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January 19 2015

First DNA tests say Kennewick Man was Native American


Nearly two decades after the ancient skeleton called Kennewick Man was discovered on the banks of the Columbia River, the mystery of his origins appears to be nearing resolution.

Genetic analysis is still under way in Denmark, but documents obtained through the federal Freedom of Information Act say preliminary results point to a Native-American heritage.

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January 19 2015

Ancient Scorpion Had Feet, May Have Walked Out of Ocean


A new scorpion species found fossilized in the rocks of a backyard could turn the scientific understanding of these stinging creatures on its head.

The fossils suggest that ancient scorpions crawled out of the seas and onto land earlier than thought, according to the researchers who analyzed them. In fact, some of the oldest scorpions had the equipment needed to walk out of their watery habitats and onto land, the researchers said.

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January 19 2015

Why Ants Handle Traffic Better Than You Do


Could studying ants reveal clues to reducing highway traffic jams? Physicist Apoorva Nagar at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology thinks the answer is yes.

Nagar says he got interested in the topic when he came across a study by German and Indian researchers showing that ants running along a path were able to maintain a steady speed even when there were a large number of ants on the path.

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January 19 2015

Holy barnacle! Lobsters and cockroaches are cousins


A decade of genetic data and other evidence has persuaded most researchers that insects and crustaceans, long considered widely separated branches of the arthropod family, actually belong together. The new arthropod tree puts hexapods—six-limbed creatures that include insects, springtails, and silverfish—as closer kin to crabs, lobster, shrimp, and crayfish than those "standard" crustaceans are to others such as seed shrimp.

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January 19 2015

Are giant squids actually tiny?


When it comes to determining the size of giant squid and other large sea animals, humans have a tendency to exaggerate, a new study suggests.

A team of researchers compared scientific and popular media reports of body sizes for 25 species of marine creatures, including whales, sharks, squids, and other giant ocean dwellers, and found that most of the animals were smaller than what was reported.

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January 19 2015

Geese use the Himalayas like a massive rollercoaster


They were once reported to fly over Mount Everest itself, almost 9 kilometres up.

Now it turns out that bar-headed geese are a bit more level-headed about how they make their gruelling trip each year from Mongolia to spend winters in warmer India. Instead of climbing to dizzying altitudes and flying in a straight line over the mountain tops, they follow a "roller-coaster" route, closely tracking the contours of the mountains and valleys below.

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January 19 2015

New device allows deaf people to 'hear with their tongue'


Cochlear implants are expensive, invasive and not suitable for elderly patients - so scientists are working on a device which sends small electric shocks to the wearer's tongue and allows them to 'hear' sounds


Related: The woman who sees like a bat - "Fiona Gameson had both eyes removed because of a rare childhood cancer. She uses echolocation to navigate and see with sound."

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January 19 2015

How does a machine smell? Better than it did


Every odor has its own specific pattern which our noses are able to identify. Using a combination of proteins coupled to transistors, for the first time machines are able to differentiate smells that are mirror images of each other, so called chiral molecules, something that has not been possible before. The human nose can distinguish between some of these molecules and the different forms of the same molecule of carvone, for example, can smell either like spearmint or caraway. Previous machines would not have been able to distinguish between the two.

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January 19 2015

Forget grown-ups: apps can let kids teach themselves


The man running the Global Learning X Prize contest explains why it is offering $15 million to develop tablet software that teaches kids basic literacy

There are around 300 million kids around the world who can't read or write a word after going to school. The enormity of the problem is such that you cannot possibly build enough schools and train enough teachers to teach these kids. Software is the future of learning.

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January 19 2015

Revealed: Elon Musk's Plan to Build a Space Internet


Because he doesn't have enough going on, Elon Musk—he of Tesla Motors, SpaceX, SolarCity, and the Hyperloop—is launching another project. Musk wants to build a second Internet in space and one day use it to connect people on Mars to the Web.

The network would do two things: speed up the general flow of data on the Internet and deliver high-speed, low-cost Internet services to the three billion-plus people who still have poor access to the Web.

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January 19 2015

Two planets as big as Earth ‘could be on edge of solar system’


At least two as-yet undiscovered planets as big as Earth or larger may be hiding in the outer fringes of the solar system, scientists believe.

The secret worlds are thought to exist beyond the orbits of Neptune, the furthest true planet from the Sun, and the even more distant tiny “dwarf planet” Pluto.

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January 19 2015

Snapshot of cosmic burst of radio waves


A strange phenomenon has been observed by astronomers right as it was happening - a 'fast radio burst'. The eruption is described as an extremely short, sharp flash of radio waves from an unknown source in the universe. The results have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Over the past few years, astronomers have observed a new phenomenon, a brief burst of radio waves, lasting only a few milliseconds.

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January 19 2015

Asteroid set to narrowly miss us, will be visible from Earth


An asteroid a third of a mile wide is set to narrowly pass by Earth next week.

The rock, code-named 2004 BL86, will pass by at about three times the distance of the moon. Though that is a safe distance, it’s a close encounter for an asteroid.

On January 26, the rock will fly past about 745,000 miles from Earth.

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January 19 2015

Greenland's Iron Age came from space


Somewhere between five and ten thousand years ago, a meteorite crashed through the atmosphere over Greenland.

A few thousand years later, the meteorite gave rise to an Iron Age in Greenland -- three hundred years before Icelandic farmers brought iron and agriculture to the south of the world’s largest island.


Alt: People of the Arctic worked meteorite iron 1,200 years ago

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January 18 2015

Astrophysicists Prove That Cities On Earth Grow in the Same Way As Galaxies in Space


The way galaxies evolve from variations in matter density in the early universe is mathematically equivalent to the way cities grow from changes in population density on Earth, say cosmologists.

Urban sociologists have long known that a set of remarkable laws govern the large-scale interaction between individuals such as the probability that one person will befriend another and the size of the cities they live in.

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January 18 2015

Speed of light not so constant after all


Light doesn’t always travel at the speed of light. A new experiment reveals that focusing or manipulating the structure of light pulses reduces their speed, even in vacuum conditions.

A paper reporting the research, posted online at arXiv.org and accepted for publication, describes hard experimental evidence that the speed of light, one of the most important constants in physics, should be thought of as a limit rather than an invariable rate for light zipping through a vacuum.

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January 18 2015

This Ancient Pigment Could Soon Be Used to See Through Your Skin


Egyptian blue was one of the famous pigments of the ancient world. Not only was it a scientific achievement, it has become an important historical signifier because it only came from contact with Egypt. It's now being used in advanced technology that see right through your skin.


Related: Archaeologists make unique discoveries in Egypt

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