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Showing posts from July 18, 2016

Zika Virus Mystery: New Utah Case Stumps Researchers

In a puzzling case, a person in Utah became infected with the Zika virus, but health officials can't figure out how the person contracted it. "Zika continues to surprise us," and there's still a lot we don't know about the virus, Dr. Satish Pillai, incident manager for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Zika response, said at a news conference today (July 18).

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Kickstarter Project Aims to 'Back Up Humanity' in Cosmic Cloud

"We sometimes use the phrase, 'We want to back up humanity,' which is not a joke — we want to do this," project co-founder Philip Lubin, a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Space.com. Indeed, Lubin, co-founder Travis Brashears (a physics undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley) and their colleagues are looking to the masses for funding, via a Kickstarter campaign that launched today (July 18). This money will be used to launch a "humanity chip" full of images and other data provided by Kickstarter contributors to low-Earth orbit, likely in mid-2017, project team members said.


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U.N. tombstone listing celebrated as rare joint success in Balkans

A World Heritage listing for 70,000 medieval tombstones spread across four countries that emerged from Yugoslavia's bloody break up in the 1990s was praised on Monday as a rare example of successful cooperation between the former foes. Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, whose neighbourly relations often suffer over disputes dating back to the war, spent six years persuading the United Nations to protect the graveyards as part of their shared heritage. Bosnia's Civil Affairs Minister Adil Osmanovic announced on Monday that a committee of the U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had recognised the unique and universal cultural value of the tombstones, known as stecci.


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Ancient Bug Jumped Out of Its Skin to Escape Gooey Trap

An ancient event preserved in a piece of amber reads from left to right like an enigmatic story told in three mysterious emojis: a strand of hair followed by an insect exoskeleton next to a single mushroom.


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'Primitive Machine' Within Great Pyramid of Giza Reconstructed

The ancient Egyptians created a simple yet elaborate system of blocks and grooves within the Great Pyramid of Giza to protect the King's Chamber from tomb robbers. In an upcoming episode of the Science Channel's "Unearthed," that system comes to life via computer animations. In the episode, Egyptologist Mark Lehner describes the system for viewers, calling it a "very primitive machine." Lehner leads Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA), a team that has been excavating at Giza for about 30 years.


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Ancient Roman Soldier with Ornate Belt Discovered in UK Grave

The 1,600-year-old remains of a middle-age man buried alongside an ornate belt decorated with images of dolphins and dogs have been found in a grave in Leicester, England, archaeologists report. The belt's style suggests that its owner worked as a solider or civil servant during the Late Roman period, during the second half of the fourth century A.D or the early fifth century A.D., the archaeologists, from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), said on July 7. The team made the discovery during an excavation in which they dug up 83 skeletons from a Late Roman cemetery in Leicester's West End.


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Gorgeous Gravity Waves Intersect Near Africa (Photo)

Interlacing waves of clouds decorate the sky above the coast of Angola in a new satellite image. The image, taken June 26 by an instrument on NASA's Terra satellite, highlights the atmospheric patterns off the coast of West Africa. The clouds are called gravity waves, which form as gravity and buoyancy try to balance each other out.


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Man's New Best Friend Is a Goat?

New research suggests that these farm animals try to communicate with people in the same way that dogs and horses do. Goats were the first domesticated livestock species, about 10,000 years ago, according to lead author Alan McElligott of Queen Mary, University of London. "From our earlier research, we already know that goats are smarter than their reputation suggests, but these results show how they can communicate and interact with their human handlers even though they were not domesticated as pets or working animals," McElligott said in a statement.


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Cockroaches Use Their Own Internal GPS to Get Around

When navigating your kitchen, cockroaches likely don't need to stop for directions. Turns out, the pesky insects have an internal GPS. To uncover this internal GPS, the researchers put cockroaches (Blaberus discoidalis) through the same experiments that are used to uncover the navigational brain cell activity in rats.


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Shoe-Wearing Robot's No Flatfoot — It Walks Like a Person

A bipedal robot can now put its best foot forward, stepping with a heel-toe motion that copies human locomotion more closely than flat-footed robot walkers can. By rocking its "feet" forward from the heel and pushing off at the toe, the DURUS robot closely imitates the walking motion of people, making it more energy-efficient and better at navigating uneven terrain, according to Christian Hubicki, a postdoctoral fellow in robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and one of the researchers who helped DURUS find its footing. Enhanced walking capabilities could help robots navigate environments that people move around in, and could improve the performance of bots created for disaster response, Hubicki told Live Science.


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2,000-Year-Old Dog Graveyard Discovered in Siberia

The carefully buried remains of five dogs were recently found in a 2,000-year-old doggy graveyard near the Arctic Circle in Siberia, according to archaeologists. This discovery at the Ust-Polui archaeological site, in Salekhard, Russia, reveals close relationships between the region's people and their animal "best friends" two millennia B.C. The dogs likely served as pets, workers and sources of food — and possibly as sacrificial offerings in religious ceremonies, the researchers said. "The role of dogs at Ust-Polui is really complex and variable," Robert Losey, an archaeologist at the University of Alberta in Canada, wrote in an email to Live Science from Salekhard, where he is carrying out fieldwork at Ust-Polui.


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'Dragon Silk' Armor Could Protect US Troops

Genetically modified silkworms that spin special fibers, known as "Dragon Silk," could soon be used to protect soldiers in the U.S. Army, its manufacturer, Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, announced this week. The U.S. Army recently awarded the Michigan-based company a contract to test its silk products, Kraig Biocraft Laboratories announced on Tuesday (July 12). "Dragon Silk scores very highly in tensile strength and elasticity," which makes is one of the toughest fibers known to man, Jon Rice, the chief operations officer at Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, said in a statement.


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Man Gets Zika from Sex with Female Partner, in First

A woman in New York City who was infected with Zika passed the virus to her male partner during sex, marking the first report of female-to-male sexual transmission of this virus. Previously, all reports of sexual transmission of the Zika virus have been cases of men passing it to their sexual partners, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new report "adds to the growing body of knowledge about the sexual transmission of Zika," the CDC said.

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Prince Harry Checks HIV: Who Else Should Get Tested?

Member of the British royal family Prince Harry took an HIV test this week, with the goal of destigmatizing testing for the virus. "If you're a man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, whatever — even ginger — why wouldn't you come and have a test?" Prince Harry said. About one in eight people with HIV in the U.S. don't know they're infected with the virus, according to the CDC.

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