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July 15 2014

North America's First Foragers Hunted These Elephant-like Creatures


A recent archeological dig in Mexico shows that gomphotheres — an extinct elephant-like animal believed to have disappeared from North America long before humans got there — actually roamed the continent longer than previously thought. Incredibly, the new evidence suggests these large mammals were hunted by the Clovis people.


Related: Ancient Native Americans Ate Pachyderms; Site Challenges Theory of Where New World Culture Began

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July 15 2014

The Most Popular Sport in North America 900 Years Ago


Beneath the freeways of East St. Louis in Illinois there lie the ruins of a city built nearly a millennium ago, around towering earthen pyramids. Today called Cahokia, it held as many as 40 thousand people, and their influence spread throughout the southeast U.S. — mostly due the popularity of a game called chunkey.

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July 15 2014

Vintage Bling: Ancient Celts May Have Had Shiny Dental Implants


Sparkly, gold grills aren't just for Flavor Flav; ancient Celts may have sought out flashy smiles as well. Archaeologists have unearthed a dental implant in a grave in France that dates to the third century B.C.

The implant — an iron pin that may have screwed into the gum to hold a decorative tooth in place — was found in the mouth of a skeleton in a Celtic burial site in La Chêne, France. The tooth was described in the June issue of the journal Antiquity.

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July 15 2014

Study: Hard Times Can Make People More Racist


When the going gets tough, the tough get... prejudiced

People perceive race differently during an economic downturn, a recent study suggests, and become subconsciously more prejudiced against dark-skinned people when times are tight.

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July 15 2014

Blackest is the new black: Scientists develop a material so dark that you can't see it...


Puritans, Goths, avant-garde artists, hell-raising poets and fashion icon Coco Chanel all saw something special in it. Now black, that most enigmatic of colours, has become even darker and more mysterious.

A British company has produced a "strange, alien" material so black that it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light, setting a new world record. To stare at the "super black" coating made of carbon nanotubes – each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair – is an odd experience. It is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing. Shapes and contours are lost, leaving nothing but an apparent abyss.

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July 15 2014

Rupert Sheldrake Discusses Morphic Resonance and Animal Telepathy with Scientific American


The website of Scientific American currently has an excellent feature and interview with 'maverick biologist' Rupert Sheldrake, via science writer John Horgan. Though he considers himself a 'psi skeptic', Horgan's piece is warm and open-minded (we find out that Sheldrake does a good impression of his late friend, Terence McKenna) - very pleasant to see these 'heretical' topics discussed in such a convivial manner for a change.

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July 15 2014

Your friends 'may be your fourth cousins'


People tend to choose friends that are genetically similar to themselves, so much so that a person's social circle could be made up of their fourth cousins, scientists say.

The research is based on the Framingham Heart Study in the northeastern US state of Massachusetts, which contains both extensive genetic detail - 1.5 million markers - and information about friends and connections.

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July 15 2014

Hardcore pot smoking could damage the brain's pleasure center


It probably won’t come as a surprise that smoking a joint now and then will leave you feeling … pretty good, man. But smoking a lot of marijuana over a long time might do just the opposite. Scientists have found that the brains of pot abusers react less strongly to the chemical dopamine, which is responsible for creating feelings of pleasure and reward. Their blunted dopamine responses could leave heavy marijuana users living in a fog—and not the good kind.

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July 15 2014

Scientists reveal how THC – found in cannabis – ‘could slow cancer tumour growth’


Scientists at a British university have made a major breakthrough in revealing how cannabis could be used as a treatment to prevent the growth of cancer.

Research carried out by a team from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has shed light on the still “poorly understood” theory that an ingredient in marijuana has anti-cancer properties.

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July 15 2014

How plants may be evolving to the lack of bees


Plants which used to have two types of male reproductive organs – to increase their chances for fertilisation – are reverting back to one type. And in some cases, they are becoming self-fertilising.

This "reverse evolution" could provide new hope for people worried about declining numbers of pollinators, such as bees.

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July 15 2014

Supersonic Earthquake Shook Kamchatka


One of the world's deepest earthquakes was also a rare supersonic quake, upending ideas about where these unusual earthquakes strike.

Only six supersonic (or supershear) earthquakes have ever been identified, all in the last 15 years. Until now, they all showed similar features, occurring relatively near the Earth's surface and on the same kind of fault. But last year, a remarkably super-fast and super-deep earthquake hit below Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, breaking the pattern.

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July 15 2014

More puzzling radio bursts from deep space


Astronomers have detected very fast bursts of radio waves coming from deep in outer space and they don’t know the source.

Scientists initially detected the pulses at the Parkes Observatory in Australia, but the bursts were not confirmed by another radio telescope facility until now.

A team at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico detected the pulse on November 2, 2012.

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July 15 2014

Is Pluto really a planet? NASA probe could rekindle debate


The world will get its first good look at Pluto a little more than a year from now, possibly reigniting the debate over the object's planetary status.

In July 2015, NASA's New Horizons probe will fly by frigid and faraway Pluto, which was demoted to "dwarf planet" in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. (Despite the ruling, many scientists still regard Pluto as a planet).

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July 15 2014

Are Solar Storms a True Health Threat?


Space weather impacts many modern-day technologies. But one of the most concerning – and least reported – space weather effects is the increased radiation exposure to passengers on commercial long-distance flights during so-called “solar radiation storms”.

The NASA-funded Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation System (NAIRAS) is the computer system tasked with providing a real-time data-driven climatology of the aviation radiation environment.

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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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