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Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,400-Year-Old Dionysus Mask

Archaeologists in Turkey Unearth 2,400-Year-Old Dionysus Mask

Archaeologists in western Turkey have uncovered an almost perfectly preserved terracotta mask depicting , the Greco-Roman god of wine and ecstasy, reports Ahmet Pesen for the state-run .The team—led by , an archaeologist at Mugla Sitki Kocman University—discovered the 2,400-year-old mask while excavating the ancient city of ’s acropolis.“This is possibly a ,” Iren tells the Anadolu Agency. “More information will become available over time with more research.”Popular legend suggests that donning a Dionysus mask freed worshippers from their hidden desires and regrets. This sense of...

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Isis Davis-Marks
8h ago
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Earth May Soon Get Another Mini-Moon, but It's Probably Just a Piece of Space Trash

Earth May Soon Get Another Mini-Moon, but It's Probably Just a Piece of Space Trash

For the most part, Earth and its single moon are locked in a two-body dance as our planet circles the sun. But every so often, a bit of space stuff—otherwise known as a mini-moon—will get caught up in Earth’s gravitational orbit and stick around for a while.The last mini-moon to visit Earth was , which circled Earth for a few months before it flew off to . Now, Deborah Byrd and Eddie Irizarry write for that scientists have identified another piece of space stuff that is expected to join Earth’s orbit, known as 2020 SO.Astronomers first spotted 2020 SO on September 17 with the in Hawaii,...

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Nora McGreevy
9h ago
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How NASA Marketed Its Space Program With Fantastical Depictions of the Future

How NASA Marketed Its Space Program With Fantastical Depictions of the Future

Long before scientists and engineers could send astronauts into space, they had to convince the public—and the officials who would fund these first forays—that such a wild undertaking was possible. “You couldn’t just say, ‘We’re going to build rockets,’ and ask people to believe it—you really had to show them how,” says Piers Bizony, a British journalist and author of the lavishly illustrated book , out this month. It reveals how the agency and its contractors sold many of their otherworldly ideas to a sometimes skeptical nation.Culled from a carefully chosen reserve of approximately 3,000...

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Amy Crawford
Sep 21
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Invasive Pest Threatens Future of North American Ash Trees

Invasive Pest Threatens Future of North American Ash Trees

For 18 years, North American ash trees have been under attack by a half-inch long, metallic green beetle called the . It’s a slow-moving battle, and scientists are now beginning to understand the nation-wide effects of the beetles on forest populations.A study published in the January 2021 issue of reports that the forests that faced the beetle infestation first have recovered the most new growth, but it may not be enough to replace all of the trees that were lost. This finding may lead to a downward trend and the eventual loss of North American ash trees altogether, Elizabeth Pennisi...

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Theresa Machemer
5d ago
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New Species of Burrowing Dinosaur May Have Died During 'Cretaceous Pompeii'

New Species of Burrowing Dinosaur May Have Died During 'Cretaceous Pompeii'

Paleontologists have unearthed a new species of burrowing dinosaur that once walked on two legs some 125 million years ago in modern-day China, reports Jon Haworth for . A new paper describing the species, published this month in the journal , argues it is the most primitive —the family of dinosaurs that includes bipedal “duck-billed” species such as Iguanodon—ever found.Found in northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, researchers named the dinosaur Changmiania liaoningensis after the serene postures of the two almost perfectly preserved skeletons that underpin the discovery—changmian means...

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Alex Fox
6d ago
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Toxic Algae Caused Mysterious Widespread Deaths of 330 Elephants in Botswana

Toxic Algae Caused Mysterious Widespread Deaths of 330 Elephants in Botswana

At the start of summer, were spread across Botswana’s Okavango Delta. For months, what killed the more than 300 elephants between late April and June was a mystery, with many wondering if poachers were somehow involved or if something sinister might be at play. Now, officials say the pachyderms were laid low by toxic blue-green algae that had polluted their drinking water, reports .Botswana is home to the world’s largest population of elephants—roughly 130,000 and rising—making the country a premier destination for wildlife tourism, report Mqondisi Dube and Max Bearak for the .The blooms of...

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Alex Fox
7d ago
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This Giant Planet Is Orbiting a Dead Star

This Giant Planet Is Orbiting a Dead Star

When small stars the size of our sun die, they go out with a bang. As the star runs out of hydrogen fuel, it cools and expands to become a gargantuan red giant. After ejecting up to 80 percent of its mass in a protracted explosion, the star will collapse in on itself, leaving behind a small core that slowly continues to cool.The death of a star tends to incinerate its surroundings—for instance, scientists predict that when our own sun dies in about 5 billion years, it will destroy Mercury, Venus, and likely Earth, Jackson Ryan reports for .However, in a major find, NASA researchers...

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Nora McGreevy
Sep 22
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Stolen First Editions by Galileo, Newton Discovered Beneath Floor in Romania

Stolen First Editions by Galileo, Newton Discovered Beneath Floor in Romania

In 2017, a group of organized criminals from Romania pulled off a not unlike the plot of a movie.As Archie Bland recounts for the , on the night of January 29, two men broke into a London postal transit warehouse by cutting holes in its roof and rappelling down through the ceiling to avoid security sensors. Over the next five hours, the thieves carefully extracted 16 bags filled with rare books set to be shipped to Las Vegas for a specialist book auction. Precious cargo in tow, the pair made their escape around 2:15 a.m., fleeing in a car driven by a third accomplice.According to a...

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Nora McGreevy
Sep 22
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Human Footprints Found in Saudi Arabia May Be 120,000 Years Old

Human Footprints Found in Saudi Arabia May Be 120,000 Years Old

Seven footprints pressed into the parched sediment of an ancient lake bed in northern Saudi Arabia may testify to humans’ presence in the region some 115,000 years ago, reports Maya Wei-Haas for .Archaeologists scouring the Nefud Desert spotted the impressions while examining 376 footprints left in the mud of the bygone body of water by such animals as giant extinct elephants, camels, buffalo and ancestors of modern horses.Now, a new analysis published in the journal argues that anatomically modern humans created the seven footprints between 112,000 and 121,000 years ago. If confirmed, the...

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Alex Fox
Sep 21
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Humans Wiped Out Two-Thirds of the World’s Wildlife in 50 Years

Humans Wiped Out Two-Thirds of the World’s Wildlife in 50 Years

Two major reports released this month paint a grim portrait of the future for our planet’s wildlife. First, the from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), published last week, found that in half a century, human activity has decimated global wildlife populations by an average of 68 percent.The study analyzed population sizes of 4,392 monitored species of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians from 1970 to 2016, reports Karin Brulliard for the . It found that populations in Latin America and the Caribbean fared the worst, with a staggering 94 percent decline in population. All told, the...

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Nora McGreevy
Sep 16
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Drone Imaging Reveals Pre-Hispanic 'Great Settlement' Beneath Kansas Ranch

Drone Imaging Reveals Pre-Hispanic 'Great Settlement' Beneath Kansas Ranch

Archaeologists using new drone-sensing technology have found evidence of an enormous, horseshoe-shaped trench hidden beneath a Kansas ranch, reports Kiona N. Smith for .The rounded earthwork, which may be part of the north of Mexico, appears to be what’s known as a council circle. To date, notes Bruce Bower for , researchers have identified five such structures across 22 sites in the area.Ancestors of the modern lived in what is now southeastern Kansas between about 900 and 1650 A.D. Per Ars Technica, they lived in grass-roofed pit houses; hunted bison; and farmed crops like squash, beans...

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Theresa Machemer
Sep 16
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A New Solar Cycle Promises Calm Space Weather

A New Solar Cycle Promises Calm Space Weather

may sound like one forecast Earthlings can comfortably ignore, but it actually has the potential to wreak serious havoc.esearchers are forecasting a period of relatively placid space weather as the sun enters its 25th solar cycle, reports Nell Greenfieldboyce of .last roughly 11 years, and we’re about nine months into number 25, which began in December 2019, according to a released by the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, a joint effort between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The end of one solar cycle and the start of a new one is marked by what’s called the...

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Alex Fox
Sep 18
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Ice Age Cave Bear Found Preserved in Permafrost on Siberian Island

Ice Age Cave Bear Found Preserved in Permafrost on Siberian Island

Scientists at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Russia, announced on Saturday the discovery of a well-preserved cave bear on the New Siberian island of Bolshyoy Lyakhovsky, Anna Liesowska reports for the .The adult bear lived its life sometime in the , at the same time as large animals like woolly mammoths, mastodons and saber-toothed tigers. When the bear died, permafrost preserved its soft tissues, organs and fur, making it the best-preserved example of a cave bear found yet. Most cave bear remains discovered so far have been odd bones and skulls.Coincidentally, a preserved...

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Theresa Machemer
Sep 17
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Thousands of Migrating Birds Drop Dead Across Southwestern U.S.

Thousands of Migrating Birds Drop Dead Across Southwestern U.S.

Thousands of dead migratory birds in the southwestern United States have scientists baffled, reports Algernon D’Ammassa for the . “Unprecedented” numbers of dead birds have turned up in and around New Mexico in the last few weeks, and researchers aren’t yet sure why, Martha Desmond, an ecologist at New Mexico State University (NMSU), tells the Sun-News.The phenomenon first gained notice when hundreds of dead birds were found at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on August 20 but has since spread across at least five U.S. states and four Mexican states, per the Sun-News.Speaking...

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Alex Fox
Sep 17
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A New System for Cooling Down Computers Could Revolutionize the Pace of Innovation

A New System for Cooling Down Computers Could Revolutionize the Pace of Innovation

In 1965, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, forecast that computing would increase in power and decrease in price exponentially. For decades what later became known as Moore’s Law proved true, as microchip processing power roughly doubled and costs dropped every couple of years. But as power increased exponentially, so did the heat produced by packing billions of transistors atop a chip the size of a fingernail.As electricity meets resistance passing through those processors it creates heat. More processors mean higher temperatures, threatening the continued growth of computer power...

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Jim Morrison
Sep 16
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These Sea Anemones Grow Limbs When They Eat

These Sea Anemones Grow Limbs When They Eat

To many humans, the popular proverb “you are what you eat” is a reminder of the benefits of healthy eating. For some sea anemones, however, it’s actually quite literal.When starlet sea anemones eat more food, they sprout extra arms, according to a study published last week in . They are the first known species to grow entirely new limbs in response to consumption of food.Cnidarians—a of animals that includes sea anemones, jellyfish and corals—are highly adaptable. They diverged from other animals more than half a billion years ago. Unlike most animals, whose physical structures are...

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Claire Bugos
Sep 15
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Why Birds Survived, and Dinosaurs Went Extinct, After an Asteroid Hit Earth

Why Birds Survived, and Dinosaurs Went Extinct, After an Asteroid Hit Earth

Birds are the only dinosaurs left. That might seem strange. A pigeon or a penguin doesn’t look much like a Tyrannosaurus. But the connection is still there, all the way down to the bone. About 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic, the first birds evolved from small, feathery, dinosaurs, becoming another branch on the dinosaur family tree. For more than 80 million years, birds of all sorts flourished, from loon-like swimmers with teeth to beaked birds that carried streamer-like feathers as they flew.With hindsight, birds can be categorized as avian dinosaurs and all the other sorts—from...

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Riley Black
Sep 15
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High-Tech Tracking Reveals 'Whole New Secret World of Birds'

High-Tech Tracking Reveals 'Whole New Secret World of Birds'

For Kirtland’s warblers, migration isn’t as simple as getting from point A to point B. The small songbirds, easily recognizable for the contrast between their yellow bellies and the dark-streaked feathers above, have long been known to spend the winter in the Bahamas before striking west for their breeding grounds in the pine forests of Michigan. What ornithologists didn’t know was that many of these birds keep making long trips even when they arrive at their breeding grounds. “We really had no idea Kirtland’s warblers were doing this,” says Nathan Cooper of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird...

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Riley Black
Aug 28
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A Rare Planet Might Be Hiding in This Oddly Shaped, Triple-Star System

A Rare Planet Might Be Hiding in This Oddly Shaped, Triple-Star System

Just 1,300 light years away from Earth, three young stars are locked in a rare gravitational dance. Two stars are orbitting one another, while a third star zooms around the pair at a distance of hundreds of millions of miles away.This unusual triple-star system is known to scientists as (GW Ori), and it’s one of the most oddly shaped interstellar arrangements that astronomers have witnessed, reports Brandon Specktor for . (For comparison, in our own solar system, planets orbit a lone star: our sun.) A large cloud of gases and dust, leftover from the sun’s birth, swirls around the star in a...

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Nora McGreevy
Sep 12
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Space Mice Return to Earth, Mighty as Ever

Space Mice Return to Earth, Mighty as Ever

In December 2019, a group of 40 mice boarded a SpaceX rocket to join the crew at the . But these weren’t regular mice—among the group were mutant “mighty mice” with double the muscle mass of the average mouse. They traveled through space for 33 days as part of an experiment to better understand loss of muscle and bone mass that occurs in zero gravity conditions.The findings from this study, published Monday in the journal , show that the “mighty mice” retained their muscle and bone mass throughout their time in space, reports Ashley Strickland for .The results show promise for developing a...

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Rasha Aridi
Sep 11
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The Complicated Legacy of 'My Old Kentucky Home'

The Complicated Legacy of 'My Old Kentucky Home'

When the brightly decorated horses leave the stables at the re-scheduled Kentucky Derby this weekend, they’ll parade to the starting gates to the familiar tune “My Old Kentucky Home.” This year, in a tradition dating , will mark the 100th time that the Stephen Foster song has been played before the race, the longest, sporting event in the United States.Because of the pandemic, will populate the stands of Churchill Downs to sing along this time, leaving just the millions of to share the seeming wistfulness for mythic :The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,Tis summer, the people are...

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Alex Lubet and Steven Lubet
Sep 3
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The Corn of the Future Is Hundreds of Years Old and Makes Its Own Mucus

The Corn of the Future Is Hundreds of Years Old and Makes Its Own Mucus

. If the nitrogen-fixing trait could be bred into conventional corn, allowing it to produce even a portion of its own nitrogen, it could reduce the cost of farming, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt one of the major pollutants in lakes, rivers and the ocean. In other words, it could lead to a second nitrogen revolution., with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer responsible for up to half that growth. Some researchers have tied the massive growth in human population in the last seventy years to the increased use of nitrogen fertilizer. Without it, we’d have to farm almost four times as much...

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Jason Daley
Aug 10
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How Cold War Politics Shaped the International Space Station

How Cold War Politics Shaped the International Space Station

This article was originally published on , a website dedicated to telling humanity's greatest outer space stories.NASA had wanted a space station ever since it started sending people to space in the late 50s. But it wasn’t until it had boot prints on the moon that the idea was really taken seriously. The original plan was to put a 100-person station called Space Base in low Earth orbit. However, it soon became clear that the cost of using expendable rockets to boost people and supplies to orbit would dwarf the cost of building the station itself. If NASA wanted an orbital outpost, it was...

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Daniel Oberhaus, Supercluster
Sep 9
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How a Chemical Weapons Disaster in WWII Led to a U.S. Cover-Up—and a New Cancer Treatment

How a Chemical Weapons Disaster in WWII Led to a U.S. Cover-Up—and a New Cancer Treatment

ByThe December 1943 German military air raid on Bari destroyed 17 Allied ships, killed more than 1,000 servicemen and ignited a mysterious outbreak.The old port town of Bari, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, was bustling. It was December 2, 1943. The British had taken Puglia’s capital in September, and though the front now lay just 150 miles to the north, the medieval city, with its massive cliffs cradling the sea, had escaped the fighting almost unscathed.Only a few miles outside of town, lines of women and children begged for black-market food, but here shop windows were full of fruit, cakes...

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Jennet Conant
Aug 18
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Naples' Dog DNA Database Tracks Owners Who Don’t Clean Up After Their Pets

Naples' Dog DNA Database Tracks Owners Who Don’t Clean Up After Their Pets

Naples is known for its crime and mafia ties, but the city also has another issue plaguing residents: dog poop. Now, the city is taking a stance on the problem. , pet dogs' DNA will be entered into a city-wide registry. Samples from piles of poo left on the street will then be entered into the database and be used to identify the irresponsible owner behind the mess. The city will fine culprits around $685, the Times reports. Naples, however, is not the first to do take extreme measures to counter canine waste in public spaces. Here's the Times: Cities have tried everything from the postal...

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Rachel Nuwer
Feb 24
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