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Showing posts from May 23, 2016

Cuttlefish, Squid and Relatives Thrive in Warming Oceans

Warming oceans are bad news for a number of marine species, but cephalopods — the many-armed mollusk group that includes octopus, squid and cuttlefish — are doing just fine. Scientists gathered data from cephalopod fisheries around the world, examining how catch rates — the number of cephalopods captured or sampled at one time — changed for 35 species between 1953 and 2013. The researchers found steady increases in diverse cephalopod populations living in a variety of ocean depths and environments, suggesting that changing ocean conditions may actually be beneficial to cephalopods worldwide.


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Yes, It Is Rocket Science: Middle School Team Wins Rocket Competition

A team of middle-school students from Washington state will represent the United States at an international rocketry contest in Europe, after taking home the top prize at the 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals on May 16. Hailing from Bellevue, Washington, the Space Potatoes rocketry team from Odle Middle School beat out 789 other groups of students from all over the United States. Students Mikaela Ikeda, Larry Jing, Karl Deerkop, Srivatshan Sakthinarayanan and Stephanie Han will share more than $20,000 in scholarships and funds for their school.


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Mysterious Mass Graves Hold Prisoners of Bloody 17th-Century Battle

Three years ago, archaeologists at Durham University began excavating a site on campus for a proposed addition to the school's library, but work was unexpectedly halted when the researchers uncovered remnants of two mass graves. The estimated 1,700 skeletons, found underground at the southern tip of Durham University's Palace Green Library, were likely Scottish soldiers who had been taken prisoner after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, the archaeologists said. The prisoners were captured by Oliver Cromwell, the controversial English leader who waged a successful military campaign against the Royalists in a 17th-century civil war, toppling the monarchy and culminating in the execution of King Charles I in 1649.


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VR at Cannes: How Will Virtual Reality Change Film?

The 2016 Cannes Film Festival, which began May 11 and runs until May 22 in Cannes, France, featured a festival first: screenings of virtual reality (VR) short films and presentations in a pavilion dedicated exclusively to VR. Famed director Steven Spielberg said he's skeptical about VR's effectiveness as a storytelling tool, and questioned whether it should be seriously considered as a means for developing and presenting visual narratives.


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A New Bot-ticelli? Robot Painters Show Off Works at Competition

Participants in the first annual Robot Art competition showed just how far our silicon counterparts have come in creating great artwork. "The results of this competition show a significant step in the advancement of robotics and artificial intelligence to create beauty. The Robot Art competition drew 70 different competitors, and each of their paintings had a unique look and style.


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Calling All Kids! President Obama Wants Your Science and Tech Ideas

Inspired by the recommendation of a 9-year-old inventor during the White House Science Fair in April, President Barack Obama has put out a call to kids across the United States to share their thoughts on science, technology and innovation. Both in and out of classrooms, kids know firsthand how to inspire students in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. "Whether you care about tackling climate change, finding a cure to cancer, using technology to help make people's lives better or getting a human to Mars, we can't wait to get your input!" John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in a White House blog post yesterday (May 19) to announce the initiative.

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The Science of Intuition: How to Measure 'Hunches' and 'Gut Feelings'

Whether you call it a "gut feeling," an "inner voice" or a "sixth sense," intuition can play a real part in people's decision making, a new study suggests. For the first time, researchers devised a technique to measure intuition. After using this method, they found evidence that people can use their intuition to make faster, more accurate and more confident decisions, according to the findings, published online in April in the journal Psychological Science.

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Slimy hagfish inspire 'super hydrogels'

By Matthew Stock The unusual secretions of the Atlantic hagfish are being studied by scientists who want to harness the viscous and elastic properties of the creature's slime for human use.     When attacked or threatened by a predator the marine creature defends itself by secreting a milky-white substance from its glands. This instantly reacts with the seawater around it to form a mass of slime that clogs the mouth and gills of the would-be attacker.     But this slime has special properties that could benefit mankind, according to scientists from ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal institute of Technology).     Hagfish slime is an extremely diluted hydrogel, consisting of over 99.99 percent water.

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Strange Microbe Lacks Cell's 'Powerhouse'

A microbe that lives in the guts of chinchilla is missing mitochondria, the energy-generating cell organelle once thought crucial to the function of eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are cells with membrane-bound organelles, including a nucleus, a feature that makes them different from prokaryotes (which include bacteria and archaea). One of these membrane-bound organelles is the mitochondria.


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Swirling, Spinning Clouds Seen from Space

Whimsical cloud vortices dot the sky in a new satellite image of an island volcano. The island is in the Indian Ocean and belongs to Australia. At 9,006 feet (2,745 meters), Mawson Peak is the island's highest point, according to NASA's Earth Observatory, which released the image May 8.


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Ancient 'Mad Libs' Papyri Contain Evil Spells of Sex and Subjugation

Ancient, magical spells of love, subjugation and sex: It may sound like a "Game of Thrones" episode, but these evildoings are also found on two recently deciphered papyri from Egypt dating to around 1,700 years ago. One spell invokes the gods to "burn the heart" of a woman until she loves the spell caster, said Franco Maltomini of the University of Udine in Italy, who translated the two spells. The spells are written in Greek, a language widely used in Egypt at the time.


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Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science Center

LOS ANGELES — The space shuttle Endeavour now has its external tank. The massive orange-brown fuel tank, NASA's last remaining example of its type, built for flight but never used, arrived at the California Science Centeron Saturday evening (May 21), completing a nearly one-day road trip through the streets of Los Angeles. The external tank, together with the orbiter Endeavour — which was delivered to the Science Center in a similar, but longer parade in October 2012 — and a pair of solid rocket boosters still to come, will form the world's only vertical display of a fully-authentic space shuttle launch vehicle.


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