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March 20 2014

Mysterious New Gully Spotted on Mars


A new gully has appeared on a sloped crater wall on Mars. The channel, which was absent from images in November 2010 but showed up in a May 2013 photo, does not appear to have been formed by water. Exactly what caused this Red Planet rivulet remains a mystery.

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March 20 2014

'Shrapnel' risk to future Moon surface missions


The "shrapnel" generated by small space rocks that periodically hit the Moon may pose a larger risk to lunar missions than was previously believed.

A number of countries and private consortia have stated their plans to send robotic and crewed missions to the lunar surface in the coming decades.

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March 20 2014

Scientists Home In On Earth-Sized Exoplanet


Scientists are close to announcing the first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around its parent star.

Astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, culled data collected by the Kepler space telescope to ferret out a five-planet system, the outermost of which circles toward the outer edge of its star’s habitable zone, according to reports posted Wednesday on Twitter by astronomers attending the Search for Life Beyond the Solar System conference in Tucson, Ariz.

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March 20 2014

New "Chicken From Hell" Dinosaur Discovered


A newly discovered dinosaur species that paleontologists have dubbed the "chicken from hell" is among the largest feathered dinosaurs ever found in North America.

The 11-foot-long (3-meter-long), 500-pound (225-kilogram) Anzu wyliei is an oviraptorosaur—a family of two-legged, birdlike dinosaurs found in Central Asia and North America. These dinosaurs ranged in size from a few pounds to over a metric ton, according to a study published March 19 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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March 20 2014

The stripy stick insect that walked with dinosaurs


This is the earliest known plant-mimicking stick insect, its fragile body preserved for 126 million years in the dusty rocks of north-east China.

Cretophasmomima melanogramma is the latest discovery from the Jehol Biota, a dinosaur-era community preserved in incredible detail – perhaps because a Pompeii-style catastrophe swamped the area in volcanic ash.

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March 20 2014

Thieves steal section of Pompeii fresco


Thieves detached and stole a section of fresco in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii last week, adding to the degradation of one of the world's outstanding archaeological sites after heavy rain caused sections of wall to collapse.

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March 20 2014

Amphibians and dinosaurs were the new large predators after the mass extinction


Immediately after the biggest extinction event of all time there were once again functioning and complete food webs in the oceans of the Early Triassic. Contrary to previous assumptions there were large predators, too. Large predatory fish and amphibians, and later dinosaurs too, were the last link in the food chain.

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March 20 2014

Stonehenge druids celebrate spring equinox


Druids, pagans and revellers gathered at dawn by Stonehenge’s ancient stones to mark the vernal equinox, the official beginning of springtime.

Twice a year, the earth’s axis is angled so that the world gets an equal amount of daylight and night, a highly-significant event in the pagan calendar.

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March 20 2014

Mindfulness Meditation May Reduce Drug User Relapse


Many people who undergo treatment for addiction will relapse and begin using drugs again soon after their therapy ends, but a new study suggests that meditation techniques may help prevent such relapses.

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March 20 2014

We Finally Know Why You Can Sustain a Conversation in a Noisy Bar


Normally, human ears are incredibly good at focusing on sounds of specific frequencies and simultaneously filtering out the rest of the noise — your drinking buddy’s voice in a crowded bar, for example. This is why you can have conversations in places with a wild and crazy soundscape.

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March 20 2014

How Fat May Hurt the Brain, and How Exercise May Help


It’s been known for some time that obesity can alter cognition in animals. Past experiments with lab rodents, for instance, have shown that obese animals display poor memory and learning skills compared to their normal-weight peers. They don’t recognize familiar objects or recall the location of the exit in mazes that they’ve negotiated multiple times.

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March 20 2014

Junk Food Mind Control


Think you’ll always pick chocolate over a bag of chips? Don’t be so sure. Researchers have found that if they can get people to pay more attention to a particular type of junk food, they will begin to prefer it—even weeks or months after the experiment. The finding suggests a new way to manipulate our decisions and perhaps even encourage us to pick healthy foods.

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March 20 2014

Eat more, die young: Why eating a diet very low in nutrients can extend lifespan


A new evolutionary theory in BioEssays claims that consuming a diet very low in nutrients can extend lifespan in laboratory animals, a finding which could hold clues to promoting healthier ageing in humans.

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March 20 2014

Erasing Bad Memories: Wiping Out Unconscious Traces Is Possible


Bad memories are not only part of our conscious mind, they also leave a trace in our unconscious. But now, new research shows that actively trying to forget an unwanted memory can help erase this unconscious trace.

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March 20 2014

Rats' brains may 'remember' odor experienced while under general anesthesia, study suggests


Rats' brains may remember odors they were exposed to while deeply anesthetized, suggests research. In the study, rats were exposed to a specific odor while under general anesthesia. Examination of the brain tissue after they had recovered from anesthesia revealed evidence of cellular imprinting, even though the rats behaved as if they had never encountered the odor before.

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March 20 2014

Strong Link Established Between Trust and Intelligence


Conventional wisdom has a few things to say about trusting strangers--all things being equal, it isn't generally considered a wise thing to do. Perhaps surprisingly, then, new research has found a strong link between intelligence and general trust in others.

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March 20 2014

Computers see through faked expressions of pain better than people


A joint study by researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Toronto has found that a computer system spots real or faked expressions of pain more accurately than people can.

The work, titled "Automatic Decoding of Deceptive Pain Expressions," is published in the latest issue of Current Biology.

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March 19 2014

Robot writes LA Times earthquake breaking news article


The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday - thanks to a robot writer.

Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.

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