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August 5 2014

New Nazca Lines geoglyphs uncovered by gales and sandstorms in Peru


High winds and sandstorms in Peru have revealed previously undiscovered geoglyphs in the ancient Nazca Lines.

Eduardo Herrán Gómez de la Torre, a pilot and researcher, found the new shapes while flying over the desert last week, El Comercio reported.

He believes one of the geoglyphs depicts a snake 60 metres long and 4 metres wide, near the famous “hummingbird”.

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August 5 2014

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new 'hobbit' human


In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called "the most important find in human evolution for 100 years." Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human.

No substantial new bone discoveries have been made in the cave since the finding of LB1.

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August 5 2014

2,100-Year-Old King's Mausoleum Discovered in China


A 2,100-year-old mausoleum built for a king named Liu Fei has been discovered in modern-day Xuyi County in Jiangsu, China, archaeologists report.

Liu Fei died in 128 B.C. during the 26th year of his rule over a kingdom named Jiangdu, which was part of the Chinese empire.

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August 5 2014

Flip the birds: Migration began in the north not south


Every year many birds fly away to distant lands. But even though their journeys are familiar to us all, it turns out our understanding of them was, quite literally, backwards.

Most of the songbirds that migrate between North America and the tropics do it to escape harsh northern winters. That squares with the folk belief that "birds fly south for the winter", but is the exact opposite of what biologists thought – that tropical birds ventured north to escape overcrowding.

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August 5 2014

Beavers Are Mysteriously Back in Britain—but Not Entirely Welcome


Tom Buckley was overjoyed. Earlier this year the retired environmental scientist proudly documented the first family of beavers living wild in England since the species was hunted to near extinction in Britain several hundred years ago—a discovery that came almost by accident.

He first noticed a few tree stumps gnawed to pencil-like points on the River Otter, a shallow watercourse near his home in the town of Ottery St. Mary.

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August 5 2014

Horses Communicate With Their Eyes and Ears


Horses use a silent form of communication that involves moving, and paying attention to, eyes and ears, a new study has found.

The research, published in the journal Current Biology, shows how animal ears don't just move to better hear sounds. The movements have meaning to other horses.

"Most significantly, our results demonstrate that animals with large, mobile ears can use these as a visual cue to attention," co-authors Jennifer Wathan and Karen McComb wrote.

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August 5 2014

Japan to launch military space force to protect planet from falling space junk


Japan is planning to launch a military space force by 2019 that would initially be tasked with protecting satellites from dangerous debris orbiting the Earth, a report said.

The move is aimed at strengthening Japan-US cooperation in space, and comes after the countries pledged to boost joint work on monitoring space debris, Kyodo news agency said Sunday.

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August 5 2014

Saturn moon’s geysers draw water from subsurface sea


The seas of Saturn’s moon Enceladus are blasting into space.

Saltwater-spewing geysers on Enceladus’ icy surface — 101 of them — appear to connect to the moon’s warm subsurface ocean, scientists report July 28 in two new studies in the Astronomical Journal. The results suggest that these geysers offer an unprecedented chance to collect samples of a potentially habitable reservoir of liquid water away from Earth.

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August 5 2014

'Cool-Burning' Space Flames Could Make Greener Cars


Astronauts typically try to avoid starting fires in space, but new research on the behavior of flames in orbit could have benefits closer to home. In fact, this fiery research could lead to more-efficient car engines that contribute less pollution to the environment, according to a new study.

A series of experiments aboard the orbiting complex is investigating "cool-burning" flames in space — a type of fire that burns at lower temperatures than ordinary flames on Earth.

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August 5 2014

Do Your Potato Chips Have A Security Flaw?


Well, this is a bit creepy: Researchers have shown that they can recover various types of audio, including human speech, by filming and analyzing the tiny vibrations that sound creates in objects nearby. In one example, a person recited words, and this sound vibrated a nearby bag of potato chips. The researchers filmed the bag of chips with a high-speed camera, through sound-proof glass, and were then able to reconstruct what the person was saying with relatively good quality--you can make out the words, and recognize the person's voice.

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August 5 2014

Bottling up sound waves: Acoustic bottle beams hold promise for imaging, cloaking, levitation


Researchers have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories. These self-bending bottle beams hold promise for ultrasonic imaging and therapy, and acoustic cloaking, levitation and particle manipulation.

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August 5 2014

Implanted neurons become part of the brain, mouse study shows


Scientists have grafted neurons reprogrammed from skin cells into the brains of mice for the first time with long-term stability. Six months after implantation, the neurons had become fully functionally integrated into the brain. This successful, lastingly stable, implantation of neurons raises hope for future therapies that will replace sick neurons with healthy ones in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients, for example.

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August 5 2014

Equation to predict happiness


The happiness of over 18,000 people worldwide has been predicted by a mathematical equation developed by researchers at UCL, with results showing that moment-to-moment happiness reflects not just how well things are going, but whether things are going better than expected.

The new equation accurately predicts exactly how happy people will say they are from moment to moment based on recent events, such as the rewards they receive and the expectations they have during a decision-making task.

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August 5 2014

With Kids and Video Games, Moderation Is Key


Playing video games for less than an hour a day can have a positive influence on kids' mental health, a new study suggests.

A researcher in the United Kingdom found that young people ages 10 to 15 who spent less than an hour a day playing electronic games were better adjusted psychologically than boys and girls who spent no time playing.


Related: A little video game-playing linked with better-adjusted children

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August 5 2014

Swearing makes pain go away


Swear words, or bad language, make up about 0.6 per cent of our speech. Given that we speak an average of about 16,000 words each day, that means that about 95 of our daily words are profanities. In general, swear words are offensive — but there is one situation where they are actually very helpful.

The word 'profane' comes from the Latin roots of 'pro' meaning 'before', and 'fanum' meaning 'temple'.

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August 4 2014

Low testosterone could be what made us civilized humans


No, this isn’t some jab at dudes. According to a study published in Current Anthropology, our transition into modern civilization might have coincided with our species’ drop in testosterone.


Related: Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone
And: Humans started making art when their personalities got 'gentler'

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August 4 2014

How Death Valley's 'sailing stones' move on their own


For over a century, researchers failed to explain how large stone slabs were moving across a dried lake in America's Death Valley, seemingly with no help. Here's how one man finally solved the mystery.

Located above the northwestern side of Death Valley in Eastern California's Mojave Desert, an exceptionally flat dried lake called Racetrack Playa contains a peculiar phenomenon. Dozens of large stone stabs made of dolomite and syenite - often weighing as much as 318 kilograms - move across the cracked mud, leaving a series of smooth trails behind them.

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