Chile takes astronomers closer to the heavens

By SIMON ROMERO April 14, 2012, 04:31 PM

Astronomers take their research 16,597 feet up -- to Chile's Atacama Desert -- placing them closer to the heavens in their quest for the origins of the universe.

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Baboons can recognize words

By SETH BORENSTEIN April 12, 2012, 05:29 PM

Early reading may be more instinctive -- and non-human primates may be smarter -- than first thought.

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A real thinking cap

By DAVID EWING DUNCAN April 07, 2012, 10:34 PM

Called the iBrain, a simple-looking contraption is part of an experiment that aims to allow Hawking -- paralyzed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease -- to communicate by thinking.

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Cancer diagnosis itself may be risk

April 07, 2012, 05:31 PM

Cancer can kill long before malignant tumors take their toll, new research shows. A study involving more than 6 million Swedes reveals that the risk of suicide and cardiovascular death increases immediately after a cancer diagnosis.

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Butterflies inspire technology

April 07, 2012, 05:28 PM

Butterfly wings are not just beautiful. They are also sophisticated collectors of solar energy that help butterflies stay warm, and researchers say that their shinglelike structure could provide clues into developing better solar technology. Tongxiang Fan, a materials scientist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, and his colleagues used an electron microscope to study the wing structure of two species of black butterflies and reported their findings at the American Chemical Society's meeting in San Diego. (They studied black wings because they absorb the maximum amount of sunlight.) They found that the wings are composed of elongated rectangular scales, arranged a bit like overlapping shingles. The scales also had steep ridges, with small holes on either side leading to a second layer. These features direct light to the second layer, helping the butterfly to capture a lot of heat. Fan said his team is now working to create a commercial product inspired by the wings. NEW YORK TIMES

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The burning question: When did fire come to Earth?

By AMINA KHAN April 07, 2012, 03:27 PM

Findings suggest that humans have been playing with fire for 1.7 million years.

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The beautiful feathered tyrant

April 04, 2012, 11:09 PM

• Named Yutyrannus huali, or "beautiful feathered tyrant"

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T. rex ancestors were warm and fuzzy?

By AMINA KHAN April 04, 2012, 11:09 PM

Discovery overturned long-held assumption about the role of feathers.

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NASA extends planet-hunting mission through 2016

April 04, 2012, 05:00 PM

NASA has decided to keep its planet-hunting spacecraft running for several more years.

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Voice technology: A real conversation-starter

By NATASHA SINGER April 03, 2012, 04:45 PM

Voice recognition software allows us to speak with our electronic devices. But could this become a co-dependent relationship?

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Lucy did not walk alone, fossil indicates

March 31, 2012, 05:12 PM

The ancient human relative may have shared eastern Africa with another hominin, but one that spent much of its time in the trees. Summary.

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Pesticides are linked to decline of bees

By MARC KAUFMAN March 30, 2012, 07:14 AM

New research has begun to unravel the mystery of why bees are disappearing in alarming numbers worldwide: Some of the pesticides most commonly used by farmers appear to be changing bee behavior in small but fatal ways.

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Amazon CEO plans to raise sunken Apollo 11 engines

By ALICIA CHANG March 29, 2012, 03:09 AM

Long before Jeff Bezos became an Internet mogul, he was enthralled by the mysteries of space.

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Get ready for more severe storms, droughts and heat waves

By SETH BORENSTEIN March 28, 2012, 08:02 PM

A new report says places from Mumbai to Miami need to prepare for more severe storms, droughts and heat waves.

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Some climate findings

March 28, 2012, 07:57 PM

• It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation will increase in the 21st century over many regions, including Alaska, Canada, northern and central Europe, East Africa and north Asia.

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Cameron on 7-mile dive: Earth's deepest spot desolate, foreboding

By SETH BORENSTEIN March 26, 2012, 05:35 PM

In James Cameron's fantasy films, like "Avatar" and "The Abyss," the unexplored is splashed in color and fraught with alien danger. But on his dive to the deepest place on Earth, reality proved far different: white, barren and bland.

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Science notes: Coastal mists may carry toxic mercury

March 24, 2012, 07:20 PM

Researchers have found that coastal mists may carry toxic mercury that can harm ecosystems and human health.

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Big surprises from tiny Mercury

March 24, 2012, 07:19 PM

The smallest planet in the solar system keeps serving up big surprises. A team led by geophysicist Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported in the journal Science that the team found the planet's surface to be unusually flat when compared with the terrain of the moon or Mars. Messenger mission scans also showed that in the 960-mile-wide Caloris impact basin, the northern part of its floor is higher than the south, with parts standing higher than its rim. This lopsidedness may have resulted from tectonic forces -- and is one of a growing number of clues that Mercury may have been geologically active more recently than previously thought. Other MIT researchers found that the core is even larger than they thought -- encompassing 83 percent of Mercury's radius. (Earth's core is a little more than half of its radius.) Perhaps most oddly of all, there must be a solid layer of iron sulfide lying between Mercury's liquid outer core and its thin mantle. It all helps scientists to better understand what could make potentially habitable planets beyond our solar system. LOS ANGELES TIMES

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James Cameron to enter the abyss

By WILLIAM J. BROAD March 20, 2012, 03:51 PM

Director James Cameron is preparing to dive nearly 7 miles into the Mariana Trench in a torpedo-like submersible that is one of a kind.

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Little tsunami debris expected in U.S.

March 17, 2012, 05:22 PM

Japanese officials estimated last year that the March 11 tsunami washed up to 25 million tons of stuff, from cars to bottle caps, into the ocean. Most of it sank just off the Japanese coast, leaving 1 million to 2 million tons to float across the sea.

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