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Fri, 26 Apr 2019
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Science & Technology

Cow Skull

Neanderthal yields nuclear DNA

The first sequences of nuclear DNA to be taken from a Neanderthal have been reported at a US science meeting.

Geneticist Svante Paabo and his team say they isolated the long segments of genetic material from a 45,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil from Croatia.

The work should reveal how closely related the Neanderthal species was to modern humans, Homo sapiens.

Grey Alien

Looking for aliens on the Moon

When astronauts return to the Moon, they should keep their eyes peeled for extraterrestrial artefacts - pieces of technology from alien civilisations that have wound up on the lunar surface either by chance or design.

So says Ian Crawford, a researcher from University of London's Birkbeck College in the UK. He told a SETI specialist meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in London last week that although he considers such a find a long-shot, it is definitely worth bearing in mind.

"This is not a primary reason to go back to the Moon - there are very strong scientific reasons for going back. But if we go back to the Moon in the next 20 or 30 years, then amongst those things we might like to keep our eyes open for are alien artefacts," Crawford told New Scientist.


Celestial Find at Ancient Andes Site

Archeologists working high in the Peruvian Andes have discovered the oldest known celestial observatory in the Americas - a 4,200-year-old structure marking the summer and winter solstices that is as old as the stone pillars of Stonehenge.

The observatory was built on the top of a 33-foot-tall pyramid with precise alignments and sightlines that provide an astronomical calendar for agriculture, archeologist Robert Benfer of the University of Missouri said.

The people who built the observatory - three millenniums before the emergence of the Incas - are a mystery, but they achieved a level of art and science that archeologists say they did not know existed in the region until at least 800 years later.


British Inventor Unveils 8000 MPG Car

London, England - A British inventor unveils the world's most fuel-efficient vehicle, a three-wheel "TeamGreen" car capable of doing 8,000 miles to the gallon.


Big meteorite creates big mysteries

Scientists have discovered a beach ball-sized meteorite a half-mile below a giant crater in South Africa.

The 145-million-year-old meteorite, found in the Morokweng crater, has a chemical composition unlike any known meteorite.

It is also an unusual find because it was largely unaltered by the extreme heat from the impact.

The study is detailed in the May 11 issue of the journal Nature.


Meteorites carry ancient carbon

Meteorites that have fallen to Earth contain some of the most primitive stuff of life, a new study has found.

Contrary to popular belief, they are packed with ancient carbon-rich (organic) molecules that were essential for life to get started on Earth.

Until now, it was thought such matter, which was formed before our Solar System came into existence, could only be found in interstellar dust.


Uniquely Human Component Of Language Found In Gregarious Birds

Chicago, IL - Although linguists have argued that certain patterns of language organization are the exclusive province of humans -- perhaps the only uniquely human component of language -- researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California San Diego have discovered the same capacity to recognize such patterns and distinguish between them in Sturnus vulgaris, the common European starling.


Nanogenerators Allow Self-Powered Nanoscale Devices

Atlanta GA - Researchers have developed a new technique for powering nanometer-scale devices without the need for bulky energy sources such as batteries.

By converting mechanical energy from body movement, muscle stretching or water flow into electricity, these "nanogenerators" could make possible a new class of self-powered implantable medical devices, sensors and portable electronics.


AF RL Proves Feasibility Of Plasma Actuators for hypersonic aerospace vehicles

Wright-Patterson OH - The Air Force Research Laboratory is laying the groundwork to develop revolutionary hypersonic aerospace vehicles. AFRL is examining the feasibility of replacing traditional mechanical actuators, which move to control an air vehicle's flight control surfaces like wing flaps, with plasma actuators that require no moving parts and are more reliable.

As part of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Boundary Layers and Hypersonics program, AFRL conducted a wind tunnel test to evaluate the feasibility of using plasma actuators for airframe flight control. In AFRL's Mach 5 plasma channel wind tunnel, engineers used a strong electric field to ionize air around an air vehicle model to create plasma.

Comment: Comment: Gosh, what a brilliant idea! See our podcast "Top Secret Military Projects (Parts 1 and 2)" for more information.


Scientists Probe the Use of the Tongue

PENSACOLA, Fla. - In their quest to create the super warrior of the future, some military researchers aren't focusing on organs like muscles or hearts. They're looking at tongues.

By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.