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March 4 2014

How Earth was watered


Early Earth's accidental deluge via water-carrying comets has long been a stumbling block for those interested in life on other planets.

Scientists agree that life needs water to evolve. But if water only arrives through chance impacts with comets, then life elsewhere might indeed be rare.

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March 3 2014

Water vapor detected in the atmosphere of a hot Jupiter


California Institute of Technology (Caltech) astronomers using data gathered at the W. M. Keck Observatory have developed a new technique for planetary scientists that could provide insight into how many water planets like Earth exist within our universe.

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March 3 2014

No 'life as we know it' on super Earths


For a rocky planet to be habitable it must be no bigger than Earth or its crushing atmosphere will be deadly to life, according to new research.

The findings have dashed hopes that life as we know it can exist on super Earths - planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.

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March 3 2014

Volatile Sunspot Makes Third Trip around the Sun


One of the Sun's most recently active sunspot regions has made its third migration around the star, NASA reported Friday.

Sunspots are magnetically strong regions of the solar surface that are generally cooler than their surrounding regions, leading to their dark appearance on the solar surface.

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March 3 2014

What happens when we exceed the universe's speed limit?


As far as universal limits go, the speed of light gets all the glory. But did you know there is a different speed limit for particles? It's called the GZK limit, and some people think it has already been exceeded. Which has some pretty weird implications for the laws of the universe.

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March 3 2014

Scientists pinpoint exotic new particle


In the field of quantum physics, you could call this a droplet in the bucket.

Physicists in Germany and the United States have discovered an exotic new type of particle that they call a quantum droplet, or dropleton.

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March 3 2014

'Photon glue' enables a new quantum mechanical state


Like a spring connecting two swings, light can act as photon glue that binds together the quantum mechanical properties of two vastly different materials.

The effect could harness the most useful characteristics from each material for hybrid solar cells and high efficiency lighting, among other applications.

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March 3 2014

Tiny tweezers made from bowtie of light


Researchers have built the world's smallest tweezers, capable of picking up a single virus or molecule.

The device could be a boon for scientists who want to manipulate biological specimens or build tiny structures from nanocrystals, says physicist Mathieu Juan from Sydney's Macquarie University.

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March 3 2014

Scientists use laser-powered mind control to make flies flirt


Neuroscientists have successfully controlled a fly’s behaviour with thermogenetics – a new technique that uses lasers to remotely activate brain neurons.

Using the ­whimsically named Fly Mind-Altering Device (also known as FlyMAD), researchers were able to trigger complex courtship behaviour in a target fly, essentially causing the insect to ‘fall in love’ with a ball of wax.

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March 3 2014

Ancient bison allows scientists to travel back in time - 9,000 years


Exclusive pictures show autopsy on a four year old bison preserved in ice since ancient times.

The autopsy, conducted on 27 February 2014, is understood to be the first in the world on a 9,000 bison, and it could provide vital scientific information.

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March 3 2014

Geologist who unearthed Mungo Man fights for 40,000-year-old remains


Forty years after Mungo Man was unearthed in the dunes of western New South Wales, the geologist who made the discovery is urging the NSW government to speed up repatriation of the remains.

Professor Jim Bowler said the process of returning the remains dated at more than 40,000 years old, whose 1974 discovery confirmed that Indigenous Australians belonged to the world’s oldest continuing culture, had “stalled”.

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March 3 2014

How Ancient Greek Plays Allow us to Reconstruct Europe’s Climate


The open air plays of the ancient Greeks may offer us a valuable insight into the Mediterranean climate of the time, reports new research in Weather.

Using historical observations from artwork and plays, scientists identified ‘halcyon days’, of theatre friendly weather in mid-winter.

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March 3 2014

Down Pompeii: emergency meeting called after collapses in ancient city


Italy's culture minister demanded explanations on Sunday after more collapses this weekend in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii raised concerns about the state of one of the world's most treasured archaeological sites.

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March 3 2014

Bones of 5,000-year-old Stone Age child and adult found in Irish cave


Archaeologists have found the 5,500 year old bones of a Stone Age child and adult in a cave situated on Knocknarea mountain not far from the town of Sligo.

Researchers at IT Sligo discovered 13 small bones and bone fragments in the cave last November.

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March 3 2014

Decrypting the most mysterious book in the world


Around two-thirds of the way into the aged vellum pages of the Voynich manuscript, you'll find a line drawing of a bath. A pipe leads into it, another pipe leads away. Inside the bath, knee-deep in a green liquid, squat 16 naked women. Over the page, more naked women stand in the openings of ornate horns, seemingly suspended by jets of water and using their hands to support pipes, or archways, or rainbows.

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March 3 2014

Nine manuscripts with biblical text unearthed in Qumran


The West Bank excavation site Qumran has brought to light another exceptional find after that of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Working on materials from archaeological excavations of the 1950s, archaeologist Yonatan Adler found three phylacteries - pouches used by religious Jews containing small manuscript scrolls with a biblical text - dating back to about 2,000 years ago.

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March 3 2014

Scientists Are Actually Trying to Revive Extinct Animals, Jurassic Park-Style


De-extinction scientists are planning to bring long-extinct, giant creatures that once roamed the Earth back and put them in a theme park.

And no, that’s not a description of Jurassic Park’s premise.

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March 3 2014

New Clues to Neanderthal-Modern Human Interbreeding


It is almost common knowledge now, thanks to recent DNA studies, that many non-African humans living today have traces of Neanderthal DNA within their genomes --- the evidence, according to geneticists, that anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) interbred with their contemporary Neanderthal species cousins tens of thousands of years ago in places where they coexisted in present-day Europe and Asia.

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