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May 4 2015

This Medieval Prayer Wheel Is More Than 1,000 Years Old And No One Knows How To Use It


The directions, if a little stilted, look familiar: “The Order Of The Diagram Written Here Teaches The Return Home.”

Think Parcheesi or Sorry.

But then think again. The board is not cardboard or plastic; it’s 1,035-year-old vellum. And there are no dice — just prayers.

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May 4 2015

Zombie bacteria may help heal wounds


Bacteria killed with silver can destroy living bacterial strains through a novel mechanism dubbed 'the zombie effect', a new study has found.

In the study, strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa were killed with silver nitrate solution, a common antibacterial agent.

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May 4 2015

The Anti-Drone Drone


It's a dog-eat-dog world—and now a drone-eat-drone one, too. At a February demonstration in La Queue-en-Brie, France (right), Malou Tech showed off the Interceptor MP200 and its “antidrone strategy”—capturing smaller unmanned copters with a net.


Related: The Anti-Surveillance State: Clothes and Gadgets Block Face Recognition Technology, Confuse Drones and Make You (Digitally) Invisible

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May 4 2015

Scientists build real-life invisibility cloak


Researchers have built a small box that could be used to completely hide small objects, like a real-life invisibility cloak.

Scientists have built systems that hide objects by bending light around them, so that they can’t be seen — but they have previously only been tiny and worked at small wavelength ranges. But scientists from the German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) claimed to have built an invisibility cloak big enough to hide small objects, like phones, keys or a wheel of cheese.

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May 4 2015

Weird dream? Your brain won't even try to make sense of it


You open your front door to find your boss – who is also a cat. The bizarre can seem completely normal when you're dreamingMovie Camera, perhaps because parts of your brain give up trying to figure out what's going on.

Armando D'Agostino of the University of Milan in Italy thinks that the strangeness of dreams resembles psychosis, because individuals are disconnected from reality and have disrupted thought processes that lead to wrong conclusions.

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May 4 2015

‘Chemo brain’ is real, say UBC researchers


UBC research shows that chemotherapy can lead to excessive mind wandering and an inability to concentrate. Dubbed ‘chemo-brain,’ the negative cognitive effects of the cancer treatment have long been suspected, but the UBC study is the first to explain why patients have difficulty paying attention.

Breast cancer survivors were asked to complete a set of tasks while researchers in the Departments of Psychology and Physical Therapy monitored their brain activity.

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May 4 2015

Music Does Not Improve Memory


Although music may help some people relax when they're trying to concentrate; it doesn't help them remember what they're focusing on, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology challenged younger and older adults to listen to music while trying to remember names. College-aged participants had no problems -- the music didn't affect their performance.

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May 4 2015

That Goldfish Problem? Pelicans Were on It


Earlier this month you may remember reports (including our own) about a Colorado lake swarming with invasive, non-native goldfish.

The estimated 3,000 to 4,000 goldfish in Colorado’s Teller Lake #5 made national headlines as an example of released domestic fish run amok. But it turns out the solution was simple: hungry pelicans.


Related: Global decline of large herbivores may lead to an 'empty landscape'

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May 4 2015

Venom-Squirting Scorpions Blind Enemies with Toxin


Some scorpions are able to spray their venom, an ability they use defensively to try to temporarily disable predators, allowing the stinging arachnids to escape the jaws of death, a new study suggests.


Related: Lazy sunfish are actually active predators

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May 4 2015

A Feel for Flight: How Studying Bat Touch Could Help Build Better Planes


Bats are masters of flight in the night sky, capable of steep nosedives and sharp turns that put our best aircrafts to shame. Although the role of echolocation in bats’ impressive midair maneuvering has been extensively studied, the contribution of touch has been largely overlooked.

“This study provides evidence that the sense of touch plays a key role in the evolution of powered flight in mammals,”.

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May 4 2015

Ancient DNA Tells a New Human Story


Imagine what it must have been like to look through the first telescopes or the first microscopes, or to see the bottom of the sea as clearly as if the water were gin. This is how students of human prehistory are starting to feel, thanks to a new ability to study ancient DNA extracted from bodies and bones in archaeological sites.

Low-cost, high-throughput DNA sequencing—a technique in which millions of DNA base-pairs are automatically read in parallel—appeared on the scene less than a decade ago.

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May 4 2015

4,400-year-old statue of Egyptian pharaoh found


Belgian archaeologists uncovered a statue of Pharaoh Sahure in Egypt’s southern governorate of Aswan on Tuesday, the Egyptian website Mada Masr reported.

The statue is reportedly one of very few artifacts believed to date to the rule of Sahure, between 2487 and 2475 BCE.

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May 4 2015

Ancient Egyptian army camp discovered in North Sinai


Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty has announced the discovery of an ancient Egyptian army camp in the Tjaru Fortress in North Sinai.

A number of storage sites, dating back to Thutmose III and Ramses II, seals bearing the name of King Thutmose III, as well as mass graves of soldiers who died in battles during the 26th Dynasty have also been discovered.

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May 4 2015

Ancient Magic: The Illusions Created in Temples by Amazing Inventions


Imagine you’re in an ancient temple, dimly lit by rays of sunlight peaking in. A worshipper lights a fire on the altar, and steps back. A statue beside the altar begins to move! It pours libations to the god for whom the temple is built. A door behind the altar opens of its own accord, and the statue of that god appears.

But behind the mystique was the ingenuity of inventors, not the miracles of the gods.


Related: The Use of DMT in Early Masonic Ritual

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May 3 2015

Mysterious Nazca Line Geoglyphs Formed Ancient Pilgrimage Route


The Nazca Lines, a series of fantastical geoglyphs etched into the desert in Peru, may have been used by two separate groups of people to make pilgrimage to an ancient temple, new research suggests.

But the purpose of the desert etchings may have changed over time. The earliest Nazca Lines were created so pilgrims could view the markings along a ritual processional route, the researchers said.

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May 3 2015

Did dinosaur-killing asteroid trigger largest lava flows on Earth?


The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe that may have contributed to the devastation, according to a team of University of California, Berkeley, geophysicists.

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May 3 2015

100 million-year-old insect discovered perfectly preserved


An extinct cockroach that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs has been found trapped in amber. The fossilised insect, called Manipulator modificaputis, was found in a mine in Myanmar.

It was part of a family of cockroaches that actively hunted prey, according to Peter Vršanský from the Geological Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Günter Bechly from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, who examined the fossil.

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