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February 15 2014

We've found Amazon River's true source, scientists say


It's an argument that's persisted for nearly four centuries: Where does the Amazon River begin?

The question is complicated by the number of tributaries that feed into it, with at least five Peruvian rivers grabbing the title at some point since the mid-1600s.

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February 15 2014

True Shape of Raindrop Revealed in NASA Video


Raindrops are shaped like teardrops, right? The idea of the teardrop-shaped raindrop has persisted in popular culture, but it is actually not true. That's according to a video, created by a NASA mission, revealing the anatomy of a raindrop.

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February 15 2014

Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People


In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet trolls (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of trolls themselves.

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February 15 2014

Impatience Has Its Reward: Books Are Rolled Out Faster


While the television industry has begun catering to impatient audiences by releasing entire series at once, the book business is upending its traditional timetable by encouraging a kind of binge reading, releasing new works by a single author at an accelerated pace.

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February 15 2014

Baby boys and girls should get different formula milk, claim scientists


Baby formula should be tailored for boys and girls to reflect the differences in milk that mothers produce depending on their baby's sex, researchers say.

Tests on mothers' milk in both monkeys and humans have showed that levels of fat, protein, vitamins, sugars, minerals and hormones vary enormously, but there is evidence that milk made for female and male babies is consistently different.

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February 15 2014

The Scent Of Your Earwax May Yield Valuable Information


As an Asian lady, I can't get over that people of African and European descent have moist earwax. I learned this years ago. I still can't get over it! I assumed everyone had earwax like me, so it was just too weird to learn otherwise.

Don't know what I'm talking about? In 2006, scientists discovered there is a gene—indeed, a single letter in all of human DNA—that determines whether people have wet or dry earwax.

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February 15 2014

Arctic Whales Infected With Domestic Cat Parasite


Beluga whales making their home in Arctic waters have been found to be infected with a parasite normally found in domestic cats. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have found the Toxoplasma parasite in over 10 percent of the whales living off of Canada’s shores in the Beaufort Sea.

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February 15 2014

Satellites Spot Whales From Space


This new method could help researchers remotely count and keep track of whale populations

Counting tends to be at the base of any ecological study. Knowing how many animals and of what kinds live in a particular habitat is essential for understanding the relationships between them.

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February 15 2014

Cool Roofs Can Counteract the Warming of Urban Sprawl


Scientists predict that by the end of the century, U.S. urban and suburban areas will have expanded by an area about the size of South Dakota. That's an awful lot of blacktop, adding to scientists' worries that the growth of cities could increase global warming, in part because of the way a city absorbs heat. But a new study has found that cool roofs, those painted with reflective materials, and green roofs (those with plants on them) could counteract this warming.

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February 15 2014

Billionaire Branson Testing an Island Microgrid


Dirty diesel is the most common form of electricity generation throughout Caribbean island nations, but that will change if billionaire Richard Branson has anything to do with it.

Branson is using his private island in the British Virgin Islands, Necker Island, as a test bed for a microgrid that will run on renewable generation. The project on Necker, which is supported by NRG Energy, is not just an exercise in bringing renewables to the region at any cost. It aims to make renewables affordable to island economies.

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February 15 2014

Onions as Toxic Cleanup Sponges


Onions and garlic can turn around a bland dish, but Indian biotechnologists have found another use for these roots: filtering heavy metals from toxic brews.

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February 15 2014

Found: Possible Antidote For Death Cap Mushroom Poisoning


The flesh of the death cap mushroom is said to be quite tasty, and many who have eaten it claim it is the most delicious they've ever tasted. But it is also deadly, as the name suggests--a few mouthfuls can kill.

There is currently no good treatment for poisoning from death cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides), writes Harvard doctoral student Cat Adams at Slate. But that may be about to change.

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February 15 2014

Stolen artifact from Montreal museum recovered in Edmonton


Quebec provincial police have found an ancient artifact in Edmonton after it was stolen in broad daylight from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Police have been searching for more than two years for two pieces of art, which were stolen from the museum in September 2011.

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February 15 2014

Medieval Skeletons Found at Florence's Uffizi


Dozens of skeletons might lie beneath the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, according to archaeologists who have dug up a medieval mass grave near the renowned museum.

Exposed during work to build an elevator in an area designed to house an expanded section of the Uffizi’s exhibit space, the skeletons belong to more than 60 individuals of various ages and genders who probably succumbed to a devastating epidemic.

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February 15 2014

Bamiyan Buddha work halted over 'secret rebuilding project'


Afghanistan has halted conservation work at a site once occupied by ancient Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban because the team involved is suspected of secretly trying to rebuild one of the statue's feet, the United Nations said.

Any attempt to rebuild the statues without official permission could lead to the site losing its World Heritage status.

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February 15 2014

Ancient genome stirs ethics debate


Sequencing of DNA from Native American ‘Clovis boy’ forces researchers to rethink handling of tribal remains.

The remains of a young boy, ceremonially buried some 12,600 years ago in Montana, have revealed the ancestry of one of the earliest populations in the Americas, known as the Clovis culture.

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February 14 2014

Male sexual orientation influenced by genes, study shows


A study of gay men in the US has found fresh evidence that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes. Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight.

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February 14 2014

Ancient Britons 'loved dairy food'


Britons embraced a "convenience food" lifestyle around 6,000 years ago when they replaced hunting and fishing with dairy farming, scientists say.

Studies of old rubbish dumps and dirty dishes found our ancient ancestors gave up their passion for fish and wild meats to begin a love affair with milk.

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