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September 14 2014

Mystery Surrounds Skeletons in Mass Grave


Further tests will be conducted on skeletons initially recovered from a centuries-old mass grave in Durham City, in the UK, in 2013.

Initial analysis on the bones of 28 individuals recovered from the site provided some evidence regarding their origins and identity, but was inconclusive.

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September 14 2014

Shakespearean academics clash over 'conspiracy theories'


The row goes to the heart of well-worn theories over whether Shakespeare actually wrote the plays and poems attributed to him almost 400 years ago.

Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley and Roger Manners have all been identified as possible alternative authors, while the most popular theory of recent times has centred around the 17th century Earl of Oxford.

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September 14 2014

3-D film no more effective in evoking emotion than 2-D


Researchers have examined whether 3-D film is more effective than 2-D when used as a research method for evoking emotion. Both were effective, and 3-D did not add incremental benefit over 2-D, with implications for emotional research as well as entertainment.

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September 14 2014

The Lassie effect: Movies drive our preference for certain dog breeds


Movies, scientists know, can turn us into smokers and drinkers. Now, it turns out, they also make us buy dogs. Not any old dog, of course, but the particular breed of dog that starred in last night’s feature film. To make the discovery, researchers analyzed 87 movies that featured pooches and correlated those findings with data from the American Kennel Club, which maintains a registry of more than 65 million dogs.

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September 14 2014

Baboons with ‘boyfriends’ live longer


The most social female baboons live the longest—two to three years longer than their less social peers.

And socializing with males appears to give females an even bigger longevity boost than socializing with other females, new research shows.

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September 14 2014

Want Your Crops To Survive Extreme Heat and Drought? Add Fungus


The global population continues to grow, and climate change is already tangibly reducing food harvests. Can agriculture adapt to be both more productive and more resilient?

One answer to that question may be "add fungus.” Issie Lapowsky reports today for WIRED that a Seattle-based startup named Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies is almost ready to put a fungi-based product on the market that enables rice, corn, and other crops to bear up amazingly well during drought and temperature extremes.

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September 14 2014

Curiosity captures images of Martian clouds


"Clouds are part of the planet's climate system," explained Haberle. "Their behavior tells us about winds and temperatures." Studying weather and clouds on Mars today can shed light on processes that have shaped the planet's climate through time.

"Some studies suggest that clouds in the past may have significantly warmed the planet through a greenhouse effect. A warmer environment is more conducive to life," said Haberle.

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September 14 2014

Moon's farside hints at violent volcanic explosions


The farside of the moon may have had some extremely explosive volcanic eruptions hundreds of millions of years ago.

In 2011, scientists identified rare, silica volcanoes in a highly reflective plain called the Compton-Belkovich region. A reanalysis of thorium in that region shows that the element spreads 300 kilometers farther east than originally thought.

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September 14 2014

'Strong' Geomagnetic Storm Erupts After CME One-Two Punch


As expected, the double CME hit on Friday resulted in a strong geomagnetic storm, which generated some auroral displays.

Over the past 24 hours, our planet’s global magnetic field has been bombarded by two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and now, as predicted, a “strong” geomagnetic storm is underway.

“The storm has entered its main phase and it has strengthened to the expected G3 (Strong) level,” writes an NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) bulletin. “Solar wind conditions suggest that this activity will continue for many hours and aurora watchers should be in for a good treat.

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September 13 2014

Researchers claim hydrogen energy advance


Researchers at Glasgow University have claimed a breakthrough in producing hydrogen fuel from water.

They said their process is fast, clean and cheap. It can store energy from the sun and wind.

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September 13 2014

Video: Fish 'shout' to be heard above human noise


Humans are noisy creatures, our cacophony of jet engines and jackhammering drowning out the communications of other species. In response, a number of animals, including marmosets and whales, turn up their own volume to be heard above the din, a phenomenon called the Lombard effect. A new study reveals that even fish “shout.”

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September 13 2014

Caffeine is so essential that the ability to produce it evolved twice


The grand accomplishments of our genomic age—which are reliant to a large extent on unheralded, bleary-eyed graduate students staring at seemingly infinite bytes of data on their screens for hours on end—might never have come to pass were it not for the copious amounts of coffee fueling said students. So it's only fitting that some of them have now analyzed the genome of the coffee plant itself.

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September 13 2014

"Is Our Solar System Unique or the 'Standard'?" --Kepler Mission Scientists


Kepler researchers want to understand how terrestrial planets like Venus, Earth and Mars and gas giant planets like Jupiter are distributed in planetary systems around other stars. Understanding how planetary systems form and where different types of planets form can shed light on whether our solar system is unique, or more likely, is a "standard" form of planetary system formation.

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September 13 2014

Who Owns Asteroid Rights?


Congress is back in session and getting right down to work on pressing science and technology issues like education funding, Net neutrality and ... oh wait. Actually, the House is holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss a new law to manage resource mining in space: the ASTEROIDS Act (PDF).

No one seems to be asserting that managing mineral claims on asteroids is a pressing issue at the moment.

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September 13 2014

Wife on Mars: A love story


Could you leave everyone you love for the chance to settle on Mars? Sonia Van Meter describes herself as an "aspiring Martian" - she hopes to be one of the first humans on the planet in 10 years' time. But it would mean never seeing her husband again.

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September 13 2014

'Boris' the robot can load up dishwasher


A robot unveiled today at the British Science Festival will be loading dishwashers next year, its developers claim.

"Boris" is one of the first robots in the world capable of intelligently manipulating unfamiliar objects with a humanlike grasp.

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September 13 2014

Electronics that need very little energy?


A team of researchers has discovered a way to cool electrons to minus 228 degrees Celsius without external means and at room temperature, an advancement that could enable electronic devices to function with very little energy.

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