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May 31 2014

Rare Crusade-era seal found in Jerusalem


The Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday that it unearthed a rare 800-year-old lead seal from the Monastery of St. Sabas in Jerusalem.

The seal, stamped by the Monastery of St. Sabas, bears a Greek inscription; the find is noted for importance Christian history in the Holy Land.

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May 31 2014

Ancient Eurasians drank wines brewed from pine resin and fruit beers 9,000 years ago


We might think of quirky fruit beers made in small, independent breweries as a modern trend.

But in fact the practice goes back 9,000 years when high-ranking cavemen drank brews which included fruit and strange ingredients such as pine resin.

Unlike in modern times, alcohol was considered to be sacred and was used in ritual ceremonies, new research suggests.

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May 31 2014

Perfume does make women prettier, say scientists


Women hoping to find a partner would be better off investing in a good bottle of perfume rather than spending money on an expensive new dress.

New research has found that women’s faces become more attractive if a pleasant smell is present.

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May 31 2014

Spurious correlations: Margarine linked to divorce?


A website set up by a student at Harvard teaches us to look carefully at statistics. And it's fun at the same time.

"Margarine consumption linked to divorce." If you saw that headline on a newspaper or website, what would you think?

What if you read a little further and found a compelling graph showing the rates of divorce and margarine consumption tracking each other closely over almost 10 years.

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May 31 2014

Women who sleep in light bedrooms are more likely to be overweight


Women who sleep in rooms with too much light are more likely to be overweight, a new study has suggested.

A team at the Institute of Cancer Research in London found women who slept in a bedroom with enough light to see across it at night had bigger waistlines than those who slept in darker rooms.

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May 31 2014

Tai Chi May Slow Aging Process


A traditional Chinese martial art and sport may be able to slow down the aging process, according to a recent study.

Researchers found that Tai Chi is beneficial in raising the numbers of a cluster of differentiation 34 expressing (CD34+) cells, a stem cell important to a number of the body's functions and structures.

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May 31 2014

Toxins in the environment might make you older than your years


Why are some 75-year-olds downright spry while others can barely get around? Part of the explanation, say researchers is differences from one person to the next in exposure to harmful substances in the environment, chemicals such as benzene, cigarette smoke, and even stress.

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May 31 2014

Forget the dentist's drill, use lasers to heal teeth


Open wide, this won't hurt a bit. That might actually be true if the dentist's drill is replaced by a promising low-powered laser that can prompt stem cells to make damaged hard tissue in teeth grow back. Such minimally invasive treatment could one day offer an easy way to repair or regrow our pearly whites.

When a tooth is chipped or damaged, dentists replace it with ceramic or some other inert material, but these deteriorate over time.

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May 31 2014

Kids will eat veggies if you start early and don’t give up


Even the pickiest kids will eat more vegetables if you offer veggies to kids when they are very young—and keep offering—a new study finds.

The research, involving babies and children from the UK, France, and Denmark, also dispels the popular myth that vegetable tastes need to be masked or given by stealth in order for children to eat them.

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May 31 2014

Spider Masquerades as Bird Poo to Avoid Being Eaten


One of the best ways to avoid being bothered is to masquerade as something unsavory, reports a new study identifying a spider whose web and body resemble bird droppings.

The orb-web Cyclosa ginnaga adds to the growing list of spiders that are nearly indistinguishable from avian excrement.

In this case, the spider sells the look via additions, otherwise known as "decorations," to its web, which may include carcasses, egg sacs, plant detritus or silk.

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May 31 2014

Crickets in two places fall silent to survive


To hide themselves from deadly flies, crickets on two Hawaiian islands have evolved an inability to sing.

Ten years ago, two years apart, males appeared on Kauai and Oahu with altered wings, which they would normally rub together to chirp and attract females.

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May 31 2014

Longest Migration Among African Mammals Discovered


A population of zebras surprised biologists by making a more than 300-mile beeline across parts of Namibia and Botswana—the longest big-mammal migration ever documented in Africa.

In the wilds of Africa, food and water come and go with the seasons, and animals follow.

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May 31 2014

A Little Bird Either Learns Its Name Or Dies


I've been wondering lately, do animals invent names? As in names for themselves? Names for each other? I've always thought that what we do when we call ourselves "Ralph" or "Laura" is unique, something exclusively human. But it turns out that's wrong. Other animals have name-like calls that they use much like we do.

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May 31 2014

Dolphins Guide Scientists to Rescue Suicidal Girl


One day, my research team and I were following a school of bottlenose dolphins near shore as we do on a regular basis in the waters off Los Angeles, California. We just wrapped up our photo-identification work and were moving on to take video of dolphin social interactions and enter data on behavior.

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May 30 2014

'Free choice' in primates altered through brain stimulation


When electrical pulses are applied to the ventral tegmental area of their brain, macaques presented with two images change their preference from one image to the other. The study is the first to confirm a causal link between activity in the ventral tegmental area and choice behavior in primates.

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May 30 2014

Neolithic Near East wetter and more fertile than today


A new study describes the characteristics of agriculture at its beginnings by comparing kernel and wood samples from ancient Near East sites, with present day samples. It is the first time that direct evidence is able to reveal humidity and fertility conditions of crops, as well as the process of cereal domestication developed from the Neolithic (12,000 years ago) to early Roman times (around 2,000 years ago).

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May 30 2014

Antarctic Ice Sheet unstable at end of last ice age, new study finds


A new study has found that the Antarctic Ice Sheet began melting about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought coming out of the last ice age – and that shrinkage of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct episodes, causing rapid sea level rise.

The international study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, is particularly important coming on the heels of recent studies that suggest destabilization of part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun.

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