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January 1 2015

Are Ocean Asteroid Impacts Really a Serious Threat?


If a space rock were to hit the Earth at just the right location in the oceans, it could cause massive waves that could inundate U.S. coastlines, a new computer simulation suggests.

For instance, if an asteroid were to hit the continental shelf off the Maryland coast, it could produce 23-foot-high (7 meters) waves, causing flooding from New York to Georgia that would take hours to recede. A similar impact off the coast of California could flood major power plants along the coast, the research also suggests.

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January 1 2015

Four Ways Spacefaring Microbes Could Muck Up The Solar System


WHEN SCIENTISTS LAUNCH A SPACECRAFT INTO SPACE, THEY'RE ALSO LAUNCHING THOUSANDS OF BACTERIA ALONG WITH IT

To prepare the Curiosity rover for its trip to Mars, NASA scrubbed it with alcohol and baked it at 230°F. This is part of the agency’s protocol for “planetary protection,” a policy devised in the 1950s to keep earthly microbes from contaminating other worlds.

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January 1 2015

Nano Sensor Could Detect Microscopic Aliens


When exploring the solar system or interstellar space, some scientists look for signs that we might not be the only life in the universe. They might look for radio signals or evidence of organic chemistry familiar here on Earth.

But what if the signals or chemistry of alien life are completely unfamiliar to us? How would we recognize them?

Scientists at the Swiss research center, EPFL, think a clue could come from movement. They’ve created a tiny device that detects nanoscale vibrations that occur inside microscopic beings.

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January 1 2015

Robotic Cuttlefish Swims with Undulating Fins


As much as we enjoyed all of the robots performing in the ETH Zurich Autonomous Systems Lab’s video, one robot in particular stood out.

You may have spotted it too, at about 1:30: a robot with four orthogonal fins called Sepios.

The official Sepios swimout was in May of this (not much longer this, but still this) year.

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January 1 2015

Fanged Frog Species Gives Birth to Live Young


Frogs and other amphibians lay eggs, but mammals give birth to live young, right? Not always. A newly described species of frog gives birth to live tadpoles, and is the only known frog to do so, researchers say.

The discovery happened one night last summer, when researcher Jim McGuire was tromping through the rainforest in Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo. McGuire stumbled across what looked like a single male frog. But when he reached out to grab it, he found himself holding much more.

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January 1 2015

A bilingual brain is prepped for more than a second language


Just before winter break, my fifth grader came home from school, opened her mouth and produced what sounded to me like a stuttering mess of gibberish. After complaining that when she spends the entire day immersed in Chinese, she sometimes can’t figure out what language to use, she carried on speaking flawless English to me and Chinese to a friend while they did their homework.

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January 1 2015

High and dry? Party drug could target excess drinking


A patent has been filed for a drug that produces some of ecstasy’s euphoric effects – and seems to put the brakes on boozing

In 2012, alcohol played a part in 3.3 million deaths worldwide. Awareness campaigns and prevention services have done little to reduce the amount that people drink overall, and consumption has remained steady or increased around the world. The scale of the problem has led people, including David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist at Imperial College London, to want to try a different approach.

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January 1 2015

Alcohol archaeology: I recreate beverages with heritage


How did you start making ancient drinks?
One of the first we made was the Midas beverage, based on residues in bronze vessels recovered from the Midas tomb in Turkey, which dates from 700 BC. These pointed to an unusual drink combining wine, barley beer and mead. There were also food remains in the tomb that suggested a barbecued lamb or goat stew with lentils and spices. We tried to recreate the funerary feast as a way of bringing the past to life.

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January 1 2015

Ancient Middle East Shipwrecks Shed Light on Shipbuilding History


Archaeological excavations in Turkey that began in 2004 have yielded a unique historical treasure — 37 shipwrecks from the Byzantine Empire, eight of which are now described in a new report.

The shipwrecks were discovered at a site called Yenikapi, in Istanbul, in what was a port of the ancient city, then called Constantinople. The ships date back to the fifth to 11th centuries, and are in exceptionally good condition, archaeologists say.

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January 1 2015

Ancient Stone Tool a Clue to Early Human Migrations


Archaeologists working in Turkey have unearthed a 1.2-million-year-old stone tool.

The new tool, a flaked piece of quartz discovered in the town of Gediz, is the oldest reliable evidence of ancient humans living in what is now Turkey. The piece could help scientists recreate early humans' migrations from Africa.

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December 31 2014

Did a Volcano Wipe Out the Neanderthals?


A massive volcanic eruption about 40,000 years ago probably wasn't big enough to wipe out the Neanderthals as previous research suggested, new research finds.

Although the eruption, which occurred in what is now Italy, blanketed nearby areas in lava and ash, it wouldn't have lowered temperatures enough throughout Europe to be a significant cause of the Neanderthals' demise, said study co-author Benjamin Black, a geologist at the University of California at Berkeley.

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December 31 2014

Pompeii ruins are being restored by THIEVES: People who stole artefacts are now bringing them back


The ruins of Pompeii in Italy are a popular tourist attraction, but it appears some visitors leave with more than just memories and photos.

Thieving visitors, who have been taking artefacts from the ancient site for decades, have now begun returning their stolen wares to the museum.

In October, a 70-year-old woman returned an ancient decoration that she took from the attraction back in 1964 - and local archaeologists claim this is a common occurrence.

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December 31 2014

CIA takes blame for more than half of UFO sightings in late 1950s and 60s


The CIA was responsible for more than half of all UFO sightings in the late 1950s and most of the 1960s — but those weren’t little green men flying high in the sky, they were spies.

For years, the CIA secretly flew its famous U-2 spy plane at altitudes of 60,000 feet or more above countries like the Soviet Union. Since no one believed manned flight was possible at such heights, many who spotted the planes believed they were seeing UFOs. The spy agency did nothing at the time to disabuse them of the notion.


Alt: UFO or CIA? Agency takes credit for '50s and '60s sightings

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December 31 2014

Still No Explanation For Mexico’s Irregular Crop Circles


They appeared on Christmas morning in a barley field in Texcoco, Mexico – crop circles covering about seven hectare or over 17 acres. Local residents reported seeing unusual bright lights in the overcast sky the night before. Seen from above, the crop circles are made in irregular formations without the clean lines and geometric precision of most crop circles. A week later, there’s been no explanation for the formations. What could have caused this Christmas phenomenon?

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December 31 2014

Mars coffin: why do we see faces and suspicious objects on the surface of other planets?


There could be a mysterious stone coffin on Mars. Or, more likely, it’s just the latest example of pareidolia — seeing faces and other objects in our surroundings.

The phenomenon refers not only to seeing things in objects, but spotting something significant in anything random. That includes hearing messages on records that aren’t there — and also common space-based sightings like that man in the moon or the Moon rabbit.

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December 31 2014

Plan to take lettuce to Mars could put life on red planet by 2018


Lettuce could be the first life to land on Mars if a team of students succeeds in their plan to grow salad on the planet in 2018.

The project has been launched by a team from the University of Southampton and is asking for votes from the public to allow it go ahead.

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December 31 2014

Students design Martian weather forecasting tool


Cold and windy with a chance of dust storms, that's what a weather forecaster might say about Mars. But if we want our colonization plans of the Red Planet to be successful, a better understanding of Martian weather patterns is needed. A team of students of the Arizona State University (ASU) has developed a tool named Sensing Pressure and Atmospheric Research Console (SPARC), to make it possible, and they aim to put it on Mars to conduct a series of weather experiments.

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