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August 7 2014

Scientists change butterflies wing color in just six generations


Scientists have chosen the most fleeting of mediums for their groundbreaking work on biomimicry: They've changed the color of butterfly wings. In so doing, they produced the first structural color change in an animal by influencing evolution. The discovery may have implications for physicists and engineers trying to use evolutionary principles in the design of new materials and devices.

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August 7 2014

Tortoises master touchscreen technology


Tortoises have learned how to use touchscreens as part of a study which aimed to teach the animals navigational techniques. The brain structure of reptiles is very different to that of mammals, which use the hippocampus for spatial navigation.

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August 7 2014

Jellyfish Uses Supercomputing Strategy to Find Food


The barrel jellyfish, isn't just the largest jelly found in the waters around the United Kingdom, it's also one of the animal kingdom's most strategic searchers, according to a new study.

To locate the best possible meal in the vast waters of its marine habitat, the barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma octopus) uses a strategy most commonly associated with the world's fastest supercomputers — an approach known as fast simulated annealing.

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August 7 2014

Wi-Fi backscatter could make ‘Internet of Things’ real


A new method uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide internet connectivity to battery-free devices.

Called Wi-Fi backscatter, this technology is the first that can connect battery-free devices to Wi-Fi infrastructure.

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August 7 2014

Could your brain be reprogrammed to work better?


Scientists from Australia and France have shown that electromagnetic stimulation can alter brain organization, which may make your brain work better. In a new study, the researchers demonstrated that weak sequential electromagnetic pulses (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation -- or rTMS) on mice can shift abnormal neural connections to more normal locations.

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August 7 2014

Human brain subliminally judges 'trustworthiness' of faces


The human brain can judge the apparent trustworthiness of a face from a glimpse so fleeting, the person has no idea they have seen it, scientists claim.

Researchers in the US found that brain activity changed in response to how trustworthy a face appeared to be when the face in question had not been consciously perceived.

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August 7 2014

Are conservatives ‘hardwired’ to perceive threats?


Research with emotion-generating images suggest that liberals and conservatives are hardwired to see the world differently.

In a new study, researchers suggest that liberals and conservatives may disagree about politics partly because they are different people at the core—right down to their physiology and genetics.

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August 7 2014

Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows


Since Colorado voters legalized pot in 2012, prohibition supporters have warned that recreational marijuana will lead to a scourge of “drugged divers” on the state’s roads. They often point out that when the state legalized medical marijuana in 2001, there was a surge in drivers found to have smoked pot. They also point to studies showing that in other states that have legalized pot for medical purposes, we’ve seen an increase in the number of drivers testing positive for the drug who were involved in fatal car accidents. The anti-pot group SAM recently pointed out that even before the first legal pot store opened in Washington state, the number of drivers in that state testing positive for pot jumped by a third.


Related: Washington, D.C., Will Vote On Marijuana Legalization This November

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August 7 2014

The Mysterious Real Zombies of Haiti


Bloodthirsty fictional zombies have become very popular in recent times, inhabiting everything from books, to TV shows, to movies, delighting and scaring many horror aficionados. Yet many people may not realize that in some cultures, zombies are considered to be very real. In these societies, zombies are not the stuff of imagination or fiction, but rather real flesh and blood creations that shamble through the shadows and our nightmares. However, how much truth is there behind these traditions of actual real-life zombies? Do real zombies actually exist somewhere out there in the dark corners of the world?

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August 7 2014

Massive Dolphin Die-Off Eludes Final Explanation


Almost every day the bodies wash ashore. Sleek, once-powerful swimmers now lie in the surf, wasted by disease and pocked by lesions. Sometimes fishermen spot the creatures in their final throes of illness, swimming erratically before stranding themselves on the beach. The death toll has now climbed to 1,441.

But more than a year after the die-offs started to climb upward, scientists are still grasping for answers about the cause of the bottlenose dolphin deaths that have piled up since last summer along coastlines from New York State to Florida.

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August 7 2014

Saturn moon may host its own Dead Sea


Titan, Saturn's largest moon, may have its own Dead Sea. A fake lake simulating conditions there hints that the moon may host ethane pools brimming with benzene, just as the Dead Sea on Earth is packed with salt.

Titan is arguably the most Earth-like body in the solar system, boasting lakes, rivers, clouds and rainfall. But the moon's frigid temperatures mean its liquids are hydrocarbons like ethane or methane, rather than water. When sunlight interacts with the atmosphere it regularly creates fresh organic compounds like benzene – a chemical found in gasoline – and these fall like snow.

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August 7 2014

Is cosmic radiation the dawn of new physics or statistical slip-up?


Recent observations suggest that there is something not quite right with our view of our universe – that something is skewing our view of the oldest radiation arriving at our telescopes.

What's causing this skewing? Is it new fundamental physics, or something as bizarre as a collision with another universe?.

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August 6 2014

Nasa approves 'impossible' space engine design that apparently violates the laws of physics


In a quiet announcement that has sent shockwaves through the scientific world, Nasa has cautiously given its seal of approval to a new type of “impossible” engine that could revolutionize space travel.

In a paper published by the agency’s experimental Eagleworks Laboratories, Nasa engineers confirmed that they had produced tiny amounts of thrust from an engine without propellant – an apparent violation of the conservation of momentum; the law of physics that states that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.

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August 6 2014

Mars or bust: the new space race to put humans on the red planet


Two years ago tomorrow, a nuclear-powered rover, the size of an SUV and weighing almost a tonne, was lowered onto the surface of Mars. Touching down ever so gently, Nasa’s Curiosity landed with an almighty roar.

It sent a message to the world that a new space race – a race to eventually set foot on Mars – was well under way.

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August 6 2014

After 2 Years on Mars, NASA's Curiosity Rover Aims for Huge Mountain


Two years ago this week, much of the world held its breath as a rocket-powered sky crane lowered NASA's huge Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars on cables.

The bold and unprecedented maneuver worked on the night of Aug. 5, 2012, eliciting high fives and raucous cheers at mission control at the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as well as at viewing parties around the globe.

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August 6 2014

100-Million Years Ago --"Did Our Milky Way Collide With a Dark Matter Structure?"


"Our part of the Milky Way is ringing like a bell," said Brian Yanny, of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab. "But we have not been able to identify the celestial object that passed through the Milky Way. It could have been one of the small satellite galaxies that move around the center of our galaxy, or an invisible structure such as a dark matter halo."

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August 6 2014

Planet-like object may have spent its youth as hot as a star


Astronomers have discovered an extremely cool object that could have a particularly diverse history—although it is now as cool as a planet, it may have spent much of its youth as hot as a star.

The current temperature of the object is 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (100 to 150 degrees Celsius), which is intermediate between that of the Earth and of Venus.

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