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November 3 2014

Rationing in World War 2 increased intelligence of Britons


This image of children munching gloomily on carrot sticks because there was no ice-cream during World War 2 is a bleak reminder of how rationing dulled eating habits in Britain.

But what these children did not realise is that the enforced austerity actually made them smarter.

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November 3 2014

GPS back-up: World War Two technology employed


Technology developed during World War Two is to be used as a back-up for GPS.

The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) have announced that they have installed a system called eLoran in seven ports across Britain.

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November 2 2014

The Leonardo hidden from Hitler in case it gave him magic powers


One of the world's most famous self-portraits is going on rare public display in the northern Italian city of Turin. Very little is known about the 500-year-old, fragile, fading red chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci but some believe it has mystical powers.

There is a myth in Turin that the gaze of Leonardo da Vinci in this self-portrait is so intense that those who observe it are imbued with great strength.

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November 2 2014

'Himalayan Viagra' fuels caterpillar fungus gold rush


Overwhelmed by speculators trying to cash-in on a prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to do at the local level what world leaders often fail to do on a global scale -- implement a successful system for the sustainable harvest of a precious natural resource, suggests new research.

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November 2 2014

Plants make their own sunscreen to block damaging rays


They bask in the sun for hours, but just like us, plants need to protect themselves from damaging ultraviolet rays. Now we know how they do it.

Many plants use a group of chemicals called sinapate esters to defend against the sun, while they absorb light for photosynthesis. These aromatic compounds sit in the upper cell layers of these plants' leaves and one type – sinapoyl malate – provides the bulk of this UV protection.

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November 2 2014

2014 Antarctic ozone hole holds steady


The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual peak size on Sept. 11, according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The size of this year's hole was 24.1 million square kilometers (9.3 million square miles)—an area roughly the size of North America.

The single-day maximum area was similar to that in 2013, which reached 24.0 million square kilometers (9.3 million square miles). The largest single-day ozone hole ever recorded by satellite was 29.9 million square kilometers (11.5 million square miles) on Sept. 9, 2000. Overall, the 2014 ozone hole is smaller than the large holes of the 1998–2006 period, and is comparable to 2010, 2012, and 2013.

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November 2 2014

Universe may face a darker future: Is dark matter being swallowed up dark energy?


New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be.

Scientists have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our Universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy.

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November 2 2014

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured


Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a test flight on Friday, killing one crew member and seriously injuring another, authorities said.

The explosion came after the plane dropped away from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its hybrid rocket engine, said Stuart Witt, CEO and general manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

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November 2 2014

Unmanned US rocket Antares explodes during launch


An unmanned supply rocket bound for the International Space Station has exploded shortly after its launch from the US state of Virginia.


Alt: Doomed Antares Rocket Powered by Refurbished Soviet Engines
Alt: Antares Launch Calamity Unfolds – Dramatic Photo Sequence

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November 2 2014

Why scratching an itch only makes it worse


It's the sweetest relief… until it's not. Scratching an itch only gives temporary respite before making it worse – we now know why.

Millions of people experience chronic itching at some point, as a result of conditions ranging from eczema to kidney failure to cancer. The condition can have a serious impact on quality of life. On the face of it, the body appears to have a coping mechanism: scratching an itch until it hurts can bring instant relief.

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November 2 2014

This is the kind of music you should listen to at work


They say that listening to Mozart makes a person smarter, but a new study shows that it’s not only classical music that boosts mental activity.

Nine out of 10 workers perform better when listening to music, according to a new study that found 88pc of participants produced their most accurate test results and 81pc completed their fastest work when music was playing.

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November 2 2014

'Mental map' key to navigation in the dark


We may be capable of navigating a familiar space in the dark without any sensory cues, such as sight, smell, touch and sound, says an Australian computational neuroscientist.

Dr Allen Cheung of the University of Queensland says research in animals suggests this is possible as long as we have a mental map of the space obtained from previous experience.

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November 2 2014

White noise for your nose cancels pungent aromas


HAS someone burned the toast and stunk out the kitchen again? Fire up the smell canceller and sniff freely. That's the proposal from two researchers who are applying the principle behind noise cancelling headphones to noses.

Aural and visual signals are easy to manipulate because they are both based on waves, which can be described mathematically, leading to a huge variety of ways to manipulate a signal, like compression, filtering, and so on.

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November 2 2014

AeroMobil 3.0 unveiled: the 'most advanced flying car yet' will free us from 'traffic jam prison'


“Where’s my flying car?” is something of an informal motto among technology malcontents, annoyed that the science fiction of the 50s never materialized – but that funeral selfies did.

Well, there’s a solid answer to this question now: your flying car is in Vienna, but you’ll need a few hundred thousand euros, a personal airfield and a pilot’s licence to use it.

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November 2 2014

Is the traditional metal key becoming obsolete?


Since the Pharaohs, people have been using keys to lock things up. The metal key has proved remarkably resilient, but as electronic locking devices become ever-more popular, are the days of the humble key numbered?

More than 80% of vehicles now use some form of electronic key fob or keyless ignitions, Avery says. In five years time there will be no new cars being produced that rely solely on a metal key, he predicts.

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November 2 2014

Swiss firm says it can make near invisible solar modules


A Swiss research and development company said Tuesday it had discovered a way to make white solar modules, which can blend with a building's "skin" to become virtually invisible.

The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (SCEM), a non-profit company for applied research, said it had developed a new technology paving the way to making the world's first white solar modules with no visible cells and connections.

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November 2 2014

New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat


A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity. Their work, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot program, was published recently in two separate articles in the journal Nano Energy.

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