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Daily alternative news articles at the News Desk for GrahamHancock.com. Featuring alternative history, science, archaeology, ancient egypt, paranormal & supernatural, environment, and much more. Check in daily for updates!

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January 8 2015

Renaissance-Era Italian Warlord Was Poisoned, Mummy Reveals


Forensic scientists in Italy have uncovered a mummy murder mystery.

A Renaissance-era warlord who dropped dead in 1329 wasn't killed by a nasty stomach illness, as had been previously suspected; he was actually poisoned, an autopsy of his corpse reveals.

Scientists say they've found traces of digitalis, or foxglove — a beautiful but potentially heart-stopping plant — in the digestive tract of Cangrande della Scala of Verona.

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January 8 2015

Musician's Recreation of Ancient Sumerian Songs Will Haunt You


These songs are examples of how art and science can come together to create something incredible. Musician Stef Conner learned to read several ancient Babylonian and Sumerian tablets written in cuneiform script, using historians' research to figure out likely pronunciation. Just listen to the results.

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January 8 2015

From pygmies to hipsters, scientists find music really is universal


The 19th century writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called music the “universal language of mankind” and now there may be scientific proof he was right.

Whether enjoyed by a hipster in a dive bar in downtown Montreal or at a Pygmy ceremony in the depths of the Congolese rainforest new research has found that music can emotionally affect different groups in precisely the same way.

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January 8 2015

Was Beethoven's music literally heartfelt? Could a cardiac arrhythmia have influenced famous works?


Could it be that when Ludwig van Beethoven composed some of the greatest masterpieces of all time that he was quite literally following his heart?

The striking rhythms found in some of Beethoven's most famous works may have been inspired by his own heartbeat, says a team of researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Washington that includes a cardiologist, medical historian, and musicologist.

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January 8 2015

What’s Up With That: You Hate Pictures of Yourself


It comes down to facial symmetry, and in this regard my face is skewed. My chin is crooked, my eyes don’t line up, and there’s a weird bay in my hairline on my left forehead. News flash: your face probably isn’t absolutely symmetrical either. Only a few people come close, and even some models and actors have crooked faces.

This matters because of an effect called “mere-exposure.” Formulated in 1968 by a psychologist named Robert Zajonc, it basically says that people react more favorably to things they seen more often.

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January 8 2015

Stiff Masks Block Emotional Memories


A good poker face may help you win a Hold ‘Em tournament, but it won’t do your memory any favors. Our faces naturally flinch into emotional expressions that match what we’re seeing or hearing. These quick expressions, in addition to giving away our pocket aces, seem to help us recall things later. Using stiff cosmetic masks, scientists showed that it also works the other way: if we can’t move our faces, emotional memories are harder to hang onto.

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January 8 2015

Are kids born nice or do we teach them?


Altruism has been a hot topic since it was first proposed in the 19th century. Psychologists have wondered: are people born preprogrammed to be nice to others?

By recreating a classic experiment, psychologists find that altruistic behavior may be governed more by relationships, even brief ones, than instincts.

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January 8 2015

Mom Was Right: You’ll Catch a Cold from Being Cold


“Put on a jacket or you’ll catch a cold.”

Countless energetic children are told this every day as they zoom outside for playtime. But as kids grow up, this bit of advice is usually dismissed as an age-old, superstitious epithet. A virus, not the temperature, is what makes us sick, right? Well yes. But it turns out mom’s advice contains a kernel of truth too.


Alt: Common cold 'prefers cold noses'

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January 8 2015

A New Antibiotic Found in Dirt Can Kill Drug-Resistant Bacteria


Antibiotics are trusted weapons against many types of bacterial disease, but growing resistance to the drugs is a major problem. “Pathogens are acquiring resistance faster than we can introduce new antibiotics, and this is causing a human health crisis,” says biochemist Kim Lewis of Northeastern University.


Alt: Antibiotics: US discovery labelled 'game-changer' for medicine

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January 8 2015

Is Moon Mining Economically Feasible?


The moon may offer pay dirt with a rewarding mother lode of resources, a celestial gift that is literally up for grabs. But what's really there for the taking, and at what cost?

A new assessment of whether or not there's an economic case for mining the moon has been put forward by Ian Crawford, a professor of planetary science and astrobiology at Birkbeck College, London. His appraisal is to appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Progress in Physical Geography.

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January 7 2015

Has Curiosity Found Fossilized Life on Mars?


Time and time again, as we carefully scrutinize the amazing high-resolution imagery flowing to Earth from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, we see weird things etched in Martian rocks. Most of the time our brains are playing tricks on us. At other times, however, those familiar rocky features can be interpreted as processes that also occur on Earth.


Alt: Potential signs of ancient life in Mars rover photos

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January 7 2015

Tiny Greenhouse Could Fly Plants to Mars in 2018


Lifeforms from Earth may touch down on Mars just a few years from now — but those interplanetary travelers would be plants, not people.

A tiny, self-contained greenhouse has been selected to fly on the robotic lander that Red Planet colonization effort Mars One intends to launch in 2018, group representatives announced Monday (Jan. 5).

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January 7 2015

Leap second: French time lords add one second to 2015


The year 2015 will be slightly longer after the Paris Observatory announced it was adding a leap second to clocks this summer.

On June 30, dials will read 11:59:60 as clocks hold their breath for a second to allow the Earth’s rotation to catch up with atomic time.

Atomic time is constant, but the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down by around two thousandths of a second per day.

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January 7 2015

Acoustic levitation made simple


A team of researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil has developed a new levitation device that can hover a tiny object with more control than any instrument that has come before.

Featured on this week's cover of the journal Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, the device can levitate polystyrene particles by reflecting sound waves from a source above off a concave reflector below. Changing the orientation of the reflector allow the hovering particle to be moved around.

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January 7 2015

This Ingenious Machine Turns Feces Into Drinking Water


I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water.

The occasion was a tour of a facility that burns human waste and produces water and electricity (plus a little ash). I have visited lots of similar sites, like power plants and paper mills, so when I heard about this one—it’s part of the Gates Foundation’s effort to improve sanitation in poor countries—I was eager to check it out.

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January 7 2015

Controversial DNA startup wants to let customers create creatures


In Austen Heinz’s vision of the future, customers tinker with the genetic codes of plants and animals and even design new creatures on a computer. Then his startup, Cambrian Genomics, prints that DNA quickly, accurately and cheaply.

“Anyone in the world that has a few dollars can make a creature, and that changes the game,” Heinz said. “And that creates a whole new world.”

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January 7 2015

Skeleton turns snake evolution on its head


The evolution of the snake’s elongated, legless body appears to be the exact opposite of what scientists have long assumed, new research suggests.

Hox genes, which establish the boundaries of the neck, trunk, lumbar, sacral and tail regions in birds, lizards, crocodiles, and mammals, were previously thought to have been disrupted in snakes, resulting in a loss of regions in their seemingly simplified body form as they evolved from four-legged lizard ancestors.

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