Human language’s deep origins appear to have come directly from birds, primates
Jun 12, 2014 · 1 

By Science Daily   On the island of Java, in Indonesia, the silvery gibbon, an endangered primate, lives in the rainforests. In a behavior that’s unusual for a primate, the silvery gibbon sings: It can vocalize long, complicated songs, using 14 different note types, that signal territory and send messages to potential mates and family. …

New fossil find pinpoints the origin of jaws in vertebrates
Jun 12, 2014 · 2 

By Science Daily   A major fossil discovery in Canada sheds new light on the development of the earliest vertebrates, including the origin of jaws, the first time this feature has been seen so early in the fossil record. A key piece in the puzzle of the evolution of vertebrates has been identified, after the …

Origins of Arctic fox traced back to Tibet
Jun 12, 2014

By Jane Qiu   The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) was thought to have evolved in Europe as the ice sheet expanded when a glacial period swept the Earth about 2.6 million years ago. But fossil evidence now suggests that the animal ‘pre-adapted’ to living in the cold and harsh environment on lofty Tibetan terrains. While hiking …

Bacteria implicated in stress-related heart attacks
Jun 10, 2014 · 2 

By Sara Reardon   Stress has long been thought to trigger heart attacks, but the mechanism is unknown. Now, researchers think that bacteria could play a role. A study published today in mBio1  suggests that stress hormones can break up mats of bacteria growing on the fatty plaques in arteries, releasing the plaques and causing strokes …

Earth is around 60 million years older than previously thought — and so is the moon, new research finds
Jun 10, 2014 · 6 

By Science Daily   Work presented today at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Sacramento, California shows that the timing of the giant impact between Earth’s ancestor and a planet-sized body occurred around 40 million years after the start of solar system formation. This means that the final stage of Earth’s formation is around 60 million …

Milky Way may bear 100 million life-giving planets
Jun 10, 2014 · 5 

By Science Daily   There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support complex life, report a group of university astronomers in the journal Challenges. They have developed a new computation method to examine data from planets orbiting other stars in the universe. Their study provides the first quantitative …

Scientists dispute whether computer ‘Eugene Goostman’ passed Turing test
Jun 10, 2014 · 1 

By Ian Sample and Alex Hern   A computer program named Eugene Goostman which imitates a Ukrainian teenager with a quirky sense of humour and a pet guinea pig has won an artificial intelligence competition at the Royal Society in London. The program convinced 10 out of 30 judges at the nation’s most prestigious scientific institution that it was a real person …

Boom! Enormous Supernova Explosion Created in the Lab
Jun 10, 2014 · 7 

By Jesse Emspak   An enormous explosion, rivaling the most powerful outbursts in the universe, called a supernova, has been created in a lab, along with the associated shock wave of charged particles, scientists report. The scientists from the University of Oxford weren’t just looking to blow things up. Led by Gianluca Gregori and graduate student Jena Meinecke, …

Mystery Disease Turns Oregon’s Sea Stars to Goo
Jun 9, 2014 · 1 

By Jeanna Bryner   A mysterious disease that is turning sea stars to goo has taken off along the Oregon coast, with up to half or more of the creatures being infected in just the last few weeks, scientists say. Until now, Oregon was the one state along the U.S. West Coast essentially spared from …

A Computer Program Has Passed the Turing Test For the First Time
Jun 9, 2014 · 8 

By Pranav Dixit   This is big. A computer program has successfully managed to fool a bunch of researchers into thinking that it was a 13-year-old boy named Eugene Goostman. In doing so, it has become the first in the world to have successfully passed the Turing Test. The test is named after computer pioneer Alan …

The science behind Brazuca, the official ball of the 2014 World Cup
Jun 9, 2014

By Grabriella Munoz A conventional soccer ball has 12 black pentagons and 20 white hexagons, good enough for a friendly match with your mates. But that design is so last century when it comes to the innovation needed for the 2014 World Cup. Researchers in Japan compared the stability of the Brazuca, the official ball of this …

Why I Wish Pope Francis Was Joking about the Devil (and Other Beliefs)
Jun 9, 2014 · 34 

By Herb Silverman Here’s my four-word solution for those struggling with demonic possession: “Stop believing in demons.” In an unintentionally funny comment, progressive Catholic theologian Vito Mancuso said about Pope Francis’ old-school interpretation of the devil and the need for exorcists: “He is opening the door to superstition.” Where to begin when describing a Catholic …