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October 8 2014

Moon water blew in on solar wind


Almost all of the moon's water comes from the action of particles in the solar wind and not from the shattered remnants of water-rich comets and meteorites, as was once believed. So says a fresh analysis of lunar rock samples from two American moonshots.

The Apollo missions painted a picture of the moon as a bone-dry desert. So astronomers were surprised when three probes in 2009 showed that a lot of water is locked up in minerals in the soil.

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October 8 2014

Manned mission to Mars: Will astronauts hibernate their way to the Red Planet?


With travel to Mars taking upward of 180 days – one way – NASA is considering the possibility putting astronauts into a medicated deep sleep for the trip.

Torpor, a state of reduced physiological activity, would reduce astronauts’ metabolic functions, and costs, according to a NASA-backed study conducted by Atlanta-based aerospace engineering firm SpaceWorks Enterprises. The physical inactivity paired with intravenous feeding might mean a crew could essentially be put in hibernation during transit to Mars.

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October 8 2014

Chickens have gotten ridiculously large since the 1950s


The one on the left is a breed from 1957. The middle one is a 1978 breed. And the one on the right is a commercial 2005 breed called the Ross 308 broiler. They're all the same age. And the modern breed is much, much, much larger.

In just 50 years or so, chickens have been bred to be much bigger. The image above comes from a study done by researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, who raised three breeds of chickens from different eras in the exact same way and measured how much they ate and how they grew.

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October 8 2014

High Rates of Suicide, Depression Linked to Farmer Use of Pesticides


On his farm in Iowa, Matt Peters worked from dawn to dusk planting his 1,500 acres of fields with pesticide-treated seeds. “Every spring I worried about him,” said his wife, Ginnie. “Every spring I was glad when we were done.”

In the spring of 2011, Ginnie Peters' “calm, rational, loving” husband suddenly became depressed and agitated. “He told me ‘I feel paralyzed’,” she said. “He couldn’t sleep or think. Out of nowhere he was depressed.”.

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October 8 2014

Scientists Are Farming Coral For Human Bones


It’s hard to say “coral molars” repeatedly without tripping over your tongue, but having teeth -- and other bones -- made from coral is becoming increasingly plausible.

It sounds crazy, but sea coral has actually been used in bone grafting for years as an alternative to using bone from cadavers or synthetic materials, which can introduce disease or infection. Now, recent business successes and medical research suggests that coral bone grafting could become more mainstream.

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October 8 2014

Genetics Explains Why You Drink So Much Coffee


If your favorite order at Starbucks is the “red-eye,” you can thank genetics for your ability to slog down all that caffeine without the shakes.

In a new study, scientists identified eight genetic variants that could partly explain why some people drink coffee by the pot, while others avoid the stimulating beverage altogether. By outlining the genetic foundation for coffee consumption, scientists believe they can find firmer evidence to support the positive — and negative — health effects of the popular beverage.

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October 8 2014

There are only four types of cities


Any globetrotting tourist will tell you that all cities are unique. The challenge is to figure out what they have in common. Fortunately, there's at least one thing that is nakedly apparent for every single city: the contours of its streets as seen from outer space. A team of researchers has now taken those street maps and analyzed them as mathematical networks. It turns out that all cities can be boiled down to just four different types based on the "fingerprint" of their street networks.

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October 8 2014

The extremes of Earth's Late Heavy Bombardment


On June 30, 1908 a bolide streaked across the sky in the region near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia. When it exploded, the airburst leveled more than 2,000 square kilometers of trees. It is now known as the Tunguska event. This particular region of Russia is extremely remote so the damage was limited to trees and other local flora and fauna. But the impact is estimated to have been on the order of 10 -15 megatons. If it had occurred over a major city, the bolide would have destroyed it as surely as dropping a modern nuclear weapon.

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October 8 2014

Plant-eating dinosaurs coexisted by munching different vegetation


Some huge sauropods ate ferns while others ate trees, researchers conclude from examining skulls.


Alt: How dinosaurs divided their meals at the Jurassic dinner table

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October 8 2014

Melatonin and the watery beginnings of sleep


We all need sleep, but attaining it can be delicate. Insomniacs can’t fall or stay asleep. Travelers suffer from jetlag. Anxiety keeps people up at night. Or maybe it’s just that jackhammer running across the street keeping your eyes open. Some people turn to earplugs, dark curtains or alcohol to soothe them to sleep. But others go to the supplement aisle and pick up melatonin.

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October 8 2014

In Babylon, Iraqis shield ancient symbols of identity from Islamic State


The fortunes of the ancient city of Babylon have waxed and waned with the rise and fall of empires. Today, the biggest threat to this powerful symbol of diversity are the Islamic State jihadis who swept out of Syria to capture large swathes of Iraq, looting archaeological treasure and blowing up shrines and sites they consider blasphemous along the way.

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October 7 2014

Greek Mythic Warrior Women Not Purely Imaginary


Overwhelming evidence now shows that the Amazon traditions of the Greeks and other ancient societies were based largely on historical facts, says Adrienne Mayor in this excerpt from "The Amazons," which looks at these women in myth and history.

Who were the Amazons?

In Greek myth, Amazons were fierce warrior women of exotic Eastern lands, as courageous and skilled in battle as the mightiest Greek heroes. Amazons were major characters not only in the legendary Trojan War but also in the chronicles of the greatest Greek city-state, Athens.

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October 7 2014

Tracing our ancestors at the bottom of the sea


New European Marine Board report recommends exploration of sea-submerged settlements abandoned by our ancestors.

A specialist group of European researchers are studying what remains of prehistoric settlements, which are now submerged beneath our coastal seas. Some of these submerged sites are tens of thousands of years old.

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October 7 2014

Thousands of Mountains Discovered on Ocean Floor


Scientists have discovered thousands of new mountains in the unlikeliest of places: The seafloor.

The seamounts — more specifically, underwater volcanoes — revealed themselves as part of a new ocean floor–mapping project conducted by researchers at California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and other organizations. The project also sheds light on how the continents were formed. The scientists published their research Friday (Oct. 3) in the journal Science.

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October 7 2014

Earth's ocean abyss has not warmed, NASA study finds


The cold waters of Earth's deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years. But scientists say these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.


Alt: Different depths reveal ocean warming trends

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October 7 2014

Angry, Rolling Cloud Is First New Type in 60 Years


Undulatus asperatus isn’t some obscure anatomical structure next to your peritoneum, nor is it a minor character from the movie "Gladiator."

No, it’s actually a type of cloud formation that weather fanciers have proposed for inclusion in the next edition of the World Meteorological Organization’s “International Cloud Atlas,” the ultimate reference source on the varieties of clouds.

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October 7 2014

Scientists discover cancer-fighting berry on tree that only grows in Far North Queensland


Scientists have been surprised by the rapid cancer-fighting properties of a berry found only in Far North Queensland.

An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Brisbane, found a compound in the berry could kill head and neck tumours as well as melanomas.

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