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Showing posts from May 6, 2016

Nailed it: scientists describe weird ancient hammerhead reptile

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It was a creature so outlandish that scientists say it reminds them of the fanciful beasts conjured up by Dr. Seuss. Scientists on Friday announced the discovery in southern China of new fossils of a reptile from 242 million years ago called Atopodentatus that clarify the nature of this strange crocodile-sized, plant-eating sea-dweller. When the first fossils of Atopodentatus were found in 2014, scientists thought, based on its poorly preserved skull, it had a down-turned snout resembling a flamingo's beak with a vertical, zipper-like mouth.


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Brazil scientists seek to unravel mystery of Zika twins

By Nacho Doce and Pablo Garcia SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Scientists struggling to unravel the mysteries of a Zika epidemic in Brazil hope they can learn from cases of women giving birth to twins in which only one child is afflicted by the microcephaly birth defect associated with the virus. Jaqueline Jessica Silva de Oliveira hoped doctors were wrong when a routine ultrasound showed that one of her unborn twins would be born with the condition, marked by stunted head size and developmental issues.


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Brazil scientists seek to unravel mystery of Zika twins

By Nacho Doce and Pablo Garcia SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Scientists struggling to unravel the mysteries of a Zika epidemic in Brazil hope they can learn from cases of women giving birth to twins in which only one child is afflicted by the microcephaly birth defect associated with the virus. Jaqueline Jessica Silva de Oliveira hoped doctors were wrong when a routine ultrasound showed that one of her unborn twins would be born with the condition, marked by stunted head size and developmental issues. With two young children already, Oliveira - who suffered the symptoms of Zika early in pregnancy - knew that life would be difficult with a child with developmental problems.


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Forget Taking Over the World. All this AI Wants to Do Is Dance

The computer-generated dancer — dubbed virtual artificial intelligence (Vai) — is the brainchild of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The virtual dancer "watches" a person dancing, and then improvises moves of its own based on its earlier dancing experiences, the researchers said. Once the human dancer responds to Vai's moves, the virtual dancer responds again, making an impromptu dance with its deft artificial intelligence.


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Eye Scan May Detect Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

The eyes, long described as the windows to the soul, appear to be windows to the brain, as well: Scientists have developed an eye-scan technique that may detect Alzheimer's disease at its earliest stage, before major symptoms appear. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is an epidemic that shows no signs of abating, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Death rates for Alzheimer's disease are increasing: More than 5 million Americans live with the disease, and by 2050, this number is projected to rise to 14 million, according to CDC statistics.


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Can You Decipher These Bizarre Satellite Images?

Now an engineering company is trying to harness the power of the masses to get information on those mysterious images. The company, Draper, is hosting the Chronos Data Science contest for teams that find the best way to decode aerial imagery. "This work will ultimately help analysts uncover trends related to climate change, natural disasters and public health crises," said Kim Slater, the leader of Draper's small satellite initiative.


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There Might Be 1 Trillion Species on Earth

Calculating how many species exist on Earth is a tough challenge. On the other hand, a study published in the journal Science in 2013 suggested that where there's a will, there's a way: The authors said it would cost a mere $500 million to $1 billion a year for 50 years to describe most species on Earth.


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