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April 15 2014

House windows that double as solar panels? Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells


A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work. Scientists have demonstrated that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

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April 15 2014

Win-Win: Pairing Agave Crops With Solar Power


Solar power in the desert has problems: big land use requirements, and the need for scarce water to clean the panels and suppress dust. In an unrelated story, biofuels production has problems: life cycle greenhouse gas emission issues, and land use questions again. How about solving both sets of problems at once? Stanford researchers have modeled the co-location of solar panels with agave plants used to make ethanol, and found it to be a winning combination.

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April 15 2014

Glow-in-the-dark roads make debut in Netherlands


Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced streetlights on a 500m (0.3 mile) stretch of highway in the Netherlands.

Studio Roosegaarde promised the design back in 2012, and after cutting through rather a lot of government red tape we can finally see the finished product.

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April 15 2014

Let the sun shine in: Redirecting sunlight to dark urban alleyways


In response to ever-crowded urban conditions in developing countries, researchers in Egypt have developed an inexpensive way of re-directing natural sunlight into dimly lit streets and alleys, where lack of sun is linked to health problems. The new optical device can increase brightness in alleyways by up to 400 percent.

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April 15 2014

Why odd numbers are dodgy, evens are good, and 7 is everyone's favourite


What's your lucky number? An online survey threw up a hot favourite: people find 7 clever, cheery, divine. And our reactions to numbers shine a fascinating light on how our brains work, especially in the oh-so-superstitious far east.

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April 15 2014

Did the CIA Possess Djinn-Infested Jewellery?


We’re all familiar with the idea of the genie (the bastardized Western version of the Djinn) appearing out of bottles to make sketchy deals with all too eager humans, but the use of jewellery and other worn accessories for magick and religious purposes dates back as far as 100,000 years ago, with artifacts appearing in places like Israel and Northern Africa.

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April 15 2014

A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere Built To Track the End of the World


A huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar. An abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight. It could be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film, but it's just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.

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April 15 2014

Papyrus Referring to Jesus’ Wife Is More Likely Ancient Than Fake, Scientists Say


A faded fragment of papyrus known as the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery.

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April 15 2014

Neanderthals and Cro-magnons did not coincide on the Iberian Peninsula


A piece of research in which a UPV/EHU group is participating indicates that 1,000 years separate the records of the presence of the two species.

The meeting between a Neanderthal and one of the first humans, which we used to picture in our minds, did not happen on the Iberian Peninsula.

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April 15 2014

The Mysterious "Accidental Mummies" of Medieval Siberia


Russian archaeologists are once again digging at Zeleniy Yar, a remote excavation site near the Arctic circle. This same site produced nearly a dozen extraordinary mummies a few years ago — including unintentionally preserved corpses wearing copper masks. The researchers are now hoping to learn more about this mysterious northern community.

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April 15 2014

Whose fault is your lager hangover? Blame it on migrating birds


Lager drinkers can thank the birds for their favourite tipple. That is the conclusion of US scientists who say the yeast involved in making their beloved amber nectar could have been spread round the planet by migrating birds.

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April 15 2014

The Most Useful Animals on Earth Died Thousands of Years Ago


Many animals have been useful to humankind. Dogs have hunted with us. Horses have carried us around and plowed our fields. Cats have ... I don't know. It'll come to me. In any case, perhaps the most useful animals in the modern world performed their service by dying thousands of years ago.

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April 15 2014

Mysterious Ancient Moroccan Rock Pile Explained


The origin of the giant pile of boulders a Moroccan village rests precariously on has long mystified scientists. But the mystery has now been solved: the boulders are the result of a catastrophic rockfall that occurred 4,500 years ago in the High Atlas Mountains, scientists find.

A glacier apparently made the Moroccan cliffs prone to collapse, suggesting rockfalls elsewhere in the world might be due to a similar process, researchers said.

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April 14 2014

Drones: Archaeology's Newest Tool to Combat Looting


The scenes are haunting. A video camera strapped to the nose of a drone aircraft first shows only a spinning, sunlit horizon in the barrens of southern Jordan. Then the camera swoops, low and slow, over a hilltop whose surface recalls photographs of the lunar battlefields of World War I Europe. Crater after crater gouge the hill's stony surface. It looks like the aftermath of a murderous artillery barrage.

But the holes aren't the result of explosions. Each has been dug, laboriously, one spadeful at a time, by an army of looters.

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April 14 2014

Archaeologists' findings may prove Rome a century older than thought


It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archaeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more ancient than believed until now.

Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year 753BC.

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April 14 2014

Neanderthal Children Played With Toy Axes, Say Experts


Stone Age children may have played with toy axes and gone to school, researchers believe.

Archaeologists have studied Neanderthal sites across Europe, collecting bones and artefacts, building a picture of everyday life in prehistoric communities.

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April 14 2014

Does a baby's name affect its chances in life?


When parents spend hours poring over baby name books they may imagine that their choice will have a major impact on their child's life. But do names make a difference? Two recent books put this idea under the microscope.

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April 14 2014

Green tea benefits memory


Green tea can improve your cognitive function, in particular the working memory, a new study by researchers at the University of Basel suggests.

The findings could pave the way for promising treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders such as dementia, researchers add.

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