News Stories

March 2013

Mystery Cloth

In 1998, Virginia artist Athalyn Rose found a large (9 X 15 foot) piece of muslin cloth. Gradually, Biblical images began to appear on it.

The images were not painted on either side of this gigantic cloth, but are deeply embedded within the fibers of the...
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Asteroid on the Way? Pray

That's the (rather unscientific) advice to Congress from NASA chief Charles Bolden, who basically says that if a large asteroid heads towards a big US city--as it recently did in Russia--there's not much else we can do. He told them, "From the information we have, we don't know of an asteroid that will threaten the population of the United...
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Wearable Computers Make It Easy to Spy on You

The latest thing in technology is wearable computers: wristbands, watches and glasses. Google has invented glasses that incorporate both a computer screen and a camera, so that we can call up information with voice commands and capture an image of something just by...
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What Dogs Know About Us

The National Geographic website reports that when a researcher put 84 dogs in separate rooms with food on the floor and told each dog to leave the food alone, their response varied according to whether or not the light was on. The dogs were four times as likely to steal the food--and steal it quickly--when the room was dark.

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Can We Predict the Future?

Most so-called pundits are terrible at it (but we have some GOOD ones).

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Loneliness Can Make You Sick

Reduced production of myelin, a type of protective nerve fiber that is lost in diseases like multiple sclerosis, may also play a role in the development of mental illness. Myelin is an insulating material that wraps around the axon, the threadlike part of a nerve cell through which the cell sends impulses to other nerve cells. Depriving mice of...
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Fire in the Lake

Methane is bubbling out of the bottoms of Arctic lakes, to the extent that, if you put a match to the surface of one of them, they catch on FIRE.

Some of it seems to be coming--not from the bottom mud--but from deeper geologic reservoirs that contain hundreds of times more methane than is in the atmosphere now. Due to...
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What We've Learned (and Keep Learning) from Nature

Nature is the original "inventor"--Nature's designs are giving researchers ideas for new technologies that could help wounds heal, make injections less painful and provide new materials for a variety of purposes.

Velcro was inspired by the grappling hooks of burrs. Supersonic jets have structures that work like the nostrils...
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Gum Doesn't Help You Lose--It Makes You HUNGRY

Chewing gum may keep your jaws (and mind) busy, but it's no substitute for food--in fact, in makes you HUNGRIER. Even worse, it creates a craving for chips, cookies and candy, rather than fruits and vegetables.

Gum may evoke thoughts of food and get digestive juices...
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Stonehenge Was Both Hospital and Burial Ground

More than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge, have been excavated and studied for the first time by a team of archeologists. The skeletons were discovered due to a renovation of the area around the ancient monument reveal...
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Oil-Rich Saudis Go Solar

Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil producer, has just built a huge solar power plant. Is the country going "green"--or are they running out of oil? They plan to use it to generate one third of their electricity needs by 2032.

Saudi Arabia and the...
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Is Perfectionism Genetic?

Where does such perfectionism come from? It can either cripple a person, as they strive to reach unattainable goals, or it can cause them to triumph.

Psychologists blame parents who overemphasize achievement or make love conditional upon meeting certain goals. But recent research suggests that genes have a lot to do with it.
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Who Did It--Man or Machine?

The future of "killer drones" is one in which, instead of being operated by remote control, the drones themselves make the decision to attack. If (and when) that happens, who will be held responsible--the machine or the military that launched it?

The First World War was launched with a single assassination. In the March...
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When the Sun Goes Crazy

It's happened before: In 1859, sunspots erupted, causing sparks in telegraph offices that set paper on fire. Today, 150 years later, we are much MORE "wired," and sun...
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Ancient Bacteria--Is It Dangerous?

Russian scientists may have discovered new life forms that have been sealed off for 14 million years under 12 thousand miles of ice in Lake Vostok in the Antarctic, a network of hundreds of lakes under an ice cap that acts like a blanket, trapping the Earth's geothermal heat. If the bacteria gets out...
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Hiding the Truth

We've discovered that a lot of the "mystery meat" in tacos and fast food is really horse meat, despite being labeled as "beef." Here's the latest example of mislabeling: Two department stores have been caught selling REAL fur coats as "fake fur," probably in deference to animal-loving customers.

The Fur...
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Dolphins on the Attack

The Ukraine has trained dolphins to be attack animals, ready to go after enemy swimmers, wearing knives on their noses. The Soviet Union originated this program, and turned over to Ukraine after the Cold War. The program includes training dolphins to search for underwater mines and mark them with buoys.

On the website,...
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How to Hunt for UFOs

We are receiving more and more reports from UFO hunters that they are having success. What was a rare experience ten years ago is now commonplace. But you have to take some basic steps (NOTE: ...
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Back From the Dead

Scientists are trying to bring extinct species back from the dead. Will they recreate something dangerous?

In the March 19th edition of the New York Times, Gina Kolata quotes geneticist George Church as saying, "Maybe we can no longer delay death, but we can reverse it."

So far only one extinct species has...
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Bad Bread and Good Beer

Early cultures separated into tribes (something many countries still do) in order to keep themselves safe. But they needed to mix with other tribes as well--in order to spread their DNA around, as well as to make friends.

In the March 17th edition of the New York Times, Jeffrey P. Kahn writes: "These lifesaving social instincts...
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Billboard Messages Affect Your Driving

There's a billboard up ahead, a roadside sign full of language and imagery. You become emotionally distracted, and guess what happens next?

One researcher has discovered that language used on billboards can provoke an emotional response that affects our...
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Can There be Sex in Space?

We know people can do it, but can PLANTS do it? This is necessary to know if we want to eventually create living space environments, in which people can spend the many years it might take to travel to distant stars and planets.

Researchers have found that changes in...
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Big Money Funds Climate Denial

Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly 120 million dollars to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change. The funds, given out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of think tanks and activist...
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Removing the Salt

In a world where water is running short, we need to find an affordable way to remove the salt from seawater. The UN reports that about 780 million people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water.

A defense contractor may have found a way to solve this problem without building expensive desalinization plants....
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Mummies Show Signs of Heart Disease

Despite not having sugared soft drinks or fast food, the ancients didn't lead healthier lives than we do. Researchers who examined 137 mummies from four different cultures, spanning 4,000 years, under CT scanners, and found evidence of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in almost half of them.

In the March 11th edition of...
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Record Warming in Our Future

Despite what's happening in Alaska and the Midwest, a recent study of centuries of weather suggests we have record warming ahead.

Researchers looking at weather patterns since the end of the last Ice Age predict that average surface temperatures will be at their...
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Give Them a Sip

We have a lot to thank bees for, so maybe we should let them share our lattes.

It turns out that bees like caffeine, and that ingesting it actually boosts their memories. But where can they get it? They're attracted to citrus flowers because they have caffeine-...
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Higgs is Here

New evidence strengthens the case that scientists have discovered a Higgs boson, or "God particle." The new particle discovered at experiments at the Large Hadron Collider last summer is looking more like a Higgs boson than ever before.

Researcher Kyle Cranmer says, "When we discovered the particle, we knew we found...
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Mission to Mars

US millionaire Dennis Tito, who became the first private space tourist when he paid Russia $20 million for a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001, wants to send a married couple on a round trip to Mars when planetary alignment is favorable for this 2018.

The trip will take advantage of the alignment of heavenly...
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Smartphone? Smartwatch!

In the March 14th edition of the Financial Times, Richard Waters writes: "What people choose to strap to their wrists has much to do not just with ease of use, but also fashion and self image." Swiss watch makers, who sell the most timepieces, know that their customers aren't just paying big bucks "just because they want to know the...
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