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July 30 2014

If You Want to Colonize Another Planet, Bring 40,000 Friends


There are two competing models of space colonization; both are purely theoretical at this point, but they will not remain so for long.

One model focuses on sending a small number of people to another planet or moon for specialized, technology-mediated tasks, presumably with considerable support from Earth—creating, in effect, terrestrial versions of the International Space Station.

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July 30 2014

Man-made 'breathing' leaf is an oxygen factory for space travel


One of the persistent challenges of manned space exploration is that pesky lack of oxygen throughout much of the universe. Here on Earth, trees and other plant life do us a real solid by taking in our bad breath and changing it back to clean, sweet O2.

So what if we could take those biological oxygen factories into space with us, but without all the land, sun, water, soil, and gravity that forests tend to require?

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July 30 2014

How a Mysterious Body Part Called Fascia Is Challenging Medicine


Fascia is a web of fibrous tissue that permeates the body, but is it really the "Cinderella Tissue" that new age therapists, Rolfers, and yoga instructors suggest? The fascial system is still a medical mystery. But that could soon change, thanks to an unlikely alliance between researchers and alternative therapists.

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July 30 2014

Why TV at the end of the day leaves workers feeling depressed


Workers should meditate or take a yoga class or at the end of the day because watching mindless television programmes drives feelings of guilt and failure, experts have warned.

Researchers have found that slumping in front of the box to wind down after a difficult day can actually leave people feeling more anxious and unhappy.

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July 30 2014

Being Powerful Distorts People's Perception of Time


Maria Konnikova, writing in the New York Times, made the point recently that there’s much more to poverty than just a shortage of money. Being poor, she said, brings with it other abstract deficits, most notably a lack of time. She quoted Sendhil Mullainathan, an economist and the author the book Scarcity: “The biggest mistake we make about scarcity is we view it as a physical phenomenon. It’s not.”.

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July 30 2014

Exercise Can Change How You See the World


Exercise may leave people feeling less anxious because they perceive their environments as less threatening, a new study suggests.

In the study, researchers asked students to watch an animation of a figure that could be perceived as moving toward or away from the viewer, and found that the students who exercised viewed the figure as less threatening. This finding suggests that exercise could reduce anxiety by fostering the perception of a more positive environment, the researchers said.

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July 30 2014

Green Spaces Increase Birth Weight: Study


Pregnant women residing near green spaces deliver babies with higher birth weights, according to a new study by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

Previous studies have found that every 10 percent increase in green space is associated with a reduction in diseases - equivalent to an increase of five years of life expectancy. It also helps to keep depression at bay.

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July 30 2014

Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Pests


Genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides, a farm group said on Monday.

Producers want four major manufacturers of so-called BT corn seeds to reimburse them for the cost of spraying up to three coats of pesticides this year, said Ricardo Tomczyk, president of Aprosoja farm lobby in Mato Grosso state.

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July 30 2014

Rats Experience Feelings of Regret


What’s the difference between you and a rat? The list is unsurprisingly long but now, we can cross a universal human experience — feelings of regret — off of it.

A new study shows for the first time that rats regret bad decisions and learn from them. In addition to existentialist suggestions of a rat’s regret — and what that takes away from, or adds to, being “human” — the study is highly relevant to basic brain research.

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July 30 2014

Do Rats On Drugs Listen To Miles Davis? Depends.


Years ago, this experiment got written up a few places with headlines like, "Your tax dollars at work!" But that's what happens when your experiment gives rats cocaine and makes them listen to jazz.

Of course, the experiment wasn't about seeing if cocaine helped rats enjoy jazz (although it does).

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July 30 2014

What’s Up With That: Why Does Your Dog Seem to Know What Time It Is?


It’s five o’clock, and your dog is excitedly wagging her tail and nuzzling against you. Your furry friend is hungry and seems to know that this is the hour you usually feed her. But was this performance a simple reaction to a rumbling in Ginger’s tummy or are canines actually able to somehow read the clock?

Anecdotally, many dog owners will tell you that their dogs seem to anticipate dinnertime or the hour when they regularly go on a walk.

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July 30 2014

Got Milk? Northern Europeans Drank Dairy Much Earlier Than Thought


Farming, including raising cows and consuming dairy products, reached far northern Europe much earlier than thought, according to new research.

Agriculture first took hold about 11,000 years ago in resource-rich, mild climate lands stretching between the Eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. Researchers agree farming and animal husbandry spread northwest through Europe from the Fertile Crescent.

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July 30 2014

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge


Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland after losing a major engagement in the era around the birth of Christ. Work has continued in the area since then and archaeologists and experts from Aarhus University, Skanderborg Museum and Moesgaard Museum have now made sensational new findings.

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July 30 2014

Was Six-Million-Year-Old Turd Auctioned for $10,000 a Faux Poo?


This past Saturday, a private collector paid $10,370 at auction for what was touted as a six-million-year-old turd. Billed in the auction house catalog as fossil feces measuring "an eye-watering 40 inches in length" and believed to be "possibly the longest example of coprolite ever to be offered at auction"—the squiggle certainly looked the part.

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July 29 2014

Ancient Earth fossils could be found on the moon


Signs of ancient life could be littered across the moon, just waiting for an intrepid explorer to find them. That's according to physicists who tested what would happen if a chunk of rock containing microscopic fossils from Earth were to be launched into space and smash into the lunar surface. Finding one could give us a pristine glimpse into past life on Earth.

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July 29 2014

Will Astronomers Ever Discover Planet X?


In 2005 and 2006, our understanding of the solar system changed in two dramatic ways: astronomers discovered Eris, which would have been the tenth planet, and then—in anticipation of discovering hundreds of similar mini-planets in the outer solar system—reclassified both Pluto and Eris as dwarf planets.

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July 29 2014

Pollution Made It To The South Pole Before The First Explorers Did


The first explorer to ever set foot on the untouched South Pole did so over 100 years ago, in 1911. Although the area may have looked pristine, it had already been contaminated by lead.

A group of research scientists led by Joe McConnell from the Desert Research Institute and Tom Neumann of NASA Goddard just published a new study in Scientific Reports detailing the results of an ice core sampling expedition that traces components found in the ice over the last 400 years.

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