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Sat, 21 Jan 2017
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Cache of mummies unearthed at Egypt's Lahun pyramid

Lahun, Egypt - Archaeologists have unearthed a cache of pharaonic-era mummies in brightly painted wooden coffins near Egypt's little-known Lahun pyramid, the site head said on Sunday.

The mummies were the first to be found in the sand-covered desert rock surrounding the mud-brick Lahun pyramid, believed to be built by the 12th dynasty pharaoh Senusret II, who ruled 4,000 years ago. The team expects to announce more finds soon.


Invoking the Sputnik Era, Obama Vows Record Outlays for Research

In a speech on Monday at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, President Obama presented a vision of a new era in research financing comparable to the Sputnik-period space race, in which intensified scientific inquiry, and development of the intellectual capacity to pursue it, are a top national priority.

The president laid out an ambitious plan to invigorate the country's pipeline for innovation, from grade-school classrooms to corporate, government and academic research laboratories.

Mr. Obama's plan includes fulfilling commitments dating from the Bush administration to double the budgets of the National Science Foundation, the science office of the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


Swine flu: Twitter's power to misinform

© The Pug Father/Flickr
Who knew that swine flu could also infect Twitter? Yet this is what appears to have happened in the last 24 hours, with thousands of Twitter users turning to their favorite service to query each other about this nascent and potentially lethal threat as well as to share news and latest developments from Mexico, Texas, Kansas and New York (you can check most recent Twitter updates on the subject by searching for "swine flu" and "#swineflu"). And despite all the recent Twitter-enthusiasm about this platform's unique power to alert millions of people in decentralized and previously unavailable ways, there are quite a few reasons to be concerned about Twitter's role in facilitating an unnecessary global panic about swine flu.


Soon soldiers will have 3 tiny choppers in their pocket

Norwegian 'Black Hornet' shown off outdoors

Top Norwegian microcopter boffins say they have now successfully tested the fagpacket-sized PD-100 Black Hornet vidcam whirlybird - outdoors. The firm has also released video of the tiny aircraft in indoor flight tests:

The PD-100 isn't the same as your common-or-garden cheapo remote control toy copter, great as those are. As owners will know, these little machines don't offer full control of the sort a real chopper does: there's no real option to hover in one place, speed up, decelerate etc. Remote-control copters which can fly like a real full-size one are comparatively large, complex and expensive - indeed, some of them are full size.

Control Panel

Under criticism, entertainment company ditches realistic "Fallujah" videogame

Konami Digital Entertainment Co. has decided to pull a videogame that realistically reproduces the bloody street battles between U.S. forces and terrorists and insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.

"After seeing the reaction to the videogame in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided several days ago not to sell it," a public relations official of Konami said. "We had intended to convey the reality of the battles to players so that they could feel what it was like to be there."


The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill?

Scientists are baffled by what they're seeing on the Sun's surface - nothing at all. And this lack of activity could have a major impact on global warming.

Could the Sun play a greater role in recent climate change than has been believed? Climatologists had dismissed the idea and some solar scientists have been reticent about it because of its connections with those who deny climate change. But now the speculation has grown louder because of what is happening to our Sun. No living scientist has seen it behave this way. There are no sunspots.


Robotic Assisted Kidney Cancer Surgery Proves To Be Beneficial To Patients

Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers find that outcomes of robotic assisted kidney cancer surgery, when performed by experienced surgeons at high volume centers, prove more beneficial to patients when compared to open surgery. The study was authored by Fox Chase robotic surgeon Rosalia Viterbo, MD.

The standard treatment for kidney cancer is to surgically remove the entire or a portion of the kidney. This is known as nephron-sparing surgery, or partial nephrectomy, and is commonly performed using traditional open surgery. Recently, there has been interest in applying a laparoscopic approach for this procedure, however it has proven to be technically challenging to many surgeons.

Experienced laparoscopic surgeons at high volume centers, such as Fox Chase, are now using the da Vinci® robot assisted surgical system for patients with kidney cancer, or renal cell carcinoma. The advanced technology has enabled faster and greater technical proficiency allowing for completion of complex surgical procedures, facilitating a minimally invasive approach for partial nephrectomy.


Super-Earth And An Ocean World

© Unknown
Close but no cigar.
The discovery of the lightest exoplanet ever found, less than twice the mass of the Earth, has electrified a week-long meeting on astronomy and space science in Europe. The stunning finding was made by a team headed by Michel Mayor of the Geneva Observatory. The icing on the cake is a related discovery that a previously discovered "super-Earth" orbiting the same star appears to reside in the habitable zone.

Mayor made the very first discovery of an exoplanet, a Jupiter-sized world that orbits the star 51 Pegasi, in 1994. Among his many planet discoveries since then at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, Mayor has made a specialty of observing the star Gliese 581. Located 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra ("the Scales"), Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star with only one-third of the mass of our sun.

Two years ago, Mayor discovered a planet the size of Neptune and two super-Earths orbiting this star. The newly discovered planet, named Gliese 581 e, is now the fourth known planet in this solar system and the lightest, weighing in at only 1.94 Earth masses. It flies round the star at dizzying speed, taking just 3.15 days to complete an orbit. "The surprise for me was to discover a planet with by far the lowest mass seen to date," says Mayor.


Pillars Of Creation Formed In The Shadows

© Unknown
The Eagle Nebula pillars (right) are examples of these structures, but there are many others, often called "Elephant Trunks" by astronomers because of their elongated appearance.
Research by astronomers at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies suggests that shadows hold the key to how giant star-forming structures like the famous "Pillars of Creation" take shape.

The pillars are dense columns within giant clouds of dust and gas where massive stars form. Several theories have been proposed to explain why the pillars develop around the edge of ionized gas bubbles surrounding young, very hot stars. Using computer models, the Dublin group has found that partially-shadowed clumps of gas tend to creep towards darker areas, causing pile-ups behind dense knots of gas and dust that screen the intense ultraviolet light emitted by the stars.


Creating Diamonds In Space

© Unknown
Do you know that there are countless diamonds in space? Loads of tiny diamonds, each measuring one micrometer (less than the width of a human hair) are located in the material that surrounds some stars--their circumstellar disks.

Although circumstellar diamonds account for little of a disk's weight, their combined volume would be as large as part of a moon.

Nevertheless, few stars have been identified which show clear evidence of diamonds in their disks. Why are only a small number of stars adorned by diamonds? How can we find more of them?

Astronomers have been using the Subaru Telescope to seek the answers to these questions. They have learned that creating diamonds in space requires very special conditions.