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October 21 2014

Scientist catches spider the size of a puppy


Piotr Naskrecki was taking a nighttime walk in a rainforest in Guyana, when he heard rustling as if something were creeping underfoot. When he turned on his flashlight, he expected to see a small mammal, such as a possum or a rat.

"When I turned on the light, I couldn't quite understand what I was seeing," said Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology.

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October 21 2014

The north pole moved to the North Pole in a single human lifetime


Geology rewards an active imagination. It gives us a lot of tantalizing clues about very different times and places in Earth’s history, leaving us to try to answer “Man, what would that be like?” One of the things that's tough to imagine involves changing something that most of us never give a second thought—the fact that compasses point north. That’s plainly true today, but it hasn’t always been.

What we call the “north” magnetic pole—the object of your compass’ affection—doesn’t need to be located in the Arctic (it noticeably wanders there, by the way).

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October 21 2014

A different kind of green movement: Seedling growth in space


Plants—literally rooted in Earth—lack locomotion. And although plants may appear static, even the tiniest seedlings are sophisticated organisms that sense and respond to their environment. Seedlings may not travel, but they do move.

An international team of NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) researchers are studying the growth and development of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings - also known as "thale cress" - aboard the International Space Station to gain a better understanding of how plants adapt to weightless and low-gravity environments.

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October 21 2014

Earth at risk after cuts close comet-spotting program, scientists warn


The Earth has been left with a huge blind spot for potentially devastating comet strikes after the only dedicated comet-spotting program in the southern hemisphere lost its funding, leading astronomers have warned.

The program, which discovered the Siding Spring comet that narrowly missed Mars on Sunday, was shut down last year after losing funding.

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October 21 2014

Flares Erupt from An Active Region on the Sun


The Sun has been acting up lately, producing one powerful X-class flare and several more moderate flares over the past 72 hours.

You can see the X-class flare exploding off the lower left aspect of the Sun in the false-color image above, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 131 Angstroms. This wavelength is ideal for seeing the intense heat of a flare.

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October 21 2014

Water On The Moon Was Blown in by Solar Wind


When they first set foot on the Moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts painted a picture of the landscape as a bone-dry desert. So astronomers were naturally surprised when in 2009, three probes showed that a lot of water is locked up in minerals in the soil. There has been some debate as to where the water came from, but now two researchers with the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, have determined that most of the water in the soil on the surface of the Moon was formed due to protons in the solar wind colliding with oxygen in lunar dust, rather than from comet or meteorite impacts.

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October 21 2014

Dust to dust: the gravitational-waves story


More than six months after the initial announcement that scientists had found evidence of gravitational waves — echoes of the Big Bang itself — the claim is hanging by a thread. Subsequent analysis showed that much of the signal could have been contaminated by galactic dust. The predictions of Nobel prizes for the team have faded. The champagne has gone flat.

Extraordinary claims, as the saying almost goes, demand more scrutiny than usual to make sure they stand up.

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October 21 2014

Birth season affects your mood in later life, new research suggests


New research shows that the season you are born has a significant impact on your risk of developing mood disorders. People born at certain times of year may have a greater chance of developing certain types of affective temperaments, which in turn can lead to mood disorders.

Seasons of birth have traditionally been associated with certain personality traits, such as novelty seeking, and various folklore justifications, such as astrology, have sought to explain these associations. Now a group of researchers from Budapest, Hungary, are presenting a study which links birth season with temperament.

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October 21 2014

Ancient Human Skulls Reveal When Europeans Could Drink Milk


The DNA from ancient human bones is shedding new light on the prehistory of Europe, such as when changes in skin color and lactose tolerance occurred, researchers say.

This research unexpectedly revealed that ancient Europeans started dairying thousands of years before they evolved genes to make the most of milk in adulthood, investigators added.

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October 21 2014

Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer 'made serious DNA error'


It was supposed to have been the definitive piece of scientific evidence that finally exposed the true identify of Jack the Ripper after he had brutally murdered at least five women on the streets of Whitechapel in the East End of London, 126 years ago.

A 23-year-old Polish immigrant barber called Aaron Kosminski was "definitely, categorically and absolutely" the man who carried out the atrocities in 1888, according to a detailed analysis of DNA extracted from a silk shawl allegedly found at the scene of one of his murders.

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October 21 2014

6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Found


A 6,000-year-old temple holding human-like figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine.

Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five rooms, write archaeologists Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko in a copy of a presentation they gave recently at the European Association of Archaeologists' annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

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October 21 2014

Amenhotep III: Ancient Egyptian Mummies Didn't Have Spinal Arthritis


A systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families may have been another condition, according to a new study published in Arthritis&Rheumatology.

The authors refutes claims of Ankylosing spondylitis in royals like King Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC), finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.

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October 21 2014

King Tut Re-Creation Presents a Shocking Image


Tutankhamun’s beautiful golden mask, the embodiment of a man secure in his power, has been flattering the pharaoh for many centuries, according to the most detailed image yet of the teenage king’s face and body.

In the flesh, King Tut had a club foot, a pronounced overbite and girlish hips, says a “virtual autopsy” built using more than 2,000 computerized tomography (CT) scans of the pharaoh’s body.

Previous theories suggested King Tut may have died as a result of a chariot accident, but the virtual reconstruction showed a different scenario.

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October 21 2014

Scientists Excavate Ancient Submerged Cities for Clues to Our Fate


With new research showing sea levels at their highest in 6,000 years, archaeologists are investigating the submerged ruins of early human settlements for hints to their destiny—and our own.

The emerging field of continental shelf prehistoric research, spurred by developments in remote sensing and ocean exploration technology, combines archaeology, geosciences, and oceanography to discover and analyze those communities now underwater.

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October 20 2014

Ancient fish reveals the roots of sex


The sexual act where two creatures physically join together to create new life first began 385 million years ago, according to a new fossil study.

The extinct Devonian-age armoured fish Microbrachius dicki, a kind of antiarch placoderm (the first jawed animals), had genital structures that enabled it to reproduce by internal fertilisation -- where the male inserts semen into the female.


Alt: Sex 'emerged in ancient Scottish lake'

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October 20 2014

Blind cave fish may provide insight on eye disease and other human health issues


Blind cave fish may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to understanding human sight, but recent research indicates they may have quite a bit to teach us about the causes of many human ailments, including those that result in loss of sight. A team of researchers, led by Suzanne McGaugh, an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota's College of Biological Sciences, is looking to the tiny eyeless fish for clues about the underpinnings of degenerative eye disease and more.

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October 20 2014

Did T. rex play with its food?


Washington — Tyrannosaurus rex, the seven-ton, dagger-toothed, Cretaceous-period killing machine, may have had a playful side, according to a University of Kansas paleontologist.

Professor Bruce Rothschild says that the 40-foot predator engaged in play, or at least exhibited behavior consistent with play seen in modern-day animals.

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