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March 29 2015

Scorch marks left by spacecraft on Mars soon fade


We've been making a mess on Mars, but the Red Planet is kind enough to tidy up after us. A study of the scorch marks left by the Curiosity rover and Phoenix lander as they touched down on the surface of Mars has revealed that they fade over time and should take an average of around 2.6 years to disappear.

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March 29 2015

Scuttling satellites to save space


It takes a lot of ingenuity – not to mention a massive quantity of sheer force – to get satellites into orbit. Now space engineers are applying comparable ingenuity to the challenge of getting their missions out of there, too.

ESA, working closely with Europe's satellite builders, will ask industry for new designs to help remove satellites from orbit at the end of their working lives, as well as 'passivating' them – making them safer for neighbouring missions.

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March 29 2015

Russia & US agree to build new space station after ISS, work on joint Mars project


In a landmark decision, Russian space agency Roscosmos and its US counterpart NASA have agreed to build a new space station after the current International Space Station (ISS) expires. The operation of the ISS was prolonged until 2024.

“We have agreed that Roscosmos and NASA will be working together on the program of a future space station," Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said during a news conference on Saturday.

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March 29 2015

Facebook is planning to test its 747-sized internet drones this summer


Facebook's ambitious plan to bring internet to the entire world with a fleet of broadband-beaming unmanned aerial vehicles has taken a step closer to fruition. The company's vice president of engineering, Jay Parikh, told The Wall Street Journal that Facebook is planning "a real test flight" of its solar-powered internet drone this summer.


Related: Leave Facebook if you don't want to be spied on, warns EU

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March 29 2015

Robot Maker Says He's Designed A Pocket Robot That Could Replace Your Smartphone


A Japanese robot maker says he's designed a personal robot that could be the "next smartphone."

“You will put him in your pocket and talk to him like your own Jiminy Cricket,” Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO of robot design company Robo Garage and research associate professor at the University of Tokyo, told The WorldPost recently at The WorldPost Future of Work Conference. He said he's aiming to have the pocket robot, which is still just a prototype, hit the market in a year.

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March 29 2015

Drone Delivery Services Are Booming In China


While companies like Amazon are chomping at the bit to launch drone delivery services in the United States, packages are already soaring through the air in China.

Two years ago, residents in the city of Dongguang spotted experimental SF Express-branded delivery drones hovering overhead with packages in tow. SF Express is the country’s largest mail carrier, and it presently delivers roughly 500 packages a day via drone.

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March 29 2015

How to put out a fire using nothing but bass


Firefighters use water or chemicals to put out fires, but two engineering students at George Mason University have shown that it’s possible to extinguish a blaze using nothing but sound. Seth Robertson and Viet Tran built a device that looks like a traditional fire extinguisher connected to a power unit the size of a small messenger bag, that uses booming bass notes to snuff out flames.

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March 29 2015

Our taste in music may age out of harmony


Music displays all the harmony and discord the auditory world has to offer. The perfect pair of notes at the end of the Kyrie in Mozart’s Requiem fills churches and concert halls with a single chord of ringing, echoing consonance. Composers such as Arnold Schönberg explored the depths of dissonance — groups of notes that, played together, exist in unstable antagonism, their frequencies crashing and banging against each other. Dissonant chords are difficult to sing and often painful to hear.

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March 29 2015

Playing music by musicians activates genes responsible for brain function and singing of songbirds


Although music perception and practice are well preserved in human evolution, the biological determinants of music practice are largely unknown. According to a latest study, music performance by professional musicians enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission, motor behavior, learning and memory. Interestingly, several of those up-regulated genes were also known to be responsible for song production in songbirds, which suggests a potential evolutionary conservation in sound perception and production across species.

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March 29 2015

Kids who are adopted get a boost in IQ


New research has found that children who are adopted have slightly higher IQs than siblings who remained with their biological parents. The study, published in PNAS, was designed to tease apart genetic and environmental influences on intelligence. The results suggest that the education level of the parents who raise the child can have an impact on IQ, but there is still a strong relationship between the intelligence of the child and his or her biological parents.

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March 29 2015

More teens use pot when schools suspend for drugs


Suspending teenagers from school for using marijuana isn’t likely to stop other teens from doing the same. In fact, school suspensions probably lead to more—not less—pot use among students.

While enforcement of anti-drug policies is a key factor in whether teens use marijuana, the way schools respond to policy violators matters greatly.

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March 29 2015

What they do in the shadows: my encounters with the real vampires of New Orleans


Vampires walk among us. But these people aren’t the stuff of nightmares – far from it actually. Just sit down for a drink with one of them and ask for yourself. That’s if you can find one. They aren’t necessarily looking to be found.

I’ve spent five years conducting ethnographic studies of the real vampires living in New Orleans and Buffalo. They are not easy to find, but when you do track them down, they can be quite friendly.

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March 29 2015

Archaeologist Discovers Mysterious Ancient Maya Citadel


For three decades, archaeologist Anabel Ford has been exploring and studying the ancient Maya site of El Pilar, but until now she has never encountered anything like the ‘Citadel’.

“We discovered a completely new component of the greater site that does not meet with any traditional expectations,” said Ford. “It shares nothing in common with Classic Maya centers."


Related: Geopolitics in Aztec-era Mesoamerica

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March 29 2015

Tutankhmun's chair is 'safe and sound', says museum official


Public outrage erupted today over rumours which emerged in the media reporting that further damage occurred to Tutankhamun’s funerary collection during its transportation between museums.

Some media reported that the wooden gilded chair of the boy king Tutankhamun was broken during its transportation between the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square to the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking Giza plateau.


Related: Remarkably Preserved 18th Dynasty Tombs Found in Luxor

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March 29 2015

Destroyed Mosul artefacts to be rebuilt in 3D


It didn't take long for the scientific community to react. Two weeks after the sacking of the 300 year-old Mosul Museum by a group of ISIS extremists went viral on Youtube, researchers from the ITN-DCH, IAPP and 4D-CH-WORLD projects launched Project MOSUL to virtually restore damaged artefacts and make them accessible from virtual museums.

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March 28 2015

How this vast ancient underground city was accidentally discovered in Turkey


Of all the famed underground cities pockmarking the landscape in Turkey’s Cappadocia region, perhaps the most remarkable is the underground network called Derinkuyu. When swelled to capacity, it could house 20,000 people in its 18 stories of living quarters, shops and escape routes. Today, it’s recognized as one of the jewels of this Turkish archaeological wonderland.


Alt: Massive ancient underground city discovered in Turkey's Nevsehir

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March 28 2015

Stone-age Italians defleshed their dead


About 7000 years ago in Italy, early farmers practiced an unusual burial ritual known as “defleshing.” When people died, villagers stripped their bones bare, pulled them apart, and mingled them with animal remains in a nearby cave. The practice was meant to separate the dead from the living, researchers say, writing in the latest issue of the journal Antiquity.

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