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May 10 2015

Familiarity breeds empathy


The more time we spend with people from another nationality the more empathy we have for them, University of Queensland research has found.

UQ’s School of Psychology and Queensland Brain Institute Associate Professor Ross Cunnington examined whether people’s brains responded to people of other races differently following an increase in contact with that race.

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May 10 2015

Patents for technology to read people’s minds hugely increasing


Companies are taking out a huge amount of patents related to reading brainwaves, according to analysis, with a range of different applications.

Fewer than 400 neuro-technology related patents were filed between 2000-2009. But in 2010 alone that reached 800, and last year 1,600 were filed, according to research company SharpBrains.

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May 10 2015

New centimeter-accurate GPS system could transform virtual reality and mobile devices


Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a centimeter-accurate GPS-based positioning system that could revolutionize geolocation on virtual reality headsets, cellphones and other technologies, making global positioning and orientation far more precise than what is currently available on a mobile device.


Related: Better than GPS: a history of cartography in 12 amazing maps

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May 10 2015

Two-dimensional material seems to disappear, but doesn't


When exposed to air, a luminescent 2D material called molybdenum telluride (MoTe2) appears to decompose within a couple days, losing its optical contrast and becoming virtually transparent. But when scientists probed further, they found that the disappearance is an illusion: the material remains structurally stable, and only its material properties change. The results reveal insight into the environmental stability and unusual properties of a newer class of 2D materials called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).

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May 10 2015

Manned Mars Plan: Phobos by 2033, Martian Surface by 2039?


Humanity's path to Mars may go through the Red Planet's tiny moon Phobos.

An incremental, multiple-mission approach that envisions getting astronauts to Phobos by 2033, then down to the Martian surface by 2039 could make manned Mars exploration technologically and economically feasible, said Firouz Naderi, head of the Solar System Exploration Directorate at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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May 10 2015

Mercury's mysterious magnetic past goes back 4 billion years, study finds


Examining rocks on Mercury’s surface, scientists using data from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft have revealed that the planet probably had a much stronger magnetic field nearly 4 billion years ago.

The findings, published in the journal Science, offer insight into the field's power source: the liquid dynamo in the planet’s outer core.

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May 10 2015

Astronomers catch glimpse across ’95 percent of all time’ after finding 13-billion-year-old galaxy


Galaxy EGS-zs8-1 has moved 30bn light-years away from Earth since it was born: ‘We’re actually looking back through 95% of all time to see this galaxy’

A team of astronomers has measured a galaxy farther than any other ever seen by human beings, reporting this week that the ancient star system offers a glimpse of what the universe was like not all that long after the beginning of time.

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May 10 2015

New exoplanet too big for its star challenges ideas about how planets form


The Australian discovery of a strange exoplanet orbiting a small cool star 500 light years away is challenging ideas about how planets form.

"We have found a small star, with a giant planet the size of Jupiter, orbiting very closely," said researcher George Zhou from the Research School of Astrophysics and Astronomy at The Australian National University.

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May 9 2015

Ancient star raises prospects of intelligent life


Can life survive for billions of years longer than the expected timeline on Earth? As scientists discover older and older solar systems, it's likely that before long we'll find an ancient planet in a habitable zone. Knowing if life is possible on this exoplanet would have immense implications for habitability and the development of ancient life, one researcher says.

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May 9 2015

Russian spacecraft Progress comes crashing back to Earth and burns up on re-entry, agency says


A Russian spacecraft that started spiralling out of control after a failed attempt to resupply the International Space Station has come crashing back to Earth.

The Progress M-27M craft burned through the atmosphere in a fireball on Thursday night, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

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May 9 2015

Human vs machine as top poker pros take on AI


IT'S humans versus machine at the Rivers casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Four professional poker players are squaring up to an artificial intelligence over two weeks, duking it out by playing a total of 80,000 hands of poker for a $100,000 cash prize.

This may turn out to be the latest instalment in a grand tradition of computers beating us at our own games.

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May 9 2015

This is the first road-legal big rig that can drive itself


Last night, atop the Hoover Dam, Freightliner unveiled the Inspiration Truck — a partially autonomous big rig that could save lives, mitigate driver fatigue and stress, and reduce CO2 emissions up to 5 percent. Daimler, which owns Freightliner, says it has done more than 10,000 miles of testing on the truck. And now it's street-legal, having been officially granted one of Nevada's "Autonomous Vehicle" license plates.

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May 9 2015

Can This Awesome Solar-Powered Plane Make It Across the Pacific?


Later this week, a single-seat, solar-powered plane with a wingspan longer than that of a Boeing 747 will take off from Nanjing, China, headed for Honolulu. For a normal passenger jet, that's about a 12-hour flight. Solar Impulse 2, the 5,000-pound plane powered by nothing but sunshine, will take five days.

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May 9 2015

Phobias in children could be overcome with help of tuberculosis drug, researchers say


Common phobias in children of spiders, dogs or flying could be overcome with the help of an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, researchers say.

Macquarie University researchers administered the drug D-cycloserine to 35 children aged between 6 and 14.

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May 9 2015

How Onions May Be Used as Artificial Muscles


Onions can bend, contract and elongate just like muscles

Imagine getting an onion transplant to replace an injured muscle. It may sound absurd, but new research published in the journal Applied Physics Letters suggests that onions have ideal properties for use as artificial muscles.

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May 9 2015

Why Your Future Vaccination Might Not Be A Shot


Vaccines don't always make it into the people who need them the most. Many require a syringe and a needle to enter the bloodstream and create immunity. And that means a doctor or nurse has to do the job.

But with if a vaccine could be delivered by simply applying a patch?


Related: Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine

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May 9 2015

New Type of Stem Cell Could Make It Easier to Grow Human Organs


A newly discovered type of stem cell could help provide a model for early human development—and, eventually, allow human organs to be grown in large animals such as pigs or cows for research or therapeutic purposes.


Related: New clues into how stem cells get their identity

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