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July 8 2014

We can predict which 14-year-olds will be binge-drinkers by 16, brain researchers say


Researchers have discovered a means of predicting whether an individual will become a binge drinker by 16 years of age by imaging their 14-year-old brains.

Robert Whelan and Hugh Garavan wanted “to develop a model to better understand the relative roles of brain structure and function, personality, environmental influences and genetics in the development of adolescent abuse of alcohol.”

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July 8 2014

The Persecution of Witches, 21st-Century Style


Most people believe that the persecution of “witches” reached its height in the early 1690s with the trials in Salem, Mass., but it is a grim paradox of 21st-century life that violence against people accused of sorcery is very much still with us. Far from fading away, thanks to digital interconnectedness and economic development, witch hunting has become a growing, global problem.

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July 8 2014

Psychedelic mushrooms put your brain in a “waking dream,” study finds


Psychedelic mushrooms can do more than make you see the world in kaleidoscope. Research suggests they may have permanent, positive effects on the human brain.

In fact, a mind-altering compound found in some 200 species of mushroom is already being explored as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety. People who consume these mushrooms, after “trips” that can be a bit scary and unpleasant, report feeling more optimistic, less self-centered, and even happier for months after the fact.

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July 8 2014

Why Are We Afraid Of Spiders?


I have personal interest in arachnophobia – the fear of spiders – because I am a spider expert, but also because my daughter has it. She is not alone. According to the American Psychiatric Association, phobias affect more than one in ten people in the US, and of those individuals, up to 40% of phobias are related to bugs (including spiders), mice, snake and bats.

There are clearly a lot of arachnophobes. But do they know why they fear spiders? Can they do something to control those fears?

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July 8 2014

Despite stigma, kids of same-sex parents thrive


Children of same-sex parents have above average health and wellbeing, according to new research.

However, the study also identifies stigma as an ongoing challenge for these children, which could have an impact on their health and wellbeing.

The research is based on data from the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS), the largest of its kind in the world, which involved input from 315 same sex parents with a total of 500 children.

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July 8 2014

Babies born to healthy mums are strikingly similar in size worldwide


Babies' growth in the womb and their size at birth are strikingly similar the world over – when babies are born to healthy, well-educated and well-nourished mothers.

The landmark international study, INTERGROWTH-21st, was led by Oxford University researchers and involved almost 60,000 pregnancies in eight urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA.

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July 8 2014

Human Skin Can 'Sniff' Odors


Human skin can smell itself as well as other odors, according to a new study that also determined a common and pleasant-smelling odor promotes skin healing.

The paper, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, strengthens prior research that found olfactory receptors -- proteins specialized to detect odors -- don't just exist in the nose.

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July 8 2014

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy


Robert David Steele, former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity, is a man on a mission. But it's a mission that frightens the US intelligence establishment to its core.

With 18 years experience working across the US intelligence community, followed by 20 more years in commercial intelligence and training, Steele's exemplary career has spanned almost all areas of both the clandestine world.

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July 8 2014

MIT finger device reads to the blind in real time


Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user's finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.

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July 8 2014

3D printer drones will take to skies by 2040, claim BAE scientists


3D printers could be so advanced by 2040 they could create small unmanned aircraft, BAE Systems claim.

These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could then potentially be used as a group of wide-winged aircraft for protracted or enduring surveillance or as rotary-winged UAVs to rescue single civilians or soldiers from dangerous situations, the defence firm’s scientists and engineers suggest.

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July 8 2014

Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn't compete


Last week, for the first time in memory, the wholesale price of electricity in Queensland fell into negative territory – in the middle of the day.

For several days the price, normally around $40-$50 a megawatt hour, hovered in and around zero. Prices were deflated throughout the week, largely because of the influence of one of the newest, biggest power stations in the state – rooftop solar.

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July 7 2014

Did Huge Impact Shape Planet Mercury?


The mysterious makeup of the solar system's innermost planet may be due to a massive "hit and run" collision billions of years ago, a new study reports.

A colossal but glancing smashup with a roughly Earth-size planet could have stripped away much of proto-Mercury's rocky mantle, explaining why the tiny, sun-scorched world has such a huge iron core today, researchers say.

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July 7 2014

Did Mars Curiosity Rover Snap Images Of A UFO?


If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much are two pictures worth, especially if they show an odd-looking, allegedly descending light heading to the surface of Mars?

These are real pictures, taken by the Curiosity rover -- some reports say it took place on June 23, but according to information on the raw Jet Propulsion Laboratory images, it was June 20.

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July 7 2014

Is Makhunik an Ancient City of Little People?


In August 2005, a tiny mummified body was found in the ancient Persian village of Makhunik in what is now Iran. The discovery caused an international sensation when researchers reported that the remains belonged to an adolescent dwarf and that excavations of the ancient town revealed architecture that suggested it was a city of little people. The story has now resurfaced, following a report in PressTV, and is making its way rapidly around alternative news sites. Here we explore whether an ancient city of dwarfs really existed, or whether it is all just media sensation.

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July 7 2014

Oldest case of Down's syndrome from medieval France


The oldest confirmed case of Down's syndrome has been found: the skeleton of a child who died 1500 years ago in early medieval France. According to the archaeologists, the way the child was buried hints that Down's syndrome was not necessarily stigmatised in the Middle Ages.

Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder that delays a person's growth and causes intellectual disabilitye.

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July 7 2014

The last ice age


A team of scientists has discovered that a giant 'burp' of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the North Pacific Ocean helped trigger the end of last ice age, around 17,000 years ago.

A recent study, led by Dr James Rae of the University of St Andrews, found that changes in ocean circulation in the North Pacific caused a massive 'burp' of CO2 to be released from the deep ocean into the atmosphere, helping to warm the planet sufficiently to trigger the end of the ice age.

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July 7 2014

Flight may have evolved multiple times in birds


The bladed, quill-like feathers of modern birds are essential for flight, and over millions of years they have become highly specialized for this purpose. But this may not be the reason they first evolved, say researchers studying an unusually complete fossil of the world’s first bird, Archaeopteryx. Instead, the team believes birds first grew these feathers for other purposes, such as insulation or mating display. The discovery raises the intriguing prospect that flight may have developed multiple times in the ancestors of birds.

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