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February 10 2015

No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning


The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein's theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.

The widely accepted age of the universe, as estimated by general relativity, is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or singularity. Only after this point began to expand in a "Big Bang" did the universe officially begin.

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February 10 2015

Driverless cars get green light and you WON'T need a licence


Motorists will not need a driving licence to use driverless cars, it emerged yesterday – as ministers prepared to allow the first trials on British roads.

Women are expected to benefit the most because almost a third do not have a licence, compared with just one in seven men.

Others likely to gain include the disabled, the elderly and even children, who could be put in a so-called robocar at home and sent to school without an adult at the wheel.

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February 10 2015

Canada to allow doctor-assisted suicide


Canada's Supreme Court has ruled that doctors may help patients who have severe and incurable medical conditions to die, overturning a 1993 ban.

In a unanimous decision, the court said the law impinged on Canadians' rights.

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February 10 2015

Marijuana in Jamaica: Possession of up to two ounces decriminalised on Bob Marley's birthday


Possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use has been decriminalised in Jamaica after a drugs law that was passed on Friday was debated by senators for five hours.

Having up to two ounces (around 56 grams) will only be punishable by a fixed penalty ticket, instead of a criminal charge.


Related: Unreleased interview with Bob Marley - special excerpt for birthday tribute (YouTube)

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February 10 2015

Human language accentuates the positive


Humans talk happy.

Maybe it comes from our being on top of the evolutionary heap. Maybe we suppress the language of naysaying and grouchiness to make social relations smoother. Maybe we're just happy.


Alt: Spanish is the happiest language; Chinese, not so much

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February 10 2015

Words in the mouth: device lets you hear with your tongue


In the future, those with substantial hearing loss may no longer need a doctor to surgically implant a cochlear device into their ear to restore their sense of sound.

If researchers at Colorado State University are successful, they may just pop a retainer into their mouths. The team of engineers and neuroscientists are developing a hearing device that bypasses the ear altogether and puts words in the mouth.

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February 10 2015

Japan-inspired 'water-house' slashes energy needs


"Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water," the 34-year-old told AFP.

This water, only a few cubic metres, is warmed by the sun—it can be piping hot during heat waves. It absorbs heat like a battery during hot spells and distributes it during cold snaps, making all cosy in winter or cool in summer, as needed.


Related: Hey, fancy buying a straw house?

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February 10 2015

Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative


Generating electricity from biomass, such as urban waste and sustainably-sourced forest and crop residues, is one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, because it is carbon-neutral: it produces as much carbon as the plants suck out of the atmosphere.


Related: Ancient climate records 'back predictions'

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February 10 2015

Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Rock, and Burying It


In an experimental carbon storage process, gas emissions and water are injected into volcanic rock, turning the mixture into minerals.


Related: Ancient Earth Had Weird Chemistry: Vanilla Rocks, Lemon-Juice Soil

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February 10 2015

Spanish Conquest of the Incas Caused Air Pollution to Spike


The arrival of the Spanish in South America in the late 14th century heralded the destruction of the once mighty Inca empire—and triggered a surge in air pollution levels that was not exceeded until the 20th century.

The findings come from analysis of trace elements in a core sample collected in 2003 from the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru. The ice of glaciers and ice caps like Quelccaya accumulates in layers that each hold trace amounts of elements from the atmosphere. Drilling deep into a glacier and extracting a column of ice allows scientists to analyze the elements in the layers and create a record of environmental factors such as climate and pollution.

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February 10 2015

Mystery Over 15th-Century Drilled Skull Solved


Researchers at the University of Pisa, Italy, have solved the mystery over the honeycombed skull of one of the Italian martyrs beheaded by 15th century Ottoman Turk invaders when they refused to give up their Christian faith.

Featuring 16 perfectly round holes of various sizes and depth, the skull belonged to an individual who was executed on a hill outside the town of Otranto in Apulia along with more than 800 other men.

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February 10 2015

Archaeologists find bow and arrow clue at Loch Ness-side dig


ARCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered new artefacts suggesting a Highland village resident of 4,500 years ago fought with bow and arrow.

A Bronze Age burial cist in Drumnadrochit, near Inverness, was found last month, and researchers have now found shards of pottery and a wrist guard, for use when shooting using bow and arrow, at the same site.

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February 10 2015

Could Crossrail have uncovered the last resting place of Britain's left-wing martyr?


Archaeologists could be about to unearth the musket-shot-riddled remains of one of Britain’s great left-wing heroes.

Executed by firing squad in April 1649, Robert Lockyer was an activist in England’s first democratic political movement, the Levellers. Archaeological excavations due to start early next month at Liverpool Street in central London could locate his final resting place. The site – part of a long-forgotten 16th/17th cemetery, known as Bedlam burial ground, in what is now central London – is being investigated in preparation for the construction of the eastern entrance of the new east-west London railway, Crossrail’s station complex at Liverpool Street.

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February 10 2015

100 Ancient Cult Sites Discovered in Israel


Some 100 prehistoric "cult sites," complete with penis stone structures and artifacts with vulva shapes cut into them, have been discovered in the Eilat Mountains, an extremely arid area of the Negev Desert in Israel.

At the sites, which date back around 8,000 years, archaeologists discovered a variety of stone structures and artifacts, including stone circles that measure 1.5 to 2.5 meters across (roughly 5 to 8 feet) with penis-shaped installations pointing toward them. Other findings there include standing stones that reach up to 2.6 feet (80 centimeters) high, stone bowls and stone carvings that have a humanlike shape.

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February 10 2015

Research continues into 3000 year-old Nok culture of sub-Saharan Africa


The scientific team of the Institute for Archaeological Sciences, which has been researching the Nok Culture in Nigeria since 2005, can continue its successful work: The German Research Foundation (DFG) will support the total 12-year duration of the planned long-term project for another three years with 1.6 million euros.

However, the study of the Nok Culture, which is the source of the oldest figurative art in sub-Saharan Africa at 2000 to 3000 years old, will not be able to proceed as planned, because of the political unrest in Nigeria, and in particular the attacks of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.

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February 9 2015

Magna Carta edition found in Sandwich archive scrapbook


An early edition of Magna Carta has been found in a Victorian scrapbook during a search of a council's archives

The discovery has come months ahead of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in Runnymede in 1215.

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February 9 2015

Scientists have found out why you're chronically late


Anyone can be late a handful of times, sure, but to be the person who's always five minutes late (at the earliest) - that's an art. A frustrating and inconvenient art. Or, a side effect of your personality traits, scientists have found.

“There are all sorts of disincentives and punishments for being late, and the paradox is we’re late even when those punishments and consequences exist,"


Alt: We Know Why You’re Always Late

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