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Showing posts from November 2, 2016

Airbag bike helmets may be safer than conventional foam versions

By Ben Gruber PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Bicycle helmets that utilize airbag technology instead of conventional hard foam may offer five times more protection against brain injuries, according to Stanford University researchers. Two sets of test dummies, one wearing a standard helmet and the other wearing one that is worn around the neck and inflates like an airbag when it senses a collision, were dropped from varying heights in a lab to simulate bicycle accidents. “It was a big difference,” Stanford University bioengineer David Camarillo said.

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Bomb-Sniffing Bionic Plants Could Look for Pollution

Bionic plants that can detect explosives in real time could be the future of environmental monitoring and urban farming, researchers said in a new study. The spinach plants have carbon-nanotube-based nanoparticles in their leaves that give off infrared light and are sensitive to the presence of nitroaromatics, key components of several explosives, the scientists said. If these chemicals are present in groundwater, they are absorbed by the roots and transported to the leaves, where they cause the infrared emissions of the so-called "nanosensor" to decrease.


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Mummified Poop Reveals Ancient Sloth Ate Mormon Tea and Saltbush

An extinct giant sloth once used a spacious cave not just as a shelter but also as a massive toilet, leaving droppings on the cave floor whenever nature called. Chemical analyses of the fossilized poop, known as coprolites, revealed that the ancient sloths primarily chowed down on an orange-flowered perennial shrub known as desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), a shrub called Mormon tea (Ephedra) and a drought-tolerant plant known as saltbush (Atriplex), said Ryan Haupt, who is leading the investigation while completing his doctorate in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming. Scientists have known about the coprolites in southern Nevada's Gypsum Cave since the 1930s.


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Ancient Cave Lion Cubs Found Crushed and Frozen in Russia

For more than 30,000 years, northern Russia's cold permafrost has preserved the small bodies of two furry and wide-pawed cave lion cubs, one of them in almost pristine condition, a new study found. The two mummified cubs, nicknamed Uyan and Dina after the Uyandina River where they were found, were just about 1 week old when they died, likely crushed by "extensive collapse of the sediments in the den," the study's researchers wrote in a summary of their research. "They were squished to death," said study co-researcher Olga Potapova, the collections curator at the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota.


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Mouse Brain Visualized in Stunning 3D Detail

"At the end of the day, we want to understand the human brain. Understanding the mouse brain is an important step toward that goal," Lydia Ng, senior director of technology at the nonprofit Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, told Live Science in an email. The resulting 3D structure, called the Mouse Common Coordinate Framework, is the equivalent of leveling up from simple paper maps to a Google Maps or GPS for the mouse brain, Ng said.


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3,800-Year-Old 'Tableau' of Egyptian Boats Discovered

More than 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats have been discovered adorning the inside of a building in Abydos, Egypt. The building dates back more than 3,800 years and was built near the tomb of pharaoh Senwosret III, archaeologists reported. The tableau, as the series of images is called, would have looked upon a real wooden boat said Josef Wegner, a curator at the Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the excavation.


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Original Bedrock of Jesus' Tomb Revealed in New Images

New images from a conservation project in Jerusalem reveal the original limestone bed where the body of Jesus Christ is said to have been laid out after his crucifixion.


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Polarizing Politics: 5 Reasons the 2016 Election Feels So Personal

This year's presidential campaign has been rough. At rallies for Republican candidate Donald Trump, crowds chant, "Lock her up!" in reference to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump, meanwhile, has been accused of groping and sexually harassing multiple women. Clinton has called some of his supporters "deplorable," while Trump has called Clinton a "nasty woman."


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Italy Quakes: What Makes an Earthquake an Aftershock?

A magnitude-6.6 earthquake that rocked central Italy on Sunday (Oct. 30) was not only the strongest earthquake to strike the region in 36 years, but it was also the latest in a series of powerful tremors. Following the earthquake, Italy's geophysics and volcanology institution Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) reported 560 post-quake tremors, which are typically referred to as aftershocks. While most aftershocks are minor, some can be as strong as the earthquake that preceded them.


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