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August 7 2014

The Mysterious Real Zombies of Haiti


Bloodthirsty fictional zombies have become very popular in recent times, inhabiting everything from books, to TV shows, to movies, delighting and scaring many horror aficionados. Yet many people may not realize that in some cultures, zombies are considered to be very real. In these societies, zombies are not the stuff of imagination or fiction, but rather real flesh and blood creations that shamble through the shadows and our nightmares. However, how much truth is there behind these traditions of actual real-life zombies? Do real zombies actually exist somewhere out there in the dark corners of the world?

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August 7 2014

Massive Dolphin Die-Off Eludes Final Explanation


Almost every day the bodies wash ashore. Sleek, once-powerful swimmers now lie in the surf, wasted by disease and pocked by lesions. Sometimes fishermen spot the creatures in their final throes of illness, swimming erratically before stranding themselves on the beach. The death toll has now climbed to 1,441.

But more than a year after the die-offs started to climb upward, scientists are still grasping for answers about the cause of the bottlenose dolphin deaths that have piled up since last summer along coastlines from New York State to Florida.

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August 7 2014

Saturn moon may host its own Dead Sea


Titan, Saturn's largest moon, may have its own Dead Sea. A fake lake simulating conditions there hints that the moon may host ethane pools brimming with benzene, just as the Dead Sea on Earth is packed with salt.

Titan is arguably the most Earth-like body in the solar system, boasting lakes, rivers, clouds and rainfall. But the moon's frigid temperatures mean its liquids are hydrocarbons like ethane or methane, rather than water. When sunlight interacts with the atmosphere it regularly creates fresh organic compounds like benzene – a chemical found in gasoline – and these fall like snow.

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August 7 2014

Is cosmic radiation the dawn of new physics or statistical slip-up?


Recent observations suggest that there is something not quite right with our view of our universe – that something is skewing our view of the oldest radiation arriving at our telescopes.

What's causing this skewing? Is it new fundamental physics, or something as bizarre as a collision with another universe?.

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August 6 2014

Nasa approves 'impossible' space engine design that apparently violates the laws of physics


In a quiet announcement that has sent shockwaves through the scientific world, Nasa has cautiously given its seal of approval to a new type of “impossible” engine that could revolutionize space travel.

In a paper published by the agency’s experimental Eagleworks Laboratories, Nasa engineers confirmed that they had produced tiny amounts of thrust from an engine without propellant – an apparent violation of the conservation of momentum; the law of physics that states that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.

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August 6 2014

Mars or bust: the new space race to put humans on the red planet


Two years ago tomorrow, a nuclear-powered rover, the size of an SUV and weighing almost a tonne, was lowered onto the surface of Mars. Touching down ever so gently, Nasa’s Curiosity landed with an almighty roar.

It sent a message to the world that a new space race – a race to eventually set foot on Mars – was well under way.

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August 6 2014

After 2 Years on Mars, NASA's Curiosity Rover Aims for Huge Mountain


Two years ago this week, much of the world held its breath as a rocket-powered sky crane lowered NASA's huge Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars on cables.

The bold and unprecedented maneuver worked on the night of Aug. 5, 2012, eliciting high fives and raucous cheers at mission control at the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as well as at viewing parties around the globe.

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August 6 2014

100-Million Years Ago --"Did Our Milky Way Collide With a Dark Matter Structure?"


"Our part of the Milky Way is ringing like a bell," said Brian Yanny, of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab. "But we have not been able to identify the celestial object that passed through the Milky Way. It could have been one of the small satellite galaxies that move around the center of our galaxy, or an invisible structure such as a dark matter halo."

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August 6 2014

Planet-like object may have spent its youth as hot as a star


Astronomers have discovered an extremely cool object that could have a particularly diverse history—although it is now as cool as a planet, it may have spent much of its youth as hot as a star.

The current temperature of the object is 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (100 to 150 degrees Celsius), which is intermediate between that of the Earth and of Venus.

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August 6 2014

Rosetta probe set to meet comet after 10-year chase


After a journey that has lasted a decade, Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is now on its final approach to a comet.

The tiny probe is set to rendezvous in a few hours with one of the strangest objects in the solar system.

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August 6 2014

Mysterious Craters Are Just the Beginning of Arctic Surprises


It's not just craters purportedly dug by aliens in Russia, it's also megaslumps, ice that burns and drunken trees. The ongoing meltdown of the permanently frozen ground that covers nearly a quarter of land in the Northern Hemisphere has caused a host of surprising arctic phenomena.

Temperatures across the Arctic are warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the globe, largely due to the reduction in the amount of sunlight reflecting off of white, snow-covered ground.

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August 6 2014

Underwater Ocean Turbines: A New Spin on Clean Energy?


A new technology that harnesses the power of ocean currents could provide a clean and limitless form of renewable energy, some scientists say.

A group of scientists and engineers who describe themselves as "nerds in wetsuits and flippers" has launched a crowdfunding campaign, called Crowd Energy, to do just that. Their idea is to use giant underwater turbines to capture the energy from deep-ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida.

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August 6 2014

Nanoscale, biodegradable drug-delivery method could provide a year or more of steady doses


About one in four older adults suffers from chronic pain. Many of those people take medication, usually as pills. But this is not an ideal way of treating pain: Patients must take medicine frequently, and can suffer side effects, since the contents of pills spread through the bloodstream to the whole body.

Now researchers at MIT have refined a technique that could enable pain medication and other drugs to be released directly to specific parts of the body—and in steady doses over a period of up to 14 months.

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August 6 2014

What Do Great Musicians Have in Common? DNA


At age 13, jazz great Thelonious Monk ran into trouble at Harlem's Apollo Theater. The reason: he was too good. The famously precocious pianist was, as they say, a “natural,” and by that point had won the Apollo’s amateur competition so many times that he was barred from re-entering. To be sure, Monk practiced, a lot actually. But two new studies, and the fact that he taught himself to read music as a child before taking a single lesson, suggest that he likely had plenty of help from his genes.

The question of what accounts for the vast variability in people’s aptitudes for skilled and creative pursuits goes way back — are experts born with their skill, or do they acquire it?

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August 6 2014

Can Acupuncture Treat Depression?


A growing number of people are seeking alternatives to antidepressant medications, and new research suggests that acupuncture could be a promising option. One new study found the traditional Chinese practice to be as effective as antidepressants, and a different study found that acupuncture may help treat the medications' side effects.

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August 6 2014

Chili Peppers May Inhibit Gut Tumors


A spicy chemical may be able to slow down or reduce gut tumors, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that dietary capsaicin - the active ingredient in chili peppers - produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining the intestines of mice, triggering a reaction that ultimately reduces the risk of colorectal tumors.

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August 6 2014

The Case Against Chlorinated Tap Water


Could it interfere with the "good" bacteria in your gut?

The chlorination of municipal tap water is considered one of the 20th century's best public health ideas. The American Water Works Association credits the practice with increasing life expectancy by 50 percent over the past century by virtually eliminating water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever and cholera. But chlorine in drinking water can cause health risks of its own.

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