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Showing posts from February 13, 2017

China's plans launch of first cargo spacecraft in April

China plans to launch its first cargo spacecraft in April, state media reported on Tuesday, taking a step towards its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China's space program, saying it was needed to enhance national security and defense. Plans for the maiden voyage of the cargo spacecraft were reported on the front page of the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper.

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1,700-Year-Old Untouched Tomb Yields Elaborate Headdress Figurine

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 3 p.m. E.T. A 1,700-year-old untouched tomb bearing the bones of a dozen male adults, as well as pre-Columbian figurines and statues, has been unearthed in Mexico. Archaeologists discovered the ancient tomb, which dates to the Comala Period (between 0 and A.D. 500), during work to remodel a Seventh-day Adventist church in Colima, Mexico.


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Magma Power: Scientists Drill into Volcano to Harness its Energy

It's not every day that scientists can study a volcano up close, but researchers investigating the feasibility of volcano-powered electricity successfully drilled into the core of one in Iceland. Scientists studied the volcanic system at Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, which has been dormant for more than 700 years, according to a hazard assessment by Verkis Consulting Engineers for Invest in Inceland. The depths of Reykjanes' geothermal field — an area with high heat flow — had never been explored, researchers with the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) said in a statement.


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Sick Beats: Scientists Revive Hearts to Study Erratic Rhythms

The cameras track electrical impulses to identify sources of signal disruptions that can make hearts beat too slowly, too quickly, or out of rhythm. The rhythm is set by synchronized pumping in the heart's two upper chambers, called the atria, and in its two lower chambers, called the ventricles. Disruptions in the heart's electrical system can cause abnormal beating, or arrhythmia.


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Newfound Amoeba Looks Just Like Gandalf the Wizard's Hat

A newfound amoeba species whose funnel-shaped shell resembles a wizard's hat has been named after one of the most famous warlocks: Gandalf, of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. "New amoeba species are very rarely discovered because they're so tiny and not widely studied," study principal investigator Daniel J. G. Lahr, an assistant professor of zoology at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, said in a statement. Most amoebae are single-celled organisms that sort of crawl to get around.


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Crikey! Australian Python Engulfs Tennis Ball

A python in Queensland, Australia, got quite a scratchy surprise when the 5-foot-long (1.5 meters) snake gulped down a tennis ball this week. "[The snake] would've died eventually from starvation, as it wouldn't have been able to digest the ball or have anything pass it," Trish Prendergast, senior vet nurse at Townsville Veterinary Clinic, where the ball was removed, told Live Science. A local resident spotted the bulging snake, a coastal carpet python (Morelia spilota mcdowelli), Monday (Feb. 6) in a backyard in Belgian Gardens, a suburb of Townsville in Queensland, and called a snake catcher to remove it.


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Underwater Volcanic Eruption Could Create Temporary Island (Photo)

A turquoise plume interrupted dark swaths of ocean when an underwater volcano erupted off the coast of Tongatapu, the main island of the Polynesian archipelago Tonga, a new satellite image shows. Murray Ford, a coastal geologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, was reviewing satellite images of a young island in Tonga when he noticed a turquoise spot in the ocean.


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Clooneys Expecting Twins: 6 Facts About Older Parents

George and Amal Clooney are expecting twins this summer, making the couple part of a growing trend of people becoming parents at older ages in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average age for first-time mothers in the United States is 26.3, according to data collected in 2014. However, the percentage of parents in older age groups — in particular, older moms — is on the rise.


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Sponges Ruled the World After Second-Largest Mass Extinction

Sponges may be simple creatures, but they basically ruled the world some 445 million years ago, after the Ordovician mass extinction, a new study finds. Roughly 85 percent of all species died in the Ordovician mass extinction, the first of the world's five known mass extinctions. "We think the sponges thrived because they can tolerate changes in temperature and low oxygen levels, while their food source (organic particles in the water) would have been increased enormously by the death and destruction all around them," lead study author Joe Botting, a paleontologist at Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China, said in a statement.


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Skip Dinner? Evening Fast May Burn Fat

You could give fasting a try, according to results from a preliminary study. The study found that when participants consumed all of their calories within a 6-hour window, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., they burned 6 percent more fat and had more stable hunger levels than participants who consumed the same amount of calories within a 12-hour window, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. "It kind of makes sense," said Courtney Peterson, lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


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Boy’s Broken Bones Had Unusual Cause

Broken bones are a common occurrence for kids, but for one 7-year-old boy, his frequent fractures turned out to have an underlying cause: celiac disease, according to a recent report of his case from Portugal. The boy went to the doctor after breaking his arm three times in two years, the doctors who treated him wrote in their report. At first the doctors were puzzled by the boy’s frequent fractures, because he did not appear to have any medical conditions that might have made him vulnerable to broken bones, they said.


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Teens and Screens: How Much Is OK?

And when screen time went beyond 6 hours, the negative effects were very small, according to the study, which was published Tuesday (Feb. 7) in the journal Psychiatric Quarterly. "Although an 'everything-in-moderation' message when discussing screen time with parents may be most productive, our results do not support a strong focus on screen time as a preventive measure for youth problem behaviors," study author Christopher Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University in Florida, said in a statement. In the study, Ferguson and his team examined data on more than 6,000 Florida teens, with an average age of 16, who participated in the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national yearly survey that monitors adolescent behavior.


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