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Showing posts from May 5, 2016

SpaceX rocket blasts off from Florida on satellite delivery mission

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An unmanned SpaceX rocket on Friday blasted off from Florida to put a communications satellite into orbit, with the launch vehicle's main-stage booster set to attempt a quick return landing on a floating platform at sea. A company webcast showed the 23-story-tall Falcon 9 rocket soaring off a seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:21 a.m. EDT. Perched atop the booster was the JCSAT-14 satellite, owned by Tokyo-based telecommunications company SKY Perfect JSAT Corp, a new customer for Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.

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Primate fate: Chinese fossils illuminate key evolutionary period

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A treasure trove of fossils of six furry critters that inhabited the trees of southern China 34 million years ago is providing a deeper understanding of a pivotal moment in the evolution of primates, the group that eventually gave rise to people. Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of the remains of six previously unknown extinct primate species: four similar to Madagascar's lemurs, one similar to the nocturnal insect- and lizard-eating tarsiers of the Philippines and Indonesia, and one monkey-like primate. The primate lineage that led to monkeys, apes and people, called anthropoids, originated in Asia, with their earliest fossils dating from 45 million years ago.


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Mysterious Braided Hair May Belong to Medieval Saint

Jamie Cameron, an archaeological research assistant at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, first visited Romsey Abbey, near the city of Southampton, on a school field trip when he was 7 years old. The Relics Cluster — dubbed the "Da Vinci Code Unit" by British newspapers, after the popular novel by author Dan Brown — is an interdisciplinary group of scientists that specializes in testing sacred objects and religious relics.


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World's Tiniest Engines Could Power Microscopic Robots

"There have been many small machines, but they operate incredibly slowly — taking many seconds or minutes to move a single arm, for instance — and with very low forces," said Jeremy Baumberg, director of the University of Cambridge's NanoPhotonics Centre and senior author of the new study. "For a nanomachine floating in water, swimming is like us swimming in a pool of treacle [a blend of molasses, sugar and corn syrup] — very, very viscous — so you need very large forces to move," Baumberg told Live Science. When the engine is cooled, the gel takes on water and expands, and the gold nanoparticles are strongly and quickly pushed apart, like a spring, the researchers explained.


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New Print-Out Lasers Are So Cheap They're Disposable

Using inkjet printers, scientists have made laser devices cheap enough to be thrown out after a single use. Lasers create their high-energy beams using a so-called gain medium, which takes advantage of the interactions between the electrons of its atoms and incoming photons to amplify light to high intensities. Typically, the gain medium is made from inorganic materials such as glasses, crystals or gallium-based semiconductors, but in recent years, researchers have investigated using organic carbon-based dyes instead.


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Australia's Surprising Weapon Against Invasive Fish: Herpes

The Australian government recently announced an unusual initiative to eradicate a long-standing animal pest problem. To rid their streams and rivers of invasive European carp crowding out native freshwater species, officials plan to begin introducing a strain of the herpes virus — Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3), or "carp herpes" — into fish populations. In a statement released May 1, Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) officials described their National Carp Control Plan, which will be developed over the next two and a half years at a cost of approximately AU$15 million (about US$11.2 million) and potentially deployed by 2018.


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