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April 24 2014

Mars Missions Could Make Humanity a Multi-Planet Species, NASA Chief Says


In order for humanity to survive into the distant future, we need to visit and learn how to survive on other worlds, according to NASA chief Charles Bolden.

NASA is in the process of developing technologies that are expected to help humans get to Mars and beyond. Landing astronauts on Mars and even establishing a long-term human presence on the Red Planet is just one step toward learning how to live on a different world, Bolden said during the Humans 2 Mars Summit in Washington, D.C., Tuesday (April 22).

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April 24 2014

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity


Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth orbiting in the “habitable zone,” the distance from a star in which we might expect liquid water—and perhaps life.

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April 24 2014

Solar Eclipse Will Transform Sun into 'Ring of Fire' Next Week


The sun will look like a ring of fire above some remote parts of the world next Tuesday (April 29) during a solar eclipse, but most people around the world won't get a chance to see it.

Whereas lunar eclipses occur only when there's a full moon, and solar eclipses only happen during a new moon.

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April 24 2014

How many moons does Venus have?


There are dozens upon dozens of moons in the Solar System, ranging from airless worlds like Earth's Moon to those with an atmosphere (most notably, Saturn's Titan). Jupiter and Saturn have many moons each, and even Mars has a couple of small asteroid-like ones. But what about Venus, the planet that for a while, astronomers thought about as Earth's twin? .

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April 24 2014

Could ancient Martian life be preserved in meteor impact glass?


When large asteroids or comets strike the Earth — as they have countless times throughout our planet’s history — the energy released in the event creates an enormous amount of heat, enough to briefly melt rock and soil at the impact site. That molten material quickly cools, trapping organic material and bits of plants and preserving them inside fragments of glass for tens of thousands, even millions of years.

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April 24 2014

Blood of world's oldest woman hints at limits of life


Death is the one certainty in life – a pioneering analysis of blood from one of the world's oldest and healthiest women has given clues to why it happens.

Born in 1890, Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper was at one point the oldest woman in the world. She was also remarkable for her health, with crystal-clear cognition until she was close to death, and a blood circulatory system free of disease. When she died in 2005, she bequeathed her body to science, with the full support of her living relatives that any outcomes of scientific analysis – as well as her name – be made public.

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April 24 2014

Protein that shrinks depressed brains identified


Could preventing the brain shrinkage associated with depression be as simple as blocking a protein?

Post-mortem analysis of brain tissue has shown that the dendrites that relay messages between neurons are more shrivelled in people with severe depression than in people without the condition. This atrophy could be behind some of the symptoms of depression, such as the inability to feel pleasure. As a result, drugs that help repair the neuronal connections, like ketamine, are under investigation.

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April 24 2014

Researchers Make A Big Fertility Breakthrough


Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo.

But how they recognize each other in order to hook up had remained a mystery.

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April 24 2014

This Tower Pulls Drinking Water Out of Thin Air


In some parts of Ethiopia, finding potable water is a six-hour journey.

People in the region spend 40 billion hours a year trying to find and collect water, says a group called the Water Project. And even when they find it, the water is often not safe, collected from ponds or lakes teeming with infectious bacteria, contaminated with animal waste or other harmful substances.

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April 24 2014

Toilet flushes could help power homes


Researchers in South Korea have devised a way to harness the motion of water, including from raindrops or from a flushing toilet, as a sustainable energy source.

Devices that renewably generate electricity in an uncomplicated manner are in demand.

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April 24 2014

Under Light, Chameleon-Like Material Changes Color And Shape


Humans are good at making things that are one color. But if you want to really blend into your surroundings, it would be best to have a material that can change its appearance based on its surroundings--like a chameleon. University of Michigan researchers have created a material imbued with a special type of crystal that can change its shape and color when different wavelengths of light are shone on it, that could be used in the future to create active camouflage.

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April 24 2014

Algorithm Is First to Identify Faces Better Than Humans Can


Let’s face it, from trivia to teaching, computers are doing things we thought were uniquely human — and doing them better. Now, facial recognition, a skill humans once dominated, has a new champion. Computer scientists have developed a facial recognition algorithm that, for the first time, outperforms humans’ own abilities.

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April 24 2014

Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law


While the world has been deciding who governs the internet, Brazil has been busy establishing internet rules of its own -- and they may just set an example for everyone else. The country has passed a bill of rights that goes some length towards protecting net neutrality and privacy.


Related: In Policy Shift, F.C.C. Will Allow a Web Fast Lane

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April 24 2014

Remote surveillance may increase chance of survival for 'uncontacted' Brazilian tribes


Lowland South America, including the Amazon Basin, harbors most of the last indigenous societies that have limited contact with the outside world. Studying these tribes, located deep within Amazonian rainforests, gives scientists a glimpse at what tribal cultures may have been like before the arrival of Europeans.

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April 24 2014

Indian artifact treasure trove paved over for Marin County homes


A treasure trove of Coast Miwok life dating back 4,500 years - older than King Tut's tomb - was discovered in Marin County and then destroyed to make way for multimillion-dollar homes, archaeologists told The Chronicle this week.

The American Indian burial ground and village site, so rich in history that it was dubbed the "grandfather midden," was examined and categorized under a shroud of secrecy before construction began this month on the $55 million Rose Lane development in Larkspur.

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April 24 2014

500 million-year-old rare fossilised embryos found in south China


Scientists have discovered rare, fossilised embryos of what is thought to be a previously unknown animal.

Believed to from the Cambrian era, the fossils are therefore between 540 million and 485 million years old and could give an insight into a period when the world’s ecosystems rapidly changed and diversified.

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April 24 2014

100-Million-Year-Old Assassin Flies Found in Burmese Amber


Paleontologists have described a new species of assassin fly found preserved in two pieces of 100-million-year-old Burmese amber.

Assassin flies are named for their fierce predation strategy – they ambush and catch their prey in flight. Once caught, the flies puncture the armor-like skeleton of their prey, inject them with digestive fluids and extract the nutrients within.

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April 23 2014

'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text


The authenticity of the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife" has been debated since the papyrus was revealed in 2012. Now, new information uncovered by Live Science raises doubts about the origins of the scrap of papyrus.

The gospel, written in the ancient Egyptian language Coptic, has made headlines ever since Harvard University professor Karen King announced its discovery.

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News desk archive...

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