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May 22 2015

Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years


Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome-based estimates have suggested that the ancestors of modern-day dogs diverged from wolves no more than 16,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age.


Alt: DNA hints at earlier dog evolution

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May 22 2015

Crows, like humans, store their tools when not in use


Researchers at the University of St Andrews have discovered that crows, like humans, store their tools when they don't need them. The study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B is the first to examine how non-human animals avoid accidental tool loss.

New Caledonian crows are famous for using stick tools to extract insects from tree holes and other hiding places.

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May 22 2015

Infections can affect your IQ


New research shows that infections can impair your cognitive ability measured on an IQ scale. The study is the largest of its kind to date, and it shows a clear correlation between infection levels and impaired cognition.

Anyone can suffer from an infection, for example in their stomach, urinary tract or skin. However, a new Danish study shows that a patient's distress does not necessarily end once the infection has been treated. In fact, ensuing infections can affect your cognitive ability measured by an IQ test.

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May 22 2015

We tend to talk alike when we think alike


People are more likely to mimic how other people talk if their views on social issues align, new research shows.

“Few people are aware that they alter their word pronunciation, speech rate, and even the structure of their sentences during conversation,” says Florian Jaeger, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester and coauthor of the study recently published in Language Variation and Change. “What we have found is that the degree to which speakers align is socially mediated.”

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May 22 2015

Being Drunk And In Love Aren't All That Different, Researchers Say


The effects of alcohol and the "love hormone" oxytocin aren't all that different, according to a study review done by researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK. More specifically, both can lead to great euphoria -- and some negative, even destructive behavior as well.

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May 22 2015

Eating Out Linked To High Blood Pressure


A home cooked meal is better for your blood pressure than takeout, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore found that eating out have been shown to be associated with higher caloric intake, higher saturated fat intake and higher salt intake. These eating patterns are thought to cause high blood pressure.

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May 22 2015

France to force big supermarkets to give away unsold food to charity


France’s parliament has pledged to crack down on a national epidemic of food waste by passing a law banning supermarkets destroying unsold food, instead obliging them to give it to charities or put it to other uses such as animal feed.

The national assembly voted unanimously on Thursday evening in favour of the measure, proposed by the Socialist deputy Guillaume Garot, a former food minister. “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,” he said.

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May 22 2015

Organic farming 'benefits biodiversity'


Organic farms act as a refuge for wild plants, offsetting the loss of biodiversity on conventional farms, a study suggests.

Fields around organic farms have more types of wild plants, providing benefits for wildlife, say scientists.

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May 22 2015

Do trees communicate with each other?


Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

They might seem like the strong, tall and silent type, but trees actually communicate with each other.

Forest ecologist Dr Suzanne Simard, from the University of British Colombia, studies a type of fungi that forms underground communication networks between trees in North American forests.

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May 22 2015

This Futuristic Concrete Heals Itself With Built-In Bacteria


Concrete has been a go-to building material since Roman times. It’s durable, easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. There’s just one problem: It has a tendency to crack.

There are a lot of different reasons that concrete cracks, but in general, it gets stressed either from the load its carrying, the weather, or other natural forces, and it fractures under the pressure.

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May 22 2015

Scientists to thrash out rules on genetically modified humans


Scientists in America will collaborate to draw up a set of ethical guidelines around the rights and wrongs of editing the human genome.

The move comes after the shock discovery in April that researchers in China had successfully edited genes within human embryos.

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May 22 2015

Billion-dollar particle collider gets thumbs up


A machine that would allow scientists to peer deeper than ever before into the atomic nucleus is a big step closer to being built. A high-level panel of nuclear physicists is expected to endorse the proposed Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) in a report scheduled for publication by October. It is unclear how long construction would take.

The panel is the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, or NSAC, which produces regular ten-year plans for the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation.

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May 22 2015

Dawn Probe Gets Closer Look at Ceres' White Spots, But Mystery Endures


NASA's Dawn spacecraft has provided an even closer look at the bright spots on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres — but the origins of the spots are still subject to debate.

The latest view, released Wednesday, shows the flashes of sunlight reflected by the spots inside a 57-mile-wide (90-kilometer-wide) crater as Dawn flew within 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) of Ceres on May 16. There's one big spot with a smattering of smaller spots off to the right. The picture also shows that Ceres' surface is covered with scads of craters and channels.

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May 22 2015

Are Mars's moons homegrown—or snatched from the asteroid belt?


Long after astronomers found moons orbiting other planets in our solar system, Mars remained a loner. It wasn’t until the late 1800s, when astronomer Asaph Hall tried, failed, and then—at the urging of his wife—tried again, that scientists got their first peek at the Red Planet’s two tiny moons, which Hall named Phobos and Deimos.

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May 22 2015

Signs of extensive groundwater system on Mars


In its early years, planet Mars comprised large volumes of groundwater, which regularly flowed to the surface. This is the conclusion reached by Utrecht University's PhD candidate Wouter Marra following observations and scale experiments. Regardless of the climate, the water in the ground was liquid and was, for a long time, the main source of water on Mars. Marra will defend his PhD thesis from the User Support Programme Space Research on 22 May.

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May 22 2015

Driest place on Earth hosts life


Researchers have pinpointed the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert, a region in Chile already recognised as the most arid in the world. They have also found evidence of life at the site, a discovery that could have far-reaching implications for the search for life on Mars.

For more than a decade, the Yungay region has been established as the driest area of the hyper-arid Atacama desert, with conditions close to the so-called "dry limit" for life on Earth.

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May 21 2015

Stone tool discovery pushes back dawn of culture by 700,000 years


The oldest known stone tools, dating to long before the emergence of modern humans, have been discovered in Africa.

The roughly-hewn stones, which are around 3.3 million years old, have been hailed by scientists as a “new beginning to the known archaeological record” and push back the dawn of culture by 700,000 years.


Alt: 'New beginning to the known archaeological record' as oldest stone tools ever discovered found in Kenya

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