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August 12 2014

Megascale icebergs ran aground near Greenland in last 800,000 years


Scientists have found between Greenland and Spitsbergen the scours left behind on the sea bed by gigantic icebergs. "Whenever icebergs run aground, they leave scours on the seabed. Depending on their depth and location, those markings may continue to exist over long periods of time," explained the lead author. Found at a depth of 1,200 metres, the newly found five lineaments are the deepest iceberg scours found to date in the Arctic.

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August 12 2014

Ancient life forms fed through fractal arms


Is it a tree? Is it a fern? No, it's a rangeomorph, one of the first complex organisms to evolve on Earth. A new analysis of their fossils suggests that rangeomorphs' strange bodies evolved to absorb as much food as possible from the surrounding water.

Rangeomorphs ruled the oceans for around 40 million years, beginning 575 million years ago, in a period called the Ediacaran.

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August 12 2014

Flowering plants revolutionised life on Earth


New evidence from liverworts and beetles shows how the rise of flowering plants 100 million years ago created ideal conditions for a boom in terrestrial life.

Both beetles and liverworts (small moss-like plants) increased in species diversity in response to new ecosystems created by flowering plants, according to two new studies published this week co-authored by Museum scientists.

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August 11 2014

British police raid pub in search for 'Holy Grail'


British police raided an English country pub this week in search of a stolen wooden relic believed by some to be the Holy Grail - a cup from which, according to the Bible, Jesus is said to have drunk at his final meal before crucifixion.

The Grail has captivated religious experts for centuries, spawning myriad theories about its location and inspiring numerous fictional accounts from the Middle Ages onwards.

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August 11 2014

A 300-Year-Old Mexican Jesus Statue Has Real Human Teeth, X-Rays Show


The restoration of a venerated 18th century statue of Christ in Mexico has revealed a somewhat creepy detail — the figure contains real human teeth, and the chompers appear to be in pristine condition.

Researchers at Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said this week they made the discovery after performing X-rays on the Lord of Patience, as the figure is known, during a restoration operation.

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August 11 2014

Net Loss: Is the Internet Killing Solitude and Downtime?


When it comes to information and connection, we rarely want for anything these days. And that’s a problem, argues journalist Michael Harris in his new book The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection. Harris suggests that modern technology, especially the smartphone, has taken certain kinds of absence from our lives—it has eliminated our time for solitude and daydreaming, and filled even short moments of quiet with interruptions and distractions. Harris worries that these “absences” have fundamental value in human lives, and maintains that we ought to try to hold on to them.


Related: Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain, NYT

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August 11 2014

BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous


In 2012 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of baby bottles that contain bisphenol A (BPA), a compound frequently found in plastics. The ban came in response to studies that found the chemical mimics estrogen and could harm brain and reproductive development in fetuses, infants and children. Since then store shelves have been lined with BPA-free bottles for babies and adults alike. Yet, recent research reveals that a common BPA replacement, bisphenol S (BPS), may be just as harmful.

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August 11 2014

Less Materialism Can Lead To Happier Consumers, Healthier Environment


The pursuit of true happiness can lead to satisfying lifestyles and a healthier environment, according to a recent study.

Researchers suggest that this can be achieved with less materialism.

"For decades, consumerism has been on a collision course with the environment, with consumer appetites draining the planet of natural resources and accelerating global warming. One view is that we need to change consumption in order to save the planet, but what if we approached it from the other way around? What if what's good for the consumer meets what's good for the environment?"

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August 11 2014

Are psychedelics the next medical marijuana?


In March 2014, for the first time in over 40 years, a study of the therapeutic benefits of lysergic acid diethylamide — more commonly known as LSD — was published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. It showed that LSD-assisted psychotherapy significantly reduced anxiety in individuals with "life-threatening diseases," including Parkinson's disease and breast cancer.

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August 11 2014

New virtual reality computer system that distracts patients from the agony of their wounds


A hospital in Holland has developed a breakthrough treatment for burns patients.

Patients with severe burns usually need to be sedated so they can bear the pain. However, this has downsides because the drugs can interfere with other aspects of the treatment.

Martini Hospital in Groningen, Holland, has developed a new pain management system that does not involve extra medication.

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August 11 2014

Farmer may hold UFO clue to 36-year Valentich plane mystery


INVESTIGATORS have shed new light on one of ­Australia’s greatest aviation mysteries.

Almost 36 years to the month that Victorian pilot Fred Valentich vanished without a trace, an independent researcher says there is evidence suggesting the 20-year-old’s Cessna was spotted in the sky over South Australia — attached to a UFO.

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August 11 2014

UFOs Sightings In Germany And Brazil: Do Aliens Really Exist?


New video footage showing a suspected triangular UFO hovering over the Germany sky has reignited the age-old debate of the existence of aliens.

The video was recorded in June this year, but another two more similar videos showing UFOs flying over the Brazil sky only gives strength to those who believe in aliens.

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August 11 2014

Physicists create water tractor beam


Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.

The group, led by Professor Michael Shats discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling them to move floating objects at will.

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August 11 2014

Silicon: After the chip, another revolution?


Summer is upon us and you are almost certainly planning at least one trip to the beach. This year, as you lie back in the sun, take a moment to reflect upon how much of the world economy is built on the stuff.

I don't mean "built on sand" in a philosophical sense, however true that may be. I'm talking about three technological revolutions that are literally based on sand, one of which is only just beginning and, if it lives up to its potential, has mind-boggling implications.

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August 11 2014

Researchers show that how fast you drive might reveal exactly where you are going


In our constantly connected, information-rich society, some drivers are jumping at the chance to let auto insurance companies monitor their driving habits in return for a handsome discount on their premiums.

What these drivers may not know is that they could be revealing where they are driving, a privacy boundary that many would not consent to cross.

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August 11 2014

Geothermal energy has success in Nevada, wants to spread to the rest of the west


RENO, NV—On an uncharacteristically rainy day in Western Nevada, a small tour bus of journalists rumbled past security gates at the Ormat Steamboat Complex in Washoe County. We were there to learn about geothermal power, a renewable energy resource produced by transferring heat from underground rocks up to power plants.

Most people think of Iceland when they think of geothermal power. On that island, approximately 90 percent of homes are heated by geothermal energy. But some 12 gigawatts of geothermal power are generated worldwide, and the US is one of the largest producers of it, generating nearly 3.4 gigawatts in 2013.

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August 11 2014

Massive smart light lab tests tech to slash emissions


HUNDREDS of lights are being erected in a Danish industrial park in a suburb of Copenhagen. When ordinary citizens pass through the area, they'll be taking part in a massive experiment to work out how we should light our cities in the future.

Street lamps can be a major drain on resources: lighting accounts for around 6 per cent of global greenhouse emissions. In 2009, for example, Los Angeles spent around $15 million and pumped out 111,000 tonnes of carbon to light up its streets. No wonder councils want to find ways of making lighting smarter and more efficient.

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