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March 8 2014

Two-hundred-year drought doomed Indus Valley Civilization


The decline of Bronze-Age civilizations in Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia has been attributed to a long-term drought that began around 2000 bc. Now palaeoclimatologists propose that a similar fate was followed by the enigmatic Indus Valley Civilization, at about the same time. Based on isotope data from the sediment of an ancient lake, the researchers suggest that the monsoon cycle, which is vital to the livelihood of all of South Asia, essentially stopped there for as long as two centuries.

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March 8 2014

Scientists revive giant Neanderthal virus entombed in ice


French scientists bring back to life a giant, still-infectuous virus lying dormant from the Siberian tundra for 30,000 years, raising fears that global warming could unleash other ancient viruses deadly to man.

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March 8 2014

Can LSD ease our fear of death? First scientific study in 40 years shows positive results


Scientists have carried out the first controlled medical experiment in 40 years with the hallucinogenic drug LSD which they used as part of a psychotherapy course to treat severe depression in terminally ill cancer patients.

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March 7 2014

The Woman Who Can Will Herself Out Of Her Body


After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. "She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this," wrote the scientists in a study describing the case, published in February in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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March 7 2014

Music doesn't ring everyone's bell


While some people can't live without the sound of music, for others Midnight Oil is just something you burn and Cold Chisel is an uncomfortable tool, new research suggests.

A study published in today's issue of Current Biology shows that some people may not find any pleasure in music at all.

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March 7 2014

The 16th century plan to weaponize cats and birds with rocket packs


Back during the 1530s, a military planner in what is now Germany devised a rather strange means of siege warfare that would have seen cats and birds strapped with bombs to "set fire to a castle or city which you can't get at otherwise.".

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March 7 2014

Skeletons reveal early settlers' diet


Skeletons from the oldest cemetery in the Pacific Islands show a preference for free-range food is not a modern phenomenon.

In a paper published in this week's PLOS One, the international research team, including Australian scientists, reveals insights into the diet of the Lapita people, who colonised Oceania.

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March 7 2014

SF becomes first major city to ban sale of plastic water bottles


San Francisco became the first major city Tuesday to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on public property, building on a nationwide effort to curb the billion-dollar industry.

The nine-month in the making proposal by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu navigated through a number of challenging issues from the city's drinking water infrastructure to the impacts on events like the Folsom Street Fair or lower-key nonprofit events that often rely on the sales of the plastic water bottles for revenue.

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March 7 2014

Fully compostable bioplastic made from shrimp shells


Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute have developed a method to carry out large-scale manufacturing of everyday objects—from cell phones to food containers and toys—using a fully degradable bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. The objects exhibit many of the same properties as those created with synthetic plastics, but without the environmental threat.

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March 7 2014

New study links BPA and breast cancer tumor growth


UT Arlington biochemists say their newly published study brings researchers a step closer to understanding how the commonly used synthetic compound bisphenol-A, or BPA, may promote breast cancer growth.


Related: BPA linked to prostate cancer, study shows

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March 7 2014

Silk screws used to repair fractures


Screws made from 100% silk have been used to repair broken bones in research that could transform surgery.

US scientists say metal fixtures can potentially be replaced with plates and screws made from the natural fibre, which will eventually dissolve in the body.

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March 7 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick


Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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March 7 2014

Evidence Of Marijuana's Anxiety Relief Effects Found


Researchers have found cannabinoid receptors, through which marijuana exerts its effects, in a key emotional hub in the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response, according to a recent study.

For the first time, cannabinoid receptors have been identified in the central nucleus of the amygdala in a mouse model by scientists from Vanderbilt University. They said this could explain why some marijuana users take the drug mainly to reduce anxiety.

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March 7 2014

Fat Belly? Diet Affects Where You Pack on Pounds


The type of fat you eat may affect not only your heart disease risk, but also where on your body you pack on extra pounds, new research suggests.

People who ate extra amounts of saturated fat tended to accumulate fat around their waistlines and livers. Meanwhile, people who consumed extra amounts of polyunsaturated fat, which typically comes from vegetable oils, had trimmer waistlines, a new study found.

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March 7 2014

Bright pulses of light could make space veggies more nutritious


Exposing leafy vegetables grown during spaceflight to a few bright pulses of light daily could increase the amount of eye-protecting nutrients produced by the plants, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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March 7 2014

Severe 2012 solar storm narrowly missed Earth


A massive ejection of material from the sun initially traveling at over 7 million miles per hour that narrowly missed Earth last year is an event solar scientists hope will open the eyes of policymakers regarding the impacts and mitigation of severe space weather, says a University of Colorado Boulder professor.

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March 7 2014

Earth raises a plasma shield to battle solar storms


Earth can raise shields to protect itself against solar storms. For the first time, satellites and ground-based detectors have watched as the planet sends out a tendril of plasma to fight off blasts of charged solar matter. The discovery confirms a long-standing theory about Earth's magnetic surroundings and offers us a way to keep track of the planet's defences.

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March 7 2014

NASA planning to send robotic mission to Europa, Jupiter's watery moon that may harbour life


WASHINGTON - NASA is plotting a daring robotic mission to Jupiter's watery moon Europa, a place where astronomers speculate there might be some form of life.

The space agency set aside $15 million in its 2015 budget proposal to start planning some kind of mission to Europa. No details have been decided yet, but NASA chief financial officer Elizabeth Robinson said Tuesday that it would be launched in the mid-2020s.

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