Interesting reads from the past few months:

What India's space scientists and street children have in common (10/11/2013)
As India launched a mission to Mars this week, I could not help noting some surprising similarities between the ingenuity of the country's space scientists and its street children - many of whom are creative small-scale entrepreneurs.
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Filming a rocket launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome (09/11/2013)
After a 22-hour journey to Baikonur in Kazakhstan, we had a 4am start. We were escorted into the cosmodrome, a collection of scruffy, space buildings in the desert.
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Experiencing Nature Makes Us More Forward-Thinking (06/11/2013)
To get some perspective on daily troubles, lots of people escape to the outdoors – maybe a weekend bike ride, a fishing trip or a hike – to clear their minds. And now there’s some scientific evidence that it actually helps.
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Evolution Explains Why Mean Girls Get the Guys (28/10/2013)
When it comes to choosing mates, the standard formula is that males compete to impress females. Female competition for mates tends to get less attention. But a new paper suggests that gossip and cattiness among adolescent girls serve as the female form of competition, and have evolved to increase a female’s sex appeal above her peers.
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Young at Heart, Literally – Body Parts Age at Different Rates (22/10/2013)
Move over, anti-aging cream. Researchers have found a new biological clock in human DNA that determines the rate at which bodily tissues age—revealing some surprising things about which parts of our bodies feel the brunt of aging soonest, and how such aging may eventually be reversed.
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Ouch! In the Brain, Social Rejection Feels Like Physical Pain (11/10/2013)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld used to tell the following joke: “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Death is number two. Does this sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better-off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
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Row over US mobile phone 'cockroach backpack' app (09/10/2013)
A US company that has developed an "electronic backpack" that fits onto a cockroach allowing its movements to be controlled by a mobile phone app has defended itself against cruelty claims.
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An on-off switch for eating (09/09/2013)
By hijacking connections between neurons deep within the brain, scientists forced full mice to keep eating and hungry mice to shun food.
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An on-off switch for eating (09/09/2013)
By hijacking connections between neurons deep within the brain, scientists forced full mice to keep eating and hungry mice to shun food.
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Image of the week. Tanezrouft Basin, Algeria’s “land of terror” (02/09/2013)
Pictured is the extraordinary landscape of the Tanezrouft Basin, one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara desert, in south-central Algeria. The region is known as “land of terror” because of its lack of water and vegetation.
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Tiny human almost-brains made in lab (28/08/2013)
Largely left to their own devices, human stem cells knitted themselves into tissue with a multitude of brain structures and specialized cadres of neurons in a form reminiscent of the brain of a nine-week-old fetus, scientists report August 28 in Nature.
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Zebrafish embryos have a protein that protects against chemicals (28/08/2013)
Researchers have discovered a protein, which transports chemicals out of zebrafish embryos thereby protecting the embryos against toxic substances.
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First-Aid Snakebite drug could save thousands of lives (26/08/2013)
A decade ago, Joe Slowinski of the California Academy of Sciences went into the jungles of Myanmar in search of new species of snakes and other vertebrates. One morning, he groggily reached into a bag of vipers he thought to be harmless and when he pulled his hand out, attached to it was a banded krait – among the most poisonous snakes on the planet.
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Babies learn words before birth (26/08/2013)
Parents-to-be better watch their language. Babies can hear specific words in the womb and remember them in the days after birth, a new study reports. The results add to the understanding of how the early acoustical environment shapes the developing brain.
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What you need to know about the toxins in your groceries (15/08/2013)
This collection of stories investigates low-dose arsenic contamination in rice and other risks to food safety like toxic algal blooms, E. coli in raw meat, BPA in plastics and poisonous honey.
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"Plasticity Pill" Could rewire brain to treat autism and schizophrenia (14/08/2013)
Super-mice bred to lack certain immune molecules display a superior ability to form new neural connections, or strengthen existing ones — and they could serve as a model for reversing brain disease.
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New horned dinosaur unearthed in Utah (07/08/2013)
A remarkable new horned dinosaur called, Nasutoceratops titusi, has been discovered in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah.
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New electronics can stretch, flex and even dissolve in the body (02/08/2013)
Materials scientist John Rogers coaxes semiconductors into surprising new forms, allowing them to slip seamlessly into the soft, moist, moving conditions of the living world.
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Nasutoceratops: 'Big-nose, horn-face' dinosaur (17/07/2013)
An unusual new species of dinosaur, unearthed from the deserts of Utah, has been described by scientists.
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Neptune gets 14th moon (16/07/2013)
An astronomer’s whim and sharp eye have led to the discovery of a city-sized moon orbiting Neptune. Designated S/2004 N 1, the roughly 20-kilometer-wide satellite is the 14th known moon to circle the solar system’s outermost planet.
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US unmanned drone jet makes first carrier landing (11/07/2013)
In a key development for the future of robotic flight, a pilotless US jet has landed aboard an aircraft carrier.
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Virologists study H7N9′s family tree to predict pandemic threat (10/07/2013)
The devil is in the details when it comes to predicting the next viral killer. As a candidate for the next virus most likely to cause a pandemic, influenza virus H7N9 has gotten attention.
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Building the world's first synthetic yeast (11/07/2013)
A UK team is building a synthetic chromosome to be inserted into the world's first synthetic yeast. Teams worldwide are making the other parts of its genome which will be assembled to make the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Once complete, new strains of synthetic yeast could help make products such as vaccines, biofuels and chemicals.
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The possible parallel universe of Dark Matter (10/07/2013)
As researchers learn more about dark matter's complexities, it seems possible that our galaxy lives on top of a shadow galaxy without us even knowing it.
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Perfect mirror debuts (10/07/2013)
A new type of mirror that reflects light perfectly has been constructed, a feat many scientists thought wasn’t possible. The mirror could find its way into powerful lasers and other devices.
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Every six years, Earth spins slightly faster and then slower (10/07/2013)
The world turns slightly faster and slower on a regular 5.9-year cycle, a new study suggests. Researchers also found small speed changes that happen at the same time as sudden alterations in Earth’s magnetic field.
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Mexico unveils stone-age etchings (09/07/2013)
Archaeologists in Mexico have catalogued thousands of etchings carved into stones that they believe were made by hunter-gatherers 6,000 years ago.
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First functioning human organ made of induced stem cells (03/07/2013)
A team of Japanese researchers has created the first functioning human organ, a liver, from induced pluripotent stem cells. While the technology is at least a decade from clinical application, it opens the door to using stem cells to solve the shortage of donor organs.
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How can a smart kid be so bad at math? (03/07/2013)
Steph Zech graduated from high school this spring with an admirable academic record. She especially loved chemistry, writing and literature — though she has some reservations about Dante. A bright and diligent student, she took two Advanced Placement classes her senior year, sailing through both. But when it comes to math, Steph has struggled mightily. At age 17, she still counts on her fingers to add 3 and 5.
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“Smart Pump” for Diabetes is step toward artificial pancreas (24/06/2013)
For those with type 1 diabetes, low blood sugar can translate to a lack of energy during the day. But if it occurs at night, when a person is sleeping, low blood sugar can lead to a coma, seizure, or even death. An artificial pancreas would not only eliminate the need for regular insulin shots during the day but also avoid dangerous episodes of nighttime hypoglycemia.
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Plants 'do maths' to control overnight food supplies (23/06/2013)
Plants have a built-in capacity to do maths, which helps them regulate food reserves at night, research suggests.
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Secret life of the cat: Your feline tales (23/06/2013)
BBC Two's Horizon programme on the Secret Life of the Cat and our accompanying interactive feature prompted an enormous response from viewers and website readers.
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Effective antibiotics have a silver lining—literally (21/06/2013)
Silver has been used as an antibiotic since the days of Hippocrates, but during the past few thousand years of its use, doctors never really knew how it worked. Researchers now say they may have the answer, and it could lead to better drugs to treat infections and reduced antibiotic resistance.
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Eye chip sends signals to blind rats' brains (18/06/2013)
The partial blindness that accompanies macular degeneration and other retina-damaging diseases may soon be treatable with a new prosthetic.
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House spider at 30x (17/06/2013)
Image of the week.
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Man v seal: How we compare with our marine cousins (17/06/2013)
Scientists from the University of Liverpool have published research that explains how marine mammals, including seals and whales, hold their breath for so long.
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Spider Dies From Sex (16/06/2013)
For the male dark fishing spider, the price of love is death.
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Black hole caught napping after meal (12/06/2013)
A black hole 11 million light-years away has gone dormant, a decade after being spotted consuming cosmic debris.
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How the brain controls a 'mind machine' (10/06/2013)
Activity observed in the brain when using a "mind machine" is similar to how the brain learns new motor skills.
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Graphene and Nanotubes will replace silicon in tomorrow's nano-machines (10/06/2013)
Physicist and novelist Paul McEuen says one day nanobots will carry medicine through your bloodstream and rebuild your brain's circuitry.
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Ultra-sensitive polymer detects explosive devices (09/06/2013)
A chemical that’s often the key ingredient in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) can be quickly and safely detected in trace amounts by a new polymer created by a team of chemists at Cornell University in the US.
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WWII Dornier bomber raised from English Channel (08/06/2013)
A German World War II Dornier Do-17 bomber which was shot down off the Kent coast more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain has been raised from the bottom of the English Channel.
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Camera captures voices without a microphone (07/06/2013)
Eavesdroppers might not have to lip-read to listen in on a far-off conversation. Using a high-speed camera pointed at the throat, scientists can decipher a person’s words without relying on a microphone.
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Thought-powered helicopter takes off (05/06/2013)
Researchers have harnessed the power of thought to guide a remote-control helicopter through an obstacle course.
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Extinct lizard named after The Doors' singer Jim Morrison (04/06/2013)
A newly described 6ft lizard that roamed South East Asia from 36-40 million years ago has been named after The Doors singer Jim Morrison.
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Dead, live guppies vie for paternity (04/06/2013)
After death, male guppies can keep on siring offspring because females store sperm for so long. As a result, a living male in a stream in Trinidad can end up competing with long-gone fish from his grandfather’s generation.
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Biological clocks 'beat quicker' in cities (03/06/2013)
City living could have a major impact on the biological clocks of humans and animals, a new study has found.
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This Is How the Sun Will Die (in 3D) (02/06/2013)
Middleweight stars like the sun expand and cool in their old age, briefly turning into red giants. After the red giant stage, the outer layers puff off, leaving behind a white dwarf: a dense, super-hot stellar cinder.
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The quest to build a silicon brain (25/05/2013)
An engineer's revolutionary new chip, inspired by how our own brains work, could turn computing on its head.
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A snapshot of the inside of an Atom (23/05/2013)
Talk about taking a tough shot. Physicists have, for the first time, been able to image the quantum workings of electrons in hydrogen atoms, an advance that could open the door to a deeper understanding of the quantum world.
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A molecular window on itch (23/05/2013)
Long a mystery, the sensation of itch has yielded a clue. The neurons that detect itch rely on a newly identified chemical to send the “I need to scratch!” message to the brain, according to a study in mice. Remove the molecule, and the mice don’t itch.
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Where do thoughts occur? (22/05/2013)
We think big. We think out loud. We think outside the box. We think on our feet. But what we don’t do is think entirely inside our heads.
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Foot fungi a thriving, diverse community (22/05/2013)
For house-hunting fungi, feet are prime real estate. More than 80 different types of fungi make human feet home.
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World’s first algae-powered building (17/05/2013)
Living buildings that generate their own power could be the way of the future. German architectural firm Splitterwerk and engineering company Arup have just unveiled their latest collaboration – the world’s first “algae-powered” building, dubbed the BIQ.
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Tamed fox shows domestication's effects on the brain (15/05/2013)
Taming foxes changes not only the animals’ behavior but also their brain chemistry. The finding could shed light on how the foxes’ genetic cousins, wolves, morphed into man’s best friend.
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Fungus network 'plays role in plant communication' (10/05/2013)
Plants can communicate the onset of an attack from aphids by making use of an underground network of fungi.
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To stop malaria, infect the mosquitoes (09/05/2013)
For thousands of years, mosquitoes have made people sick. But now humanity may have found a way to turn the tables. In a new study, researchers report that giving mosquitoes an infection of their own—with a strange bacterium that tinkers with the insects' sex lives—may prevent mosquitoes from transmitting malaria.
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Atom's core gets pear-shaped (08/05/2013)
Atomic nuclei come in many shapes and sizes, and scientists have now obtained precise measurements of an elusive form: pear-shaped.
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Why you crave sugary foods even if they taste like crap (08/04/2013)
When, in a moment of weakness, you reach for that chocolate donut or bag of jelly beans, to all appearances your tastebuds are running the show.
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Teens make real advances in biomedical science (07/05/2013)
Kelly Xinyi Zhang, 17, has been aware of cancer and its effects almost her entire life. When she was just 5, a friend developed bone cancer. Doctors amputated part of the girl’s leg, saving her life. Later, when Zhang was in middle school, the father of another friend was diagnosed with colon cancer. Surgeons tried but could not remove all of the cancer. Two years ago, he died.
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Working gun made with 3D printer (06/05/2013)
The world's first gun made with 3D printer technology has been successfully fired in the US.
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Shhh, the plants are talking (06/05/2013)
The word in the garden is that basil is good to have around. Plants are known to communicate with each other via shade, aromatic chemicals, and physical touch, promoting processes such as growth and defense against disease, as well as attraction of bees and other pollinators.
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Insects, a source of protein instead of meat (05/04/2013)
Insects are regularly eaten by as much as 80% of the worlds population, but even the very thought of it seems shocking to most people in the UK. But as the global population continues to grow, there is a growing move towards eating insects as a staple part of our diet.
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Your biggest cosmic questions, answered (Part 1) (02/05/2013)
Fifteen years ago, a small cabal of researchers took some of the most firmly held notions about how the universe works and turned them on their head. Until then, everyone was sure that the expanding universe was born in an explosive Big Bang and had been slowing down ever since, dragged by the gravitational pull of untold billions of galaxies. But in fact the expansion is speeding up. Everyone was sure that matter was what dominated the overall behavior of the universe. But in fact it seems that “dark energy,” not matter, is running the show.
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Scientists make 'bug-eye' camera (01/05/2013)
A digital camera that functions like an insect's compound eye is reported in the journal Nature this week.
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Antibiotic protects men from being too trusting of attractive women (30/04/2013)
The ruse is common in spy movies—an attractive female saunters in at a critical moment and seduces the otherwise infallible protagonist, duping him into giving up the goods. It works in Hollywood and it works in real life, too. Men tend to say yes to attractive women without really scrutinizing whether or not they are trustworthy.
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Genetic fossils betray hepatitis B's ancient roots (30/04/2013)
A virus that causes liver diseases in people may have infected birds that shared the planet with dinosaurs. More than 82 million years ago, a hepatitis B virus infected an ancient bird and got stuck in its genome, a molecular version of a tar pit, researchers report April 30 in Nature Communications.
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AMS particle detector onboard the ISS records whiff of dark matter (29/04/2013)
On 3 April, researchers led by Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting of MIT announced that the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle detector operating on board the International Space Station since 2011, has counted more than 400 000 positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons.
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Bringing people back from the dead (23/04/2013)
A doctor says people can be revived several hours after they have seemingly died. Should this change the way we think about death?
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Your brain calls in backup to find lost things (22/04/2013)
When you lose something important—a child, your wallet, the keys—your brain kicks into overdrive to find the missing object. But that’s not just a matter of extra concentration. Researchers have found that in these intense search situations your brain actually rallies extra visual processing troops (and even some other non-visual parts of the brain) to get the job done.
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E. coli bacteria 'can produce diesel biofuel' (22/04/2013)
A strain of bacteria has been created that can produce fuel, scientists say. The oil that the bacteria produced had a near-identical composition and chemical properties to conventional diesel.
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Potentially habitable exoplanets found orbiting nearby star (18/04/2013)
Exoplanets have found a permanent place in the public imagination, probably because of the possibility of finding an Earth twin: a planet where life as we know it (either extraterrestrial or, eventually, our own) could survive. While we’re not there, yet, a NASA press conference today suggests we’ve come closer to this goal: the first known planets that could plausibly support life.
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Tulip tree's genome is 'molecular fossil' (16/04/2013)
The "extraordinary level of conservation" of genetic data in the tulip tree remains largely unchanged since the dinosaurs, a study suggests.
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Dark matter experiment (15/04/2013)
Researchers have revealed the first potential hints of the elusive material called dark matter at an underground laboratory in the US.
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Bioengineered Kidney Transplanted Into Rat (15/04/2013)
When a patient’s kidney stops functioning, the existing options are limited to transplant or continual dialysis. Now scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are a little closer to having a third option: transplanting kidneys that have been “upcycled” from previously unusable tissue.
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Fusion-powered rocket could send humans to Mars (14/04/2013)
Researchers at the University of Washington and at MSNW are building components of a fusion-powered rocket aimed to clear many of the hurdles that block deep space travel, including long times in transit, exorbitant costs and health risks.
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Brain’s reaction to the taste of beer helps explain why it’s hard to stop at one (12/04/2013)
A new study suggests that despite the bitter taste, the chemicals in beer trigger the brain’s reward system. This pleasurable effect might just explain why we’re so willing to keep drinking past the first sip — until intoxication takes over, and we’ll drink just about anything.
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Pottery cooked from the start (10/04/2013)
Ancient leftovers indicate that the earliest pottery was used by hunter-gatherers for cooking, thousands of years before farming communities began heating their food in vessels.
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Watch This: The year’s best views of earth from space (09/04/2013)
In case you need one more reason to be amazed by the blue marble we live on, check out these views of Earth taken from space over the course of the last year.
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Amputee with Terminator-like hand ties shoelace and deals cards with ease (09/04/2013)
Following an accident at work, Nigel Ackland had no choice but to have his arm amputated. Ackland was originally fitted with a passive hand; however, he could not use the hand functionally.
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Blood Cells Are Attracted to Good Food Smells (08/04/2013)
The nose is made for whiffing odors, but apparently it is not the only organ in the human body with a sense of smell. Researchers in Germany have found that heart, lung and blood cells, among others, also have olfactory receptors.
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A new reason why red meat, and some energy drinks, may be bad for our heart (07/04/2013)
Our guts are awash in bacteria, and now a new study fingers them as culprits in heart disease. A complicated dance between the microbes and a component of red meat could help explain how the food might cause atherosclerosis.
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Brain scan can decode your dreams (04/04/2013)
It’s happened to all of us—something wakes you smack in the middle of a random, Technicolor assortment of people, rooms, buildings and streets. They were all interacting as if it made sense, and then you can remember hardly anything from the dream. But what if you didn’t have to? What if a machine could read your dreams?
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Bioglass helping to mend bones (03/04/2013)
Researchers have been studying new materials or implants that are of interest in medicine and in helping to mend bones, in particular.
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Exhaled breath is unique fingerprint (03/04/2013)
Compounds present in exhaled breath can act as a "fingerprint" for individuals. These "metabolites" represent the waste products of the body's chemistry - but their uniqueness had never been shown.
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Cell fibers could be woven Into organ transplants of the future (02/04/2013)
What will the organ transplants of the future look like? Researchers in Tokyo suggest something that resembles injectable strings able to integrate themselves organically into the human system.
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Geckos keep firm grip in wet natural habitat (02/04/2013)
Geckos’ ability to stick to trees and leaves during rainforest downpours has fascinated scientists for decades, leading a group of University of Akron researchers to solve the mystery.
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Are B-Cells to blame for chronic fatigue syndrome? (02/04/2013)
The ravages of chronic fatigue syndrome may be the result of an overlooked but essential part of the body's own immune system.
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Quantum cryptography takes flight (02/04/2013)
Quantum cryptography has entered the friendly skies. A precise beam of photons sent from an airplane allowed researchers on the ground to create a nearly unbreakable encryption key to protect information. The experiment, reported March 31 in Nature Photonics, is an important step toward creating a secure global communication network based on beaming photons to and from satellites.
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20 Things you didn't know about coffee (01/04/2013)
Joe. Java. Go juice. Whatever you call it, you're probably drinking it. Now find out how coffee is connected to a Bach cantata, enemas, and elephant dung.
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What is ocean acidification? (31/03/2013)
Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period time, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
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Why do 'single' birds dance? (31/03/2013)
"Mesmerising and with a little bit of mystery about it."
That is how aviculturist Amy King describes the graceful leaping, bowing, running, spinning and grass-tossing of dancing cranes.
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Living wires discovered along ocean floor (28/03/2013)
Researchers have discovered filamentous bacteria along the seafloor that function as living power cables in order to transmit electrons thousands of cell lengths away.
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Scientists clone extinct frog that gave birth via its mouth (27/03/2013)
The genome of an extinct Australian frog has been revived and reactivated by a team of scientists using sophisticated cloning technology to implant a “dead” cell nucleus into a fresh egg from another frog species.
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Falcons 'rapidly evolved' hunting skills (25/03/2013)
Scientists from Cardiff University have sequenced the genome of peregrine and saker falcons for the first time. Research revealed that compared with other species, these birds of prey have been subjected to fierce competition and pressures, leading them to adapt quickly in order to survive.
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Billboards turn air into drinking water (22/03/2013)
Just outside Lima, Peru, a billboard provides drinking water to whomever needs it - mainly, its neighbours. The panel produces clean water from the humidity in the air, through filters.
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Planck’s New Recipe of the Universe: More Matter, Less Dark Energy (21/03/2013)
Today NASA released a new map of the universe, and described it with a slew of superlatives: It is the “most accurate,” “most detailed,” “best map ever.” It’s that good.
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Potential Treatment for Ebola, Rabies Discovered (21/03/2013)
Some of the most lethal viruses, including Ebola, may have met their match. A molecule related to plant-derived compounds known as indoline alkaloids appears to block crucial elements of replication in nonsegmented, negative sense (NNS) RNA viruses, an order that includes such unsavory members as Ebola, rabies and measles.
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The magnificent Horsehead Nebula (19/03/2013)
Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud by chance has assumed this recognisable shape.
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Brain Activity Illuminated in a Zebrafish (18/03/2013)
The possibility of someday recording all the neurons firing in a living creature’s central nervous system has inspired generations of neuroscientists. Now a group of researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has finally achieved the feat.
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Artificial retina receives FDA approval (15/03/2013)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted market approval to an artificial retina technology, the first bionic eye to be approved for patients in the United States.
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Sugar is really, really evil (14/03/2013)
We all know that refined foods generally aren’t very good for us, and that adding sugar to our foods and beverages is decidedly unhealthy. But did you know that sugar is really, really bad for you? Or that you should avoid it as if your life depends on it?
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Creating False Mouse Memories (13/03/2013)
To explore how the brain encodes memories, neurobiologists at the Scripps Research Institute created a new memory in a mouse, by mixing two separate experiences of its past. The experiment reveals just how malleable memory can be.
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New virus uses protein handle to infect cells (13/03/2013)
A new coronavirus that has sickened 14 people, killing eight of them, can slip into cells in many types of animals, a new study shows.
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How Does Your Skeleton Grow? (13/03/2013)
The foot bones of the jerboa are hard to miss. Longer than the animal's arm, they help the bipedal desert rodent hop quickly away from predators. Now, they have also helped scientists better understand how bones grow to the right length.
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Disputed finds put humans in South America 22,000 years ago (12/03/2013)
Stone tools unearthed at a Brazilian rock-shelter may date to as early as 22,000 years ago. Their discovery has rekindled debate about whether ancient people reached the Americas long before the famed Clovis hunters spread through parts of North America around 13,000 years ago.
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Replacement Teeth Grown From Gum Cells (11/03/2013)
Growing new teeth may someday be a viable alternative to dentures. A new study has successfully created lab-grown teeth by combining human gum cells with stem cells from embryonic mice.
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Mice get brain boost from transplanted human tissue (08/03/2013)
Transplanting human brain cells into mice makes the mice smarter, a new study shows.
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Ash fungus genetic code unravelled (07/03/2013)
UK scientists have unravelled the genetic code of the ash dieback fungus. The DNA "recipe" contains clues to how the pathogen attacks ash trees and possibly, in the long term, how to stop the epidemic, say genetic researchers.
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Meet the Newest Member of the Immune System: The Nose (06/03/2013)
New research hints that the function of taste and smell receptors go far beyond our gourmand aspirations. Scientists have found that the proteins we use to detect certain tastes and scents are actually an important part of our immune system.
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Wolf in sheep’s clothing (06/03/2013)
In a study published online in the journal Science, researchers at UCLA demonstrate that certain cunning bacteria – including the type that causes tuberculosis – can pretend to be viruses when infecting humans, allowing them to hijack the body’s immune response so that they can hide out, unhindered, inside our cells
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Radiation ring around Earth mysteriously appears, then dissipates (04/03/2013)
High above Earth’s surface float two rings of energetic charged particles, and for about four weeks in September, they were joined by a third. The temporary ring may have formed in response to a solar shock wave that passed by Earth, researchers report online February 28 in Science.
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Three Ways Video Games Can Improve Health Care (28/02/2013)
I was a gamer kid. Heck, I still am a gamer kid. And like any form of media, old or new, video games have had their fair share of negative airtime. Much like how comic books were vilified in the 1950s for corroding young and impressionable minds (although the research behind those claims is now in dispute), video games are similarly being scrutinized for their effects on development and behavior.
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Omega-3 Shows Protective Effect Against Skin Cancer (27/02/2013)
The anti-inflammatory effect of fish and fish oil supplements have long been used to bring down high blood pressure and keep heart disease at bay. The secret ingredient is their omega-3 fatty acids. A new study shows that omega-3 may be good for your skin, too.
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Sleep loss affects gene activity (27/02/2013)
People who don’t get enough sleep tend to experience a wide variety of health problems, but scientists haven’t known why at a molecular level. Now, Derk-Jan Dijk and colleagues at the University of Surrey in England report changes in gene activity in 26 people who had built up a sleep deficit.
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Water Worlds - harvesting water from moons, planets (26/02/2013)
When the Curiosity rover discovered evidence of an ancient stream bed on Mars in late September, it was an important and reassuring discovery. In fact, scientists have found increasing evidence of water on numerous moons, planets, and asteroids in recent years—an encouraging trend for those who see the familiar substance as the backbone of a future space-based economy. By harvesting water and converting it into a hydrogen-based rocket fuel, a space mining company like Shackleton Energy of Austin, Texas, could become the Exxon Mobil of the interplanetary highway.
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Ancient Tooth Plaque Reveals Dietary Decline (25/02/2013)
It’s pretty standard for scientists to look at human skeletons to reconstruct past human health. But a new approach looks not at our ancestors themselves but the hardened gunk on their teeth to re-create the timeline of human dietary changes.
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Bumblebees sense flowers' electric fields (22/02/2013)
Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) can detect flowers' electric fields, scientists have discovered. Results indicate floral electric fields improve the bees' ability to discriminate between different flowers. When used with visual signals, electrical cues can enhance the bee's memory of floral rewards.
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Deepest undersea vents discovered by UK team (22/02/2013)
UK scientists exploring the ocean floor in the Caribbean have discovered an "astounding" set of hydrothermal vents, the deepest anywhere in the world.
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Fatigue Factor (21/02/2013)
Exhaustion is a baffling symptom of anything from sleep deficit to cancer. This doctor had only one hour to solve the case of the weary woman in his Baja village clinic.
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Blood levels of BPA become source of controversy (18/02/2013)
BOSTON — The ubiquity of the pollutant bisphenol A in many plastic products, food-can linings, cash-register receipts and dental resins means that everyone is exposed to it daily. But controversy remains about how much BPA people actually ingest or otherwise encounter.
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Aquatic predators affect carbon-storing plant life (17/02/2013)
In ecosystems around the world, big guys eat littler guys, who in turn eat plants and other organisms at the base of the food web. A study now finds that removing top predators in freshwater environments allows their prey to flourish — and overgraze on plants and algae. The result of the missing plant matter: a 90 percent reduction in uptake and storage of carbon dioxide.
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Seals judge size using their whiskers (17/02/2013)
Seals are able to judge the size of an object using their whiskers, according to research. The mammals are known for their touch-sensitive whiskers but scientists wanted to know exactly how they size up their prey.
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New Whale Species Unearthed in California Highway Dig (17/02/2013)
BOSTON—Chalk yet another fossil find up to roadcut science. Thanks to a highway-widening project in California’s Laguna Canyon, scientists have identified several new species of early toothed baleen whales.
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Can You Potty Train a Cow? (13/02/2013)
Think potty training a child is hard? Try teaching a cow when and where to do its business.
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Creating genetic circuits in bacterial cells (12/02/2013)
MIT engineers have created genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results, which are encoded in the cell’s DNA and passed on for dozens of generations.
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Video of innate immune response (12/02/2013)
Dr Kamenyeva’s video, titled “Sensing danger”, took top honours in Nikon’s second annual Small World in Motion competition. The video shows the immune response in the lymph node of a mouse.
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Asteroid Will Make Close Pass by Earth on Friday (12/02/2013)
On Friday, February 15, astronomers will get an unusually good look at a near-Earth asteroid called 2012 DA14. It will be the first time a known object of this size will come this close to Earth—a mere 8 percent the distance between us and our moon.
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Sea slug carries disposable penis, plus spares (12/02/2013)
A bristly hermaphroditic sea slug mates employing a use-it-then-lose-it penis, and carries one or two extras for future use, researchers have discovered.
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The road to uncovering a wartime Colossus (11/02/2013)
The story of how the Colossus computer at Bletchley Park aided the allied code-cracking effort during World War II is becoming well known. Its claim to be a forerunner of modern-day computers is also well established.
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Curiosity Mars rover takes historic drill sample (10/02/2013)
Nasa's Curiosity Mars rover has finally drilled deep enough into a rock to acquire a powdered sample for analysis.
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Listen as Solar Flare Engulfs Radio Waves (07/02/2013)
We’re not supposed to look at the sun, but no one said anything about listening. If you, like amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft, had your radio tuned to the right frequency last Saturday evening, you would have heard the garbled effects of a solar flare drowning out radio waves here on Earth after it erupted on the surface of the sun.
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Beware the Superflare (05/02/2013)
September 2, 1859, was a terrible day to be working in the information industry. Telegraph machines around the world behaved as if possessed.
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Cerebral infiltration (06/02/2013)
A malignant brain tumour of a person’s brain, wreathed by fine tracts of white matter. The red fibres signal danger: if severed by the neurosurgeon’s scalpel, their loss could affect the patient’s vision, perception, and motor function.
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Pictures: New Antarctic station (06/02/2013)

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Richard III dig: Skull image released ahead of DNA results (04/02/2013)
An image of a skull which it is thought could be that of Richard III has been released ahead of DNA test results.
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Brain Basis for Why Petting Feels Good (02/02/2013)
Petting feels good. You can see it in a cat’s slowly closing eyes or the contented panting of a dog getting his belly rubbed. In fact, all mammals enjoy being caressed, including humans.
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Gold-digging microbe (01/02/2013)
Forget ancient maps and metal detectors. Those seeking hidden gold might do well to add bacteria to their toolbox. The bacterium Delftia acidovorans secretes a molecule that binds to dissolved gold and turns it into shiny, solid gold, scientists have discovered.
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Ice detector warns drivers in advance (01/02/2013)
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an automatic ice detection system for cars. The system helps drivers to avoid personal injuries and damage to vehicles in icy road conditions. Thanks to the system, vehicles are warned in advance of a road’s actual slipperiness.
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Pictures: Tracking hammerheads (30/01/2013)

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First Look at an Atom's Shadow (29/01/2013)
Nearly 2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Democritus theorized the existence of atoms by imagining what happens if you break a material into its smallest possible units. Last year physicist Dave Kielpinski of Australia’s Griffith University had a similar thought about shadows.
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Protein Boost Halts Huntington's (29/01/2013)
In July researchers investigating Huntington’s disease announced a treatment that can eliminate the distorted proteins that cause the illness, offering hope to the 30,000 people afflicted in the United States.
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Quantum biology: Do weird physics effects abound in nature? (28/01/2013)
Disappearing in one place and reappearing in another. Being in two places at once. Communicating information seemingly faster than the speed of light.
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Four Steps Against Alzheimer's (27/01/2013)
Alzheimer’s disease has repeatedly defeated predictions that effective treatments were right around the corner. By the time symptoms of dementia appear, it seems, damage to the brain is already substantial. But several 2012 advances improve the prospects for intervening before the point of no return.
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Beijing smog: When growth trumps life in China (25/01/2013)
Beijing's air pollution has soared to hazardous levels, but cleaning up the problem is not straightforward, and is dependent on prioritising quality of life over economic growth.
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Psychology: Why You Want to Squeeze Cute Things (25/01/2013)
“You are so cute I could just eat you up!” We’ve all experienced that urge to squeeze something that is really, really cute. Think tiny bunnies, baby ducks, a pudgy baby’s cheeks. In the Philippines they even have a word for it.
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Behind the Scenes, International Space Station (22/01/2013)
Tour of the International Space Station with astronaut Sunita Williams as your guide.
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Mackerel no longer catch of the day (21/01/2013)
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has downgraded mackerel from its list of fish suitable to eat.
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Brain Cancer Traced Back to Fused Genes (21/01/2013)
Genetic flaw sheds new light on the origin of this deadly cancer.
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The most venomous marine animal (17/01/2013)
They may not look dangerous, but the sting from a box jellyfish could be enough to send you to Davy Jones's locker—a watery grave, that is.
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DNA Mimic Brewed in Lab (17/01/2013)
In a remarkable act of biological mimicry, researchers in Europe and the United States announced in April that they had created six types of artificial DNA—synthetic genetic material that can encode information just like the real thing.
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Why Kids Make Rash Decisions (15/01/2013)
In a classic test of willpower, psychologists found that preschoolers who could resist eating one marshmallow now to get two marshmallows later fared better as adolescents, with higher SAT scores and better concentration.
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Has the Milky Way Lost Weight (11/01/2013)
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA—Suppose you stepped on the scales one morning to find that you weighed only half as much as the day before. You'd check the scales, right? In fact, a weight loss of cosmic proportions is exactly what happened when Alis Deason recalibrated the scales used to weigh our Milky Way galaxy.
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Shark embryos 'freeze' to evade predators (10/01/2013)
Bamboo shark embryos developing in egg cases stay still to evade predators, scientists say.
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Gemini telescope catches 'Orion's Bullets'. (10/01/2013)
An astronomical feature called "Orion's Bullets" has been imaged in stunning detail by a shape-shifting optical system on Hawaii's Gemini telescope.
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Updated Pap smear detects ovarian, uterine cancers. (09/01/2013)
A multipurpose version of a Pap smear can detect genetic signs of ovarian or uterine cancer in women, researchers report. When applied to the cervical swabs, the experimental analysis spotted genetic mutations in every sample from uterine cancer patients and in many from those with ovarian cancer.
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Neurons growing over astrocytes in a human stem cell embryo body. (09/01/2013)
Image of Distinction, Nikon Small World 2011 competition
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Hydrogen breakthrough: using solar power to split water. (09/01/2013)
Back in 1998, when American motorists were paying just over a dollar for a gallon (about 3,8 litres) of petrol, John Turner of the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) dropped jaws all over the energy world by demonstrating that he could use sunlight to extract hydrogen from water at a remarkable 12,4 per cent efficiency.
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“Potentially Hazardous” Asteroid to Pass by Earth (07/01/2013)
A flurry of apocalyptic hoopla was generated in 2004 when astronomers found an asteroid that looked like it may be headed for Earth. Apophis measures almost 1000 feet across, and if it were to hit Earth, the fateful collision would occur on Friday the 13th, in April of 2029.
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Ancient Eye Treatment Recovered From Tuscan Shipwreck. (07/01/2013)
Medicinal tablets retrieved from a 2000-year-old shipwreck suggest that classical Mediterranean civilizations had sophisticated drugs.
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Can genetically modified mosquitoes prevent disease? (05/01/2013)
After a summer of record-high temperatures in the US in 2012, health officials are still dealing with the repercussions of mosquito-borne diseases. Could genetically-modified insects halt their spread?
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Babies Recognize Mother Tongue From Birth. (04/01/2013)
Infants are known for their impressive ability to learn language, which most scientists say kicks in somewhere around the six-month mark. But a new study indicates that language recognition may begin even earlier, while the baby is still in the womb.
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Inactivated virus shows promise against HIV. (03/01/2013)
Patients with HIV who get vaccinated with a disabled version of the virus can, in many cases, fight the real one to a draw. A new study shows that injecting heat-inactivated HIV can awaken immune protection in some patients, limiting their need for drugs for weeks or months.
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Planets and their sun grow together. (03/01/2013)
Some 450 light-years from Earth, embryonic planets may be feeding tendrils of gas to the newborn star they orbit.
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The Bat: A Long-Lived, Virus-Proof Anomaly. (01/01/2013)
Bats are pretty impressive critters. They are notorious for carrying viruses like Ebola and SARS, but somehow avoid getting these diseases themselves.
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Pictures: Celebrating world's ecology (18/12/2012)

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Paralysed woman's thoughts control robotic arm. (17/12/2012)
Unrivalled control of a robotic arm has been achieved using a paralysed woman's thoughts, a US study says.
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River on Saturn's moon Titan. (14/12/2012)
Scientists with the Cassini-Huygens mission have just announced they identified a river on Saturn’s moon Titan.
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Could Engineered Ferret Flu Unleash a Human Pandemic? (14/12/2012)
When word got out that two virologists had engineered avian flu so it could spread among ferrets, the reaction was swift and savage.
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Blind cat fish species discovered. (13/12/2012)
A new species of blind cat fish has been discovered by scientists working in south India. This, along with other new animals, were identified in an old deep well in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
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Metal Vapour Torch slices through metal in seconds. (13/12/2012)
A Metal Vapour Torch (MVT) is the size of a torch, but packs the punch of a light sabre.
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The hum that helps to fight crime. (12/12/2012)
A hum that comes from mains electricity has allowed forensic scientists to establish whether recordings are genuine.
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X-37B US military space plane launches for third flight (11/12/2012)
A notoriously mysterious military space plane operated by the US Air Force has launched from Florida, the third flight in a secretive test programme.
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Rare cat filmed up close in Borneo. (10/12/2012)
One of the world's most rare and elusive cats, the Sunda clouded leopard of Malaysia, has been filmed up close.
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Silver nanocubes make super light absorbers (10/12/2012)
Microscopic metallic cubes could unleash the enormous potential of metamaterials to absorb light, leading to more efficient and cost-effective large-area absorbers for sensors or solar cells, Duke University researchers have found.
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Joy to the World From the International Space Station. (07/12/2012)
The crew of the International Space Station would like to wish you very happy holidays this year, and it comes in the form of this pretty timelapse video. On their wishlist? World peace. They’d like to see a little more cooperation on the beautiful blue marble they orbit.
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How Maggots Heal Wounds (06/12/2012)
Yes, maggots are creepy, crawly, and slimy. But that slime is a remarkable healing balm, used by battlefield surgeons for centuries to close wounds. Now, researchers say they've figured out how the fly larvae work their magic: They suppress our immune system.
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Nasa investigates use of ‘trailblazing’ material for new sensors. (06/12/2012)
Tiny sensors — made of a potentially trailblazing material just one atom thick and heralded as the “next best thing” since the invention of silicon — are now being developed to detect trace elements in Earth’s upper atmosphere and structural flaws in spacecraft.
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New contender for oldest dinosaur. (05/12/2012)
Palaeontologists have found what is likely to be the oldest known dinosaur, filling in a yawning evolutionary gap. A study in Biology Letters describes Nyasasaurus parringtoni, a new species from 10-15 million years before the previous earliest dinosaur specimens.
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One Last Crossing Before Interstellar Space? (04/12/2012)
The two Voyager spacecraft have been speeding toward the "edge" of the solar system for 35 years, and Voyager 1 is getting close, very close, to leaving the sun's solar wind behind and entering interstellar space.
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Shape-shifting robot made by MIT scientists. (04/12/2012)
It may not look like a character from the Transformer franchise, but a tiny robot made in the US is able to change shape. Built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it uses magnets to mimic molecules that fold themselves into complex shapes.
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Ancient microbes found in Antarctic lake. (04/12/2012)
Nearly 20 metres beneath the icy surface of a remote Antarctic lake, an international team of scientists has uncovered a community of bacteria existing in one of Earth’s darkest, saltiest and coldest habitats.
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Images From NASA's Landsats. (03/12/2012)

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Battling the bacterial threat to modern medicine. (30/11/2012)
The arrival of antibiotics in the 1940s revolutionised healthcare, but bacteria are fighting back and doctors and scientists are warning that ever-evolving resistant strains are putting modern medicine at risk.
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Mercury's water ice at north pole finally proven. (30/11/2012)
Scientists have finally shown what has been postulated for decades: the planet Mercury holds billions of tonnes of water ice at its north pole.
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Genetic diversity exploded in recent millennia. (29/11/2012)
A new look at living people’s DNA reveals that the human genome just isn’t what it was in Neolithic times.
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Why do we have spring tides in the fall? (28/11/2012)
Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is "pulled" back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits.
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Orion Nebula image. (28/11/2012)
New image of the Orion Nebula was captured using the Wide Field Imager camera on the MPG/ESO 2,2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile.
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Largest whale's acrobatic ambush. (28/11/2012)
Blue whales perform underwater acrobatics to attack their prey from below, scientists have found. The massive mammals are known for lunge-feeding; gulping up to 100 tonnes of krill-filled water in less than 10 seconds.
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Device streams braille onto the retina, enables the blind to see. (27/11/2012)
For the very first time researchers have streamed braille patterns directly into a blind patient’s retina, allowing him to read four-letter words accurately and quickly with an ocular neuroprosthetic device.
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Understanding space suit technology. (27/11/2012)
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon's surface in 1969, he was wearing a space suit developed by the US company ILC Dover, which is based in Delaware. It weighs 280lb (127kg), and on Earth astronauts struggle to support the weight of the suit on their own.
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Curiosity rover finds clues to changes in Mars’ atmosphere. (26/11/2012)
Curiosity has taken significant steps toward understanding how Mars may have lost much of its original atmosphere. Learning what happened to the Martian atmosphere will help scientists assess whether the planet ever was habitable. The present atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than Earth’s.
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Gas tanker Ob River attempts first winter Arctic crossing. (26/11/2012)
A large tanker carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) is set to become the first ship of its type to sail across the Arctic.
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Neurons can silence each other without any direct connections. (23/11/2012)
The chatter in your brain largely depends on special junctions called synapses – meeting places between two neurons, through which they transmit chemical signals or electric currents. But neurons don’t always need synapses to communicate.
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Namib Desert beetle inspires self-filling water bottle. (23/11/2012)
A US start-up has turned to nature to help bring water to arid areas by drawing moisture from the air. NBD Nano aims to mimic the way a beetle survives in an African desert to create a self-filling water bottle capable of storing up to three litres every hour.
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UAV recharges via laser as it flies. (20/11/2012)
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and LaserMotive, a small start-up near Seattle, are developing a system to power unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as they fly.
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1949 computer gets a reboot . (20/11/2012)
In its heyday in the 1950s the machine was the workhorse of the UK's atomic energy research programme. The Witch, as the machine is known, has been restored to clattering and flashing life in a three-year effort.
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The smell of white – the mixture of many scents. (20/11/2012)
Meet Laurax, a not-very-bold, not-that-exciting new fragrance. According to a panel of sniffers, it’s neither appealing nor revolting. It’s “intermediately pleasant”. People almost trip over themselves to describe it in non-descript terms—“fragrant”, “chemical” and “perfumery”.
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Ultralight Micro-Lattice, world’s lightest solid material. (19/11/2012)
The Ultralight Micro-Lattice is an engineered metal mesh that is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam packing peanuts. It can be compressed by up to 50 per cent and bounce perfectly back into shape.
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Debilitated man uses thought to move robotic arm. (19/11/2012)
Seven years after Tim Hemmes was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him unable to move his limbs, he was invited to participate in a University of Pittsburgh research project aimed at decoding the link between thought and movement.
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Virus saves itself by preventing bacterial suicide. (17/11/2012)
Bacteria sometimes commit suicide for the good of the group. When a virus infects a bacterium, the cell kills itself rather than allow the virus to replicate inside it and spread to the surrounding bacteria.
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Is the toilet seat really the dirtiest place in the home? (16/11/2012)
The toilet seat has acquired an unfair reputation as the dirtiest item in the average household. But scientists say there are far filthier places in our house, some of them where we least expect.
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British Museum exhibit Gebelein Man died 'violent death'. (15/11/2012)
A virtual post mortem has been undertaken on one of the British Museum's oldest mummies, Gebelein Man.
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World's leggiest millipede. (15/11/2012)
The anatomical secrets of the world's leggiest creature, a millipede with 750 legs, have been revealed by scientists.
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The hottest thing ever. (15/11/2012)
The hottest man-made temperature ever: 4 trillion degrees Celsius.
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Top Ten Amazing Higgs Boson Facts. (13/11/2012)
To celebrate the publication of The Particle at the End of the Universe, here’s a cheat sheet for you: mind-bending facts about the Higgs boson you can use to impress friends and prospective romantic entanglements.
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Flamingo breeding event begins. (13/11/2012)
Many thousands of lesser flamingos have flocked to Tanzania's Lake Natron to begin nesting. Early reports suggest that this could become the most significant breeding event since 2007.
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Self-Healing Plastic 'Skin'. (11/11/2012)
Researchers in California may have designed a synthetic version—a flexible, electrically conductive, self-healing polymer.
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Lung-on-a-Chip May Help with Drug Testing. (9/11/2012)
In the past few years scientists have been building organs on chips—microfluidic devices seeded with human cells and designed to function like miniatures of real-life lungs, hearts and kidneys.
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Hydrogen fuel edges a step closer. (9/11/2012)
Making hydrogen gas in water just got a little easier. The discovery may lead to inexpensive, practical means of harvesting sunlight to create clean-burning hydrogen for powering cars or generating electricity.
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Pictures: Attenborough's ark. (9/11/2012)
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Can software change our energy habits? (8/11/2012)
Gary in Sales is today's worst offender, again. He's clocked up 2.3 kilowatt hours (kWh) this time, a personal worst. He never switches off his PC before he leaves work, and keeps a personal kettle. More surprising is that Sue in marketing is not far behind him at 2.1kWh. But then she been known to leave her electric hair tweezers charging overnight. Could this be the office gossip of the near future?
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Crocs have super-sensitive jaws. (8/11/2012)
Thick-skinned crocodilians are actually more sensitive to touch than humans, according to scientists.
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Early human embryo. (6/11/2012)
Colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of an early human embryo after 2-3 days.
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12-Billion-Year-Old Supernova. (6/11/2012)
Scientists using a telescope atop a Hawaiian volcano have detected a pair of extra-bright supernovae, or star explosions, one of which is the oldest, most-distant supernova ever detected.
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103 Stories with a Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Leg. (5/11/2012)
On Sunday, amputee Zac Vawter climbed 103 stories of the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the Western hemisphere, using a prosthetic limb he controlled with his thoughts.
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A Twitch of the Heart. (5/11/2012)
I was checking on my patients in the cardiac monitoring unit at the hospital where I am on staff, when Denise, a 31-year-old nurse on the unit, stopped me to ask about chest pains she was having.
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Your brain on speed dating . (5/11/2012)
In the fraught, emotional world of speed dating, scientific calculations don’t usually hold much sway. But the brain runs a complex series of computations to tally the allure of a prospective partner in just seconds, a new study finds. And the strength of these brain signals predicted which speed daters would go on to score a match.
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Heart bypass surgery outperforms stents in diabetics. (5/11/2012)
Bypass surgery may be a better option for diabetic patients with clogged arteries than a less invasive procedure to prop open blocked vessels from the inside, an international team reports.
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Leaving our mark: Fossils of the future. (3/11/2012)
From our cities, to our farms, to our rubbish, humans have firmly stamped their mark across the planet. In part two of a two-part feature, Andrew Luck-Baker, from the BBC's Radio Science Unit, explores the legacy our civilisation will leave in the rocks of the future.
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Europe's oldest prehistoric town unearthed in Bulgaria. (1/11/2012)
Archaeologists in Bulgaria say they have uncovered the oldest prehistoric town found to date in Europe, and believe that the town was home to some 350 people and dates back to between 4700 and 4200 BC.
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New flying fish fossils discovered in China. (31/10/2012)
New flying fish fossils found in China provide the earliest evidence of vertebrate over-water gliding strategy. Chinese researchers have tracked the "exceptionally well-preserved fossils" to the Middle Triassic of China (235-242 million years ago).
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Hunting dark matter with DNA. (31/10/2012)
RALEIGH, N.C. — Physicists racing to detect the mysterious substance known as dark matter are thinking outside the box by looking inside the cell. A new proposal for tracking dark matter particles relies on strands of DNA.
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Will elephant contraception work in South Africa? (31/10/2012)
Birth control for elephants in South Africa is being hailed as a success, after the introduction of a contraception vaccine being trialled by researchers.
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Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world. (31/10/2012)
Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical food source for millions of people, a new report says.
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Researchers discover a unique feature of HIV that helps to create antibodies (30/10/2012)
Wits researchers have played a pivotal role in an AIDS study published in the journal Nature Medicine describing how a unique change in the outer covering of the virus found in two HIV infected South African women enabled them to make potent antibodies, which are able to kill up to 88 per cent of HIV types from around the world.
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84 million stars and counting (30/10/2012)
Using a whopping nine-gigapixel image from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has created a catalogue of more than 84 million stars in the central parts of the Milky Way.
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Plastic fantastic seals in speeding projectiles (30/10/2012)
Scientists have created a material that demonstrates how common plastics can bring projectiles traveling faster than a kilometer per second to a screeching halt. Similar materials might be used to make supertough lightweight body armor, or coatings to protect jet engine components or spacecraft from flying debris.
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Carbon nanotube chips. (29/10/2012)
Scientists have demonstrated methods that could see higher-performance computer chips made from tiny straws of carbon called nanotubes.
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'Oldest Mayan tomb' found. (26/10/2012)
One of the oldest Mayan tombs ever found has been uncovered in western Guatemala, say archaeologists. Located at a temple site in Retalhuleu province, the grave is thought to be that of an ancient ruler or religious leader who lived some 2,000 years ago.
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Slime with a memory (25/10/2012)
Even without a brain, this slime mold knows where it’s been. Some people liken its appearance to moving, pulsing dog barf.
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Archer fish spitting mystery solved (25/10/2012)
Italian scientists say they have solved the mystery of how archer fish can spit powerful jets of water. Archer fish shoot water jets with enough force to knock prey into the water from overhanging vegetation.
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Skeleton sheds light on Viking Age (25/10/2012)
The discovery of a skeleton in a shallow grave has raised new questions about Wales in the age of the Vikings.
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Charging vehicles on the move. (24/10/2012)
Owners of electric cars could kiss that cumbersome cord goodbye without losing efficiency because of a proprietary technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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Identifying the brain's facial recognition system (22/10/2012)
The ability to recognize faces is so important in humans that the brain appears to have an area solely devoted to the task: the fusiform gyrus. Brain imaging studies consistently find that this region of the temporal lobe becomes active when people look at faces.
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What makes the green turtle...green? (23/10/2012)
The name of the green sea turtle is derived from the reptile's greenish-colored fat.
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Raw Food Not Enough to Feed Big Brains (22/10/2012)
Eating a raw food diet is a recipe for disaster if you're trying to boost your species' brainpower. That's because humans would have to spend more than 9 hours a day eating to get enough energy from unprocessed raw food alone to support our large brains, according to a new study that calculates the energetic costs of growing a bigger brain or body in primates.
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Brain Responses in the Brain-Damaged. (22/10/2012)
When a brain-damaged person seems unresponsive, the uncertainty is excruciating. Is the person in a vegetative state, awake but not conscious, or are they minimally conscious, still retaining some shreds of awareness?
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How scientists recreated Neanderthal man (22/10/2012)
A team of scientists has created what it believes is the first really accurate reconstruction of Neanderthal man, from a skeleton that was discovered in France over a century ago.
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Rare polar ring galaxy captured in new image. (19/10/2012)
Gemini Legacy has captured the colourful and dramatic tale of a life-and-death struggle between two galaxies interacting. All the action appears in a single frame, with the stunning polar-ring galaxy NGC 660 as the focus of attention.
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Petrol 'produced from air and water' (19/10/2012)
A British firm based on Teesside says it's designed revolutionary new technology that can produce petrol using air and water.
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Genetic mutations may explain a brain cancer’s tenacity . (18/10/2012)
New work could help explain why a deadly type of brain cancer recurs easily even after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have apparently banished it.
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners. (18/10/2012)

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Nissan steer-by-wire cars set for 2013. (17/10/2012)
Nissan plans to sell cars controlled by steer-by-wire technology within a year. The innovation works by sending electronic signals from the steering wheel to a computerised unit that then controls the movement of the tyres, rather than using mechanical links.
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Earth's last unexplored wilderness: Your very own home. (17/10/2012)
Touring a building with Jessica Green can be an unsettling experience. “We live nearly 90 percent of our lives indoors, but we know almost nothing about that environment.
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Team removes & preserves people's brains just hours after they die. (16/10/2012)
On average, the residents of Sun City, Arizona, occupy their domiciles for a dozen years. When they depart—almost always by dying—they often leave their brains behind.
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When competition is intense, viruses spill over into new hosts. (16/10/2012)
When you think about viruses, you might wonder how they infect, how they spread, and how they kill. These questions are of natural interest—you, after all, could play host to a grand variety of lethal viruses. But do remember: it’s not all about you.
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Transparent soil reveals plant roots. (16/10/2012)
A new transparent soil is helping to reveal the dark, underground secrets of plant roots.
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Smart headlights ‘make rain disappear’. (15/10/2012)
Flick on your high beams in a storm and all you see is a wall of rain or snow. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have a solution.
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Moving Naturalism Forward. (12/10/2012)
By “naturalism” we mean the simple idea that the natural world, obeying natural laws, is all there is. No supernatural realm, spirits, or ineffable dualistic essences affecting what happens in the universe.
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FOR KIDS: Building Stonehenge. (11/10/2012)
No one knows for certain why ancient people built Stonehenge, a circular monument of stones in Great Britain. But somebody built it.
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Dragon captured and berthed to International Space Station. (10/10/2012)
Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams used the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node at 3:03 pm GMT+2 (9:03 am EDT) on Wednesday, 10 October.
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Stem Cells Safely Implanted in Brains of Boys with Neurological Disorder. (10/10/2012)
At first, the infants seem to be progressing normally. But it soon turns out they may have vision or hearing problems, and when the time comes to lift their heads, the milestone comes and goes. It often gets worse from there.
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Research in cell communication system wins 2012 chemistry Nobel. (10/10/2012)
Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and Brian Kobilka of Stanford University will share the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry for work on molecules that help cells communicate with the outside world.
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Artificial cornea gives the gift of vision (9/10/2012)
Thousands of people have lost their eyesight due to damages to the cornea, such as trauma, absent limbal stem cells or diseases. Transplantation of a donor cornea is the therapy of choice for a great number of those patients.
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How the Brains of Bookworms Compare To Those of Bibliophobes. (9/10/2012)
We all knew the kid who couldn’t be pried away from her book—and the kid for whom each page was an exquisite torture. Why do people take to reading with such varying amounts of ease?
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Austrian Felix Baumgartner set for skydive record attempt. (9/10/2012)
The Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner will attempt to become the first human to break the sound barrier unaided by a vehicle.
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SpaceX lifts off with ISS cargo. (8/10/2012)
The first commercially contracted re-supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has begun. A Falcon rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule lifted clear of Cape Canaveral in Florida at 20:35 (00:35 GMT).
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Mammoth carcass found in Siberia. (5/10/2012)
A well-preserved mammoth carcass has been found by an 11-year-old boy in the permafrost of northern Siberia.
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How the Woman/Man Ratio Affects Sex, Facial Hair, and Politics. (4/10/2012)
It may be hard to believe in the midst of another contentious election cycle, but the next quarter century in the United States promises to be a period of increasing moderation and stability—at least according to a little-known but compelling theory about how the ratio of available men to available women alters our lives.
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Black mamba venom is 'better painkiller' than morphine. (3/10/2012)
A painkiller as powerful as morphine, but without most of the side-effects, has been found in the deadly venom of the black mamba, say French scientists.
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Visionary transparent memory a step closer to reality. (3/10/2012)
Researchers at Rice University are designing transparent, two-terminal, three-dimensional computer memories on flexible sheets that show promise for electronics and sophisticated heads-up displays.
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Scientists Engineer a Cow That Makes Hypoallergenic Milk. (3/10/2012)
People with milk allergies often turn to products like rice and soy milks. But now, in a twist, there is a new source of hypoallergenic milk in the offing: genetically-modified cows.
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Will driverless cars mean computer crashes? (1/10/2012)
Google co-founder Sergey Brin believes that "self-driving cars will be far safer than human-driven cars" but who trusts them enough to drive in them or even alongside them?
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Shortage of engineering graduates. (30/9/2012)
The UK needs to increase by as much as 50% the number of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) graduates it is creating, a report says.
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Japanese lab lays claim to element 113. (27/9/2012)
Bombarding a bismuth target with a blisteringly fast stream of zinc ions has yielded strong evidence for element 113, a Japanese team reports online September 27 in the Journal of the Physical Society of Japan. The report is the second claim on element 113 by the Japanese team and will eventually be evaluated along with competing claims by a Russian-U.S. team.
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How Does Male DNA Get Into a Woman’s Brain?. (27/9/2012)
Some women always have men on the brain. And some women literally have men in their brains. A new study in PloS ONE found that quite a few female brains contain male DNA. This genetic material presumably passes into a mother while she is pregnant with a male fetus.
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Glimpse at black hole’s secrets . (27/9/2012)
A network of radio telescopes has produced the most detailed observations yet of a supermassive black hole in one distant galaxy’s churning heart. The observations, reported online September 27 in Science, may help explain how some active galactic nuclei launch powerful plasma jets thousands of light-years into space.
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Running cars on whisky?. (25/9/2012)
A Perthshire distillery has signed a deal to turn its by-products into fuel for cars, in what is being hailed as a world first.
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First James Webb telescope mirrors delivered to Nasa. (25/9/2012)
The first two components of the huge mirror set to fly on the US James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have been delivered to Nasa.
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Birds catching malaria in Alaska. (21/9/2012)
Birds can catch malaria at least as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska, a new study confirms. And at the rate climate is expected to change, the risk zone for avian malaria might stretch beyond the Arctic Circle by 2080.
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We Can Finally Convert Waste Heat to Electricity. (20/9/2012)
Two-thirds of all the energy we use is lost as waste heat. Maybe, we should be harnessing that heat by turning it back into electricity.
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Youngsters’ Developing Brains are damaged by isolation. (18/9/2012)
Young children need attention—and not just to keep them from wandering off or yelling their lungs out. Social interactions actually help their developing brains.
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Zooming in on individual Molecular Bonds. (17/9/2012)
We’ve come a long way from the first glass-and-light optical microscopes. These days, scientists can focus on individual molecules using advanced methods like atomic force microscopy (AFM), where a miniscule probe feels out the details of a surface.
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Sir Ranulph Fiennes to attempt record Antarctica trek. (16/9/2012)
British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to lead the first team on foot across Antarctica during the southern winter. The six-month expedition next year will see the group endure temperatures as low as -90C and is being called the Coldest Journey.
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Watch This: Water Droplets suspended in mid air by Sound Waves. (15/9/2012)
This technology, called an acoustic levitator, suspends these tiny balls of liquid using two speakers that project sound waves in opposite directions, counteracting the force of gravity.
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Why type 2 diabetes is a bit like The Bourne Identity. (14/9/2012)
People with type 2 diabetes face two problems, both related to insulin – the hormone that regulates the levels of sugar in our blood.
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Virgin snakes give birth. (12/9/2012)
Researchers prove that the North American pit vipers reproduced without a male. This phenomenon called facultative parthenogenesis has previously only been found in captive species.
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Planet forming cloud to be eaten by Milky Way's black hole. (11/9/2012)
Many galaxies host a black hole, and the Milky way is no exception with it's black hole known as SagitariusA (SgrA). A young star and a planet-forming cloud of gas and dust are being pulled towards the huge black hole at the center of our galaxy.
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Weighing molecules one at a time. (11/9/2012)
A team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has made the first-ever mechanical device that can measure the mass of individual molecules one at a time.
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An Amino-Acid Deficiency That Causes Neurological Problems. (11/9/2012)
Our bodies are picky eaters when it comes to amino acids, and sometimes just a small screw-up can cause larger problems down the road. Scientists recently found an association between an amino-acid depleting mutation, and neurological problems in a small sample of humans.
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More planets could harbour life. (10/9/2012)
New computer models suggest there could be many more habitable planets out there than previously thought.
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Cheetah's speed secrets are revealed. (08/9/2012)
Japanese researchers mapped the muscles fibres of the big cat known to accelerate to record-breaking speeds.
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Race to save Alaskan Arctic archaeology. (07/9/2012)
A recently discovered 500-year-old Alaskan settlement is rapidly disappearing into the Bering Sea. The exquisitely preserved frozen site provides a spectacular insight into the Yup'ik Eskimo culture.
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For kids: Higgs — at last! (06/9/2012)
Physicists capture the long-sought Higgs particle, which explains why other particles have mass.
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Millions of DNA switches that power human genome’s operating system discovered. (06/9/2012)
The locations of millions of DNA ‘switches’ that dictate how, when and where in the body different genes turn on and off have been identified by a research team led by the University of Washington in Seattle.
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How I Became Bait for Bloodsucking Leeches. (05/9/2012)
For most zoologists, fieldwork involves lying low and watching quietly as animals wander by. That is not Mark Siddall’s approach. Instead, he rolls up his pant legs, wades into murky waters, and calmly becomes a host for bloodsucking leeches.
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Voyager chasing solar system's edge. (05/9/2012)
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched 35 years ago on September 5, 1977, is bracing for a controlled plunge into interstellar space.
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BAE's Striker helmet gives fighter pilots 'X-ray vision'. (03/9/2012)
When a pilot in a Eurofighter Typhoon jet glances down, he doesn't see a steel-grey floor. Instead he sees clouds, and maybe sheep and cows in green fields below.
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How to mine an asteroid. (02/9/2012)
In April, a group of aerospace veterans and investors announced an audacious venture: a company, Planetary Resources, dedicated to mining asteroids. “Breakthroughs require taking extraordinary risks,” says co-chairman Peter Diamandis. The company, backed by technology trailblazers such as Google CEO Larry Page, movie director and inventor James Cameron, and Microsoft software guru Charles Simonyi, does not expect a fast return on investment. “Within a small number of years, we’ll be flying to asteroids,” says co-chairman Eric Anderson. “But we have a 100-year view.
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