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May 12 2015

Spiders sprayed with nanotubes have spun the toughest fibre ever measured


Spider silk is already one of the toughest materials around, but scientists have now made it even stronger by spritzing spiders with water containing carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes.

In fact, the resulting super silk that the spiders produced in their webs is the toughest material ever measured, demonstrating strength and toughness beyond "anything that has been possible before".


Related: What if spiders could fly? In Chicago, perhaps they do

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May 12 2015

Fingerprints give away more than identity


The one-of-a-kind pattern of ridges and valleys in a fingerprint may not only betray who was present at a crime scene. It may also tattle about what outlawed drugs a suspect handled.

With advanced spectroscopy, researchers can detect and measure tiny flecks of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin — in some cases as little as trillionths of a gram — on a lone fingerprint.


Related: Massachusetts town says it will stop arresting drug addicts — and will get them medical help instead

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May 12 2015

Sri Lanka first nation to promise full protection of mangroves


Sri Lanka has become the first nation to promise the comprehensive protection of all of its mangroves, as it launches a major replanting programme.

Hundreds of Sri Lankan coastal communities have been recruited for their conservation by the Small Fishers Federation – a local non-governmental organisation – with money from an NGO in California called Seacology.

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May 11 2015

Colombia to stop spraying coca crops with glyphosate herbicide


Colombian authorities must stop using the controversial herbicide glyphosate—also known by its brand name Roundup—to eradicate illicit coca plantations, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday.

After the World Health Organization warned in March that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic," Santos's cabinet called into question whether to continue the air war on coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

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May 11 2015

Brazil plans to ‘nationalise’ rainforest in pioneering plan to protect Amazon


The Brazilian rainforest could be effectively nationalised under a draft bill being considered by the country’s MPs.

The proposed legislation would recognise the sovereignty of Brazil over the Amazon’s natural resources and set up a national Amazonian policy council with the aim of enshrining environmental protection and regulating economic activities in the rainforest.

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May 11 2015

Shipping Containers Grow Food Anywhere


The food tech startup Freight Farms is giving new life to old shipping containers, and at the same time giving impetus to locally grown food.

At the Collision technology conference in Las Vegas, the company showed off its basil sprouts nurtured in a used cargo container equipped to let crops flourish just about anywhere.

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May 11 2015

Eat More Plants to Improve Health, Combat Climate Change


Cut back on the beef, dairy, sweets and savory snacks, but feel free to munch away on more fruits, vegetables and cereals, if you’d like a more climate-friendly and healthy diet, according to recent research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Related: Global carbon dioxide levels break 400ppm milestone

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May 11 2015

Junk food kills bacteria that protect against obesity, heart disease and cancer, study finds


Eating junk food kills stomach bacteria which protect against obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, inflammatory bowel conditions and autism, fresh studies have found.

The human gut contains around 3,500 difference microbial species, which together make up some three pounds in weight.

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May 11 2015

Could eating fruit be making you hungrier?


Scientists have discovered why you may experience that feeling of emptiness in your stomach after eating a fruit salad.

Writing for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of Southern California found that the naturally occuring sugar in fruit, fructose, leaves people feeling hungrier and desiring more food.

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May 11 2015

Ebola in Man's Eye Turns It From Blue to Green


The Ebola virus has been detected for the first time in an eye of a patient months after it vanished from his blood, researchers said.

Dr. Ian Crozier, an American doctor, was diagnosed with Ebola in September 2014 while working in Sierra Leone with the World Health Organization. He was sent back to the United States to Emory University Hospital’s special Ebola unit in Atlanta, Georgia.

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May 11 2015

If you’re a mosquito magnet, blame your parents


It’s not just popular imagination: mosquitoes bite some people more than others. We don't really understand why, but a recent paper in PLOS One suggests that genes could play a role in the attractiony.

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May 11 2015

First-Ever In-Home Toilets Spotted for Ants


Other than dung beetles, most animals try their best to avoid poop. Humans typically build entire rooms designed to flush the stuff away. The ick factor evolved for good reason: fecal matter is a great place for microorganisms to live and grow, some of which can lead to serious infection and illness.

Like us, many insects that live in colonies have evolved ways of keeping their nests and hives sanitary.

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May 11 2015

Ancient Brain Shows How Animals Evolved Heads


One of the oldest brains ever discovered is providing clues on how the world's first heads evolved.

The over 500-million-year-old brain, described in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology, suggests that rudimentary brains emerged before defined heads. Defined heads likely emerged later to protect brains.

The ancient brain belonged to a crustacean called Odaria alata, which had a pair of large eyes on stalks that made it look like the tiny organism was wearing deely boppers. Scientists also often say that Odaria alata looked like a submarine.

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May 11 2015

Ancient Figurine Raises Questions About Neolithic Cultures


A discovery in south-central Israel has raised interesting questions about the first human settlements in the Middle East and challenged the long-held belief that they all belonged to the Yarmukian culture. The figurine, found at a dig aimed at rescuing possible archaeological artefacts before a water company lays a pipe at the location, looks like a fertility goddess and was most probably used for ritualistic purposes, Haaretz reports, citing the archaeologists who took part in the dig.

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May 11 2015

Highest stone circle in southern England found on Dartmoor


The highest stone circle in southern England has been found on a weather-battered slice of moorland in Devon.

Situated 525 metres (1,722ft) above sea level, the ancient site is the first stone circle to be found on Dartmoor for more than a century.

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May 11 2015

Ancient Irish ate very little beef or fish despite abundance of both


There was an “extraordinarily high” number of cattle here from earliest times and an abundance of fish in the waters, yet Irish people ate very little beef or fish, a new paper has found.

UCD honorary professor of archaeology Liam Downey and environmental archaeologist Dr Ingelise Stuijts collated and analysed a body of research that looked at food consumed from the time of the earliest documentary sources up to the late 17th century.

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May 11 2015

What is a Pyramid doing in the Heart of Rome?


The Great Pyramid of Giza is undoubtedly one of the most well-known icons of ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, similar pyramids are found scattered all throughout Egypt and beyond. Egyptian-style pyramids have been found south of the border in modern day Sudan. These pyramids were built by the rulers of the Kingdom of Kush. In 30 BC, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire, and the Romans even launched a military expedition into Kushite territory in 23 BC.

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