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March 3 2015

Siamese Crown Stolen from French Castle


French police are looking for thieves who swiped a Siamese crown and other Asian artifacts from the Château de Fontainebleau this past weekend.

Located some 35 miles (55 kilometers) outside of Paris, the Château de Fontainebleau was the royal residence of French monarchs since the Middle Ages. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now open to visitors who can tour its sprawling gardens, chapels and galleries.

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March 3 2015

Mystery Woman Buried Near Richard III


Archaeologists found a lead coffin buried in the ruins of an English medieval church, just feet from the grave of British King Richard III. When they opened the tomb, they expected to find the skeleton of a knight or a friar. But instead, they found the bones of an elderly woman.


Alt: Coffin-Within-a-Coffin Opened at Richard III Grave

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March 3 2015

Another reason to drink coffee: It's good for your heart, study says


Now you can enjoy your third daily cup of coffee and feel healthy while you do it: According to a new study, that third cup of joe may be good for your heart.

Researchers found that people who drink between three and five cups of coffee a day are likely to have less coronary artery calcium (CAC) than those who drink no coffee at all.


Related: Tired of spilling your coffee? Try a latte instead, scientists say

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March 3 2015

Intent on surviving another decade? Ace this test


New research leaves little doubt about it: Fitness is powerful. A new study shows it's also a powerful predictor of whether an individual will live or die in the next decade.

Put a person on a standard-issue treadmill, crank up the speed and the incline, measure the maximum metabolic equivalents of task she achieves and the percentage of maximum predicted heart rate she can endure, and you have two key bases on which to predict a patient's 10-year survival prospects, says a study published Monday in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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March 3 2015

Officials Are Evacuating the City in Kazakhstan Where Villagers Fall Asleep At Random


Over the past few months, the town of Kalachi, Kazakhstan, has suffered yet another round of the mystery illness that causes its villagers to fall asleep at random for no apparent reason. The problem was first reported in 2010, and government officials—perhaps spurred on by a recent burst of international attention as well as the scale of the latest flare-up—have finally upped their efforts to get to the root of the bizarre plague. At least two other towns nearby have reported similar symptoms from their residents.


Related: Hit the Sack! People Who Get a Good Night's Sleep Are Happier

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March 3 2015

How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists


Homer Simpson almost predicted the mass of the elementary particle, the Higgs boson, more than a decade before it was discovered, according to a new book on maths in The Simpsons.

In the episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”, aired in 1998, Homer becomes an inventor and is shown in front of a blackboard with a complicated equation.

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March 3 2015

The huge "Y" in the atmosphere of Venus due to a wave distorted by the wind


Venus is covered by a dense layer of clouds which does not display any noteworthy characteristic. However, when looked in the ultraviolet wavelength, it presents conspicuous dark structures. The biggest one, which practically covers the entire planet, is shaped like a "Y" and it has been a mystery since its discovery more than half a century ago. Recently, a study led by astronomers from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), in collaboration with the university of the Basque Country and the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences of Portugal, has described the mechanism that sustains this structure and has for the first time succeeded in reproducing its evolution in the course of one month.

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March 3 2015

Curiosity drill site reveals Mars isn’t red - it’s greyish-blue


NASA’s Curiosity rover has drilled down into Mars to collect samples, and it’s revealed that just under the dusty red surface, the Red Planet is actually a greyish blue.

The drilling happened at a site called Telegraph Peak, right up in a region called Pahrump Hills, where Curiosity has been working for the past five months. It’s been drilling into the rocky surface to get some idea of how and when Mars evolved from a wet environment to the dry and dusty one we see today, and in the process has discovered that the dusty red top layer is made up of completely different stuff than the actual planet itself.

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March 3 2015

Mystery giant Mars plumes still unexplained


On Feb. 16, an international group of researchers proposed new hypotheses about some unusual plumes spotted by amateur astronomers on Mars in 2012. The plumes were seen rising to altitudes of over 250 km above. By comparison, similar features seen in the past have never exceeded 100 km. Now, new conclusions presented by scientists still raise more questions about the mysterious plumes, than they answer. "We tentatively explored two scenarios that might help explain the observed phenomenon: a cloud of condensed CO2 or H2O, or even dust, and an aurora. After elaborating the details of these two hypotheses, we came to the conclusion that none of them provided a fully satisfactory answer".

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March 3 2015

Graham: Giant Asteroid Collision May Have Radically Transformed Mars


It gives me quite a feeling of deja vu reading this 25 Feb 2015 article in Scientific American since this is pretty much exactly the theory I proposed to explain the Mars dichotomy in my 1998 book The Mars Mystery. The researchers cited by Scientific American believe the impact which lowered the land elevation in the northern hemisphere of Mars happened in the south of the planet and this is what I also suggested in the Mars Mystery 17 years ago where I wrote "The lowering of Mars's northern hemisphere is... likely to have been a 'knock-on effect' of devastating impacts in the south." The major differences from the Scientific American article are that I implicate a giant comet, not an asteroid, in the Mars cataclysm -- a giant comet that fragmented explosively right beside Mars. I think it happened recently, not 4.5 billion years ago but within the last 20,000 years. I also think Earth, has interacted with the debris stream of the same comet on at least two occasions, namely 12,800 years ago and 11,600 years ago. More in due course in my forthcoming book Magicians of the Gods.

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March 3 2015

Does the Sun Have a Heart of Dark Matter?


Something is amiss in our Sun. Or, rather, something is amiss in our theories of what the Sun is and how it behaves—theories that are known collectively as the standard solar model. This model, which is in part based on spectroscopic observations of the Sun's photosphere (the layer that radiates light), offers powerful predictions about the temperature, density, and chemical makeup of our local solar furnace.

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March 3 2015

The first ever photograph of light as a particle and a wave


Quantum mechanics tells us that light can behave simultaneously as a particle or a wave. However, there has never been an experiment able to capture both natures of light at the same time; the closest we have come is seeing either wave or particle, but always at different times. Taking a radically different experimental approach, EPFL scientists have now been able to take the first ever snapshot of light behaving both as a wave and as a particle.

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March 3 2015

How Scientists Have Made Bullets Out Of Light


Light bullets are not the deadly things their names make them out to be. They are, however, decidedly weird. To make a light bullet, researchers have to make a pulse of laser light that is continuously re-focusing itself.

When you turn on a flashlight, or even a laser beam, and shine it across the room, what happens to the beam as it travels? It fans out.

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March 2 2015

Are humans getting cleverer?


IQ is rising in many parts of the world. What's behind the change and does it really mean people are cleverer than their grandparents?

It is not unusual for parents to comment that their children are brainier than they are. In doing so, they hide a boastful remark about their offspring behind a self-deprecating one about themselves. But a new study, published in the journal Intelligence, provides fresh evidence that in many cases this may actually be true.

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March 2 2015

Bionic Eye Lets Blind Man See Again


A bionic eye implant is now allowing a blind man to see the outlines of his wife after 10 years in darkness.

The implant, called a retinal prosthesis, consists of a small electronic chip that is placed at the back of the eye to send visual signals directly into the optic nerve. This bypasses the damaged cells in the man's retina.

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March 2 2015

Bitcoin revolution could be the next internet, says Bank of England


The arrival of electronic currencies could revolutionise the way Britons pay for goods and services, in much the same way as the internet shook up how we access information, the Bank of England has said.

Cashless forms of payment like the cryptocurrency Bitcoin “potentially combined with mobile technology, may reshape the mechanisms for making secure payments”, the central bank said.


Related: Physicists make 'weather forecasts' for economies

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March 2 2015

New 'Cryogenic' Clock Developed In Japan Accurate For 16 Billion Years


Japanese researchers have developed a pair of time-keeping devices that are so accurate, they'll lose one second every 16 billion years, so, more than three times the age of the Earth, and 3 billion years older than the Universe itself.

Created by physicists led by Hidetoshi Katori from the Riken Research Institute, these 'cryogenic optical lattice clocks' are so accurate, they beat the caesium atomic clocks that are currently being used to define what a 'second' is.

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