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January 22 2015

15th-Century Irish Town Found Near Medieval Castle


The medieval Dunluce Castle, located on the craggy rocks of Northern Ireland's coast, is neighbors with a mysterious stone settlement, according to a recent excavation.

The castle dates back to the 15th century, and once housed the powerful MacQuillan family, which controlled a large amount of territory in Northern Ireland. On a recent dig, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency planned to uncover part of the lost 17th century town of Dunluce near the castle. But instead, archaeologists stumbled upon an earlier settlement that dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

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January 21 2015

Words emerge from ancient scrolls charred during eruption of Vesuvius


Ancient scrolls that were burned black and buried in ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly two thousand years ago have begun to give up their secrets.

Researchers in Italy used a powerful x-ray procedure to read out the first words from two of the Roman scrolls, which belong to the only library to have survived from the ancient world.


Alt: New Tech Could Reveal Secrets in 2,000-Year-Old Scrolls

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January 21 2015

Why Sleep Paralysis Can Make You See Ghosts


Researchers say that sleep paralysis happens when a person awakens during a stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). People in this stage of sleep are usually dreaming, but their muscles are nearly paralyzed, which might be an evolutionary adaptation that keeps people from acting out their dreams.

It is harder to explain why a subset of people who experience sleep paralysis feel a menacing figure in their room or pressing on their chests.

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January 21 2015

Man 'trapped in a time loop' crippled by extreme déjà vu for last eight years


A 23-year-old British student has spoken of being “trapped in a time loop” after one of the most unusual cases of extreme déjà vu has crippled the last eight years of his life.

The unnamed male, whose experiences formed a case study in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, has been forced to drop out of university, stop reading newspapers or magazines, watching television or listening to the radio – because he believes that he’s seen it all before.

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January 21 2015

Atoms can be in two places at the same time


Can a penalty kick simultaneously score a goal and miss? For very small objects, at least, this is possible: according to the predictions of quantum mechanics, microscopic objects can take different paths at the same time. The world of macroscopic objects follows other rules: the football always moves in a definite direction. But is this always correct? Physicists of the University of Bonn have constructed an experiment designed to possibly falsify this thesis. Their first experiment shows that Caesium atoms can indeed take two paths at the same time.

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January 21 2015

Milky Way 'Bones' Could Reveal Secrets About Our Galaxy


Scientists are finding more evidence of a galactic "skeleton" lurking inside the appendages of the Milky Way, and studying these massive "bones" could help researchers get a better idea of what our galaxy looks like from the outside.

In 2013, researchers first suggested that long, thin, dense clouds of gas may form inside the spiral arms of the Milky Way, creating a sort of galactic skeleton that traces the shape of these massive structures. At the time, only one such "bone" — known as Nessie — had been identified.

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January 21 2015

Geophysicists find the crusty culprits behind sudden tectonic plate movements


Yale-led research may have solved one of the biggest mysteries in geology — namely, why do tectonic plates beneath the Earth’s surface, which normally shift over the course of tens to hundreds of millions of years, sometimes move abruptly?

A new study published Jan. 19 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says the answer comes down to two things: thick crustal plugs and weakened mineral grains.

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January 21 2015

California drought could end with storms known as atmospheric rivers


California's drought crept in slowly, but it could end with a torrent of winter storms that stream across the Pacific, dumping much of the year's rain and snow in a few fast-moving and potentially catastrophic downpours.

Powerful storms known as atmospheric rivers, ribbons of water vapor that extend for thousands of miles, pulling moisture from the tropics and delivering it to the West Coast, have broken 40% of California droughts since 1950, recent research shows.


Related: The tides are changing: Sea levels rising at faster rate than predicted, study finds

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January 21 2015

Drugs in dirt: Scientists appeal for help


US scientists are asking the public to join them in their quest to mine the Earth's soil for compounds that could be turned into vital new drugs.

Spurred on by the recent discovery of a potential new antibiotic in soil, the Rockefeller University team want to check dirt from every country in the world.

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January 21 2015

Unusual number of UK flowers bloom


Botanists have been stunned by the results of their annual hunt for plants in flower on New Year’s Day.

They say according to textbooks there should be between 20 and 30 species in flower. This year there were 368 in bloom.

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January 21 2015

How plants sound the alarm when under attack


When plants come under attack, internal alarm bells ring and their defense mechanisms swing into action—all in just a few minutes.

Now, scientists are the first to image in real time what happens when plants fight off an attack and how they respond to disease and damage.

For the study, published in Nature Communications, researchers used a blade to mimic the damage an insect would do by feeding on a leaf.

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January 21 2015

Deadly sea snail uses weaponised insulin to make its prey sluggish


A tropical sea snail uses a potent form of insulin to subdue its fish prey, scientists have discovered.

The geographic cone snail (Conus geographus) uses the chemical to cause a plunge in the fish’s blood sugar, leaving it sluggish and unable to escape. The snail can entrap whole schools of small fish in this way.

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January 21 2015

Cringe away, guys — this spider bites off his own genitals


For a male ornamental tree trunk spider (Herennia multipuncta), copulation can get a bit dangerous. His mate is several times larger and if she’s hungry, she’ll eat him up. But that’s not even the most disturbing thing that can happen after sex among these arachnids, also called coin spiders: The male chews off one or both of his palps (the organs used to deliver sperm), leaving him a survivor but a full or partial eunuch.

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January 21 2015

India's Tigers May Be Rebounding, in Rare Success for Endangered Species


More money has been spent on tiger conservation than on preserving any other species in the world, yet wildlife biologists have been seemingly unable to stop the decline of the iconic big cat in the face of poaching and habitat loss.

That appeared to change Tuesday, when the government of India—the country is home to most of the world's wild tigers—announced preliminary results of the latest tiger census that reveal a surge in the number of the big cats in its preserves over the past seven years.

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January 21 2015

Early Humans Ate Animals We Call Pets


Europeans have dined on dogs, foxes, badgers, and wild cats, a new study says—although admittedly it's been a while. Researchers base this on ancient small-carnivore remains discovered in a Spanish cave, the Telegraph reports. Dating back 3,100 to 7,200 years, the remains show signs of human bite marks, cut marks, breaks, and evidence of culinary processing (like being defleshed and boiled).

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January 21 2015

Phantom Islands: Lands that disappeared on ancient maps are revealed as mistakes, mirages and myths


Today it’s easy to explore foreign lands and oceans simply by using Google Maps, but centuries ago, when these worlds were first discovered, people had no choice but to rely on the tales of explorers.

Maps featuring these mysterious, and at times imaginary, places were copied and recreated for centuries - and in the case of the non-existent Emerald Island in the South Pacific, featured in atlases as late as 1987.

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January 21 2015

Iraq tries to get Babylon on world heritage list


Baku-APA. Iraqi Minister of Tourism and Antiquities on Monday said that his country is seeking to restore the ancient ruin city of Babylon onto the UNESCO world heritage list, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The city was officially recognized as one of the first civilizations on earth.


Related: Turkey: Ancient city put up for sale

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