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August 24 2014

Surprising Survivor: Little Ancient Reptile Outlived Dinosaurs


Fossils discovered in South America are evidence of true survivors: a new species of lizardlike reptiles that lived through the event that killed the dinosaurs.

Dubbed Kawasphenodon peligrensis, the newly identified specieslived between 66 million and 23 million years ago in what is now Patagonia. K. peligrensis was a rhynchocephalian, a group of reptiles that was quite diverse worldwide until the end of the Cretaceous Period. Today, only one member of this group, the fearsomely toothed tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) survives. It lives only in New Zealand.

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August 23 2014

What Lies Beneath Stonehenge?


A groundbreaking survey of the site has turned up tantalizing new clues to what really went on there

We walked the Avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged from the River Avon. For centuries, this was the formal path to the great henge, but now the only hint of its existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass. It was a fine English summer’s day, with thin, fast clouds above, and as we passed through fields dotted with buttercups and daisies, cows and sheep, we could have been hikers anywhere, were it not for the ghostly monument in the near distance.

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August 23 2014

Sphinxes Emerge From Huge Ancient Greek Tomb


Two headless sphinxes emerged from a massive burial site in northern Greece as archaeologists began removing large stones from the tomb’s sealing wall.

The headless, wingless 4.8-foot-high sphinxes each weigh about 1.5 tons and bear traces of red coloring on their feet. They would have been 6.5 feet high with their heads, the Greek Culture Ministry said in a statement.

The statues are believed to have been placed there to guard the burial, which is the largest tomb ever uncovered in Greece.

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August 23 2014

Oldest metal object in Middle East discovered in woman's grave


A copper awl is the oldest metal object unearthed to date in the Middle East. The discovery reveals that metals were exchanged across hundreds of miles in this region more than 6,000 years ago, centuries earlier than previously thought, researchers say.

The artifact was unearthed in Tel Tsaf, an archaeological site in Israel located near the Jordan River and Israel's border with Jordan.

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August 23 2014

Who what why: How much gold can we get from mobile phones?


It's said that a bag of used mobile phones contains a gram of gold. There are a lot of mobile phones in the world, so how much of the gold we need can we get from them, asks William Kremer.

"The business case is clear," he said, as he launched revised waste and recycling targets for the EU. "There's gold in waste - literally. It takes a ton of ore to get 1g of gold. But you can get the same amount from recycling the materials in 41 mobile phones."

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August 23 2014

The Machine That Tried To Scan The Brain — In 1882


Everyone points to the Wright Brothers as the inventors of human flight. But centuries earlier, it was Leonardo da Vinci who , recognizing how birds used concepts like lift and wing shape to glide high above us.

Now scientists have uncovered new details about the man you might call "the da Vinci" of modern brain science. He was a physiologist named Angelo Mosso who lived in Italy during the 19th century, and until several years ago his manuscripts were mostly collecting dust in the archives of an Italian university.

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August 23 2014

5 days away from computer screens boosts preteens' social awareness


What happens when you take about 50 sixth-graders and send them to a nature camp with no access to computers, tablets and mobile phones? A new study suggests that after just five days their ability to understand nonverbal social cues improves.


Related: For City Dwellers, Stargazing Can Make For A Stellar Vacation

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August 23 2014

Is Fluoride in Private Wells Causing an IQ Decline?


Excess fluoride, which may damage both brain and bone, is leaching out of granite and into Maine's drinking water—and potentially other New England states.


Related: Colgate Total Ingredient Linked to Hormones, Cancer Spotlights FDA Process
Related: Antiperspirants Alter Your Armpit Bacteria and Could Actually Make You Smell Worse

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August 23 2014

Google Aims to Archive All Human Knowledge


New research details emerging this week suggest that Google is after the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

According to an intriguing report in New Scientist, Google is building a next-generation information database called Knowledge Vault that’s designed to index and store what we can reasonably term facts. And not just some facts — the Vault is intended to continually catalog and store all facts about our world and our history.

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August 23 2014

Disney thinks it could turn drones into flying TV screens and puppet masters


Disney has never lagged in animatronics or high technology for its shows and theme parks — they're more or less tiny, high-tech surveillance dystopias with classic rides, exorbitantly expensive food, and all your favorite TV and movie characters from childhood. But a handful of patent applications pointed out by MarketWatch are particularly interesting.

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August 23 2014

Introducing The Chairless Chair You Can Wear, So You Can Sit Anywhere


Those with desk jobs may be constantly looking for innovative ways to sit less, but Zurich-based startup noonee has configured a wearable technology that would allow workers who are constantly on their feet to sit more.

The "Chairless Chair" attaches to users' legs like an exoskeleton. When it's not being used as a seat, the device allows wearers to run and walk like normal.

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August 23 2014

Turning waste from rice, parsley and other foods into biodegradable plastic


Your chairs, synthetic rugs and plastic bags could one day be made out of cocoa, rice and vegetable waste rather than petroleum, scientists are now reporting. The novel process they developed and their results could help the world deal with its agricultural and plastic waste problems.

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August 23 2014

The power of salt: Power generation from where river water and seawater meet


Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy.

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August 23 2014

California’s Record Drought Is Making Earth's Surface Rise


The record-breaking California drought is so bad that monitoring stations used to study earthquakes can detect the drying ground rising up. Measurements of these subtle movements, made using GPS instruments, suggest that the western United States is missing some 62 trillion gallons of water, enough to cover the entire region six inches deep.

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August 23 2014

39 kilotons a year: Mysterious source of ozone-depleting chemical banned since 2009 baffles NASA


A chemical used in dry cleaning and fire extinguishers may have been phased out in recent years but NASA said Wednesday that carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is still being spewed into the atmosphere from an unknown source.

The world agreed to stop using CC14 as part of the Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol, which attained universal ratification in 2009.

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August 23 2014

Has Earth's Missing Heat Been Found?


Where, oh where, is the planet's missing heat?

In 1999, the feverish rise in Earth's surface temperatures suddenly slowed, even as greenhouse gas emissions escalated. This unexpected slowdown has been called a global warming hiatus or global warming pause. Most climate scientists don't think this hiatus means global warming went kaput, but the reason (or reasons) for the slowdown has scientists flummoxed. Researchers have offered more than two dozen ideas to explain the missing heat.

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August 23 2014

Models challenge temperature reconstruction of last 12,000 years


Climate records, like tree rings or ice cores, are invaluable archives of past climate, but they each reflect their local conditions. If you really want a global average for some time period, you’re going to have to combine many reliable records from around the world and do your math very carefully.

That’s what a group of researchers aimed to do when (as Ars covered) they used 73 records to calculate a global overview of the last 11,000 years—the warm period after the last ice age that's called the Holocene.

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