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Half-Size, Ruffle-Headed Relative of Triceratops Discovered
Dec 14, 2018

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By Laura Geggel If head frills were a fashion statement, a newly identified 73-million-year-old triceratops relative was certainly at the top of its game. The newfound dinosaur named Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii sported a fancy frill on the top of its head, a new study finds. In fact, it’s the youngest-known dinosaur of its clade (the nasutoceratopsins), as well …


How Neanderthal DNA might have shaped some human brains
Dec 14, 2018

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By Ewen Callaway No human has the brain of a Neanderthal — but some have hints of its shape. The brain shape of some people with European ancestry is influenced by Neanderthal DNA acquired through interbreeding tens of thousands of years ago, researchers report on 13 December in Current Biology1. These DNA variants seem to affect the expression …


Evangelical Christians Helped Elect Donald Trump, but Their Time as a Major Political Force Is Coming to an End
Dec 14, 2018 · 1 

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By Nina Burleigh Alex Camire left the church a few months before his pastor announced from the pulpit that the election of Donald Trump was “a miracle of the Lord.” The 29-year-old Connecticut social worker had been raised in the evangelical tradition; his parents were married in it. But Camire’s faith had started to fail …


Cardinal George Pell Reportedly Convicted Of Sex Abuse Amid Gag Order In Australia
Dec 14, 2018 · 3 

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By Bill Chappell Australian news outlets are grappling with how to handle one of the country’s biggest news stories of the year — even though a judge has barred them from reporting the details. The story revolves around Cardinal George Pell, a Vatican insider who was reportedly convicted of sexually abusing minors this week, and …


How the brain’s face code might unlock the mysteries of perception
Dec 13, 2018 · 18 

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By Alison Abbott Doris Tsao launched her career deciphering faces — but for a few weeks in September, she struggled to control the expression on her own. Tsao had just won a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ award, an honour that comes with more than half a million dollars to use however the recipient wants. But she was …


Tennessee U.S. Rep.-elect Mark Green alleges vaccines may cause autism, questions CDC data
Dec 13, 2018

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By Natalie Allison A soon-to-be congressman from Tennessee told constituents Tuesday he believed vaccines may be causing autism, questioning data from the Centers for Disease Control and other institutions disproving such a theory. Not only did Republican Mark Green, a Congressman-elect from Clarksville who is also a medical doctor, express hesitation about the CDC’s stance on vaccines, …


Once Again, House Republicans Are Trying to Repeal the Johnson Amendment
Dec 13, 2018

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By Hemant Mehta Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment aren’t over yet. For more than two years now, Donald Trump has promised the Religious Right that he would sign a repeal of the rule that forbids places of worship from endorsing political candidates if they want to keep their tax exempt status. If he were to …


D.C. backs away from special water rate relief for churches
Dec 13, 2018

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By Peter Jamison D.C. officials have backed away from a proposal that would have made it easier for churches to qualify for a break on their water rates than other nonprofits, after critics said the policy could have been unconstitutional. The city is instead moving forward with a plan that would allow religious and secular nonprofits …


Texas State Rep. Files Bill to Let Teachers Post Ten Commandments in Classrooms
Dec 12, 2018

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By Hemant Mehta A Texas Republican has already filed a bill that would allow public school teachers to post the Ten Commandments in their classrooms. State Rep. Dan Flynn says in HB 307 that “The board of trustees of an independent school district may not prohibit the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments in a prominent location in …


East Antarctica is losing ice faster than anyone thought
Dec 12, 2018

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By Alexandra Witze East Antarctica was supposed to be the stable side of the icy continent, whose western flank is losing ice fast1. But glaciologists are finding that the closer they look at East Antarctica, the more change they see. Four small glaciers in a region known as Vincennes Bay are thinning at surprisingly fast rates, researchers …


Atheists Take Heart (and Office): New Poll Shows Major Support for Nonreligious Candidates
Dec 12, 2018

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By Jennifer Bardi In a nation that consistently ranks atheists near the bottom of the “feeling thermometer,” identifying as a nonreligious or humanist candidate has traditionally been seen as a “bad” political move. But a new poll shows there’s virtually no political cost for elected officials to identify as a member of the humanist community. The poll, …


Canada repeals blasphemy law
Dec 12, 2018

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By the BC Humanist Association Humanists are cheering the passage of a bill repealing Canada’s prohibition on “blasphemous libel” in the Senate today. Canada’s 19th century blasphemy law will be no more once the bill receives Royal Assent. Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association The passage of this Bill is a clear recognition by …