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Ancient Teeth Belonged to Mystery Primate

22 October 2017 - 9:52am
Michael Greshko, Nat Geo

Two well-preserved teeth recovered from sediments in Germany offer intriguing clues to how some of our distant primate relatives eked out a living in what is now northern Europe. But do these teeth, as many news outlets have proclaimed, rewrite human history? In a word, no.The much-ballyhooed discovery comes in the form of two caramel-colored fossil teethone identified as a canine, the other as an upper molarbelonging to a primate that lived between nine and 10 million years ago. (Find out more about human evolution.)
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IBM Simulates 56-Qubit Quantum Computer

22 October 2017 - 9:52am
Mark Kim, NewScientist
Just when it was looking like the underdog, classical computing is striking back. IBM has come up with a way to simulate quantum computers that have 56 quantum bits, or qubits, on a non-quantum supercomputer a task previously thought to be impossible. The feat moves the goalposts in the fight for quantum supremacy, the effort to outstrip classical computers using quantum ones.
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The Place Spacecraft Go to Die

22 October 2017 - 9:51am
David Whitehouse, BBC News
China's Tiangong-1 space station is currently out of control and expected to fall back to Earth next year. But not in the remote place where many other spacecraft end their days.Explorers and adventurers often look for new places to conquer now that the highest peaks have been climbed, the poles reached and vast oceans and deserts crossed.
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What Is Space? A Philosophical Battle Rages

20 October 2017 - 11:03pm
Emily Thomas, The Conversation
Mountains. Whales. The distant stars. All these things exist in space, and so do we. Our bodies take up a certain amount of space. When we walk to work, we are moving through space. But what is space? Is it even an actual, physical entity? In 1717, a battle was waged over this question. Exactly 300 years later, it continues.
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Why Are Scientists So Bad at Recycling?

20 October 2017 - 11:03pm
Kimberly McCoy, Scientific American
The amount of waste that I have seen generated in a scientific laboratory would make Al Gore cry.On a daily basis, scientists use and then dispose of plastic tubes, gloves and pipette tips, all destined for the landfill. A pilot study conducted by students at McGill University estimated that labs on their campus generate 100 tons of plastic waste and 275 tons of glass every yearand there are more than 300 research universities in the United States alone.
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The Moral Case Against Procreation

20 October 2017 - 11:03pm
David Benatar, Aeon Magazine
In 2006, I published a book called Better Never to Have Been. I argued that coming into existence is always a serious harm. People should never, under any circumstance, procreate a position called anti-natalism'. In response, readers wrote letters of appreciation, support and, of course, there was outrage. But I also got this message, which is the most wrenching feedback I have received:
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Will the Most Worrying Flu Virus Go Pandemic?

20 October 2017 - 11:02pm
Ed Yong, The Atlantic
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a Most Wanted list for flu viruses. The agency evaluates every potentially dangerous strain, and gives them two scores out of 10one reflecting how likely they are to trigger a pandemic, and another that measures how bad that pandemic would be. At the top of the list, with scores of 6.5 for emergence and 7.5 for impact, is H7N9.
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Could Antimatter Lead to Artificial Gravity?

20 October 2017 - 11:02pm
Ethan Siegel, Forbes
Put a human being up in space, away from the gravitational bonds of the surface of the Earth, and they'll experience weightlessness. Although all the masses in the Universe are still pulling on them gravitationally, they pull on whatever spaceship you're in equally, too, and so you float.
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3D-Printed Alloys Could Lead to Lighter Planes

24 September 2017 - 7:27pm
Steven Ashley, NewScientist
A new process for 3D-printing things could pave the way for lighter, faster aircraft that potentially fly further on the same amount of fuel.Today's aeroplanes are held together with thousands of metal rivets and fasteners. That's because the lightweight but strong aluminium alloys used for their frames are considered unweldable. Try to weld them and you get a phenomenon called hot-cracking, in which the finished alloy weakens and fractures as it cools.
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Is the Hyperloop Too Big to Fail?

24 September 2017 - 7:27pm
Andrew Hawkins, The Verge
Today, Hyperloop One announced it raised an additional $85 million in financing, bringing its total haul to $245 million and a likely valuation of more than $700 million. That's a lot of scratch for a transportation startup with no commercial product, no revenue stream, no government approval, and no proof that its ultrafast transit system would even be safe for human passengers. Nonetheless, the company has managed to convince a variety of wealthy backers and governments to buy into their fantastical dream of moving people and packages through airless tubes at near-supersonic speeds.
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Collider Serves Up Drop of Primordial Soup

24 September 2017 - 7:26pm
Edwin Cartlidge, Physics World
A tiny drop of an exotic ultra-hot "soup" that permeated the universe for an instant immediately after the Big Bang appears to have been created in collisions between gold nuclei and deuterons at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab in the US. Evidence that a quarkgluon plasma (QGP) may be generated even in collisions involving very light nuclei such as the deuteron first emerged five years ago from data at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. But the new RHIC results push this evidence to record-low collision energies, which should help physicists better...
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What if There's a Traffic Accident on the Moon?

24 September 2017 - 7:26pm
Rebecca Hersher, NPR
When Alexia Boggs was applying to law school, she initially considered all the big specialties, but none of them seemed quite right."I was looking for a field of law where none of my family could ever seek my help," she says, sarcastic but also not really joking.She found what she was looking for in space law, and enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Law, one of the two big space and aeronautical law programs in the U.S.
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Proton Experiment Reveals Scattering Mystery

24 September 2017 - 7:26pm
Kendra Redmond, Phys Central
Results from an experiment exploring how atoms interact on a very fundamental level show that scientists may understand less about what's going on in some atomic scattering experiments than previously thought. Published recently in the American Physical Society's journal Physical Review Letters, the international team of researchers hopes that this work will spark follow-up studies that could help us better address one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in physics.
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'Super Malaria' Spreading in South East Asia

24 September 2017 - 7:24pm
James Gallagher, BBC News
The rapid spread of "super malaria" in South East Asia is an alarming global threat, scientists are warning.This dangerous form of the malaria parasite cannot be killed with the main anti-malaria drugs.It emerged in Cambodia but has since spread through parts of Thailand, Laos and has arrived in southern Vietnam.
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Analysis Puts New Date on Earth's Continental Crust

24 September 2017 - 7:23pm
Tim Wogan, C-World
The Earth's crust hasn't changed much over the past 3.5 billion years, say researchers who have analysed the ratio of two titanium isotopes in ancient shales. Their findings suggest that plate tectonics started much earlier than most previous models suggest.Geologists divide Earth's crust into two broad classes of rock. Mafic rock, which makes up the ocean floor, is dense, dark and rich in minerals such as magnesium and iron. Continents comprise felsic rocks such as granite, which are lighter and richer in silicon and aluminium.
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Do Anti-GMO Activists Have an Eating Disorder?

24 September 2017 - 7:23pm
David Warmflash, GLP
The idea that strict devotion to eating pure can be a feature of mental illness, or even a specific psychiatric diagnosis, has made the news several times. Coined by Steve Bratman in 1997, the term orthorexia nervosa (ON) refers to a preoccupation with eating foods perceived to be healthy, and avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy, to a psychopathological extreme.
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Violation to Einstein's Relativity Gets Resolved

24 September 2017 - 7:23pm
Ryan Mandelbaum, Gizmodo
Even if you don't know much physics, you probably know one of its core tenets: an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. In fact, in a vacuum where there's literally nothing to slow things down, things don't prefer being at rest or in motion. This plays out in real life all the timewhen you're sitting in the bathroom on a plane, for instance, you can't feel that you're moving 500 miles an hour. You only feel the changes in your velocity via the bumps.
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Internet of Cells Has Biologists Buzzing

24 September 2017 - 7:22pm
Monya Baker, Nature News
Yukiko Yamashita thought she knew the fruit-fly testis inside out. But when she carried out a set of experiments on the organ five years ago, it ended up leaving her flummoxed.Her group had been studying how fruit flies maintain their sperm supply and had engineered certain cells involved in the process to produce specific sets of proteins. But instead of showing up in the engineered cells, some proteins seemed to have teleported to a different group of cells entirely.
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Five Ways India Changed the World With Math

24 September 2017 - 7:22pm
Christian Yates, Conversation
It should come as no surprise that the first recorded use of the number zero, recently discovered to be made as early as the 3rd or 4th century, happened in India. Mathematics on the Indian subcontinent has a rich history going back over 3,000 years and thrived for centuries before similar advances were made in Europe, with its influence meanwhile spreading to China and the Middle East.
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What Would an H-Bomb Do to the Ocean?

24 September 2017 - 7:21pm
Marina Koren, The Atlantic
The latest fiery exchange between the United States and North Korea has produced a new kind of threat. On Tuesday, during his speech at the United Nations, President Trump said his government would totally destroy North Korea if necessary to defend the United States or its allies. On Friday, Kim Jong Un responded, saying North Korea will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.
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