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May 23 2014

Australian UFOs, More Than 100 Years Ago


While Australia’s first UFO flap may have occurred in the winter of 1909, the skies above Australia have long been filled with unknown aerial objects that have left witnesses scratching their heads and clambering to adequately describe what they had seen.

Way back in 1868, Parramatta surveyor, Fred Birmingham, had an apparent encounter with “a machine to go through the air” while other early witnesses, untainted by the modern lore of UFOs and aliens, have reported celestial apparitions, aerial processions of vehicles, phenomenal lights in the heavens and strange meteors.

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May 22 2014

After 15 Years of Study, a New Theory of What Causes Fairy Circles


In Namibia, at the boundaries between grassland and desert, a strange phenomenon has puzzled people for centuries. Mysterious circles of barren land form in the middle of rich, thick grasses. Dubbed "fairy circles," their formation has been attributed to everything from termites to poison gas. Now, a group of scientists has a new theory.

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May 22 2014

Lucid dreams on-demand


During REM sleep, dreams are the epitome of living in the moment, of harnessing the power of now. During these dreams, consciousness is concerned solely with the immediate present. Once we awaken, humans—"and supposedly only humans," according to a German study out in Nature Neuroscience—inhabit a different mode of consciousness that allows higher-order cognitive functions like abstract thinking, volition, and self-reflective awareness.

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May 22 2014

Messages from the dead: The drowned son who returns for bedside chats


Research in Wales, Japan, Australia and the U.S. shows that between 40 and 53 per cent of the bereaved receive some kind of signal or visitation when someone close to them dies.

Usually they sense a presence; sometimes they actually see or hear one.


See also: Graham's facebook post on this article

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May 22 2014

Is it Black Shuck or Just Another Huge Hairy Hellish Hound?


You can’t tell from the box of bones if the creature they came from had shaggy “shucky” fur, flaming eyes or a knack for wringing necks – just that it was definitely big and canine. But was it Black Shuck, the legendary Hellhound of East Anglia?

Archeologists from DigVentures searching the grounds at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk, England, recently found a box containing the skeleton of what appears to be a 7 foot long dog that would have probably weighed over 200 pounds.

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May 22 2014

Hard to swallow: the world's first drinkable sunscreen


Yesterday, the Telegraph and the Mail ran stories about the world’s first drinkable sunscreen. To say the product described deviates from accepted science would be an understatement. Imagine you programme your sat nav to take you to central London, but instead it directs you to one of Neptune's moons; that’s the sort of deviation we’re talking about.

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May 22 2014

Braille phone goes on sale in 'world first'


London-based firm OwnFone has released what it says is the world's first Braille phone.

The front and back of the phone is constructed using 3D printing techniques and can be customised.

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May 22 2014

Glasses-Free 3-D Projector From MIT


The world of 3-D home theater has slowly expanded over the last decade with many attempts to try and bring a real world environment and feel to televisions. Although it may not be fully achieved just yet, MIT Media Lab researchers are inching closer to an experience that will allow the viewer to move into different positions throughout the room and gain a completely different perspective from the other.

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May 22 2014

Do Nasal Strips Help Horses Run Faster?


NFL players wear them to help them breathe, and so will racehorse California Chrome on June 7, when he attempts to win the Triple Crown.

But there was some doubt as to whether the horse would be allowed to wear a nasal strip at the Belmont Stakes, where a first-place finish would make him the 12th horse in history to win the Triple Crown.

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May 22 2014

Canines’ Cancer-Sniffing Snouts Showing 90%-Plus Accuracy


Which is better at detecting cancer, a laboratory or a Labrador retriever?

Consider the talents of Tsunami, a regal-looking dog with attentive eyes and an enthusiastic tail wag for her trainer friends. University of Pennsylvania researchers say she is more than 90 percent successful in identifying the scent of ovarian cancer in tissue samples, opening a new window on a disease with no effective test for early detection that kills 14,000 Americans a year. When found early, there’s a five-year survival rate of over 90 percent.

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May 22 2014

Bacteria in mouth may diagnose pancreatic cancer


Patients with pancreatic cancer have a different and distinct profile of specific bacteria in their saliva compared to healthy controls and even patients with other cancers or pancreatic diseases, according to research presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. These findings could form the basis for a test to diagnose the disease in its early stages.

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May 22 2014

Taste test: Could sense of taste affect length of life?


Perhaps one of the keys to good health isn't just what you eat but how you taste it. Taste buds – yes, the same ones you may blame for that sweet tooth or French fry craving – may in fact have a powerful role in a long and healthy life – at least for fruit flies, say two new studies that appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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May 22 2014

Pregnant women respond to music with stronger physiological changes in blood pressure


Music can be soothing or stirring, it can make us dance or make us sad. Blood pressure, heartbeat, respiration and even body temperature – music affects the body in a variety of ways. It triggers especially powerful physical reactions in pregnant women. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have discovered that pregnant women compared to their non-pregnant counterparts rate music as more intensely pleasant and unpleasant, associated with greater changes in blood pressure.

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May 22 2014

Does brain structure determine your political views?


Politics is one of the most complex areas of human thought. So when I heard the claim that scanning people's brains could predict political choices, I was naturally sceptical.

Brain science is achieving extraordinary insights, but mapping what you can measure in a brain scanner on to human social interactions is a huge leap, like trying to find exact correlations between two bowls of soup - only one soup is made from vegetables, macaroni and stock, and the other soup is made up of abstract ideas like economics, equality and history.

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May 22 2014

In a Foreign Language, “Killing 1 to Save 5” May Be More Permissible


In Eva Hoffman's memoir of being a bilingual and bicultural immigrant to America from Poland, she describes two languages competing and commanding in her head:

“Should you become a pianist?” the question comes in English. No, you mustn’t. You can’t.

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May 21 2014

Genetic Match? People Marry Those With Similar DNA


Going on a first date? The chance that it leads to wedding bells may depend, in part, on how similar his or her DNA is to yours.

New research finds that people tend to pick spouses whose genetic profile shares similarities with their own. The effect is subtle (other similarities, such as similarity in education, have a larger influence), but it's important to understand that mating isn't truly genetically random, researchers report today (May 19) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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May 21 2014

Why Superstition Works


In the South Pacific there is a place so remote that few people have ever heard of it, let alone seen it: the Trobriand Islands. The Trobriands are located off the east coast of Papua New Guinea, and no white man had set foot there until the late 1700s. During World War I, however, the islands were visited by a man who would one day become a legend in the field of anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski.

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