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March 13 2014

Chimpanzees Can Play Video Games Better Than Kindergartners


Look out, gamers: chimpanzees might be coming for your high scores. Panzee, a 22-year-old female chimp, significantly outperformed 12 children and 4 adults on a complex maze in a virtual-reality computer game.

Researchers pitted four adult chimps against twelve human children ranging from 3 to 12 years old, and four adult humans.

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March 13 2014

Empathy chimpanzees offer is key to understanding human engagement


New findings show that chimpanzees exhibit flexibility in their empathy, just as humans do. This may help explain the evolution of how and when humans engage with others and choose to offer flexibility, and how we can do so more.

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March 13 2014

Chimps put people ahead of baboons


Chimpanzees that have had positive experiences with humans appear to trust people more than they do baboons and unfamiliar chimps, a new study suggests.

The findings, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicate that chimpanzees can learn to bond and exhibit empathy for members of another species, such that trust develops even at the subconscious level.

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March 13 2014

Bold or anxious baboons learn to solve tasks from other baboons


Baboons learn from other baboons about new food sources -- but only if they are bold or anxious. The results suggest that personality plays a key role in social learning in animals, something previously ignored in animal cognition studies. Researchers examined how personality influenced whether baboons solved foraging tasks and whether they then demonstrated to others how to solve the tasks. They found bolder baboons did both.

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March 13 2014

Secret to Ancient Sloths' Aquatic Lives Found


Millions of years ago, aquatic sloths roamed shallow waters off the coast of modern-day Chile and Peru. These now-extinct swimmers had highly dense bones that facilitated their transition from land to sea by helping them sink to seafloors to graze on vegetation, according to a new report.

Only two groups of sloths exist today, both of which live in trees and grow to be the size of small monkeys.

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March 13 2014

Posh Dog Outfit from China's 'Forbidden City' Revealed


While President Barack Obama has Bo and Sunny, and President George W. Bush had Barney and Miss Beazley, a newly published tale of a dog that lived in China's Forbidden City more than a century ago reveals this pup's lifestyle easily outdid that of any presidential pooch.

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March 13 2014

Peru tells Machu Picchu tourists to keep their clothes on


Peru has increased surveillance at popular archeological sites to counter a new trend of tourists taking nude photos at Machu Picchu.

Tourists have been posting the naked pics on blogs, prompting a statement from the cultural ministry rejecting “any disrespectful act committed by visitors” to the historical sites.

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March 13 2014

Archaeological Storehouses Looted in Syria


Storehouses with more than twenty years' worth of finds from an archaeological dig in Syria have been ransacked amid the ongoing civil war, researchers say.

Archaeologists from Leiden University in the Netherlands had been excavating the ancient mounds at the northern Syrian site of Tell Sabi Abyad since 1986. The abrupt onset of war forced them to stop their research in 2011.

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March 12 2014

Petra monuments orientated according to celestial events


During the winter solstice, the sun is filtered into the Monastery at Petra, Jordan, illuminating the podium of a deity. Just at this moment, the silhouette of the mountain opposite draws the head of a lion, a sacred animal. These are examples from a study where researchers from Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and CSIC (Spain) showed how celestial events influenced the orientation of the great constructions of the Nabataeans.

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March 12 2014

Light pollution impairs rainforest regeneration


Increasing light pollution in tropical habitats could be hampering regeneration of rainforests because of its impact on nocturnal seed-dispersers.These new findings were reported by scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin (IZW).

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March 12 2014

Sensor Turns Faintest Radio Waves into Laser Signals


Physicists have found a way to detect faint radio waves and convert them directly into signals that can be transmitted by fiber optics. The discovery could improve the sensitivity of detectors used in magnetic resonance imaging and radio astronomy, and help to connect future quantum computers into a network.

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March 12 2014

Spider Silk Poised For Commercial Entry


There is a scene in the film “Spider-Man 2” where Spider-Man prevents a train full of people from crashing by holding it back with about 10 sets of spider silk ropes each less than half an inch thick. It turns out the scene isn’t just fantasy.

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March 12 2014

Crystals Ripple in Response to Light


Light can trigger coordinated, wavelike motions of atoms in atom-thin layers of crystal, scientists have shown. The waves, called phonon polaritons, are far shorter than light waves and can be "tuned" to particular frequencies and amplitudes by varying the number of layers of crystal, they report in the early online edition of Science March 7.

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March 12 2014

The '60s Are Gone, But Psychedelic Research Trip Continues


In 1966, psychedelic drug advocate and former Harvard professor Timothy Leary appeared on the Merv Griffin Show.

"I'm in the unfortunate situation of being about 20 years ahead of my time," Leary said. When asked how many times he'd taken LSD, he answered 311. The audience gasped.

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March 12 2014

Self-acceptance could be the key to a happier life, yet it’s the habit many practise least


Happiness is more than just a feeling; it is something we can all practise on a daily basis. But people are better at some ‘happy habits’ than others. In fact, the one habit that corresponds most closely with us being satisfied with our lives overall – self-acceptance – is often the one we practise least.

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March 12 2014

Why we hold grudges about little injuries but forgive big ones


Why do people forgive the guy who burned their house down, but still hate that one relative who had a nasty tone while thanking them for a birthday present? Here's why we nurse grudges about small things, but forgive the big ones.

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March 12 2014

Can Thieves Rob People Using Hypnosis?


A woman in Germany claims she was hypnotized outside of a supermarket, put into a trance, and later woke up at home having been robbed.

A news story explains, “A pair of hypnotists are being hunted by police after a victim claimed she was put in a trance before being robbed. Police in Germany are investigating a spate of crimes involving two Russian women who tell their victims they will read their fortune. In one incident 66 year-old Sarah Alexeyeva told detectives she was spoken to outside an Aldi supermarket in Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein. But the next thing she knew she snapped out of a trance and was sat in her armchair at home. All her jewellery and valuables had disappeared, police said.”

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March 12 2014

Can the blind ‘hear’ colors and shapes? Yes, show Hebrew University researchers


What if you could “hear” colors? Or shapes? These features are normally perceived visually, but using sensory substitution devices (SSDs) they can now be conveyed to the brain noninvasively through other senses.

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