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Phoenix

Four-winged dinosaur unearthed in China

Newly discovered Changyuraptor yangi lived 125m years ago and was like 'a big turkey with a really long tail'
four-winged dinosaur
© Stephanie Abramowicz/Dinosaur Institute, NHM
An artist's impression of the new species of four-winged, microraptor dinosaur Changyuraptor yangi.
A new species of prehistoric, four-winged dinosaur discovered in China may be the largest flying reptile of its kind.

The well-preserved, complete skeleton of the dinosaur Changyuraptor yangi features a long tail with feathers 30cm in length - the longest ever seen on a dinosaur fossil. The feathers may have played a major role in flight control, say scientists in the latest issue of Nature Communications, in particular allowing the animal to reduce its speed to land safely.
2 + 2 = 4

Months before their first words, babies' brains rehearse speech mechanics

Infants can tell the difference between sounds of all languages until about 8 months of age when their brains start to focus only on the sounds they hear around them. It's been unclear how this transition occurs, but social interactions and caregivers' use of exaggerated "parentese" style of speech seem to help.

University of Washington research in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech.
Blue Planet

5' giant earthworm found in Ecuador

Just imagine the fish you could catch with a worm that is five feet long. That might be what these adventurers thought when they discovered a massive earthworm that stretched yardsticks at a full metre-and-a-half in length.

The photos were submitted to Project Noah, a global study app that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter by uploading photos to their phones.

In this case, this massive worm was found in "extremely rich forest soil" in the foothills of the Sumaco Volcano in Ecuador. According to the site's forum, it's been identified as a Martiodrilus crassus, which is Latin for "worm which feeds on dogs and small children."
Heart - Black

The Darkest Black: Scientists create 'Vantablack', a black so dark it's difficult to see



vantablack
Puritans, Goths, avant-garde artists, hell-raising poets and fashion icon Coco Chanel all saw something special in it. Now black, that most enigmatic of colours, has become even darker and more mysterious.

A British company has produced a "strange, alien" material so black that it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light, setting a new world record. To stare at the "super black" coating made of carbon nanotubes - each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair - is an odd experience. It is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing. Shapes and contours are lost, leaving nothing but an apparent abyss.

If it was used to make one of Chanel's little black dresses, the wearer's head and limbs might appear to float incorporeally around a dress-shaped hole.

Actual applications are more serious, enabling astronomical cameras, telescopes and infrared scanning systems to function more effectively. Then there are the military uses that the material's maker, Surrey NanoSystems, is not allowed to discuss.

Comment: A sign of the times, perhaps.

Apple Green

New study suggests plants can listen

The aptly named mousear cress may respond to caterpillar munching sounds. Plants have long been known to react to changes in their environment, and may respond to light, temperature, and touch.

But are they listening too?

For the Arabidopsis plant, the answer is a loud and clear "yes."

The distinct, high-amplitude vibrations produced by a cabbage butterfly caterpillar munching on a leaf of this flowering mustard plant, commonly called mousear cress, throws its defenses into high gear, according to a study published in Oecologia this month by two researchers at the University of Missouri.

The study, which combined audio and chemical analysis, is the first to find evidence that plants respond to an ecologically relevant sound in the environment, said Heidi Appel, a senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences at Missouri.

Comment: More bad news for vegetarians in that science of their beloved faceless plantbased food source, no longer can be considered without functions of consciousness, but aware beings with ability to feel some kind of pain and reciprocate in more complex ways than formerly thought (purely electric and chemical communications).

Laptop

Amazon will provide CIA with cloud computing

Amazon

William Christiansen / Flickr / CC
The intelligence community is about to get the equivalent of an adrenaline shot to the chest. This summer, a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the Central Intelligence Agency over the past year will begin servicing all 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. If the technology plays out as officials envision, it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

For the first time, agencies within the IC(intelligence community) will be able to order a variety of on-demand computing and analytic services from the CIA and National Security Agency. What's more, they'll only pay for what they use.

The vision was first outlined in the IC Information Technology Enterprise plan championed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and IC Chief Information Officer Al Tarasiuk almost three years ago. Cloud computing is one of the core components of the strategy to help the IC discover, access and share critical information in an era of seemingly infinite data.
Evil Rays

Pentagon delays demolition of HAARP facility in Alaska

© Defense One
HAARP antenna array outside Gakona Alaska
The Pentagon has delayed its plans to knock down a controversial Alaskan radio research facility until next year, for a possible transfer to a university or scientific institution, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced.

Murkowski said July 2 the Air Force had agreed to halt demolition of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program facility until May 2015 while research institutions, including the University of Alaska, develop funding proposals for it.

HAARP, located on 30 acres adjacent to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in southeastern Alaska, features 180 antennas that beam electrons into the ionosphere for research into radio communications and surveillance. Conspiracy theorists contend the Defense Department uses HAARP, which went into operation in 1997, to conduct mind-control experiments and to modify global weather patterns.

At a May 14 Senate hearing, Murkowski questioned why the Pentagon planned to demolish HAARP this summer to cut costs, and asked whether it was fiscally sound to destroy a $290 million facility when it costs less than 1 percent of that to run it each year.

Comment: It's highly unlikely the defense community has no more interest in this technology. The fact that they are talking about dismantling it just means they already have a newer, better facility elsewhere.

Related...

HAARP and The Canary in the Mine

Mind Control and HAARP

Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE)

Cbet nr. 3921, issued on 2014, July 13, announces the discovery of a comet (~ magnitude 17) by the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE satellite) team on images taken with the NEOWISE satellite on 2014, July 04.5. The new comet has been designated C/2014 N3 (NEOWISE).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 60-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, July 09.6 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + focal reducer, shows that this object is a comet: coma about 15" in diameter elongated toward PA 200 (the comet was about +21 degree above the horizon at the moment of the imaging session).

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
C/2014 N3 Neowise
© Remanzacco Observatory
M.P.E.C. 2014-N72 assigns the following parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2014 N3: T 2015 Mar. 15.67; e= 1.0; Peri. = 354.49; q = 3.84; Incl.= 61.73.
Bulb

Five obsolete theories previously widely accepted

Once upon a time, scientists actually believed the world was flat, the center of the universe, and composed of four elements. These were not views held by crackpot theorists living on the fringes of society - reputable scholars representing the scientific community held these beliefs. That is, until radical thinkers brought to light new evidence to cause paradigm shifts that would evolve our understanding of the world we inhabit.

Here are five other obsolete theories once commonly accepted by mainstream science.

eyes with beams
© en.wikipedia.org
Eye beam emissions.
1. Emission Theory
How do we see? Our brains process the information held within visible light, which either issues directly from a source or is reflected off objects and "bounced" into our eyes. According to emission theory, our eyes aren't receiving these rays of light - they are emitting them. In short, we see by shooting "sight" beams from our eyes.

Emission theory was first proposed in the fifth century BCE and supported by the likes of renowned scholars Plato, Euclid and Ptolemy. However, there was always a school of thought that opposed this notion and supported ideas more in line with our modern understanding of vision - though that understanding may not be as widespread as the education system would hope. A study conducted in 2002 found that as many as 50% of American college students believe human vision operates on principles in line with emission theory.

Curiously, ray tracing technology in computer graphics is a technique that generates images in a manner very similar to emission theory, by tracing a straight-line path from the camera (or eye) to the objects in front of it and gathering the information needed to construct a picture.
Info

Why cooperation among sociable weaver birds leads to their astounding nests


Social weavers are small birds that live in communes, building joint nests for up to 300 pairs. The nests up can be as large as 25 feet wide, 5 feet high, weighing over one ton, and with an individual room for every couple. One known colony is over 100 years old.
A new insight into one of the biggest questions in science - why some animals, including humans, work together to maintain a common good - has been achieved by scientists at the University of Sheffield.

Sociable weavers, a highly gregarious and co-operative breeding bird from the savannahs of southern Africa, build the largest nests of any bird, often weighing tonnes and lasting for decades, and housing colonies of up to several hundred birds.

The massive nests consist of individual nest chambers which are used throughout the year for breeding and roosting and are embedded within a communal thatch.

The thatch covering the nest doesn't originate from individual chamber building but requires separate investment from colony members to build and maintain it.
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