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September 24 2014

Beyond Angkor: How lasers revealed a lost city


Deep in the Cambodian jungle lie the remains of a vast medieval city, which was hidden for centuries. New archaeological techniques are now revealing its secrets - including an elaborate network of temples and boulevards, and sophisticated engineering.

In April 1858 a young French explorer, Henri Mouhot, sailed from London to south-east Asia. For the next three years he travelled widely, discovering exotic jungle insects that still bear his name.

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September 24 2014

Shapeshifting Metal Brings Us One Step Closer to the T-1000


Composed of liquid metal, the robot assassin in Terminator 2 could change its shape at will. In boring real life, surface tension makes forming non-spherical liquid shapes impractical—at least until now. New research has yielded a technique that makes it possible to manipulate liquid metal into multiple configurations.

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September 24 2014

Molten metal batteries aimed at the grid


Engineers in the US have invented a battery, made of three molten metals, which could help smooth the power supply from renewable energy sources.

Previous battery designs have largely been too expensive to help store energy on the scale of a national power grid.

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September 24 2014

US plans for future of fusion research


As the international ITER project to develop an experimental nuclear fusion reactor eats into research budgets around the world, an advisory panel to the US Department of Energy recommends mothballing at least one of three major experiments and focusing on research necessary to bring ITER online.

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September 24 2014

Rockefellers Selling Fossil Fuel Investments, Buying ‘Clean’ Energy Assets


If the archetypal American oligarchs, the Rockefellers, are divesting themselves of fossil fuel assets and replacing them with so-called clean energy assets, have we moved past a tipping point or is it just propaganda? From BBC News:

Heirs to the Rockefeller family, which made its vast fortune from oil, are to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy, reports say.

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September 24 2014

MRIs of Careful People Can Predict When Bubbles Will Pop


In the 1630s, Holland was gripped by the world’s only known case of “tulip mania.” The intensely colored flowers were already a luxury item before then, but their prices leaped when tulips with flame patterned petals hit the market, and they continued rocketing to previously incomprehensible levels. The price for a single bulb soon far surpassed what a skilled worker could make in an entire year, and others commanded enough money to buy homes or land.

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September 24 2014

Political ideologies have their own scents, according to study


Past research has highlighted the link between scent and sexual attraction – and a new study has suggested that people with similar political ideologies can also sniff out compatibility.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that people subconsciously prefer the scent of those who share their political attitudes, Live Science reported.

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September 24 2014

Some meditation sparks better brain performance


Different types of meditation have qualitatively different effects on the mind and body, report researchers. Whereas the Vajrayana style of Buddhist meditation produces an arousal response, the Theravada style produces a relaxation response.

In particular, the research team found that Vajrayana meditation, which is associated with Tibetan Buddhism, can lead to enhancements in cognitive performance.

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September 24 2014

Norway: Four-year-old sleepwalks 5km to nearby town


A four-year-old Norwegian girl has terrified her family by sleepwalking over 5km (3 miles) to a nearby town on a stormy night, wearing just her underwear and a pair of thin boots.

Police found the girl unharmed in the town of Honningsvag on the northern island of Mageroeya after locals called at 06:30 on Monday, the Finnmark Dagblad reports. Her aunt - who is looking after the girl and her three young siblings while their mother went on holiday - thought her niece was asleep in bed when the police rang.

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September 24 2014

On/off switch for aging cells discovered by scientists


An on-and-off “switch” has been discovered in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging. This switch points to a way to encourage healthy cells to keep dividing and generating, for example, new lung or liver tissue, even in old age.


Related: Exercising May Bolster Your Brain Wires in Old Age

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September 24 2014

Walking off depression and beating stress outdoors? Nature walks linked to improved mental health


Large scale study says group nature walks linked with significantly lower depression and perceived stress, enhanced mental well-being

They are common suggestions to remedy stress: You just need a breath of fresh air. Walk it off. Get out and see people.

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September 24 2014

Are Pro Athletes Prone to Violence?


Several professional athletes have made the news recently for charges of domestic violence, including athletes in the National Football League and the U.S. women's soccer team. But are elite athletes actually more prone to domestic violence than other people?

It's difficult to know for sure.

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September 24 2014

Amazon Warriors' Names Revealed Amid "Gibberish" on Ancient Greek Vases


Ancient Greek vases have revealed the hidden names of Amazons, mythology's warrior women, in a report deciphering ancient languages unspoken for millennia.

In the forthcoming study of pottery dating from 550 B.C. to 450 B.C., study lead author Adrienne Mayor and J. Paul Getty Museum assistant curator David Saunders translated Greek inscriptions into their phonetic sounds for 12 ancient vases from Athens. The inscriptions appear next to scenes of Amazons fighting, hunting, or shooting arrows.

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September 24 2014

Haida Gwaii underwater expedition may have revealed earliest site of human habitation in Canada


VANCOUVER - Researchers using a robotic underwater vehicle off British Columbia's northern coast believe they may have found the earliest evidence of human habitation in Canada.

Unfortunately, the site that could date back almost 14,000 years lies beneath hundreds of metres of water in the ocean around the Haida Gwaii archipelago.

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September 24 2014

I'm reverse-engineering Mesopotamian hit songs


Are there any traces of Babylonian music, which hasn't been heard for over 3000 years?
We have the text of lots of poems from ancient Mesopotamia, and it seems likely that some were originally songs of a sort. We have the words, but the music was either not written down or is lost. I thought it would be exciting if we could listen to these poems as they were meant to be heard. The reason I think we can do this is that the language of the poems – their stresses, intonation and rhythm – provides clues about musical style..

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September 23 2014

Ancient campfires led to the rise of storytelling


Sometime about 400,000 years ago, humans learned to fully control fire. This breakthrough radically changed our diets, because we could now cook food, but did it transform our culture as well? A study of evening campfire conversations by the Ju/’hoan people of Namibia and Botswana (pictured above) suggests that by extending the day, fire allowed people to unleash their imaginations and tell stories, rather than merely focus on mundane topics.


Related: Campfire chat a chance for social bonding

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September 23 2014

‘Gravitational waves’ may have been space dust


Scientists who caused a global sensation when they announced the discovery of gravitational waves may have been fooled by bits of dust floating about in space.

Researchers at Harvard University called a press conference in March to reveal that they had spotted the cosmic signature of ripples in space left over from the spectacular expansion of the early universe. The dramatic claim was hailed as one of the most important scientific discoveries of the century and promised a new era of physics.

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