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November 14 2014

Rare Mineral Discovered in Ancient Meteorite Impact Crater


A rare mineral known from just three massive meteorite impacts has now turned up in a Wisconsin crater.

Researchers discovered the mineral, called reidite, at the Rock Elm impact structure in western Wisconsin. Reidite is a dense form of zircon, one of the hardiest minerals on Earth.

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November 14 2014

First Views From Inside Those Mysterious Siberian Holes


When is the best time to explore a mysterious crater that opened unexpectedly in the Siberian tundra with no warning and no explanation? When it’s frozen and whatever is inside is plugged up with ice, of course. That’s why researchers from the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration waited until winter (isn’t it always winter in Siberia?) before rappelling down the sides of the largest crater found earlier this year in the northern Siberia area of Yamal.

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November 14 2014

Listen to a Glacier, Forecast a Flood


They’re not as catchy as Vanilla Ice’s self-aggrandizing single, nor as funky as the pioneering blues of Muddy Waters. But tuning in to the harmonies produced as water courses through icy cracks in a glacier could eventually come as life-saving music to the ears of their neighbors.

Scientists recently analyzed data that was collected using seismometers during two summer months at a Swiss Alps glacier in 2007. They discovered potentially revelatory harmonic properties of ice quakes, which are minor rumbles produced when cracks in the ice are reshaped by water flowing through them.

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November 13 2014

Rosetta's comet sings a mysterious 'song'


The Rosetta mission has detected a mysterious signal coming from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Plasma is a charged gas and the RPC is tasked with understanding variations in the comet's activity, how 67P's jets of vapour and dust interacts with the solar wind and the dynamic structure of the comet's nucleus and coma.

But when recording signals in the 40-50 millihertz frequency range, the RPC scientists stumbled on a surprise — the comet was singing, they report.

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November 13 2014

Comet Landing A Success: European Craft Makes 'Fairly Gentle Touchdown'


Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.


Alt: Problems hit Philae after historic first comet landing
Alt: Landing on a Comet, a Mission Aims to Unlock the Mysteries of Earth
Alt: Philae has landed – first image from the surface

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November 13 2014

Twisted light sends Mozart record distance through air


MOZART and Schrödinger flew through the air over Vienna recently. Their digital images were encoded in twisted green light, marking an important step towards long-distance communication in free space.

Light offers the best way to communicate between Earth and orbiting satellites, but atmospheric turbulence can destroy the signal. Polarised light is resistant to the effects of turbulence, but polarised photons can carry only one bit of information apiece. So researchers have looked for other properties of light that could boost the bit rate.

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November 13 2014

Electric Barrier 'Punches' Sharks in the Nose


A high-tech version of the reputedly life-saving punch to a shark's nose is being tested in an effort to protect humans without harming the toothy predators or other sea creatures.

In the blue waters of a small bay in Cape Town, a revolutionary experiment with an electronic barrier seeks to exploit the super-sensitivity of a sharks' snout to keep swimmers and surfers safe.

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November 13 2014

Sleep conditioning with rotten eggs can help kick smoking habit


Kicking the tobacco habit is difficult, as any smoker will tell you. Various methods of suasion administered while he's awake are pretty useless. But new research done in Israel indicates that conditioning during sleep, with the help of particularly revolting smells, may help do the trick.


Alt: Behavioral changes seen after sleep learning: Volunteers smoked less after a night of olfactory conditioning

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November 13 2014

No magic gene behind supercentenarians' longevity


WHAT does it take to live to a 110? If supercentenarians have a magic gene that helps them reach this age, it is lying low. A thorough search for longevity gene variants in 17 supercentenarians – average age 112 (the oldest was 116) – has drawn a blank.

Previous studies identified genes coding for proteins that might play an important role in longevity, including insulin-like growth factor-1.

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November 13 2014

Gut–brain link grabs neuroscientists


Idea that intestinal bacteria affect mental health gains ground.

Companies selling ‘probiotic’ foods have long claimed that cultivating the right gut bacteria can benefit mental well-being, but neuroscientists have generally been sceptical. Now there is hard evidence linking conditions such as autism and depression to the gut’s microbial residents, known as the microbiome. And neuroscientists are taking notice — not just of the clinical implications but also of what the link could mean for experimental design.

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November 13 2014

Bilingual People Are Like Brain 'Bodybuilders'


People who speak two languages may have brains that are more efficient at language processing and other tasks, new research suggests.

Scientists have long assumed that the "bilingualism advantage" — the enhanced ability to filter out important information among nonimportant material — stems from how bilingual people process language. The new study confirms that assumption, and goes on to suggest that bilingual people are more efficient at higher-level brain functions such as ignoring other irrelevant information, said Ellen Bialystok, a psychologist at York University in Toronto, who was not involved in the research.

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November 13 2014

Why Chimps Haven't Evolved Culture Like Humans


Human culture is remarkably varied, characterized by differences in religion, dress and social customs. Chimpanzees, humanity's closest living relatives, differ from group to group, too. But chimp culture is not nearly as complex as human culture.

Now, a new study hints at one reason why: Chimps just aren't as motivated to learn from one another as humans are.

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November 13 2014

Do homing pigeons navigate with gyroscope in brain?


No one knows how homing pigeons do it, but now a team of Swiss and South African scientists have discovered that the bird's navigation is affected by disturbances in gravity, suggesting that they navigate using a gravity map and that they may carry an internal gyroscope to guide them home.

Human communication has long been associated with an unlikely companion, the homing pigeon; but how these pigeons find their way home is still largely a mystery.

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November 13 2014

Did men evolve navigation skills to find mates?


SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 13, 2014 - A University of Utah study of two African tribes found evidence that men evolved better navigation ability than women because men with better spatial skills - the ability to mentally manipulate objects - can roam farther and have children with more mates.

By testing and interviewing dozens of members of the Twe and Tjimba tribes in northwest Namibia, the anthropologists showed that men who did better on a spatial task not only traveled farther than other men but also had children with more women, according to the study published this week in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

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November 13 2014

Facial structure predicts goals, fouls among World Cup soccer players


The structure of a soccer player's face can predict his performance on the field -- including his likelihood of scoring goals, making assists and committing fouls -- according to a study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The scientists studied the facial-width-to-height ratio (FHWR) of about 1,000 players from 32 countries who competed in the 2010 World Cup. The results, published in the journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, showed that midfielders, who play both offense and defense, and forwards, who lead the offense, with higher FWHRs were more likely to commit fouls. Forwards with higher FWHRs also were more likely to score goals or make assists.

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November 13 2014

Amphipolis skeleton from Alexander's time found in Greece


Archaeologists in northern Greece have found a skeleton inside a tomb from the time of Alexander the Great, during a dig that has enthralled the public.

The burial site at Amphipolis is the largest ever discovered in Greece.

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November 13 2014

Too many people, not enough water: Now and 2,700 years ago


The Assyrian Empire once dominated the ancient Near East. At the start of the 7th century BC, it was a mighty military machine and the largest empire the Old World had yet seen.

But then, before the century was out, it had collapsed. Why? An international study now offers two new factors as possible contributors to the empire’s sudden demise – overpopulation and drought.

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