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February 28 2014

Mysterious 'Earthquake Lights' Might Be Explained


Mysterious flashes of lightning sometimes herald earthquakes, and now scientists may have discovered why: Shifting grains surrounding faults in the Earth may generate an electric charge.

This strange flickering, known as earthquake lights, can occur before or during quakes. Recent findings suggest earthquake lights seem to happen at rifts where pieces of the Earth are pulling apart from each other.

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February 28 2014

Decline of Bronze Age ‘megacities’ linked to climate change


Climate change may have contributed to the decline of a city-dwelling civilization in Pakistan and India 4,100 years ago, according to new research.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have demonstrated that an abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India 4,100 years ago. The resulting drought coincided with the beginning of the decline of the metropolis-building Indus Civilisation, which spanned present-day Pakistan and India, suggesting that climate change could be why many of the major cities of the civilisation were abandoned.

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February 28 2014

Have Russians Discovered Ancient 'Super-Megalithic' Architecture in Siberia?


Are these images posted to a Russian blog evidence for one of the greatest megalithic constructions ever discovered, or are they just a geological quirk of nature, like the Japanese site of Yonaguni seems to be? My votes on the latter, but I look forward to further investigation.

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February 28 2014

Jersey site that was last Neanderthal home is studied


An ice age site said to be one of the last known places Neanderthals lived is being studied to assess storm damage.

La Cotte in St Brelade, Jersey, was hit by south-westerly storms including winds of up to 100mph in February.

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February 28 2014

History of Ancient Los Angeles Was Driven by Its Wetlands, 8,000-Year Survey Finds


It may be hard to visualize if you’ve been through drought-stricken southern California lately, but much of what’s now Los Angeles was once a teeming wetland. And a new landmark survey going back 8,000 years has found that human settlement in the region has ebbed and flowed with the levels of the sea and the waters of the Los Angeles River.

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February 28 2014

Rare Neolithic or Bronze Age rock art in Ross-shire


A rare example of prehistoric rock art has been uncovered in the Highlands.

Archaeologists made the discovery while moving a boulder decorated with ancient cup and ring marks to a new location in Ross-shire.

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February 28 2014

Ancient Gladiator School Discovered in Austria


An ancient Roman gladiator school has been discovered in Austria, complete with cell blocks, a training arena and a bath complex, archaeologists say.

The buried remains of the school — at the site of Carnuntum, near Vienna — were detected not through excavations but through remote-sensing techniques. Based on these findings, researchers reconstructed the gladiator center in virtual 3D models.

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February 28 2014

Mummy Murder Mystery Solved: Incan Woman's Head Smashed


A mysterious mummy that languished in German collections for more than a century is that of an Incan woman killed by blunt-force trauma to the head, new research reveals.

A new analysis shows that the mummy was once an Incan woman who also suffered from a parasitic disease that thickens the heart and intestinal walls, raising the possibility that she was killed in a ritual murder because she was already on the brink of death.

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February 28 2014

Great Gouda! World's oldest cheese found - on mummies


Vintage Gouda may be aged for five years, some cheddar for a decade. They're both under-ripe youngsters compared with yellowish clumps – found on the necks and chests of Chinese mummies – now revealed to be the world's oldest cheese.

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February 28 2014

From Aztecs To Oscars: Popcorn's Beautiful, Explosive Journey


Popcorn is a truly ancient snack. Archaeologists popcorn kernels that are 4,000 years old. They were so well-preserved, they could still pop.

Dolores Piperno, a paleobotanist with the Smithsonian's Tropical Research Insitute, says corn, and specifically popcorn, helped lay the foundations for the Aztec empire.

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February 28 2014

Why dark chocolate is good for your heart


It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.

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February 28 2014

Making Food Tastier With Music


Comfort foods get even more comforting if you eat them with the right kind of musical ambiance, according to a new study on the effects of different background music on the taste of foods.

Previous research shows that genres of music can elicit different emotions, and that the enjoyment of some foods can be affected by emotions. The new work takes the next step and looks at how music affects the perception of food.

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February 28 2014

Are musicians better language learners?


Today's economic environment demands that our children become the very best they can be. A lot of demands are placed upon us as parents, and whether we like it or not, we need to help our children navigate their way in today's fast-paced world and build their skills for the future. But not all methods, from flashcards to baby signing, actually boost a child's intelligence, language skills or other abilities for success.

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February 28 2014

Bisphenol A (BPA) at very low levels can adversely affect developing organs in primates


COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used in a wide variety of consumer products, such as resins used to line metal food and beverage containers, thermal paper store receipts, and dental composites. BPA exhibits hormone-like properties, and exposure of fetuses, infants, children or adults to the chemical has been shown to cause numerous abnormalities, including cancer, as well as reproductive, immune and brain-behavior problems in rodents.

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February 28 2014

Why breastfed babies are so smart: Moms who breastfeed are often responsive and read to their babies


Research has shown that children who were breastfed score higher on IQ tests and perform better in school, but the reason why remained unclear. Now a new study shows that two parenting skills deserve the credit. Responsiveness to children's emotional cues boosts kids' math and reading skills.

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February 28 2014

'Three-parent babies' could be born in Britain next year


The first three-parent babies could be born by 2015 after the government set out new draft regulations which will allow donor DNA from a 'second mother' to be implanted into a defective egg.

The procedure, which was developed British scientists, is currently banned, but ministers want to change the law to prevent children suffering debilitating conditions like muscular dystrophy.

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February 28 2014

Robot arms to help knit replacement human body parts


You might be able to knit a pair of socks, but robots could one day knit you a pair of kidneys. Bioprinters with many arms could coordinate their limbs to knit together different types of human tissue and mass-produce replacement organs, cartilage or muscle. Bioengineer Ibrahim Ozbolat and his team at the University of Iowa have successfully used a 3D printer fitted with two robot arms to create tissue of two key types.

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February 27 2014

Humans May Have Been Stuck on Bering Strait for 10,000 Years


The ancestors of Native Americans may have lived on and around the Bering Strait for about 10,000 years before streaming into the Americas, researchers argue.

In the new Perspectives article, published today (Feb. 27) in the journal Science, the researchers compile existing data to support the idea, known as the Beringia standstill hypothesis.

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