massive Solar Flare


The sun fired off a massive solar flare late Friday (Dec. 19), after days of intense storms from our nearest star.

The huge solar flare registered as an X1.8-class event, one of the most powerful types of flares possible, and was captured on camera by NASA's powerful Solar Dynamics Observatory. The flare triggered a strong radio blackout for parts of Earth as it peaked Friday at 7:28 p.m. EST (0028 Dec. 20 GMT), according to an alert from the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center overseen by NOAA.

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December 22 2014

'4D Printing' Makes Shape-Shifting Structures


Using a new technique known as 4D printing, researchers can print out dynamic 3D structures capable of changing their shapes over time.

Such 4D-printed items could one day be used in everything from medical implants to home appliances, scientists added.

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December 21 2014

NASA just e-mailed a wrench to space


When International Space Station Commander Barry Wilmore needed a wrench, NASA knew just what to do. They "e-mailed" him one. This is the first time an object has been designed on Earth and then transmitted to space for manufacture.

Made In Space, the California company that designed the 3D printer aboard the ISS, overheard Wilmore mentioning the need for a ratcheting socket wrench and decided to create one. Previously, if an astronaut needed a specific tool it would have to be flown up on the next mission to the ISS, which could take months.

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December 21 2014

Lost memories might be able to be restored, new UCLA study indicates


New UCLA research indicates that lost memories can be restored. The findings offer some hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

For decades, most neuroscientists have believed that memories are stored at the synapses — the connections between brain cells, or neurons — which are destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. The new study provides evidence contradicting the idea that long-term memory is stored at synapses.

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December 21 2014

Neuroscientists identify brain mechanisms that predict generosity in children


Developmental neuroscientists have found specific brain markers that predict generosity in children. Those neural markers appear to be linked to both social and moral evaluation processes. Although young children are natural helpers, their perspective on sharing resources tends to be selfish.

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December 21 2014

Not again! First ever case of anxiety-induced déjà vu


HAVE you read this before? A 23-year-old man from the UK almost certainly feels like he has – he's the first person to report persistent déjà vu stemming from anxiety rather than any obvious neurological disorder.

Nobody knows exactly how or why déjà vu happens, but for most of us it is rare. Some people experience it more often, as a side effect associated with epileptic seizures or dementia.


Alt: Déjà Vu All Over Again: This Man Relived Every New Moment

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December 21 2014

Internet addiction affects 6 percent of people worldwide


Internet addiction is an impulse-control problem marked by an inability to inhibit Internet use, which can adversely affect a person's life, including their health and interpersonal relationships. The prevalence of Internet addiction varies among regions around the world, as shown by data from more than 89,000 individuals in 31 countries.

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December 21 2014

New research unlocks a mystery of albinism


Newly published research provides the first demonstration of how a genetic mutation associated with a common form of albinism leads to the lack of melanin pigments that characterizes the condition.

About 1 in 40,000 people worldwide have type 2 oculocutaneous albinism, which has symptoms of unsually light hair and skin coloration, vision problems, and reduced protection from sunlight-related skin or eye cancers. Scientists have known for about 20 years that the condition is linked to mutations in the gene that produces the OCA2 protein, but they hadn't yet understood how the mutations lead to a melanin deficit.

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December 21 2014

Weird sea ghost breaks record for deepest living fish


A ghostly never-before-seen fish with wing-like fins has set a new depth record for fish. During a recent trip to the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest place on Earth, the previously-unknown snailfish was filmed several times floating along the dark sea floor, reaching a record low of 8143 metres below the surface.

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December 21 2014

A vegetarian carnivorous plant


Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, does not only gain profit from eating little animals but also by consuming algae and pollen grains.

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December 21 2014

Legume has potential to turn sandy soils into productive land


After a decade of research, scientists from Murdoch University are excited by a perennial legume that has the potential to turn poor soils into profitable areas suitable for farming.

Professor John Howieson from the Centre of Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University said scientists had been searching for a something to treat deep sandy soils for 20 years and that Lebeckia, a shrub legume, has had the most exciting results to date.

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December 21 2014

Thermoelectric power plants could offer economically competitive renewable energy


A new study predicts that large-scale power plants based on thermoelectric effects, such as small temperature differences in ocean water, could generate electricity at a lower cost than photovoltaic power plants.


Related: Switching to vehicles powered by electricity from renewables could save lives
Related: The Scoop on the Poop Bus: How Human and Animal Waste Might Fuel Our Future

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December 21 2014

6,000-year-old encampment discovered next to Stonehenge


The earliest Mesolithic encampment at Stonehenge has been discovered and it will reveal how Britain’s oldest ancestors lived – but it could be damaged if Government plans for a tunnel at Stonehenge go ahead.

A 1.8 mile tunnel is part of a £2bn plan to make the nearby A303 a dual carriageway.


Alt: Stonehenge discovery could rewrite British pre-history

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December 21 2014

Greek Mystery Tomb Occupant to Be Revealed Soon


The identity of the skeleton found in the mysterious, richly decorated tomb in Amphipolis in northern Greece will be revealed next month, the Greek Ministry of Culture said.

According to the statement, macroscopic study of the bones, conducted by universities in Thessaloniki and Thrace, will provide answers on the individual’s sex, age and height.


Related: Rumor that Amphipolis Dead is Mother of Alexander Not Substantiated

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December 21 2014

8,000-Year-Old Olive Oil Found in Ancient Clay Pots


Ancient people pressed olive oil as far back as 8,000 years ago in Israel, a new study finds.

Researchers found residues of the Mediterranean-diet staple on ancient clay pots dating back to the 6th millennium B.C.

"This is the earliest evidence of the use of olive oil in the country, and perhaps the entire Mediterranean basin.

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