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July 2 2014

Evolution of life's operating system revealed in detail


The evolution of the ribosome, a large molecular structure found in the cells of all species, has been revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study.

Around 4 billion years ago, the first molecules of life came together on the early Earth and formed precursors of modern proteins and RNA. Scientists studying the origin of life have been searching for clues about how these reactions happened. Some of those clues have been found in the ribosome.

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July 1 2014

Ancient baby boom holds a lesson in over-population


Researchers have sketched out one of the greatest baby booms in North American history, a centuries-long 'growth blip' among southwestern Native Americans between 500 to 1300 A.D. It was a time when the early features of civilization -- including farming and food storage -- had matured to where birth rates likely 'exceeded the highest in the world today,' the researchers write. A crash followed, offering a warning sign to the modern world about the dangers of overpopulation.

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July 1 2014

Virtual flashlight reveals secrets of ancient artefacts


Have a look at any ancient artefact and there's probably something there that you cannot see: stone corners that have long since chipped off; carvings rubbed away by time; or once-glorious colours that have faded. Now those missing features can be brought back to life, thanks to Revealing Flashlight, a system that projects computer-generated models on to real objects, filling in missing details wherever its spotlight lands.

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July 1 2014

New study: Ancient Arctic sharks tolerated brackish water 50 million years ago


Sharks were a tolerant bunch some 50 million years ago, cruising an Arctic Ocean that contained about the same percentage of freshwater as Louisiana’s Lake Ponchatrain does today, says a new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Chicago.

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July 1 2014

Two new articles on GrahamHancock.com


Two new articles are now available on GrahamHancock.com:

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July 1 2014

Ninety-nine percent of the ocean's plastic is missing


Millions of tons. That’s how much plastic should be floating in the world’s oceans, given our ubiquitous use of the stuff. But a new study finds that 99% of this plastic is missing. One disturbing possibility: Fish are eating it.

If that’s the case, “there is potential for this plastic to enter the global ocean food web,” says Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, Crawley. “And we are part of this food web.”.

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July 1 2014

Changing farming practices could cut the intensity of heat waves


As the Earth's climate continues to warm, the elevated temperatures can put a strain on agriculture. Although an increase in the average temperature can harm crops, it's the details obscured by that average that can cause the biggest problems: more—and more extended—periods of extreme temperatures often harm crops far more than raising the typical temperature a fraction of a degree.

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July 1 2014

Lead Exposure May Cause Depression In Chinese Children


Lead is well known for causing permanent behavioral and cognitive problems in children, but a study says it may also cause less obvious problems like depression, too, even at low levels.

That's the word from a study tracking the health of 1,341 children in Jintan, China, where the health effects of pollution from rapid development have become a national concern.

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July 1 2014

Yes, you can learn a foreign language in your sleep, say Swiss psychologists


Subliminal learning in your sleep is usually dismissed as pseudo-science at best and fraud at worst, but a team of Swiss psychologists say you can actually learn a foreign language in your sleep.

Well, not from scratch, but a research published in the journal Cerebral Cortex by the Swiss National Science Foundation claims that listening to newly-learned foreign vocabulary while sleeping can help solidify the memory of the words.

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July 1 2014

How to Teach Old Ears New Tricks


Learn a new language more quickly by focusing on pronunciation first

“Hi! I'm Gabe. What's your name?”

“Seung-heon. Nice to meet you, Gabe.”

Uh-oh.

“Sorry, I missed that. What's your name again?”.

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July 1 2014

Could Fungus Save Antibiotics?


One of the hardiest fungi on the planet, a fungus known as AMA that lives in Nova Scotia, may be able to do more than survive from the Arctic to the Dead Sea: It may restore the efficacy of antibiotics, say authors of a new study in the journal Nature.

“This will solve one aspect of a daunting problem. AMA rescues the activity of carbapenem antibiotics, so instead of having no antibiotics, there will be some,” said Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University in Canada.

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July 1 2014

How Scientists Are Using Games to Unlock the Body’s Mysteries


Maybe it was the late hour. Or maybe I was just hungry. But as I stared at my tablet, the mass of neurons looked like nothing so much as leftover spaghetti stuffed into a Tupperware container.

My task was to trace one single strand as it wended its way through a space packed solid with them, ducking behind other strands and reappearing where you’d least expect it. As I picked out the pieces that belonged to my neuron, points racked up. The goal? To help scientists solve a puzzle that has proved maddeningly tricky: to understand how the retina is wired, how the eye sees all it does.

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July 1 2014

Mars One Wants to Send Your Experiments to the Red Planet


The nonprofit organization that has raised eyebrows with its plans to send people on a one-way mission to Mars is now accepting proposals for scientific payloads that could fly aboard an unmanned mission to the Red Planet in 2018.

The Netherlands-based Mars One foundation aims to send a total of seven payloads: four demonstration payloads, one payload selected in a worldwide university competition and two payloads for sale to the highest bidder.

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July 1 2014

Swedish space rock may be piece of early life puzzle


A fossil meteorite unlike anything seen before has been uncovered in a Swedish quarry. The mysterious rock may be the first known piece of the "bullet" that sparked an explosion of life on early Earth.

Roughly 100 fossil meteorites have emerged from the limestone quarry west of Stockholm, which is being mined for flooring. All of the meteorites are part of an iron-poor class called the L chondrites. They date back about 470 million years to the Ordovician period, when Earth experienced a mysterious burst of new species.

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July 1 2014

How My Dad's Equation Sparked the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence


A few days before Halloween in 1961, a young astronomer was mulling over a fairly serious problem.

Soon the astronomer, Frank Drake, would be convening a meeting at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, to discuss what was still a fringe, eyebrow-raising topic: the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Drake had invited everyone he could think of with an interest in the scientific search for E.T.—all 12 of them—to the meeting.

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July 1 2014

Potentially habitable Earth-like planet discovered; May have similar temperatures to our planet


A potentially habitable Earth-like planet that is only 16 light years away has been discovered. The "super-Earth" planet, GJ 832 c, takes 16 days to orbit its red-dwarf star, GJ 832, and has a mass at least five times that of Earth. It receives about the same average stellar energy as Earth does and may have similar temperatures to our planet. These characteristics put it among the top three most Earth-like planets.

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July 1 2014

Mysterious features on Saturn's Titan reveal the moon's seasonal changes


At first glance, Titan has little in common with Earth. The largest moon of Saturn, temperatures on Titan's surface dip nearly 300 F below zero, its seas slosh with liquid methane, and its sky is a murky shade of creamsicle. And yet, fresh analysis of mysterious features spotted on the moon indicates that it experiences one of the same global processes that is important here on Earth.

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