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Showing posts from November 13, 2015

'Star Wars' Costume Exhibit Reveals Creativity Behind Force Fashion

The exhibit, titled "Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and the Power of Costume," features items from every corner of that galaxy far, far away, ranging from Boba Fett's banged-up armor to many of Queen Amidala's ornate gowns. "'Star Wars' is so much a part of our cultural identity," said Laela French, senior manager of archives and exhibits at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which curated the exhibit in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.


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Smithsonian Seeking Space Fans to Retype Apollo Spacecraft Packing Lists

Are you a fan of the Apollo moon landings? If so, then the Smithsonian might have the perfect pastime project for you. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. has launched its first collaboration with the Smithsonian's Transcription Center to digitize the long lists of equipment that flew along with the Apollo astronauts from the Earth to the moon and back.


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Friday the 13th: Why There Are 3 'Unlucky' Days This Year

Today's inauspicious (or perhaps completely insignificant) date comes on the heels of a Friday the 13th in both February and March of this year. Today is the third and last Friday the 13th of the year, but it's also the final Friday the 13th in a series of seven years, in which three of those years had three Friday the 13ths. In 2009, there were three Friday the 13th dates.

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Teens Are Happier Than in the Past — Why Are Adults So Miserable?

"My conclusion is that our current culture is giving teens what they need, but not mature adults what they need," Twenge said. Twenge, the author of "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before" (Free Press, 2006), became interested in studying changes in happiness after seeing several conflicting papers on the topic. Very quickly, Twenge said, a pattern emerged: The eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders of today are happier than the eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders of previous decades.

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Friday the 13th Times 3: Why So Many 'Unlucky' Days in 2015?

Today's inauspicious (or perhaps completely insignificant) date comes on the heels of a Friday the 13th in both February and March of this year. Today is the third and last Friday the 13th of the year, but it's also the final Friday the 13th in a series of seven years, in which three of those years had three Friday the 13ths. In 2009, there were three Friday the 13th dates.

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'WTF' Space Junk Meets Fiery Demise as Scientists Watch (Video)

The mysterious space junk WT1190F fell from the sky this morning, and scientists had a flying, ringside seat as the object burned up in multicolored fireballs. A new video of the falling WT1190F shows the first observations taken by a worldwide collaboration of researchers watching from a Gulfstream 450 business jet as the object returned to Earth to meet its fiery doom. European Space Agency officials suggest the debris is likely from an old rocket mission, and the science team's analysis should help reveal the space junk's ultimate origin.


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Incan Child Sacrified to the Gods Reveals History of American Expansion

The mummy of an Incan child who was sacrificed to the gods more than 500 years ago belonged to a previously unknown offshoot of an ancient Native American lineage, new research finds. The child, a 7-year-old who was found frozen in the highest reaches of the Andes in Argentina, was part of a genetic lineage that arose when humans were beginning to cross the Bering Strait or first migrating into the Americas, the researchers found.


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Mysterious 'Blood Rain' Tints Water a Gruesome Hue

Residents of several villages in northwest Spain received an unpleasant surprise last fall, when they noticed that the water in their fountains had turned a gory shade of red. The tint wasn't left behind by a guilty murderer's bloody hands, but rather by microscopic algae that arrived in a recent rainfall. Speculation ran rampant, blaming everything from contaminants dropped from airplanes to biblical plagues (a similar "blood rain" episode in Kerala, India, in 2001 sparked suggestions that the rain had extraterrestrial origins).


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Lost Pharaoh? Great Pyramid May Hide Undiscovered Tomb

Speculation swirls anew that within Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu there lies a hidden tomb, possibly holding the pharaoh himself, sealed there for thousands of years. The discovery of so-called thermal anomalies by a team scanning the pyramid suggests an as-yet-unidentified open space that could be evidence of a tomb. Scientists and explorers have been searching for an undiscovered tomb within the Great Pyramid since the 19th century, so far failing to find one.


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El Nino sends rare tropical visitors to California waters

El Nino's warm currents have brought fish in an unexpected spectrum of shapes and colors from Mexican waters to the ocean off California's coast, thrilling scientists with the sight of bright tropical species and giving anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Creatures that have made a splash by venturing north in the past several weeks range from a whale shark, a gentle plankton-eating giant that ranks as the world's largest fish and was seen off Southern California, to two palm-sized pufferfish, a species with large and endearing eyes, that washed ashore on the state's central coast. Scientists say El Nino, a periodic warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific, has sent warm waves to California's coastal waters that make them more hospitable to fish from the tropics.


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Ultrathin Graphene Can Improve Night Vision Tech

Night-vision windshields on cars might one day be possible with advanced thermal imaging technology based on flexible, transparent, atomically thin sheets of carbon, researchers say. Thermal imaging lets people see the invisible infrared rays that objects shed as heat. Thermal imaging devices have helped soldiers, police, firefighters and others see in the dark and in smoky conditions so they can better do their jobs.


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Construction of Giant Next-Generation Telescope Begins in Chile

Construction of the world's biggest telescope is now underway. A star-studded groundbreaking ceremony here in the Chilean Andes Wednesday evening (Nov. 11) — attended by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, United States ambassador to Chile Michael Hammer and other dignitaries — officially ushered the $1 billion Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) into the construction phase. When it's finished, GMT will boast a light-collecting surface more than twice as wide as that of any existing optical scope, and it will return images 10 times sharper than those of NASA's iconic Hubble Space Telescope, project representatives say.


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NASA's Innovative Drone Glider Prototype Aces Test Flight

A remotely piloted aircraft  achieved an important research milestone last month when a subscale "flying wing" glider successfully completed a series of flight tests. Previously, development on this concept led to some preliminary work on a NASA glider for Mars called Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars (Prandtl-m), designed with the idea that it could sail through the thin atmosphere of the Red Planet. "[Prandtl-D No. 3] flew beautifully," Albion Bowers, NASA Armstrong chief scientist and Prandtl-D project manager, said in a statement from the agency about the Oct. 28 flights.


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