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September 9 2014

Museum Plans to Restore Ancient Egyptian Throne Room


Any visitor would find it difficult to miss the Penn Museum's iconic red granite sphinx. Resting center stage in the museum's Lower Egyptian Gallery space, one doesn't need to know that its estimated 15 tons of stone make it massive—the eyes already have it. It is touted as the third largest known sphinx in the Western Hemisphere. Originally quarried at Aswan by the ancients over 3,000 years ago in Upper Egypt, it was then floated down the Nile river to grace the sacred enclosure of Ramesses II's Temple to Ptah at ancient Memphis.

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September 9 2014

Warrior's 3,900 year old suit of bone armour unearthed in Omsk


Archeologists are intrigued by the discovery of the complete set of well-preserved bone armour which is seen as having belonged to an 'elite' warrior. The armour was in 'perfect condition' - and in its era was 'more precious than life', say experts.

It was buried separate from its owner and no other examples of such battle dress have been found around Omsk. Analysis is expected to determine its exact age but Siberian archeologists say it dates from 3,900 to 3,500 years ago.

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September 9 2014

Royal bronze chariot found after 3,000 years


A bronze chariot made during the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC) has been found in Qishan county, Shaanxi province - and archaeologists believe it may be a ceremonial vehicle used by princes.

"We found the chariot, which was buried 1.2 meters underground, in farmland at the village of Hejia," Zhang Yawei, director of the county's Zhouyuan Museum, told China Daily on Saturday. "We were surprised that it is large with a high bronze content." .

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September 9 2014

ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline


The territorial gains made by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have provoked fears — as well as tentative news reports — that archaeological sites in those countries are being attacked and looted, much as sites in Iraq were at the outset of the second Iraq war.

ISIS does not seem to have devoted the manpower of its army to the active work of looting archaeological sites. Rather, its involvement is financial. In general, ISIS permits local inhabitants to dig at these sites in exchange for a percentage of the monetary value of any finds.

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September 9 2014

Clever trout rival chimpanzees at choosing good allies, study finds


Don’t play games with the coral trout – it might just outmaneuver you. These fish appear to be just as skilled as chimpanzees at picking the best, most able allies to help them nab some food, new research shows.

The findings, described in Current Biology, show that fish may have remarkable cognitive abilities that are usually assigned to warm-blooded, bigger-brained species -- including humans.

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September 9 2014

Your Fingertips Perform Brain-like Calculations


Your brain has a lot to think about, so if there’s a way to outsource a few mental tasks to save bandwidth, it’s going to do it. Now researchers have discovered another such workaround: the neurons in your fingertips perform some computational tasks independently of the brain.

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September 9 2014

New Report: World Leaders Call For Ending Criminalization of Drug Use and Possession


Former Presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland Join With Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, George Shultz, Paul Volcker And Others To Make Bold, New Recommendations for Major Paradigm Shift in Global Drug Policy on the Road to UN Special Session on Drugs in 2016.


Related: Decriminalisation of drugs for personal use under review by Lib Dems

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September 9 2014

Another Massive New Dinosaur Found, This Time in Africa


On the heels of last week’s discovery of one of the world’s largest dinosaurs comes news of a new enormous dinosaur that lived in what is now Africa 100 million years ago.

This new dinosaur, Rukwatitan bisepultus, as well as most other extremely large dinosaurs, are titanosaurs. These were big-bodied, four-legged plant eaters that thrived during the final period of the dinosaur age.

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September 9 2014

'Primordial Soup' Computer Model Tracks The Beginning Of Life At The Atomic Level


In the early 1950s, a chemist named Stanley Miller mixed up a bunch of gases including methane, ammonia and hydrogen. That's kind of stuff that had been on Earth before life began. Miller zapped those gases with electricity, mimicking the lightning that would have also been abundant on an early Earth. After the zap, Miller found the gases transformed into a soupy brown liquid rich with amino acids—the molecules that, when snapped together, make proteins.

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September 9 2014

Forget Mars. Here’s Where We Should Build Our First Off-World Colonies


The collective space vision of all the world’s countries at the moment seems to be Mars, Mars, Mars. The U.S. has two operational rovers on the planet; a NASA probe called MAVEN and an Indian Mars orbiter will both arrive in Mars orbit later this month; and European, Chinese and additional NASA missions are in the works. Meanwhile Mars One is in the process of selecting candidates for the first-ever Martian colony

But is the Red Planet really the best target for a human colony, or should we look somewhere else? Should we pick a world closer to Earth, namely the moon? Or a world with a surface gravity close to Earth’s, namely Venus?

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September 9 2014

What Would Make You Move To A Space Colony?


With it's rising temperatures, declining energy resources, and rapidly filing landfills, the earth sometimes gets a bad rap. Still, it's a pretty hard-to-beat combination of habitable oxygen-levels and replenishing food sources. So, what would make someone leave all that behind?

In response to an article on the things we would need to get a space colony up and running within this century, a discussion began about how those colonies would be used, with some commenters asking, if we do build it, what would actually make us go?.

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September 9 2014

Stephen Hawking: Research on the ‘God particle’ could cause space-time to collapse


In the preface to a new book, Starmus, acclaimed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking writes that the so-called “God particle” could become unstable and cause a “catastrophic vacuum decay” that would lead to the collapse of time and space, The Sunday Times reports.

“The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts,” Hawking writes. “This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light.”.

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September 9 2014

First Ever Real-Time Planet-Like Impact Detected Outside Our Solar System


A group of astronomers led by first author and graduate student Huan Meng from the University of Arizona at Tucson monitored a monster collision between two planetoids or asteroids orbiting a Sun-like star. This is the first and only such real time event detected of such large magnitude until now outside of our Solar System.

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September 9 2014

Weird Comet Is Darker Than Charcoal


A spacecraft chasing a comet in deep space has found that its target is surprisingly dark in color.

Instead of arriving at a bright, reflective, ice-covered heavenly body, the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe found that its target comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (or 67P/C-G), appears darker than charcoal in some wavelengths of light, according to new data collected by an instrument on the spacecraft. And, so far, scientists working with the Alice instrument on Rosetta have not found any large patches of water-ice on Comet 67P/C-G's surface.

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September 9 2014

What Caused This Crater In Nicaragua?


Reports are quickly spreading of a "meteorite impact" near Managua, Nicaragua. Circumstantial evidence supports the impact theory, but just as equally supports an explosives mishap from the nearby military base. Here's what we know, and what we need to know to tell the difference.


Related: Nicaragua Meteorite Impact Theory May Be Meteor-wrong

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September 8 2014

Meteorite 'caused mysterious boom in Nicaragua'


Nicaragua's government said that a mysterious boom heard in the capital was made by a small meteorite that left a crater in a wooded area near Managua's airport.

Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said on Sunday that a committee formed by the government to study the event determined it was a "relatively small" meteorite that "appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth".


Related: Was this 39ft-wide crater made by 'pitbull' asteroid that buzzed past Earth last night? Explosion in Nicaraguan capital may have been caused by rogue shard

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September 8 2014

Jupiter moon Europa may have tectonic plates similar to Earth: scientists


Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may have active tectonic plates similar to those that shape the Earth, which had long been thought unique in this respect, scientists said Sunday.

They used images captured by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which orbited Jupiter and its moons from 1995 to 2003, to study the criss-cross of ridges and fractures on Europa’s ice shell.

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