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June 11 2014

Historian Casts Doubt On The Discovery Of Columbus' Flagship


Back in May, marine archaeologist Barry Clifford made the extraordinary claim that Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria, had been found. But now, a Portuguese historian says this can't possibly be true — because the ship never sank.

Clifford made the apparent discovery off the north coast of Haiti. Among the various bits of evidence provided, he says he even found the ship's ballast.

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June 10 2014

Ancient Europe Colonized by Island Hoppers?


By leapfrogging from island to island across the northern Mediterranean, Neolithic people were able to quickly spread their farming lifestyle across southern Europe some 9,000 years ago, a new genetic study suggests.

Archaeological investigations have shown that individuals in the Near East first developed farming and herding around 12,000 years ago.


Related: Island-hopping odyssey brought civilisation to Europe

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June 10 2014

Holy sites 'may offer clues to antibiotic resistance'


The Hindu holy sites in the Indian cities of Rishikesh and Haridwar attract millions of pilgrims each year - but they are now the destination for another group of devotees.

Scientists trying to understand the rise of antibiotic resistance, considered by some to be the great health threat of our time, believe they could provide clues to the mechanisms behind its spread.

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June 10 2014

Forgiving can literally make you forget.


Are you the type of person who forgives easily? Or do you mull over the the offending incident for months or even years to come? Although it can be easy to pick out friends or coworkers who hold grudges from those who forgive, it turns out that scientists don’t understand much about why the two groups differ. Here, scientists tested whether forgiving makes people more likely to forget the details of the incident.

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June 10 2014

'Love Hormone' Has Same Effect on Humans and Dogs


If we humans inhale oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” we become more trusting, cooperative, and generous. Scientists have shown that it’s the key chemical in the formation of bonds between many mammalian species and their offspring. But does oxytocin play the same role in social relationships that aren’t about reproduction?

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June 10 2014

Rats may experience regret like humans, study says


Just as humans lament not pursuing a lover or bemoan having eaten that extra slice of chocolate cake, rats may experience feelings of regret, too, new research suggests.

When rats were given the option of visiting rooms that contained different foods, and they skipped a good deal for a worse one, they glanced back at the former room, rushed through eating the snack and were more likely to tolerate longer wait times for what they considered the more desirable food , researchers found.

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June 10 2014

Compound Found in Tomato Improves Blood Vessel Function in Heart Disease Patients, Study


Daily intake of lycopene supplements - a compound found in tomatoes and other foods - improves blood vessel function in patients with cardiovascular disease, according to a new study by the University of Cambridge.

Researchers found that blood vessel function improved by 53 percent in cardiovascular disease patients, who popped a 7-milligram oral lycopene supplement daily for two months.

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June 10 2014

Scientists explore using trees to clean pollution


Before the sprawling Texas city of Houston and its suburbs were built, a dense forest naturally purified the coastal air along a stretch of the Gulf Coast that grew thick with pecan, ash, live oak and hackberry trees.

It was the kind of pristine woodland that was mostly wiped out by settlers in their rush to clear land and build communities. Now one of America's largest chemical companies and one of its oldest conservation groups have forged an unlikely partnership that seeks to recreate some of that forest to curb pollution.

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June 10 2014

Hidden Volcanoes Melt Antarctic Glaciers from Below


Antarctica is a land of ice. But dive below the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and you'll find fire as well, in the form of subglacial volcanoes.

Now, a new study finds that these subglacial volcanoes and other geothermal "hotspots" are contributing to the melting of Thwaites Glacier, a major river of ice that flows into Antarctica's Pine Island Bay. Areas of the glacier that sit near geologic features thought to be volcanic are melting faster than regions farther away from hotspots, said Dustin Schroeder, the study's lead author and a geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin.

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June 10 2014

Air Conditioning Actually Makes Phoenix Hotter


A new study by Arizona State researchers, published on May 28 in the Journal of Geophysical Research, concluded that that so much wasted heat is emitted by air conditioning units in Phoenix that it actually raises the city’s outdoor temperature at night by between 1 and 2.7 degrees.

Like many cities, Phoenix is an urban heat island, which experiences significantly higher temperatures than its less-developed surroundings.

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June 10 2014

Forging Biodegradable Plastic From Methane and Plant Waste


What if we could make the Great Pacific Garbage Patch just disappear? What if plastics didn't accumulate in landfills? What if we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions while replacing up to 30 percent of the world's plastics with a biodegradable substitute?

Researchers have tried for decades to achieve those goals.

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June 10 2014

No Skynet: Turing test 'success' isn't all it seems


The success of chatbot Eugene Goostman in passing the Turing test is all over the media today. It's clever, but the truth is murkier and more complicated.

Two years ago, I met Eugene Goostman, a guinea pig-owning, 13-year-old boy living in Odessa, Ukraine. Now this quirky character – in fact a software chatbot – is making headlines with the claim that on Saturday, he became the first piece of software to pass the Turing test, the most famous test of machine intelligence.

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June 10 2014

World Cup to Debut Mind-Controlled Robotic Suit


“The beautiful game” will have a robotic addition at this year’s World Cup kickoff.

Clad in a robotic body suit and a cap adorned with electrodes that will detect brain signals and cue leg movement, a paralyzed Brazilian will take to the pitch and move with the assistance of a specially designed exoskeleton during the opening ceremony of the World Cup on June 12.

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June 10 2014

World Cup birthday paradox: footballers born on the same day


An analysis of the birth dates of all 736 footballers at the World Cup reveals that a surprisingly large number of teammates share the same birthday, and that seven were born on Valentines' Day.

The birthday paradox is the surprising mathematical result that you only need 23 people in order for it to be more likely than not that two of them share the same birthday.

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June 10 2014

The Strange Link Between Your Digital Music and Napoleon’s Invasion of Egypt


In 1798 Joseph Fourier, a 30-year-old professor at the École Polytechnique in Paris, received an urgent message from the minister of the interior informing him that his country required his services, and that he should “be ready to depart at the first order.” Two months later, Fourier set sail from Toulon as part of a 25,000-strong military fleet under the command of General Napoleon Bonaparte, whose unannounced objective was the invasion of Egypt.

Fourier was one of 167 eminent scholars, the savants, assembled for the Egyptian expedition. Their presence reflected the French Revolution’s ideology of scientific progress, and Napoleon, a keen amateur mathematician, liked to surround himself with colleagues who shared his interests.

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June 10 2014

Archaeologists discover 4,000-year-old tomb from 11th dynasty in Luxor


Spanish archaeologists have discovered a 4,000-year-old pharaonic tomb belonging to a leader from the 11th dynasty of Egypt in Luxor, the antiquities ministry said on Monday.

The wide surface of the tomb showed it was that of "someone from the royal family or a high-ranking statesman," the antiquities minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, said.

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June 10 2014

Don Quixote: Hunt for author Cervantes' remains narrows


Forensic scientists looking for the body of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes say they have found five possible sites at a Madrid church.

The author of Don Quixote died in 1616 and is considered one of Spain's most important literary figures.

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