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December 4 2014

Why a ravening wolf is a sheep’s best friend


Culling wolves doesn’t save the lives of the sheep and cattle they feed on, according to new research which found that the more wolves that are killed the greater the risk to local livestock of being eaten.

Washington State University researchers discovered that it is counterproductive to shoot and trap wolves because losses in their numbers change the animals’ social behaviour, and encourages them to eat more sheep and cattle.

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December 4 2014

Ants Are Cleaning Up the Streets of NYC


In the words of the great ecologist E. O. Wilson, ants are among the “little things that run the world.” It turns out they even help clean the streets of New York City.

Over a period of six days, a team from North Carolina State University dropped hot dogs, cookies and potato chips around a 150-block section of New York City to study how much food-waste scavengers could eat in 24 hours.


Alt: City ants are garbage eating, rat-fighting machines

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December 4 2014

Why Men Love Lingerie: Rat Study Offers Hints


Just as lingerie turns on human males, tiny jackets do the same for male rats, a new study finds.

In an unusual study, researchers allowed virgin male rats to have sex with females wearing special rodent "jackets." Later, when scientists gave the males a chance to mate again, the animals preferred to mate with jacket-wearing female rats rather than with unclad ones.

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December 4 2014

Court Hears Second Case for a Chimpanzee’s Legal Rights


Another chimpanzee had his day in court.

Judges at an appeals court in Rochester, New York heard arguments yesterday that Kiko, a chimpanzee owned by a couple in Niagara Falls, should be considered a legal person with a right to not be owned or imprisoned.

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December 4 2014

World's Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag


A zigzag engraving on a mussel's shell may transform scientific understanding of what has long been considered a defining human capacity: artistic creativity.

Until now, the earliest evidence of geometric art was dated from 70,000 to 100,000 years ago. Scratched into rocks found in South African caves, those engravings signified behavioral modernity: Homo sapiens' unique cognitive journey into a sophisticated world of abstraction and symbol.


Alt: World’s Oldest Engraving Upends Theory of Homo sapiens Uniqueness

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December 4 2014

Mystery as 100 brains go missing from the University of Texas


About 100 pickled brains have gone missing from an American university, leaving professors scratching their heads.

Officials at the University of Texas, in Austin, believe students may have stolen the organs, which are preserved in jars of formaldehyde, for Halloween pranks or to use as bizarre ornaments.

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December 4 2014

Archaeologists find vast medieval palace buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum


Archaeologists in southern England have discovered what may be one of the largest medieval royal palaces ever found – buried under the ground inside a vast prehistoric fortress.

The probable 12th century palace was discovered by archaeologists, using geophysical ground-penetrating ‘x-ray’ technology to map a long-vanished medieval city which has lain under grass on the site for more than 700 years.

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December 4 2014

Aboriginal gravesites halt $40M development plan in Abbotsford


A B.C. developer is calling on the province to fix gaps in heritage conservation laws, after the City of Abbotsford recently rejected his bid to build a farm equipment dealership on a property believed to be the site of aboriginal mass graves.

“This is a huge problem,” said John Glazema, director of Corpus Management Group, who lives in Abbotsford. “I feel betrayed because there shouldn't be these types of encumbrances against private properties without having it highlighted on land title.”.

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December 4 2014

How old is that house? Archaeologists find some of Britain's oldest houses in Snowdonia


Snowdonia is renowned for its ancient monuments and houses, set against streams and mountains and adored by residents and visitors.

A scheme to date some of them, launched five years ago in a plan which gathered momentum as it unravelled more and more of the landscape’s history, began with the informed assumption that most of the signs of building work left behind would come from the 17th century.

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December 4 2014

Elite Families Stay Elite for Centuries


Rich families stay rich and poor families stay poor, according to a new study that finds that English people whose ancestors were elite in the 1100s are still likely part of the upper crust today.

The study echoes work in other countries that has found that social status budges little over generations, even in the face of massive social changes, said study researcher Gregory Clark, an economist at the University of California, Davis.

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December 3 2014

Richard III DNA shows British Royal family may not have royal bloodline


When the body of Richard III was discovered in a car park in Leicester in 2012 archaeologists knew it was a momentous find.

But little did they realise that it might expose the skeletons in the cupboard of the British aristocracy, and even call into question the bloodline of the Royal family.


Alt: Questions raised over Queen’s ancestry after DNA test on Richard III’s cousins

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December 3 2014

Richard III's DNA throws up infidelity surprise


Analysis of DNA from Richard III has thrown up a surprise: evidence of infidelity in his family tree.

Scientists who studied genetic material from remains found in a Leicester car park say the finding might have profound historical implications.


Alt: King Richard III — case closed after 529 years

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December 3 2014

Aztec DEATH WHISTLE: 'Screaming' from carved skull may have accompanied human sacrifices


It’s almost impossible to imagine the terror that ancient men must have felt as they waited to be sacrificed by decorated Aztec priests.

But experts have revealed that a terrifying noise would have accompanied the grisly ritual and it was emitted by skull-shaped whistles.

The sound the horrifying death whistles make has been captured on film and they sound like humans howling in pain, spooky gusts of whistling wind or the ‘scream of a thousand corpses’.

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December 3 2014

First study of 'Golden Age' mandolins unlocks secrets of their beauty


Some of the most elaborately decorated instruments in history were produced in 18th century Naples. The materials for varnishes and decorations used by individual mandolin masters, honed for wealthy clients in the ancient city's labyrinthine artisan quarter, have been kept secret for over 200 years. Details are disclosed for the first time by Tommaso Rovetta from the Università degli Studi di Pavia and colleagues at the Laboratorio Arvedi Research Group in Springer's journal Applied Physics A - Materials Science & Processing.

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December 3 2014

Medieval Libraries Developed A Crude GPS System To Locate Books


It wasn't easy to find a specific book on library shelves in the Middle Ages. The spine title had not yet been invented, and the books weren't published in standard sizes. But readers didn't have to spend hours searching, thanks to an ingenious system that made use of concepts similar to modern GPS.

A book was tagged with a unique identifier (a shelfmark) that was entered into a searchable database (a library catalogue), which could subsequently be consulted with a handheld device (a portable version of the catalogue).

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December 3 2014

Invisible Dark Matter May Show Up in GPS Signals


GPS satellites are crucial for navigation, but now researchers think this technology could be used for an unexpected purpose: finding traces of enigmatic dark matter that is thought to lurk throughout the universe.

Physicists estimate there is nearly six times as much dark matter in the universe as there is visible matter. But despite a decades-long search, scientists have yet to find direct evidence of invisible dark matter, and its existence is inferred based on its gravitational pull on galaxies and other celestial bodies. Without the extra force of gravity from dark matter, researchers say, galaxies wouldn't be able to hold themselves together.

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December 3 2014

Electricity-free air conditioning: A cool idea


AIR conditioning is a transformative technology. It has made the world’s torrid climes pleasanter to live in, and enabled the siesta-free working habits of the temperate regions to move closer to the equator. But cooling buildings takes a lot of energy. Heat must be pumped actively from their interiors to their exteriors. Fully 15% of the electricity used by buildings in the United States is devoted to this task. If an idea dreamed up by Aaswath Raman of Stanford University and his colleagues comes to fruition, that may change. Dr Raman has invented a way to encourage buildings to dump their heat without the need for pumps and compressors. Instead, they simply radiate it into outer space.

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