Browsing All Posts published on »October 17th, 2011«

Dark matter gets even more mysterious

October 17, 2011

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Like all galaxies, our Milky Way is home to a strange substance called dark matter. Dark matter is invisible, betraying its presence only through its gravitational pull. Without dark matter holding them together, our galaxy’s speedy stars would fly off in all directions. The nature of dark matter is a mystery — a mystery that […]

When will the 7 billionth human be born?

October 17, 2011

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<img class="alignleft" title="Room for a small one, but for how much longer?(Image: Keystone/ZUMA/Rex Features)” src=”http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/mg21228344.500/mg21228344.500-1_300.jpg&#8221; alt=”Room for a small one, but for how much longer?(Image: Keystone/ZUMA/Rex Features)” />ON 31 October, a newborn baby somewhere in the world will become the 7 billionth member of the human race. Or so says the UN – alternatively, this […]

Was ‘first photographed UFO’ a comet that nearly hit the earth in 1883?

October 17, 2011

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Mexican astronomer José Banilla took the image, which appears to show something passing in front of the sun, on August 12 1883. When it was released publicly in 1886 in the magazine L’Astronomie it was dubbed the first photo of a UFO – a series of 447 objects that looked ‘misty’ and ‘left behind a […]

Sleights of hand, sleights of mind

October 17, 2011

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… “In principle, neuroscience and magic have little in common,” says Susana Martinez-Conde, director of the Visual Neuroscience Laboratory at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. “In fact, they are hugely complementary and magicians have a lot to offer us. They can manipulate the attention and consciousness of spectators so much better than we […]

Oldest artist’s workshop in the world discovered

October 17, 2011

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<img class="alignleft" title="Prehistoric paint pot (Image: Science/AAAS)” src=”http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn21046/dn21046-2_300.jpg&#8221; alt=”Prehistoric paint pot (Image: Science/AAAS)” />Prehistoric paint pot (Image: Science/AAAS) Grind up some ochre, melt some bone-marrow fat, mix the lot with a splash of urine – and paint your body with it. It sounds like an avant-garde performance but it may have happened some 100,000 years […]

America’s child death shame: Child dies every 5 hrs

October 17, 2011

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Every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the US. The latest government figures show an estimated 1,770 children were killed as a result of maltreatment in 2009. A recent congressional report concludes the real number could be nearer 2,500. In fact, America has the worst child abuse record in the industrialised […]

‘Criminal’ penguin caught on film

October 17, 2011

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A “criminal” stone-stealing Adelie penguin has been captured on camera by a BBC film crew. The team, filming for the documentary Frozen Planet, spent four months with the penguin colony on Ross Island, Antarctica. The footage they captured shows a male penguin stealing stones from its neighbour’s nest. The birds build their stone nests to […]

FBI’s DNA database upgrade plans come under fire

October 17, 2011

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A major upgrade of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) DNA database system has come under fire from members of the forensic science community. The Codis system is used to generate the genetic profiles stored in the US national DNA database. The FBI wants to expand the number of genetic markers used by Codis to […]

Van Gogh did not kill himself, authors claim

October 17, 2011

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Vincent van Gogh did not kill himself, the authors of new biography Van Gogh: The Life have claimed. Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith say that, contrary to popular belief, it was more likely he was shot accidentally by two boys he knew who had “a malfunctioning gun”. The authors came to their conclusion after […]