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July 15 2014

Venus Express Survives Daring Atmospheric Dive


Venus Express rises again! The European Space Agency spacecraft, which has been orbiting our cloud-covered neighboring planet since 2006, recently performed a risky — yet successful — aerobraking dip into Venus’ upper atmosphere in an attempt to scoop some extra data as the end of its operational life approaches.

After its scientific mission concluded on May 15, Venus Express’ orbit was allowed to drop, bringing the spacecraft to as low as 129 km (80 miles) above the planet’s broiling, pressure-cooked surface. That’s only about a third of the average altitude that the International Space Station (ISS) orbits Earth!.

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July 15 2014

Political Favoritism Is Visible from Space, Study Finds


Political favoritism can quite literally be seen from space, according to a new study that finds the home regions of leaders become brighter at night after the person comes to power.

The findings apply mostly to countries with weak political institutions and limited public education. One prominent example was Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) during the reign of Mobuto Sese Seko. Mobuto, who was president between 1971 and 1997, was born near the small town of Gbadolite. While he was in power, the town flourished.

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July 14 2014

Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke


WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn’t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

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July 14 2014

Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago


Scientists are investigating what may be the oldest identified race war 13,000 years after it raged on the fringes of the Sahara.

French scientists working in collaboration with the British Museum have been examining dozens of skeletons, a majority of whom appear to have been killed by archers using flint-tipped arrows.

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July 14 2014

Psychedelics and the Ancient Near East


As courts today debate whether to legalize or regulate the use of drugs like cannabis, it is interesting to look at the history of man’s relationship with mind-altering substances.Several books, exhibits and catalogues have recently explored the topic. Yet, despite the consensus that “every society on earth is a high society,” the Ancient Near East is omitted from these surveys. Is it too remote? Do we know so little? Was it unique? The evidence suggests otherwise.

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July 14 2014

1,500-Year-Old Claws Intrigue Archaeologists in Peru


Archaeologists in Peru say they have unearthed the previously unknown tomb of a nobleman from a pre-Inca civilization known as the Moche. The tomb contained the remains of an adult male, plus artifacts indicating the man's elite status, according to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio.

Among the most intriguing artifacts are ornamental metal pieces fashioned to look like feline paws with claws.

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July 14 2014

Prehistoric 'bookkeeping' continued long after invention of writing


An archaeological dig in southeast Turkey has uncovered a large number of clay tokens that were used as records of trade until the advent of writing, or so it had been believed.

But the new find of tokens dates from a time when writing was commonplace – thousands of years after it was previously assumed this technology had become obsolete. Researchers compare it to the continued use of pens in the age of the word processor.

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July 14 2014

New article on GrahamHancock.com on Elaine Morgan and the Aquatic Ape theory


See: A Tribute to Elaine Morgan (1920-2013), Who challenged the scientific establishment on, how we got to be so UNIQUELY HUMAN by Maria B. O'Hare (PhD -Archaeologist/independent researcher)

This article is a tribute and celebration of the work of Elaine Morgan, who is sadly no longer with us as of last year, but she remains as an inspiration to all of us who knew her work. And, I hope that this article will do some justice in introducing, or reintroducing, Elaine and her research to anyone who has ever been curious about our human origins and felt that the conventional explanation given for our uniquely human characteristics just don’t seem to add up.

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July 14 2014

Humans have long history with causing extinctions


Long before causing today’s animal losses, people may have been a primary cause of extinctions during the last Ice Age. A study of 177 large mammals (weighing more than 10 kilograms) that went extinct between 1,000 and 132,000 years ago concludes that humans, not changes in climate, may have been the main factor in driving the animals over the brink. Changes in regional temperature and precipitation were weakly linked to extinction hot spots, while the presence of modern humans was a stronger predictor of extinction rates.

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July 14 2014

Yellowstone National Park road melts into 'soupy mess'


Extreme heat from surrounding thermal areas has created a hot spot in Yellowstone National Park, melting a portion of a road and causing temporary closures in the park during the peak summer tourist season.

The more than 3-mile-long Firehole Lake Drive, an offshoot of the park’s Grand Loop Road located between the Old Faithful geyser and Madison Junction, is closed because melting asphalt has turned it into a “soupy mess,” said park spokesman Dan Hottle.

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July 14 2014

'Tambora' links volcano to the 'year without a summer'


For many residents of the Northern Hemisphere, 1816 was known as the “year without a summer.” In Europe, summer heat waves were replaced by freezing temperatures while New England saw snowstorms in June. The ruined crops, hunger and social turmoil that followed the next year led many others to remember 1817 as the “year of the beggar.”

Those several years of bizarre weather seemed to signal the end of the world.

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July 14 2014

Intersex fish found in 3 Pennsylvania river basins


Male fish carrying eggs – intersex fish – have been found in Pennsylvania's Susquehanna, Delaware and Ohio river basins, a sign that the water may be tainted with chemicals, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The research found that two fish species, smallmouth bass and white sucker, were exhibiting the effects of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Intersex characteristics caused by hormones and hormone-mimicking compounds include immature eggs in male fish, the USGS said.

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July 14 2014

Deep within spinach leaves, vibrations enhance efficiency of photosynthesis


Biophysics researchers at the University of Michigan have used short pulses of light to peer into the mechanics of photosynthesis and illuminate the role that molecule vibrations play in the energy conversion process that powers life on our planet.

The findings could potentially help engineers make more efficient solar cells and energy storage systems. They also inject new evidence into an ongoing "quantum biology" debate over exactly how photosynthesis manages to be so efficient.

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July 14 2014

Researchers discover boron 'buckyball'


The discovery of buckyballs -- soccer-ball-shaped molecules of carbon -- helped usher in the nanotechnology era. Now, researchers have shown that boron, carbon's neighbor on the periodic table, can form a cage-like molecule similar to the buckyball. Until now, such a boron structure had only been a theoretical speculation. The researchers dubbed their new-found nanostructure 'borospherene.'

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July 14 2014

Google Glass hack allows brainwave control


Google Glass has been hacked so that it can be controlled by brainwaves.

By combining the smart glasses with an electroencephalography (EEG) headset, the software makes it possible to take a picture without moving a muscle.

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July 14 2014

About half of kids' learning ability is in their DNA, study says


You may think you’re better at reading than you are at math (or vice versa), but new research suggests you’re probably equally good (or bad) at both. The reason: The genes that determine a person’s ability to tackle one subject influence their aptitude at the other, accounting for about half of a person’s overall ability.

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July 14 2014

Skin's ability to 'smell' seems to help it heal itself


How does your skin smell? Pretty well, as it turns out, thanks to receptors dotted all over you. What's more, they could help you heal.

There are more than 350 types of olfactory receptors in the nose, tuned to different scents. About 150 are also found in internal tissues such as those of the heart, liver and gut, but they are hard to study.

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