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Showing posts from April 11, 2016

Brain scans show how LSD mimics mind of a baby

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have for the first time scanned the brains of people using LSD and found the psychedelic drug frees the brain to become less compartmentalized and more like the mind of a baby. A research team led by scientists at Imperial College London said that while normally the brain works on independent networks performing separate functions such as vision, movement and hearing, under LSD the separateness of these networks breaks down, leading to a more unified system. "In many ways, the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained," said Robin Cahart-Harris, who led the study.

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ULA to partner with Bigelow on commercial space habitats

By Irene Klotz COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - United Launch Alliance will team with billionaire entrepreneur Robert Bigelow to market and fly habitats for humans in space, a project that hinges on space taxis being developed by SpaceX, Boeing Co and other firms, ULA and Bigelow said on Monday. The agreement, announced at a news conference at the U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Spring, Colorado, includes a 2020 launch of a 12,000-cubic foot (330-cubic meter) inflatable habitat aboard a ULA Atlas 5 rocket, currently the only vehicle with a big enough payload container to hold the module. Bigelow told the news conference that partnering with ULA, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing, is “a potentially enormously important relationship,” to open space to non-government research, commercial endeavors and tourism.


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Tiny Ancient Creature Carried Its Babies Like 'Kites'

A shield protected its head, which was topped by two sweeping antennalike structures, and it used its 12 pairs of legs to scuttle across the sea bottom in what is now Herefordshire in the U.K. The region looks very different today — for one, it's not underwater anymore — but fossils of numerous small creatures like A. spinosus that once inhabited the ocean are preserved in outcrops inside rocky spheres, "like baseballs," of hardened volcanic ash called concretions, which formed around their remains, said Derek Briggs, a paleontology professor at Yale University and lead author of the study. "The tendency is to think of this as Pompeii on the ocean floor," Briggs said. So Briggs turned to the only surefire way to study these tiny fossils in three dimensions: He and his colleagues split open each concretion and cut out the rock holding the fossil.


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Unexplained 'Genetic Superheroes' Overcome Disease Mutations

A tiny number of people in the world carry genetic mutations that were thought to guarantee the development of severe childhood diseases, but these people do not actually have these diseases, according to a new study. The scientists found 13 adults who carried the exact genetic mutations that cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis, which severely affects the lungs and digestive system, or a condition called Pfeiffer syndrome, which affects the bones of the skull. "If you want to develop therapies for prevention, if you want to come up with ways of not just finding the cause, but [also] ways of preventing the manifestations of disease," then these individuals may help find a way, Stephen Friend, a co-author of the study and a researcher at Sage Bionetworks in Seattle, said in a press briefing about the new study.

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Why Neanderthals Likely Fathered Few Kids with Modern Humans

Humans today often carry around a small chunk of DNA from Neanderthals, suggesting we interbred with our closest known extinct relatives at some point in our history. Turns out, the Y chromosome may have been key in keeping the two lineages apart by creating conditions that might often have led to miscarriages if or when the two got together, researchers now say. In 2010, scientists first sequenced the Neanderthal genome.

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Pug Life: Baby-Face Dogs Surge in Popularity

Gone are the days when a stately spaniel or herding dog was prized to round up sheep or guard the family home. Nowadays, dog lovers prefer their furry companions small, with wide, babylike faces, new data suggest. But the breeding of doggies with adorably silly faces, such as pugs or French bulldogs, may come with a downside.


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Not So Gnarly: Skateboarding Sends 176 Kids to the ER Every Day

The growing popularity of skateboarding over the past few decades comes with an unfortunate side effect: an increase in injuries, a new study spanning nearly two decades finds. The vast majority (89 percent) of injured skateboarders were males, the researchers found. In addition, the researchers found, the most commonly injured areas of the body were the upper extremities (45 percent of injuries) and the lower extremities (32 percent of injuries).

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Sleepy Teens Are More Likely to Engage in Risky Behaviors

"Insufficient sleep might cause persons to take more risks and disregard the possibility of negative consequences," the researchers, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens ages 14 to 17 get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Health care providers may also consider screening teens for behaviors that increase the risk for injury, and counseling them, the CDC said.

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I Put on a Robotic Suit and Aged 50 Years

They say that youth is wasted on the young, but I'd like to amend that. It was heavy, largely because of the lithium-ion phosphate batteries and the cooling system in the backpack, but I stiffly plodded out of the dressing room.


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Panama Papers: Just How Big Is the World's Biggest Data Leak?

The leak of more than 11.5 million documents from a law firm in Panama that specializes in creating off-shore tax havens for wealthy clients around the world is being dubbed an unprecedented event — the largest leak in history. More than 100 news outlets around the world have published material based on the so-called Panama Papers. According to journalists at the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who first received the leaked documents, the 2.6 terabytes of leaked data consist of emails, photographs, PDF documents, spreadsheets and entries from a company database, some which date back to the 1970s.

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Shape-Shifting Drones Could Be Made from Metal-Foam Hybrid

Designed by engineers from Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, and with funding from the U.S. Air Force, the composite material consists partly of silicone and partly of a metal with a melting point of 144 degrees Fahrenheit (62 degrees Celsius). "The driving vision behind this is the puffin," said study first author Ilse Van Meerbeek, a Cornell graduate student in the field of mechanical engineering.


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'Sea Hunter': World's First Unmanned Ship Stalks Subs

A new hunter is lurking in the deep — and it's made of metal, silicon, and lots and lots of artificial intelligence. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officially launched its unmanned submarine-hunting ship, holding a christening ceremony on Thursday (April 7) for the "Sea Hunter." The new vessel is part of DARPA's larger initiative to use artificial intelligence (AI) for a wider array of military decisions and tasks. While the Sea Hunter, which is part of DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, is not helmed by a human captain, people are still in the loop (at least for now).


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Genes used to extend banana lifespan

Dr. Haya Friedman, a researcher at Israel's Volcani Institute, also known as the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), told Reuters that the genetically-altered bananas can stay fresh for at least double the time of normal bananas. "You can see here that these are bananas that we changed the expression of the gene and which now the ripening is delayed. You have to understand that these fruits were picked more than a month ago," she said, pointing at two bunches of bananas on the table in front of her, one is obviously blackened and the second is still freshly-looking yellow." Friedman's research was initially based on previously-known findings in tomatoes.

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U.N. panel to study a cap on global warming that may be out of reach

By Alister Doyle and Nina Chestney OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Top climate scientists will launch a study this week of how hard it would be to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), although many of them fear it might be too late to reach that level. The world's average surface temperatures reached 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial times in a record-hot 2015. A 195-nation climate summit in Paris in December asked the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for a report in 2018 on limiting warming to just 1.5C.


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Medieval Metal Whip, Used During Black Death, Found in Abbey

An ancient whip uncovered at a medieval English monastery may be one of only four metal scourges found in the country, according to the Nottinghamshire County Council, which manages the archaeological site. In England, the Black Death lasted only a year — from 1348 to 1349 — but records show that it was enough to wipe out entire families and resulted in a decline in Rufford's wool trade, which was also a primary source of income for Rufford Abbey, in the following years. During a dig underneath the meadow at Rufford Abbey in 2014, archaeologists discovered a stain of green copper coloring the soil.

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Mysterious Plain of Jars Site Holds Human Remains

An ancient burial site, including an oddly shaped quartz stone covering the face of one of the newly uncovered human skeletons, has been discovered at the mysterious Plain of Jars, an archaeological site in remote central Laos littered with thousands of stone vessels. The new findings could help researchers solve the long-standing puzzle of why the stone jars were scattered across this part of Laos. When it was found, the skull beneath the quartz adornment appeared to be looking through a large hole in the stone, said Dougald O’Reilly, an archaeologist at the Australian National University (ANU), who led a team of scientists on a joint Laos-Australian expedition to the Plain of Jars in February.


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Ancient Bronze Shovel May Have Been Used in Jewish Cultic Rituals

An ancient bronze shovel that may have been used in Jewish cultic rituals has been unearthed in Israel. The 2,000-year-old shovel, which was unearthed near the Sea of Galilee, is similar to others used by ancient priests in the Second Temple period. "The incense shovel that was found is one of ten others that are known in the country from the Second Temple period.


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Bullet Links Lawrence of Arabia to Famous Ambush

The early 20th-century British military leader T.E. Lawrence, widely known as "Lawrence of Arabia" for allying with and advising Arab forces fighting against Ottoman Turks, wrote about taking part in a train ambush in Saudi Arabia in 1917 that proved to be a pivotal skirmish during the Arab revolution. In the decades since Lawrence published the memoir "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" describing his wartime experiences, critics have accused him of exaggerating or even falsifying his participation in certain events. For instance, some biographers have said he embellished his role in the Hallat Ammar train ambush, recognized by historians as a clash that helped define tactics used in modern guerilla warfare.


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See Stunning 360-Degree Views of Spectacular Victoria Falls (Video)

Now, even those who can't make it to Africa can get an unforgettable look at Victoria Falls. A new video, courtesy of National Geographic, shows the mighty Zambezi River pounding its way through stunning gorges and canyons, and then rushing over the impressive falls, which lie between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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