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March 19 2014

Robot writes LA Times earthquake breaking news article


The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday - thanks to a robot writer.

Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.

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March 19 2014

Active Volcanoes Revealed on Venus


Scientists have long suspected that volcanoes played a huge role in the evolution of cloud-shrouded Venus, the second planet from the sun.

Now, images from Europe's Venus Express orbiter are showing that volcanic eruptions may not just be a thing from the past.

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March 19 2014

Ancient Earth hammered by double space impact


We've all seen the films where an asteroid hurtles towards our planet, threatening civilisation.

What's less well known is that menacing space rocks sometimes come in twos.

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March 19 2014

Flawed diamonds pick up on tiny magnetic fields


Flawed but colorful diamonds are among the most sensitive detectors of magnetic fields known today, allowing physicists to explore the minuscule magnetic fields in metals, exotic materials, and even human tissue.

University of California, Berkeley, physicist Dmitry Budker and colleagues have now shown that these diamond sensors can measure the tiny magnetic fields in high-temperature superconductors, providing a new tool to probe these materials.

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March 19 2014

New view of supernova death throes


A powerful, new three-dimensional model provides fresh insight into the turbulent death throes of supernovas, whose final explosions outshine entire galaxies and populate the universe with elements that make life on Earth possible.

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March 19 2014

Our Universe May Exist in a Multiverse, Cosmic Inflation Discovery Suggests


The first direct evidence of cosmic inflation — a period of rapid expansion that occurred a fraction of a second after the Big Bang — also supports the idea that our universe is just one of many out there, some researchers say.

On Monday (March 17), scientists announced new findings that mark the first-ever direct evidence of primordial gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created just after the universe began.

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March 19 2014

Reviving Einstein's spooky action at a distance


Physicists at The University of Queensland and the Australian National University (ANU) have demonstrated a software-based quantum amplifier which has the potential to expand the use of ultra-secure quantum cryptographic communications.

The development could lead to new ways to guarantee security of everyday communications, including financial transactions and email.

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March 19 2014

Colour-blind artist implants 'eyeborg' device into his skull to 'hear' colours as sounds


A colour-blind artist says he has successfully implanted an electronic chip into his skull that allows him to hear different shades and hues as sound vibrations.

Neil Harbisson, 31, was born with a rare conditions called achromatopsia that limits his colour perception to just black and white. Since 2004 the Camden-born Harbisson has been developing a device which he calls an “eyeborg” to help him ‘see’ colours.

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March 19 2014

Scientists Discover the Key to Making Paint That Never Fades


It seems like scientists are all about immortality these days. It's not just plants and people that are getting the treatment, though. A team of Harvard engineers are developing a way of producing color that could produce paint that never fades, and displays that never go dark.

Believe it or not, the method is based on bird feathers, which last centuries without losing their bright hues. .

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March 19 2014

Sea anemone is genetically half animal, half plant


Evolutionary and developmental biologists have discovered that sea anemones display a genomic landscape with a complexity of regulatory elements similar to that of fruit flies or other animal model systems. This suggests that this principle of gene regulation is already 600 million years old and dates back to the common ancestor of human, fly and sea anemone.

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March 19 2014

Narwhal's Trademark Tusk Acts Like a Sensor, Scientist Says


The arctic whale known as the narwhal is famous for the spiral tusk protruding from its head, but scientists have long battled over the horn's purpose.

On Tuesday, scientists published a study that advances a bold theory about how the whale uses its tusk. They say the horn, which is actually a tooth, is a sensory organ.

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March 19 2014

Elephants use their smarts to cope with human threats


Next to lions, we are elephants’ biggest predators. Ivory poaching looms large in the public consciousness, but many elephants are also killed during clashes with humans over water sources, grazing land, and family farms. As the human population grows and continues to encroach on elephant habitats, these skirmishes will only increase in number and intensity.

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March 19 2014

Amazon inhales more carbon than it emits, NASA finds


A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.

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March 19 2014

Why did humans replace Neanderthals? Paleo diet didn't change, the climate did


Why were Neanderthals replaced by anatomically modern humans around 40,000 years ago? One popular hypothesis states that a broader dietary spectrum of modern humans gave them a competitive advantage on Neanderthals. Geochemical analyses of fossil bones seemed to confirm this dietary difference. Indeed, higher amounts of nitrogen heavy isotopes were found in the bones of modern humans compared to those of Neanderthals. However, these studies did not look at possible isotopic variation of nitrogen isotopes in the food resource themselves.

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March 19 2014

Ancient skeleton is the earliest case of cancer yet detected


Researchers have discovered the earliest confirmed case of cancer in a young man who lived in ancient Egypt.

The discovery of a diseased skeleton dating back to around 1,200 BC was made at the Amara West site in northern Sudan.

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March 19 2014

Stanford professor looks underwater for history of the Roman Empire


Using archeological evidence from shipwrecks and harbors, classics scholar Justin Leidwanger uncovers the story of economic networks during a millennium of classical antiquity.

Stanford scholar Justin Leidwanger spends a lot of time underwater.

An assistant professor of classics, Leidwanger is a maritime archeologist. His research entails what it sounds like it would – exploring artifacts that lie beneath the sea.

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March 19 2014

Aurochs horn found at Dinas Dinlle beach in Gwynedd


An animal horn thought to be 3,000 years old has been found on a beach in Gwynedd after the recent storms.

Engineer Derfel Hughes from Rhos Isaf made the discovery while walking at Dinas Dinlle, near Caernarfon.

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March 18 2014

Ancient City of Petra Built to Align With the Sun


An ancient civilization built the famous, stone-hewn city of Petra so that the sun would illuminate their sacred places like celestial spotlights, a new study says.

Petra, a giant metropolis of tombs, monuments, and other elaborate religious structures carved into stone cliffs, was the capital of the Nabatean kingdom, a little-understood Middle Eastern culture that ruled much of modern-day Jordan from the third century B.C. until the first century A.D.

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