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Showing posts from February 3, 2017

Exclusive: Boeing's space taxis to use more than 600 3D-printed parts

By Alwyn Scott SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co has hired a small company to make about 600 3D-printed parts for its Starliner space taxis, meaning key components in the United States manned space program are being built with additive manufacturing. The company, privately held Oxford Performance Materials, will announce a $10 million strategic investment from advanced materials company Hexcel Corp as early as Friday, adding to $15 million Hexcel invested in May and lifting Hexcel's equity stake to 16.1 percent, Oxford and Hexcel said.


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Tiny, 540-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor Didn't Have an Anus

The creature is so novel, it has its own family (Saccorhytidae), as well as its own genus and species (Saccorhytus coronaries), named for its wrinkled, sac-like body. S. coronaries, with its oval body and large mouth, is likely a deuterostome, a group that includes all vertebrates, including humans, and some invertebrates, such as starfish. "We think that as an early deuterostome, this may represent the primitive beginnings of a very diverse range of species, including ourselves," Simon Conway Morris, a professor of evolutionary palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.


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38,000-Year-Old Rock Art Discovered in France

In the summer of 2012, a group of archaeologists turned over a broken block of limestone on the floor of a rock shelter in southwestern France and discovered what could be one of the oldest examples of art in Europe. Scrawled with the image of an aurochs (an extinct species of cattle) and dozens of small dots, the slab was created by the Aurignacians, the first Homo sapiens to arrive in Europe. New York University anthropologist Randall White, a co-author of the study who led recent excavations at the rock shelter, said that the discovery "sheds new light on regional patterning of art and ornamentation across Europe" at a time when humans were just starting to spread across the continent.


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Ancient 'Naked' Worm Did a Little Dance to Catch Seafood

About 500 million years ago, a squishy, thumb-size sea creature did a little dance — waving its upper limbs around in the ocean in a never-ending attempt to ensnarl some tasty morsels floating by. Researchers found the remains of this newly identified critter in the Burgess Shale deposit, a world-famous area in the Canadian Rockies that's brimming with animal fossils from the Cambrian Period (540 million to 490 million years ago). "The Burgess Shale is certainly no stranger of already bizarre-looking creatures, but this new species is certainly one of the oddest," said study lead researcher Jean-Bernard Caron, the senior curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.


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3-Billion-Year-Old 'Lost Continent' Lurking Under African Island

It's official: A 3-billion-year-old "lost continent" lurks beneath the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, new research confirms. Sparkly, iridescent flecks of rocks known as zircons from Mauritius date back billions of years, to one of the earliest periods in Earth's history, the researchers found. Other rocks on the island, by contrast, are no more than 9 million years old.


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Chimps Kill, Mutilate and Cannibalize Member of Own Group

A male chimpanzee named Foudouko met a horrific end when members of his former community in the wild in Senegal attacked and killed him, then mutilated and partly cannibalized his body, a new study finds. It's not uncommon for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) to attack and kill chimps in neighboring groups, but it's rare for the primates to kill members of their own community, the researchers said. "It was very difficult and quite gruesome to watch," Jill Pruetz, a professor of anthropology at Iowa State University, said in a statement.


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All In: Artificial Intelligence Beats the World's Best Poker Players

The world's best artificial intelligence poker player seems to know exactly when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. An artificial-intelligence program known as Libratus has beat the world's absolute best human poker players in a 20-day No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournament, defeating four opponents by about $1.77 million in poker chips, according to Pittsburgh's Rivers Casino, where the "Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence" poker tournament was held.


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