Science & Technology


Did the Flores Hobbit Have a Root Canal?

Dental work claim challenges antiquity of hobbit skeleton

And you thought Frodo had it hard. In what is shaping up to be a battle of Tolkienian proportions, the tiny remains from Flores, Indonesia--paleoanthropology's hobbit--have once again come under attack.


Google hands over data on suspected pedophiles to Brazil

Google on Wednesday handed over data stored by suspected pedophiles on its Orkut social networking site to Brazilian authorities, ceding to pressure to lift its vow of confidentiality to its users, officials said.

The US Internet giant delivered 3,261 files to a Brazilian senate commission looking into allegations that illegal images of minors were posted in password-protected photo albums on the site.


Stephen Hawking urges new era of space conquest

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking called Monday for a new era of space conquest akin to Christopher Columbus' discovery of the new world, in a speech on the 50th anniversary of NASA space agency.

"In a way, the situation is like Europe before 1492. People might well have argued that it was a waste of money to send Columbus on a wild goose chase," the British scientist said at Georgetown Washington University.


Ancient marble staircase found in Rome

Italian archeologists said an ancient staircase made of marble was uncovered during excavations beneath Rome's Piazza Venezia.

Rome Archaeological Superintendent Angelo Bottini said the staircase, inset into pink granite and travertine, was discovered during work on a station for Rome's newest metro line. Bottini told ANSA it is an important find.


Giant Undersea Volcano Found Off Iceland

A giant and unusual underwater volcano lies just offshore of Iceland on the Reykjanes Ridge, volcanologists have announced.

The Reykjanes formation is a section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which bisects the Atlantic Ocean where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart.

©Steve Allen/Getty
The active Krafla volcano (above) in northwestern Iceland boasts a lake inside its 6-mile-wide (10-kilometer-wide) caldera.

A newfound underwater volcano off Iceland's coast has a similarly sized caldera - and it's only a matter of time before the submarine mountain erupts, scientists say.


Ancient game boards and compass discovered in southern Iran

Archaeological studies on some engravings on rocks on Khark Island have identified them as a compass and ancient game boards.

The engravings are between 2000 and 3000 years old, archaeologist Reza Moradi Ghiasabadi, who conducted the recently concluded studies, told the Persian service of CHN on Saturday.

The compass has been etched in rectangular form with rounded angles on a flat rock located on the ground beside an ancient route, Moradi Ghiasabadi explained. A curve has been engraved on the upper half and four lines forming a cross stretch to the four sides of the rectangular shape, he noted.

An ancient game board, Khark Island


San Francisco disaster seen in rare photos

Photographs taken 102 years ago depict scenes from the earthquake and fire that destroyed thousands of buildings and left more than 200,000 people homeless in San Francisco. Confirmed deaths were 460.

The photographs give graphic meaning to the disaster known worldwide, and Darrell Colwell, now living in Yuma, has a collection of San Francisco disaster photos.

The Temple Emanu-El, a block north of Union Square, was one of many religious structures severely damaged.


Humans May Lose Battle With Bacteria, Medicinal Chemist's Research Shows

It may not be an ideal topic for polite conversation, but human beings are swarming with bacteria: Even the average healthy adult plays host to about 100 trillion microscopic organisms. Infection takes place when the bacteria get out of hand.

micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium
©National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH
A color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells.

Now, a University of Kansas researcher has penned a history of the struggle between man and bacteria - and warns that humankind someday may lose its advantage.

In the March 28 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Natural Products, Lester A. Mitscher, a University Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, calls for the development of more potent antibiotics necessary for humanity to manage drug-resistant breeds of microbes


Harappan sites to be excavated after 50 years

Varanasi (PTI): After a gap of 50 years, a team of archaeologists will be excavating two sites near Noida and Meerut to determine when exactly the "eastern limit" of the Indus Valley civilisation flourished.

Better Earth

Moon's birth changed the length of days on Earth

Earth & Moon

The collision that formed our moon may have defined the length of our planet's day and set the direction in which it spins.

The moon is widely thought to have formed after an object roughly the size of Mars crashed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, throwing up a cloud of debris that eventually coalesced into a rocky sphere. Robin Canup of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, wanted to find out if this process was influenced by the spin of the Earth at the time - something previous models of the moon's formation did not take into account.