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March 14 2014

‘Rainbow’ on Venus Seen for First Time


Oh glory! A rainbow-like optical phenomenon known as a ‘glory’ has been imaged for the first time on another planet. It was seen in the atmosphere of our nearest neighbor, Venus by ESA’s Venus Express orbiter.

Rainbows and glories occur when sunlight shines on cloud droplets.

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March 14 2014

Scientists May Get Best View Yet of a Black Hole in Action


It’s the cosmic event of the year. Right now, telescopes all over the world are turning to our galaxy’s center, where for the first time ever they may have a front-row look at a supermassive black hole consuming a gas cloud.

By observing this galactic snack fest, astronomers should be able to figure out what’s going on in the black hole’s immediate vicinity and potentially even witness some gas disappear into the massive object’s maw. What they see may help scientists solve a decades-old puzzle about why our galaxy’s central black hole is so quiet.

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March 14 2014

Weirdness in cosmic web of the universe: galaxies arranged in way never before seen


Australian astronomers have shown galaxies in the vast empty regions of the universe are actually aligned into delicate strings, according to new research. Using data from the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey, the astronomers found that the small number of galaxies inside these voids are arranged in a new way never seen before.

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March 14 2014

Asteroid Strike Drenched World in Acid Rain


Global ocean acidification caused by acid rain occurred just days after a massive asteroid slammed into the Earth 66 million years ago, new research suggests.

The rapid acidification could explain why surface-dwelling organisms such as ammonites and carbon-secreting plankton were wiped out, while some deep ocean dwellers as well as freshwater species such as crocodiles survived one of the largest mass extinction events in history.

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March 14 2014

770,000 year old Peking Man’s controlled use of fire confirmed


For decades, the so-called Peking Man (Homo erectus pekinensis) from Zhoukoudian (south west of modern Beijing) has been considered to be a hominin that engaged in the controlled production and management of fire. This hypothesis, however likely, was never based on solid proof, until recently that is, when Chinese scientists announced that they had analysed ash from the archaeological site.

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March 14 2014

Origin of 'medieval' sea charts disproven


Portolan charts, realistic sea charts of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea that suddenly appeared at the end of the thirteenth century, cannot possibly have been created in Medieval Europe. This is demonstrated by research with which Roel Nicolai (Utrecht University) hopes to obtain his doctorate degree on Monday 3 March.

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March 14 2014

Ancient petroglyphs found by drone in southern Utah


SALT LAKE CITY — A video recently posted on YouTube claims “Drone discovers ancient petroglyphs in Utah.”

The video was made by Bill Clary of Colorado who owns ’Got Aerials,’ a business which sells drones. His website shows several samples of video taken by drones, many in spectacular outdoor settings.

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March 14 2014

Direct evidence for positive selection of skin, hair, and eye pigmentation


There has been much research into the factors that have influenced the human genome since the end of the last Ice Age. Anthropologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and geneticists at University College London (UCL), working in collaboration with archaeologists from Berlin and Kiev, have analysed ancient DNA from skeletons and found that selection has had a significant effect on the human genome even in the past 5,000 years, resulting in sustained changes to the appearance of people.

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March 14 2014

Pigment or bacteria? Researchers re-examine the idea of 'color' in fossil feathers


Paleontologists studying fossilized feathers propose that the shapes of certain microscopic structures inside the feathers can tell us the color of ancient birds. But new research shows that it is not yet possible to tell if these structures are what they seem.

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March 14 2014

T. rex Had a Small, Cute Cousin


Toothy Tyrannosaurus rex had a tiny cousin, suggests new research.

The dwarf dino, named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, lived 70 million years ago in Alaska, according to a new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The skull for the newly identified dinosaur measured 25 inches long, compared to 60 inches for T. rex.

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March 13 2014

Were Volcanoes Ice Age Refuges for Life?


Named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, volcanoes are best known for their destructive power.

But a new study bolsters the idea that they can also be havens for life, as refuges for plants and animals during ice ages.

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March 13 2014

Rough diamond hints at vast quantities of water inside Earth


A small, battered diamond found in the gravel strewn along a shallow riverbed in Brazil has provided evidence of a vast "wet zone" deep inside the Earth that could hold as much water as all the world's oceans put together.

The water is not sloshing around inside the planet, but is held fast within minerals in what is known as the Earth's transition zone, which stretches from 410 to 660km (250-400 miles) beneath the surface.

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March 13 2014

Nine unopened Dead Sea Scrolls found


Nine newfound penny-sized pieces of parchment belonging to the Dead Sea Scrolls laid unopened for nearly six decades before they were rediscovered in Israel.

The scrolls went unnoticed for years until one scholar came across them while searching through the Israel Antiquities Authority's (IAA) storerooms, the Times of Israel reported.

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March 13 2014

Rise of Genghis Khan linked to Mongolian climate change


Eight hundred years ago, relatively small armies of mounted warriors suddenly exploded outward from the cold, arid high-elevation grasslands of Mongolia, and conquered the largest contiguous empire in history.

Led by Genghis Khan and his sons and grandsons, the Mongols briefly ruled most of modern-day Russia, China, Korea, southeast Asia, Persia, India, the Middle East and eastern Europe.

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March 13 2014

Gonorrhea is about to become impossible to treat


Gonorrhea has taken many forms over the last few decades. The strain that people acquire today isn't the same one that previous generations had to deal with. In fact, it might not be the same strain that infected people a little over 10 years ago.

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March 13 2014

New class of antibiotics discovered by chemists


A new class of antibiotics to fight bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other drug-resistant bacteria that threaten public health has been discovered by a team of chemists. The new class, called oxadiazoles, was discovered in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection.

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March 13 2014

How sound affects the taste of our food


High-frequency sounds enhance the sweetness in food, while low frequencies bring out the bitterness. So could sound replace sugar? And what kind of music should restaurants play?

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March 13 2014

Dropped your toast? Five-second food rule exists, new research suggests


Food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time, according to new research. The findings suggest there may be some scientific basis to the '5 second rule' -- the urban myth about it being fine to eat food that has only had contact with the floor for five seconds or less.

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