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Drones Help Discover Lost City With Ties to Alexander the Great

Posted: September 25, 2017, 6:26 pm |
With the help of drones, archaeologists discovered a lost city with ties to Alexander the Great, according to the British Museum in London.

Qalatga Darband, an ancient city located in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan, lies along the Darband-I Rania, or a pass at the Zagros Mountains. What’s so significant about this path? Besides being a historic route from Mesopotamia to Iran, Alexander the Great traveled the path more than 2,000 years ago.

Declassified spy satellite images from the 1960s

After 15 Years in a Vegetative State, Scientists Partly Restore Consciousness in Patient

Posted: September 25, 2017, 5:37 pm |
It’s generally believed that patients who are in a vegetative state more than a year after experiencing severe brain trauma won’t regain consciousness ever again. Their essential bodily functions will continue, but it’s extremely unlikely they’ll ever be aware of their surroundings.

But, as it’s often said: never say never.

Using an implant to stimulate the vagus nerve, doctors restored signs of consciousness in a 35-year-old Frenchman who had been in a vegetative state for the past 15

Giant blob of cold water rises from the depths of the Pacific, possibly heralding the arrival of La Niña this fall

Posted: September 23, 2017, 5:21 pm |
Here we go again?

Following a mild and short-lived La Niña episode in 2016/2017, the climatic phenomenon stands a 55 to 60 percent chance of developing once again this fall and winter. That’s the most recent forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Based on observations of what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean, and modeling to predict what may be coming, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch, indicating that conditions are favorable for i

Friendly Neighborhood Delivery Drones Target Iceland

Posted: September 23, 2017, 12:49 am |
Delivery drones are carrying customer orders for burgers and smartphones across a bay of water straddled by the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik—and that’s just the start of a much more ambitious plan. Before the end of 2017, the Israeli startup Flytrex envisions sending its delivery drones to the street corners of certain Reykjavik neighborhoods.

The dream of delivery drones dropping of packages on doorsteps or in backyards has faced considerable challenges in taking flight. No company can

Lake Michigan Itself Is the Greatest Asian Carp Deterrent

Posted: September 22, 2017, 8:31 pm |
For years, people have been freaking out that Asian carp are about to invade the Great Lakes.

That concern seemed more real than ever this summer after an Illinois fisherman caught a carp in June less than 10 miles from Lake Michigan — beyond the barriers designed to keep them out.

These voracious fish have already decimated Midwestern rivers. They’re filter feeders who feast on plankton — the tiny plants and critters that prop up foodchains. And they eat lots of them. Adult Asian carp

Drone Pilot Bobs and Weaves Through Moving Freight Train

Posted: September 22, 2017, 7:52 pm |
Flying low, through a truss bridge, under a Union Pacific train, and even in a boxcar are just a few of the stunts a drone pilot shows off in a YouTube video while a UP mixed freight is in motion.

The video went live on Sept. 20 and has already received more than 250,000 views as of Friday morning. The recording shows a double-tracked right-of-way bridging a river near a highway. The location appears to be just south of Verdi, Nev., on former Southern Pacific tracks over the Truckee River

Panda Gut Microbes Change with the Seasons

Posted: September 22, 2017, 7:33 pm |
A change in seasons can mean it’s time to take the sweaters out of the back of your closet, plant your garden, or—if you’re a panda—remake your gut microbiome. Scientists have found that pandas, rather than a summer and winter wardrobe, have different sets of gut bacteria for different seasons. The rotating roster of bugs helps pandas make the most of their drab diet of bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo.

The panda menu does have seasonal variations. Pandas munch more on different bamboo spec

Don’t Give Up! Babies Learn Persistence from Adults

Posted: September 22, 2017, 7:07 pm |
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Don’t give up.” I do, from my mom, all the time, and she’s always led by example. A new study from MIT shows she likely taught me persistence, just from my observing her.

The study reveals that kids as young as 15 months can learn persistence from adults. Of course, this also means adults setting not-so-good examples for kids could be inspiring that same behavior in them. This study is apparently the first that shows children this young can be taught the

Quantifying Drug Use With Sewage and Cell Phones

Posted: September 22, 2017, 7:01 pm |
Obtaining information about illegal drug use isn’t a simple task. The illicit nature of the subject makes gathering information on the who and the what of drug consumption problematic. Self-reported surveys, a common tool, aren’t always accurate because people aren’t always honest about their drug use.

But reliable information on drug use is a requisite for public health officials, and to gather the kind of detailed data necessary researchers in Norway turned to two an odd (at first glanc

Hooded Grebes Are Bringing Sexy Back—Or Trying To

Posted: September 22, 2017, 4:56 pm |
Love is a battlefield, and in the case of the hooded grebe, that battle takes place on the dance floor. These endangered freshwater divers have a mating ritual that is not only extremely intricate, but also highly entertaining. And lucky for us, we now have it on film.

Not much is known about the hooded grebe, Podiceps gallardoi, as these aquatic birds were discovered only 43 years ago in the frigid waters of Patagonia. Though they tend to keep to themselves, footage of them is incredibly

Can Neuroscience Inform Everyday Life? The “Translation Problem”

Posted: September 22, 2017, 4:42 pm |
A new paper asks why neuroscience hasn’t had more “impact on our daily lives.”

The article, Neuroscience and everyday life: facing the translation problem, comes from Dutch researchers Jolien C. Francken and Marc Slors. It’s a thought-provoking piece, but it left me feeling that the authors are expecting too much from neuroscience. I don’t think insights from neuroscience are likely to change our lives any time soon.

Francken and Slors describe a disconnect between neuroscience re

Is Lab-Grown Leather the Next Wardrobe Staple?

Posted: September 22, 2017, 4:21 pm |
Leather jackets are a must-have in many wardrobes. While some adore genuine leather straight from our bovine buds, others seek alternatives to genuine leather, whether due to price or their stance on animal products. This could be their new go-to substitute: lab-grown leather.

New York-based Modern Meadow has ditched the cow in favor of growing leather in a lab. Growing materials otherwise found in nature isn’t new; we’ve seen scientists working on in vitro meat and teeth.

Leather is a

Setting the Record Straight on Earthquakes

Posted: September 22, 2017, 3:34 pm |
This past month has seen Mexico suffer two major earthquakes. The latest earthquake destroyed multitudes of buildings in Mexico City and over 200 people died as a result of collapses and fires. As with any major natural disaster, a lot of misinformation or speculation gets thrown around and earthquakes tend to encourage a lot of the doomsayers. So, I thought it would be useful to try to set the record straight on what earthquakes can do, what they can’t do and what may or may not cause earth

Growing Up Neanderthal

Posted: September 21, 2017, 7:00 pm |
Though his life was short — he never reached the age of 8 — his fossil remains could have far-reaching influence in hominin research.

A paper to be published Friday in Science reveals the discovery of the well-preserved skeleton of a Neanderthal boy who lived in Spain 49,000 years ago. The researchers discuss the fits and starts of adolescent growth for our biological cousins, leading to insights into the evolutionary development of Homo sapiens.

Dental evidence reveals that the boy wa

Study: Mysterious Bursts From Space Occur Every Second

Posted: September 21, 2017, 6:07 pm |
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are one of the hottest topics in astronomy right now. These short but extremely powerful bursts last only milliseconds, but release tremendous amounts of energy during that minute period of time. Since publication of their initial discovery in 2007 (the burst itself occurred in 2001), just over 25 of these sources have been identified, with only one repeater. But now, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomers have estimated that despite only the handful

Hackers Could Use Light to Steal Information Via Security Cameras

Posted: September 21, 2017, 5:48 pm |
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and hackers have plenty of will and countless ways to attack a secure network—even if it’s not connected to the internet.

In the latest demonstration proving no network is safe, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev used security cameras equipped with night vision to send and receive data from a network that wasn’t even connected to the internet. Firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems…

Jumping the Gap
Organizations with

Oldest African DNA Offers Rare Window Into Past

Posted: September 21, 2017, 4:00 pm |
A great irony about Africa is that, even though it’s the birthplace of our species, we know almost nothing about the prehistoric populations who lived there: the bands of hunter gatherers who moved across the massive continent, interacting with and sometimes replacing other groups.

Today that changes.

Thanks to new research that includes the oldest African DNA ever successfully read, we’re seeing Africa’s prehistory like never before. Archaeologists and paleogeneticists are finally sta

We’re still on track to experience the second or third warmest year globally in records dating back to 1880

Posted: September 21, 2017, 3:13 pm |
Last month was among the very warmest on record, according to two new analyses – and the heat is very likely to continue.

With less than four months left to go in 2017,  the year will probably come in as second or third warmest on record.

Two agencies have produced very slightly different verdicts for this past August. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has found that last month was the second warmest August globally in 137 years of modern record-keeping, surpassed only by Augu

Dinosaur Diet Discovery: “Plant-Eater” Snacked On Crustaceans

Posted: September 21, 2017, 1:00 pm |
Like that vegetarian friend of yours who sneaks a piece of bacon when no one’s looking, it appears that at least some dinosaurs previously thought to be dedicated herbivores occasionally consumed critters. That’s at least according to new research that involved getting up close and investigative with those goldmines of lifestyle information: coprolites.

Researchers took a look at fossilized feces from more than 15 separate deposits within the Kaiparowits Formation of Utah. The Kaiparowi

Scotland’s Oldest Snow Patch May Not See Another Sunrise

Posted: September 20, 2017, 8:50 pm |
Resting beneath the 1,000-foot cliffs of Scotland’s Aonach’s Beag mountain range, The Sphinx –one of the country’s proudest snowcaps—is on its deathbed.

“It’s a very sorry sight,” says Iain Cameron, a leading snow expert and arguably one of Edinburgh’s most dedicated “snow patchers,” a group of people who seek out and track the changes in the island’s coldest landmarks. These patches “tend to sit in the little gullies and corries below the peaks,” Cameron told Atlas Obscura. The Sphinx, w