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Showing posts from May 19, 2016

Developers look to widen repertoire of Pepper, Japan's laughing robot

Japanese developers of a robot are asking the public to come up with ideas for what their waist-high humanoid can do and they are offering a software development kit for programmers to get creative. The fast-selling robot, known as Pepper, can already laugh and serve coffee and is being used as a waiter, salesman and customer service representative in about 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle, Mizuho Bank and Nissan. Now its creators, SoftBank Corp, have started offering a kit, Pepper SDK for Android Studio, that will allow programmers to develop new tasks.


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Skywatchers can see close, bright Mars looming large this month

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in a decade this month, providing sky-watchers with a celestial show from dusk to dawn starting this week, NASA said on Thursday. On Thursday, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a photograph of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as the planet neared Earth last week. On May 30, Mars and Earth will come than they have been in a decade, NASA said.


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Dinosaur duo sported exotic spikes and horns

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two newly discovered dinosaurs unearthed in the western U.S. states of Montana and Utah are illustrating the exotic appearance some of these beasts developed, with fanciful horns and spikes, toward the end of their reign on Earth. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of fossils of two species that provide new insights into an important group of truck-sized, four-legged, plant-munching, horned dinosaurs that roamed the landscape late in the Cretaceous Period. Both dinosaurs were members of a group called ceratopsians that included the well-known Triceratops, typically possessing parrot-like beaks to crop low-growing herbs and shrubs, a bony neck shield, or frill, and forward-pointing facial horns.


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Dinosaur with 'Bent Sword' Head Spikes Unearthed in Utah

Each curved head spike measured about 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, and though their function isn't clear, they may have been used to attract mates, said study lead author Eric Lund, a graduate student of biological sciences at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. The "horny" finding fills in an important gap in the fossil record of southern Laramidia, an area that included Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico during the Late Cretaceous period, Lund said. Researchers first unearthed pieces of the dinosaur's skull in 2006, and returned to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in southern Utah, for a total of three field seasons to look for more of the remains.


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New Frilly-Necked Dinosaur Identified

A fossil skull found in Montana a decade ago by a retired physicist has officially been declared the head of a new species of dinosaur. The new dino, dubbed Spiclypeus shipporum, looked a bit like Triceratops, but rather than three smooth horns, it sported a neck frill decorated with bony spikes, some curling in and others curling out. "This is a spectacular new addition to the family of horned dinosaurs that roamed western North America between 85 and 66 million years ago," said study researcher Jordan Mallon of the Canadian Museum of Nature.


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Google's Gigapixel Camera Reveals Minute Details in Famous Works of Art

The beauty of the world's greatest works of art can be found in the tiniest details, from brush strokes to hidden signatures — like the miniscule dabs of paint that create the impression of light reflected on turbulent water in "The Port of Rotterdam" by Paul Signac. The Google Cultural Institute recognized this and developed the Art Camera, a custom-built robotic camera that can produce ultra-high-resolution images. Capturing works of art in gigapixel images that contain more than 1 billion pixels can reveal details otherwise invisible to the naked eye.


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Hooked, Pointy or Snubbed? How Your Nose Got Its Shape

Now, new research has uncovered four genes that govern some of the variation in the human olfactory organ. "Finding out the role each gene plays helps us to piece together the evolutionary path from Neanderthal to modern humans," study co-author Kaustubh Adhikari, a cell and developmental biologist at University College London, said in a statement. Although many people think of nose shape as a purely aesthetic feature, researchers suspect that different nose shapes evolved in different environments, for different reasons, the study authors said.

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Is Digital Multitasking Good for Teens?

The more time teens spend multitasking with various tech devices, the worse they tend to perform on academic tests, a small new study suggests. In the study, the researchers analyzed information from 73 eighth-grade students in Boston, who answered questions about how many hours per week they spent watching TV or videos, listening to music, playing video games, reading electronic media, talking on the phone, and text messaging.

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Do Fetuses Feel Pain? What the Science Says

Utah recently passed a law that requires doctors to give anesthesia to a fetus prior to performing an abortion that occurs at 20 weeks of gestation or later. Indeed, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage in development. "The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester," said Kate Connors, a spokesperson for ACOG.

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What's Up with This Spider's Enormous Eyes?

These findings confirm that spiders in the genus Deinopis, which have the largest eyes of any spider, use their humongous peepers to survive in the wild, said study lead researcher Jay Stafstrom, a doctoral student of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "They're pretty hard to find," he told Live Science.


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Painted Human Jawbones Used as Ancient Jewelry

Painted human mandibles that may have been worn like necklace pendants have been discovered at a ceremonial site in Mexico that dates back around 1,300 years. In the same ceremonial area, numerous whistles and figurines were also discovered. The whistles may have made owl-like sounds, archaeologists said.


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