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September 13 2014

Video: Fish 'shout' to be heard above human noise


Humans are noisy creatures, our cacophony of jet engines and jackhammering drowning out the communications of other species. In response, a number of animals, including marmosets and whales, turn up their own volume to be heard above the din, a phenomenon called the Lombard effect. A new study reveals that even fish “shout.”

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September 13 2014

Caffeine is so essential that the ability to produce it evolved twice


The grand accomplishments of our genomic age—which are reliant to a large extent on unheralded, bleary-eyed graduate students staring at seemingly infinite bytes of data on their screens for hours on end—might never have come to pass were it not for the copious amounts of coffee fueling said students. So it's only fitting that some of them have now analyzed the genome of the coffee plant itself.

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September 13 2014

"Is Our Solar System Unique or the 'Standard'?" --Kepler Mission Scientists


Kepler researchers want to understand how terrestrial planets like Venus, Earth and Mars and gas giant planets like Jupiter are distributed in planetary systems around other stars. Understanding how planetary systems form and where different types of planets form can shed light on whether our solar system is unique, or more likely, is a "standard" form of planetary system formation.

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September 13 2014

Who Owns Asteroid Rights?


Congress is back in session and getting right down to work on pressing science and technology issues like education funding, Net neutrality and ... oh wait. Actually, the House is holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss a new law to manage resource mining in space: the ASTEROIDS Act (PDF).

No one seems to be asserting that managing mineral claims on asteroids is a pressing issue at the moment.

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September 13 2014

Wife on Mars: A love story


Could you leave everyone you love for the chance to settle on Mars? Sonia Van Meter describes herself as an "aspiring Martian" - she hopes to be one of the first humans on the planet in 10 years' time. But it would mean never seeing her husband again.

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September 13 2014

'Boris' the robot can load up dishwasher


A robot unveiled today at the British Science Festival will be loading dishwashers next year, its developers claim.

"Boris" is one of the first robots in the world capable of intelligently manipulating unfamiliar objects with a humanlike grasp.

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September 13 2014

Electronics that need very little energy?


A team of researchers has discovered a way to cool electrons to minus 228 degrees Celsius without external means and at room temperature, an advancement that could enable electronic devices to function with very little energy.

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September 13 2014

Video game teaches kids how to code


Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have successfully funded on Kickstarter a new and improved version of CodeSpells, a first-person player game they developed that teaches players how to code.

The game's previous iteration, developed by UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. students Sarah Esper and Stephen Foster, has been in use in dozens of schools throughout the world for more than a year.

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September 13 2014

Millennials Are Reading More Books Than You Think They Are


A new survey has peered into our bookshelves, and it's revealing some good news about the reading habits of young Americans.

Pew undertook a sweeping survey of the reading habits of millennials compared to older generations, and publishers should be pleased. 43% of all people under the age of 30 read a book almost every day, with that number increasing to just under 70% if you increase the timespan to once a week, the highest percentage of any age group to do so.

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September 13 2014

Publishers Gave Away 122,951,031 Books During World War II


In 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, America's book publishers took an audacious gamble. They decided to sell the armed forces cheap paperbacks, shipped to units scattered around the globe. Instead of printing only the books soldiers and sailors actually wanted to read, though, publishers decided to send them the best they had to offer. Over the next four years, publishers gave away 122,951,031 copies of their most valuable titles.

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September 13 2014

Religion Doesn't Make People More Moral, Study Finds


The moral high ground seems to be a crowded place. A new study suggests that religious people aren't more likely to do good than their nonreligious counterparts. And while they may vehemently disagree with one another at times, liberals and conservatives also tend to be on par when it comes to behaving morally.

Researchers asked 1,252 adults of different religious and political backgrounds in the United States and Canada to record the good and bad deeds they committed, witnessed, learned about or were the target of throughout the day.

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September 13 2014

Magic Mushrooms Help Smokers Kick Habit in Small Study


Just two or three experiences with the hallucinogenic drug known as magic mushrooms helped a dozen long-term smokers quit, succeeding in a study where numerous other approaches failed.


Related: Why Psychedelics Are So Important To Veterans

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September 13 2014

Meditation may mitigate migraine misery


Meditation might be a path to migraine relief, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

"Stress is a well-known trigger for headaches and research supports the general benefits of mind/body interventions for migraines, but there hasn't been much research to evaluate specific standardized meditation interventions," said Rebecca Erwin Wells, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study published in the online edition of the journal Headache.

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September 13 2014

Woman of 24 found to have no cerebellum in her brain


DON'T mind the gap. A woman has reached the age of 24 without anyone realising she was missing a large part of her brain. The case highlights just how adaptable the organ is.

The discovery was made when the woman was admitted to the Chinese PLA General Hospital of Jinan Military Area Command in Shandong Province complaining of dizziness and nausea. She told doctors she'd had problems walking steadily for most of her life, and her mother reported that she hadn't walked until she was 7 and that her speech only became intelligible at the age of 6.

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September 13 2014

Can your blood type affect your memory in later years?


People with blood type AB may be more likely to develop memory loss in later years than people with other blood types, according to a study. AB is the least common blood type, found in about 4 percent of the U.S. population. The study found that people with AB blood were 82 percent more likely to develop the thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types.

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September 12 2014

Brain 'can classify words during sleep'


The brain is still active while we are asleep, say scientists, who found people were able to classify words during their slumber.

Researchers from Cambridge and Paris introduced participants to a word test while awake and found they continued to respond correctly while asleep.


Related: Some Things You Can Do In Your Sleep, Literally

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September 12 2014

The Mysterious Celestial Spheres of the Ancient Mughal Empire


Before the advent of Google Earth, when one wanted to see what the planet looked like, or to find a certain faraway place without actually travelling to it, one would consult a map - and you’ll recall that they didn’t always fit in your phone. We’ve made maps for millennia. It’s an art form unto itself, and as anyone with a love for antique maps can tell you, the variation in form and artistic style is both immense and awe inspiring.

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