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July 11 2014

Divining Water: Dowsers in Big Demand During California Drought


Some call it dowsing, water witching or divining. Others call it flaky.

Whatever it's called, the ancient method of discovering water underground is finding new life in drought-ridden states such as California.

"I've found at least eight wells for our vineyard, and hundreds of wells for farmers and homes," said Marc Mondavi, who not only helps run the family-owned Charles Krug Winery in California's Napa Valley, but is also a dowser for hire.

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July 11 2014

The Mysterious Village of Twins


At first glance one might not notice anything particularly odd about the village of Kodinhi. It is a small, remote village located in the Malappuram district in Kerala, India. With only 2,000 families, it is a sleepy, quiet place that one could drive by without giving a second thought. It is a backwater, nondescript village not unlike countless others dotting the Indian countryside. However, spend enough time walking through its modest streets you may start to notice something peculiar about this village.

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July 11 2014

Babies are kinder after you dance with them


When Baby V was just weeks old and upset, her dad and I would sometimes swaddle her into a burrito and bounce her to the beat of Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors. Our belief that this particular song soothed her was more superstitious than scientific. But when faced with a tiny red-faced screamer, we didn’t have many options.

The particular rhythm of that song seemed to calm her (either that or the fact that the album version of the song is extremely long). Like many parents, we learned early on that certain music can have a powerful effect on babies.

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July 11 2014

How to be Happy by Giving to Others


The Declaration of Independence proclaims that the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right. Indeed, happiness is a universal human yearning—people of all ages, genders, shapes, and sizes want to be happy. And humans have shown themselves to be quite adept at pursuing happiness, devoting much of their money, time, and energy to this quest. But what about our ability to actually attain happiness? Well, that’s a different story. Finding the right path to happiness can be a challenge because, as research has shown, although we think we know the keys to happiness, we are actually not very good at predicting what will bring us joy.

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July 11 2014

'An apple a day is actually an aphrodisiac for women'


It has long been said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But now the fruit has been shown to be an aphrodisiac after researchers found eating one apple a day can improve the sex lives of women.

The researchers believe the reason for this may lie in the compound phloridzin, which is found in apples and is similar to the female sex hormone estradiol. Estradiol plays a large role in sexual arousal.

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July 11 2014

Are redheads in danger of extinction? Scientists say yes


Celtic redheads are an endangered species thanks to the global climate change crisis, according to scientists.

A new report in Scotland says the red hair gene could be on the way out as it is thought to be a response to cloudy weather.

The London Independent newspaper says the reduction in cloudy weather in Scotland and Ireland will lead to a reduction in the number of redheads.

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July 11 2014

Meet the Couple Who Could Be the First Humans to Travel to Mars


Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum are planning a trip to Mars. They’ve been hashing out the details for 20 years now, and alternate between being extremely excited and utterly terrified by the prospect, refusing to discuss it after 5 p.m. to avoid nightmares.

The couple’s far-out dreams of space travel differ from those of many others because theirs could, potentially, come true.

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July 11 2014

LHC scientists to search for 'fifth force of Nature'


The next couple of years will be make or break for the next big theory in physics called supersymmetry - SUSY for short. It might make way for a rival idea which predicts the existence of a 'fifth force' of nature.

Next Spring, when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) resumes its experiments, scientists will be looking for evidence of SUSY. It explains an awful lot that the current theory of particle physics does not.

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July 11 2014

Artificial spacetime experiment could show tantalizing effects of gravitational waves


Although the curves and ripples of spacetime are suspected to be full of intriguing secrets about the history of the universe, they are also extremely difficult to study. For this reason, some physicists are turning to the lab to attempt to recreate spacetime geometries where they can be more easily analyzed.

In a new paper published in the New Journal of Physics, Niclas Westerberg, et al., from institutions in the UK and Italy have proposed a new way to construct artificial spacetime in the lab.

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July 11 2014

Radio-burst discovery deepens astrophysics mystery


The discovery of a split-second burst of radio waves by scientists using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico provides important new evidence of mysterious pulses that appear to come from deep in outer space.

The finding by an international team of astronomers, published July 10 in The Astrophysical Journal, marks the first time that a so-called "fast radio burst" has been detected using an instrument other than the Parkes radio telescope in Australia.

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July 10 2014

NASA's Voyager I hit by third solar 'tsunami'


NASA's Voyager I spacecraft has been steadily journeying away from the sun to the outer reaches of the solar system since its 1977 launch. As it travels farther out and enters a different region of the solar system, it's occasionally affected by coronal mass ejections -- shock waves caused from massive violent eruptions from our sun.

There have been three of these space "tsunamis" since 2012, and the third one -- described by NASA on Monday -- has helped the space agency confirm something it posited in late 2013: that Voyager is the first Earth craft to travel into interstellar space.

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July 10 2014

Who Turned Out the Lights? The Coming Mega Sun Storm


At Delta Air Lines’ (DAL) operations center in Atlanta, meteorologists do more than monitor the usual wind, rain, and snow. They also keep a close eye out for a less common but potentially more dangerous phenomenon known as space weather. The sun’s eruptions can send billions of tons of superheated, electrically charged gas hurtling through the solar system. When these clouds hit the earth’s magnetic field, they can result in geomagnetic storms that disrupt electric power and communications systems.

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July 10 2014

Earth's Magnetic Field Flip Could Happen Sooner Than Expected


Earth's magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm.

The biggest weak spots in the magnetic field — which extends 370,000 miles (600,000 kilometers) above the planet's surface — have sprung up over the Western Hemisphere, while the field has strengthened over areas like the southern Indian Ocean.


Related: Earth's Magnetic Field Is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now

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July 10 2014

Japan scientists find ageing cure - for flowers


Japanese scientists say they have found a way to slow down the ageing process in flowers by up to a half, meaning bouquets could remain fresh for much longer.

Researchers at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation in Tsukuba, east of Tokyo, said they had found the gene believed to be responsible for the short shelf-life of flowers in one Japanese variety of morning glory.

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July 10 2014

Whoa! Seahorses Don't Neigh — They Growl


Dogs and bears aren't the only animals that give off warning growls. Seahorses do too.

For the first time, researchers have recorded seahorses growling, a tiny, deep sound not easily detectable by the human ear. These distinctive little fishes growl in response to stress, specifically the stress of being captured and handled, according to a new study published online June 26 in the Journal of Zoology.

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July 10 2014

Birds co-operate within a communal nest to achieve a common good


A new insight into one of the biggest questions in science – why some animals, including humans, work together to maintain a common good – has been achieved by scientists at the University of Sheffield.

Sociable weavers, a highly social and co-operative breeding bird from the savannahs of southern Africa, build the largest nests of any bird, housing colonies of up to several hundred birds that can often weigh tonnes and last for decades. The massive nests consist of individual nest chambers which are used throughout the year for breeding and roosting and are embedded within a communal thatch.

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July 10 2014

Huge Trove of Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Alaska


A "world-class" dinosaur track site discovered in Alaska's Denali National Park shows that herds of duck-billed dinosaurs thrived under the midnight sun.

"We had mom, dad, big brother, big sister and little babies all running around together," said paleontologist Anthony Fiorillo, who is studying the dinosaur tracks. "As I like to tell the park, Denali was a family destination for millions of years, and now we've got the fossil evidence for it.".

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