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August 16 2014

How Despots Arose With Agriculture


For hundreds of thousands of years humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies, eating wild plants and animals. Inequality in these groups is thought to have been very low, with evidence suggesting food and other resources were shared equally between all individuals. In fact, in the hunter-gatherer societies that still exist today we see that all individuals have a say in group decision making. Although some individuals may act as leaders in the sense of guiding discussions, they cannot force others to follow them.

But it seems that with the beginning of agriculture around 10,000 years ago, this changed.

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August 15 2014

Was Neanderthal shot by a time traveller?


ONE day in 1922, near Broken Hill, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a skull was found. When it came to the attention of the British Museum, the curators were pleased.

It was, in fact, a Neanderthal skull, and Neanderthal bones did not exactly come ten-a-penny.

But the Broken Hill skull was special for other reasons. On the left side of the cranium was a small, perfectly round hole. At first it was assumed that it had been made by a spear, or other sharp implement, but further investigation proved that this had not been the case.

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August 15 2014

Why You Don't Look Like a Caveman


Humans today may have developed softer, more feminine faces as society became friendlier and less aggressive centuries ago, a new study suggests.

As humans began to form cooperative communities, craft tools and work together, their aggression levels began to decrease, resulting in less of a need for the robust facial features of a caveman. The result? Thinner skulls, lighter brows and rounder heads, the researchers said. Such changes can be traced to testosterone levels acting on the human skeleton, they added.

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August 15 2014

North Kent's answer to Stonehenge discovered by Faversham archaeologists


REMAINS of a prehistoric monument similar to Stonehenge are being excavated by Faversham experts.

SWAT Archaeology made the discovery while making a preparatory dig ahead of a planned housing development at Iwade Meadows, in Sittingbourne.


Related: Kent's 'Stonehenge' discovered: 'Sacred' path that leads to a Neolithic circular ditch discovered in Sittingbourne

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August 15 2014

Archaeologists shocked to find 5,000-year-old battlefield in prehistoric Cardiff


A six-year-old's discovery of a flint tool in a Neolithic ditch was the first of a "significant number" of thrilling finds at a Cardiff hill fort

Archaeologists hoping to discover Roman and Iron Age finds at a Welsh hillfort were shocked to unearth pottery and arrowheads predating their predicted finds by 4,000 years at the home of a powerful Iron Age community, including flint tools and weapons from 3,600 BC.

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August 15 2014

Collapse of Civilizations Seen Through Key Beer Ingredient: Study


Beer, scientists have long argued, helped give rise to civilization in an arc of land that sweeps from modern-day Egypt to the border between Iraq and Iran. Today, chemical analysis of barley grains, one of beer's key ingredients, is bolstering research into climate change’s role in the collapse of ancient societies.

"There has been a longtime debate about the relationship between climate and its changes and the development and in some cases demise of cultures," Frank Hole, an emeritus professor of anthropology at Yale University in New Haven.

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August 15 2014

Plants may use newly discovered language to communicate


A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, one that allows them to share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with one another.

The finding by Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, throws open the door to a new arena of science that explores how plants communicate with each other on a molecular level. It also gives scientists new insight into ways to fight parasitic weeds that wreak havoc on food crops in some of the poorest parts of the world.

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August 15 2014

Toxic Bacteria Devours Tumors With Precision


A bacterium found in soil that can cause flesh-ravaging infections in its natural state has been converted — with a few genetic tweaks — into a precise tumor assassin.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center excised the toxin-producing gene from the bacterium Clostridium novyi, which, in its natural form, can be fatal when introduced to the bloodstream. They injected spores of the modified bacteria directly into tumors of mice, dogs and ultimately a human patient.

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August 15 2014

Bee, scorpion and snake venom may hold cancer cure


It's ancient medicine with a sci-fi-sounding twist.

A scientist at the University of Illinois, Dipanjan Pan, and his team say they may have found a way to stop cancer cell growth, according to a paper presented at the American Chemical Society conference this week.

The work is in very early stages, but has shown success in stopping breast cancer and melanoma cell growth in lab tests. Pan's technique uses nanotechnology to deliver a synthesized element similar to the venom found in bees, snakes and scorpions.

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August 15 2014

2nd Wave of Isolated People Makes Contact with Outsiders in Brazil


Pushed out of their home territory by violence, a second wave of people who had been living in voluntary isolation in the Amazon rainforest has made contact with villagers in Brazil, according to an advocacy group.

These 24 men, women and children belong to the same tribe as the "uncontacted" people who emerged in a Brazilian village in late June, claiming that they had suffered violent attacks from outsiders, according to Survival International, a group that advocates for tribal people's rights.

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August 15 2014

Giving antibiotics to babies may lead to obesity, researchers claim


Long courses of antibiotics may put babies and toddlers at higher risk of obesity when they grow up, according to US researchers.

Low doses of penicillin early in life can alter natural populations of gut microbes, which in turn may affect metabolism and lead to higher rates of obesity later in life, the scientists said.

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August 15 2014

Disinfectant Causes Reproductive Problems in Mice


Mice exposed to disinfectants in commercial-grade cleaning products took longer to get pregnant, had fewer pups and suffered more miscarriages and distressed fetuses, researchers reported today.

The little-known chemicals, called quaternary ammonium compounds, or quats, are common ingredients of cleaners used by hospitals, restaurants and food processing plants. Quats also are found in some shampoos, disinfectant wipes and nasal sprays.

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August 15 2014

Bacteria growing less susceptible to common antiseptic


Bacteria that cause life-threatening bloodstream infections in critically ill patients may be growing increasingly resistant to a common hospital antiseptic, according to a recent study led by investigators at Johns Hopkins. The study was published in the September issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

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August 15 2014

Despite Legalization, Colorado Teenagers Stubbornly Refuse to Smoke More Pot


New survey data from Colorado indicate that marijuana legalization so far has not led to an increase in pot smoking by teenagers, as prohibitionists warned it would. In the 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado survey, 37 percent of high school students reported that they had ever tried marijuana, down from 39 percent in 2011.


Related: The UN says this country is smoking the most marijuana

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August 15 2014

Drugs minister calls for legalising cannabis for medicinal use


Liberalised drug laws should be introduced to legalise the widespread use of cannabis to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions, including the side effects of chemotherapy, the drugs minister Norman Baker will say.

Amid concerns that "credible people" are having to break the law to secure the only substance that can help to relieve their condition, Baker is writing to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to call for a review of the medicinal properties of cannabis.

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August 15 2014

The spiritual person: Alcohol releases the 'beast within'


Results of the study indicate that violence decreases as spirituality increases in persons who received the non-alcohol beverage. However, quite unexpectedly, violence actually increased as spirituality increased in persons who received the alcoholic beverage.


Related: Drunk words really ARE sober thoughts: Alcohol doesn't impair our ability to control our actions - it just makes us care less

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August 15 2014

Do you hear voices? You are not alone


Auditory verbal hallucinations or ‘hearing voices’ is not restricted to people who have a form of psychosis. For many, the voices provide support and guidance or have a spiritual aspect

Hearing voices is an experience that is very distressing for many people. Voices – or “auditory verbal hallucinations” – are one of the most common features of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. But for a small minority of people, voice-hearing is a regular part of their lives, an everyday experience that isn’t associated with being unwell.

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