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Archaeologists find two lost cities deep in Honduras jungle

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-03-06 00:30

Archaeological team say they have set foot in a place untouched by humans for at least 600 years in a site that may be the ‘lost city of the monkey god’

Archaeologists have discovered two lost cities in the deep jungle of Honduras, emerging from the forest with evidence of a pyramid, plazas and artifacts that include the effigy of a half-human, half-jaguar spirit.

The team of specialists in archaeology and other fields, escorted by three British bushwhacking guides and a detail of Honduran special forces, explored on foot a remote valley of La Mosquitia where an aerial survey had found signs of ruins in 2012.

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Categories: Science news

Flatland: An unseen art installation

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 23:00
It's theatre like no other. Robbed of sight you experience this play through sound, movement and touch – with a haptic cube as your guide






Categories: Science news

Origami doughnut squashes up to protect what's inside

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 21:00
The folds on this paper ring are precision-made by a laser so that when it's compressed, the hole at its centre stays the same size and protects its contents






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Not just a headache: How migraine changes your brain

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 20:00
Migraine changes the way you experience the world all the time, not just during an attack. It's time for a new approach to treatment (full text available to subscribers)






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Nasa finds evidence of a vast ancient ocean on Mars

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 19:00

A huge primitive ocean covered one-fifth of the red planet’s surface, making it warm, wet and ideal for alien life to gain a foothold, scientists say

A massive ancient ocean once covered nearly half of the northern hemisphere of Mars making the planet a more promising place for alien life to have gained a foothold, Nasa scientists say.

The huge body of water spread over a fifth of the planet’s surface, as great a portion as the Atlantic covers the Earth, and was a mile deep in places. In total, the ocean held 20 million cubic kilometres of water, or more than is found in the Arctic Ocean, the researchers found.

Related: Methane on Mars: does it mean the Curiosity rover has found life?

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Fast star first fled from a supernova, now the galaxy

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 19:00
The fastest star in the Milky Way is high-tailing it out of here at 1200 kilometres a second after surviving its sibling star's death as a massive supernova






Categories: Science news

Today on New Scientist

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 18:05
All the latest on newscientist.com: the revamped Large Hadron Collider, an acrobatic praying mantis, the future of perfume, and more






Categories: Science news

Modified E. coli spin fibres as tough as spider silk

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 18:00
Bacteria with added spider genes have made molecules that can be combined to create strands that are less strong but more elastic than a spider's silk






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The skull that chews up theories of human ancestry

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:30
A fossil skull fragment from 1.8 million years ago has been rebuilt in a computer and is shedding light on the evolution of our early ancestors






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Post-menopausal orcas' wisdom helps family survive

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:00
Wisdom of the elders may help killer whales make it through rough times, with older females leading the pods to salmon feeding grounds






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Watch a praying mantis perform acrobatic jumps

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 17:00
Detailed videos of leaping mantises reveal how they twist their bodies and limbs to reach their targets






Categories: Science news

What’s the big deal with spitting?

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 16:13
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cissé face a six-week ban for alleged gobbing. But that’s just a cultural aversion – unlike our disgust for excrement Continue reading...






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Zoologger: Moustache helps hipster spider catch prey

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-03-05 14:00
How do you attract food if you're a spider hunting in pitch-dark at night? Evolve a bright moustache, of course!






Categories: Science news

The strange world of felt presences

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 13:10

What links polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, sleep paralysis, and hearing voices?

On 20 May 1916, Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley, and Tom Crean reached Stromness, a whaling station on the north coast of South Georgia. They had been walking for 36 hours, in life-threatening conditions, in an attempt to reach help for the rest of their party: three of their crew were stuck on the south side of the island, with the remainder stranded on Elephant Island. To reach the whaling station, the three men had to cross the island’s mountainous interior with just a rope and an axe, in a journey that few had attempted before or since. By reaching Stromness they managed to save all the men left from the ill-fated Imperial Transantarctic Expedition.

They did not talk about it at the time, but weeks later all three men reported an uncanny experience during their trek: a feeling that “often there were four, not three” men on their journey. The “fourth” that accompanied them had the silent presence of a real person, someone walking with them by their side, as far as the whaling station but no further. Shackleton was apparently deeply affected by the experience, but would say little about it in subsequent years, considering it something “which can never be spoken of”.

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Major laser: the brightest light in the universe, photographed B-movie style

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 12:41

When Texas photographer Robert Shults gained unprecedented access to a Petawatt laser – which can create temperatures 1,000 times hotter than the centre of the sun – he drew on his favourite sci-fi films to show the facility in action

It is hard to evoke the wondrous power of the Petawatt laser, an example of which is found in a laboratory three storeys underground at the University of Texas.

If focused for an instant (one 10th of a trillionth of a second) on a spot one 10th the width of a human hair, it produces the brightest light in the universe – brighter than that created by black-hole-driven explosions. When targeted into a gas, the 1000tn-watt laser can create temperatures 1,000 times hotter than the centre of the sun.

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Arctic sea ice is getting thinner faster than expected

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 09:27

Study combining disparate data for first time finds sea ice thickness down 65% since 1975 because of global warming, reports Climate Central

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Jaw bone fossil discovered in Ethiopia is oldest known human lineage remains

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 08:35

Around 400,000 years older than previous discovery of homo lineage, 2.8m-year-old jaw and five teeth was found on rocky slope in Afar region

A lower jaw bone and five teeth discovered on a hillside in Ethiopia are the oldest remains ever found that belong to the genus Homo, the lineage that ultimately led to modern humans.

Fossil hunters spotted the jaw poking out of a rocky slope in the dry and dusty Afar region of the country about 250 miles from Addis Ababa.

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We can make science funding go further by better sharing equipment

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 07:30

A new report suggests more sharing of research equipment may be a better way of getting more bang out of the science funding buck than clawing back ‘efficiency savings’ out of grant funding.

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Uncertainty over research funding is corrosive, Mr Pyne. Australia needs scientists

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 06:20

By linking higher education reforms to research funding, Christopher Pyne risks the closure of some of Australia’s most successful research centres

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Psychedelic drugs like LSD could be used to treat depression, study suggests

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-03-05 00:52

Researchers warn that patients are missing out on potential benefits due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs

Psychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism, according to scientists who have obtained the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be “very promising” and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

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