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August 3 2014

Venus Express Survives Close Encounter With Hellish Atmosphere


It was a daring maneuver, but the plan to put Venus Express lower in the planet’s thick atmosphere has worked. For the past month, the European Space Agency steered the long-running spacecraft to altitudes as low as 81 miles (131 kilometers) for a couple of minutes at a time.

Now the spacecraft has been steered again to safer, higher orbits.

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August 2 2014

Nasa rover to make oxygen on Mars


Nasa's next Martian rover will attempt to make oxygen on the surface of the red planet when it lands there in 2021.

The rover will carry seven scientific projects, aimed at paving the way for future manned missions, seeking evidence of life and storing samples to be brought back in the future.

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August 2 2014

Send Your Pets’ Remains To Space


Celestis Pets has delivered a new option for pet burial—sending pets' remains into space.

Sure, burying Fido in the backyard might provide you with a lasting memorial to a beloved companion, but what happens when you move? You could go to a pet cemetery or scatter their ashes. But space burial is, increasingly, an option for humans—Celestis Pets is an offshoot of Celestis, a company that sends human remains into space—so why not for pets, too?

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August 2 2014

Mystery as 'lake' appears in middle of Tunisian desert and becomes overnight tourist attraction


A mysterious lake that appeared suddenly in the Tunisian desert has created an impromptu “beach” in the drought-ridden country.

No explanation has been given for the sudden appearance of “Gafsa Beach”, which was discovered by shepherds three weeks ago.

Authorities have warned that the water, which started off a crystalline blue and has since turned a murky green with algae, could be carcinogenic but Tunisians have not been able to resist cooling off in the 40C heat.

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August 2 2014

Finding the Fountain of Youth in an Ancient Irish Bog


When his mechanical digger turned up a fresh-looking torso in 2003, the farmer fixing the drainage ditch in a central Ireland bog thought he’d maybe dredged up last week’s murder victim.

He called the local police. There was evidence of foul play — the man had been decapitated, his nipples mutilated — but the archeologists who were called in next determined it wasn’t a crime committed the prior week, or even the year before.


Related: Could the fountain of youth lie in an Irish BOG? Peat that preserved 9,000-year-old bodies inspires new skincare range

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August 2 2014

Who is the Woman in Black?


A quiet woman wearing a flowing, black dress and mysteriously strolling along busy highways in parts of the U.S. Southeast and Midwest has the curious wondering who she is and spurred a social media site to document her trek.

She has been dubbed the “Woman in Black,” by TV stations, police and followers on the Web, including those on a Facebook page where she has been tracked on a nearly 500-mile journey with a black bag and walking stick in hand that has taken her from Ranger, Georgia, to Athens, Ohio, since July 18.

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August 2 2014

Printing the Metals of the Future


3-D printers can create all kinds of things, from eyeglasses to implantable medical devices, straight from a computer model and without the need for molds. But for making spacecraft, engineers sometimes need custom parts that traditional manufacturing techniques and standard 3-D printers can't create, because they need to have the properties of multiple metals.


Related: Man 3D-Prints Castle In Back Garden Using Concrete Printer He Invented

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August 2 2014

Bionic Fingers Could Help Humans Get a Grip


A new robotic device could make simple, everyday tasks — such as peeling a banana or unscrewing the cap from a water bottle — even easier.

Developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the "supernumerary robotic fingers" device is a wrist-mounted robot equipped with two long digits. A specially designed algorithm controls the digits, enabling them to move in sync with the wearer's real fingers.

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August 2 2014

The Oculus Rift Made Me Believe I Could Fly


Yesterday, I flew over downtown San Francisco. I swooped past the Transamerica Pyramid, taking care not to get speared, and winged it out towards the water. A heavy fog covered the bay, as usual, so I decided to head back into the city. I dove sharply, and the wind started whipping across my face. I slipped under the Bay Bridge, banked hard and promptly slammed into a warehouse. The wind died, and my screen went black.

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August 2 2014

Hummingbirds edge out helicopters in hover contest


When it comes to flight, nature just has the edge on engineers.

This is according to a study comparing hummingbirds with one of the world's most advanced micro-helicopters.

Researchers found that - in terms of the power they require to lift their weight - the best hummingbird was over 20% more efficient than the helicopter.

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August 2 2014

Scientists name new species of cetacean: The Australian humpback dolphin


Scientists examining a taxonomically confused group of marine mammals have officially named a species new to science: the Australian humpback dolphin, Sousa sahulensis, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and Clymene Enterprises.

The study describing the newly named species is the culmination of a 17-year long systematic examination of all available historical records, physical descriptions, and genetic data of humpback dolphins -- a widespread group of coastal cetaceans ranging from the coast of West Africa to the northern coast of Australia.

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August 2 2014

Scientists create see-through mouse and rat bodies


Researchers have created see-through mice and rats using a new technique for so-called tissue clearing.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell, a California Institute of Technology professor and her colleagues said they had turned a dead mouse transparent in a week's time, while a rat specimen took two weeks to treat.

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August 2 2014

Rice genome could answer ‘the 9 billion-people question’


Researchers have sequenced the complete genome of African rice, a hardy crop that could help feed the world’s growing population.

“Rice feeds half the world, making it the most important food crop,” says Rod A. Wing, director of the Arizona Genomic Institute at University of Arizona and chair of the school of plant sciences with a joint appointment in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology.

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August 2 2014

The New Foodie: Chimps Are Food Critics, Too


Like a foodie hunting down a favorite taco truck, chimpanzees will travel further to their preferred fruit trees, says new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. It’s more than the fact that chimps enjoy good fruit -- the apes actively look forward to eating at the best trees, the primatologists found.

The scientists followed five female chimps through Tai National Park, a rainforest in Cote d’Ivoire, and marked the trees where chimpanzees most regularly dined.

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August 2 2014

Giant Anteaters Can Kill People


They have poor vision, bad hearing and no teeth. And yet, anteaters can be deadly.

In a new case report, scientists detail a gruesome anteater attack that left one hunter dead in northwestern Brazil, just two years after another man was killed in a similar confrontation with one of the long-nosed creatures. While such incidents are rare and anteaters usually avoid contact with humans, the attacks should serve as a warning to humans encroaching on anteater turf, the authors wrote in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine this month.

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August 2 2014

Can Ants Save the World from Climate Change?


Ants may be some of Earth's most powerful biological climate brokers, a provocative new study claims.

The average ant lives and dies in less than a year, but a long-term experiment tracking the insects' effects on soil suggests they cooled Earth's climate as their numbers grew.

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August 2 2014

A Superplume Is the Reason Africa Is Splitting Apart


Africa is splitting in two. The reason: a geologic rift runs along the eastern side of the continent that one day, many millions of years in the future, will be replaced with an ocean. Scientists have argued for decades about what is causing this separation of tectonic plates. Geophysicists thought it was a superplume, a giant section of the earth's mantle that carries heat from near the core up to the crust. As evidence, they pointed to two large plateaus (one in Ethiopia and one in Kenya) that they said were created when a superplume pushed up the mantle. Geochemists were not able to confirm that theory.

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