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Researchers building RoboCop policeman

Via: CNET

You’ve double-parked your car to pick something up when a robot rolls up and threatens to give you a ticket. You might laugh, but the thing’s talking with a human voice.

Researchers at Florida International University’s Discovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being controlled by disabled police officers and military vets. In a sense, they would be hybrid man-machine cops, like RoboCop.

Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Robins has given $20,000 to the lab and borrowed two robots valued at nearly $500,000 from the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) to realize his vision of bringing some of the thousands of disabled cops and soldiers in the U.S. back to the workforce.

They would work as patrol officers, operating wheeled telepresence robots and doing everything from responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities. The cybercops would have to be rugged enough to work outdoors, but what would they look like?

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Beluga whale ‘makes human-like sounds’

While dolphins have been taught to mimic the pattern and durations of sounds in human speech, no animal has spontaneously tried such mimicry.

But researchers heard a nine-year-old whale named NOC make sounds octaves below normal, in clipped bursts.

The researchers outline in Current Biology just how NOC did it.

But the first mystery was figuring out where the sound was coming from. The whales are known as “canaries of the sea” for their high-pitched chirps, and while a number of anecdotal reports of whales making human-like speech, none had ever been recorded.

When a diver at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in California surfaced saying, “Who told me to get out?” the researchers there knew they had another example on their hands.

Once they identified NOC as the culprit, they made the first-ever recordings of the behaviour.


BBC Film Crew Arrested at Gunpoint for Sneaking into Top Secret ‘Area 51’

Via:The Sun

Image From Wikipedia

Guards armed with M16 assault rifles forced them to lie face-down for three hours while the FBI ran security checks.

The 12-man crew visited the infamous Area 51 in Nevada — where it is claimed bodies of aliens are held — to make a documentary about UFOs.

The Beeb team — including comic Andrew Maxwell — ignored warnings to slip past security and film inside the fence.

Moments later military cops surrounded them and confiscated their phones, wallets and IDs. UFO expert Darren Perks, 34, said one of the cops told him: “Listen, son, we could make you disappear and your body would never be found.”

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Why HIV is More Evil Than We Could Have Imagined

Via:io9

Image From Wikipedia

A devastating Salmonella epidemic is ravaging parts of sub-Saharan Africa right now — and it appears that HIV gave this rapidly evolving form of Salmonella a major boost. According to a new study, the African HIV epidemic appears to have provided this strain of Salmonella with a large number of humans with weakened immune systems, giving it a place to evolve, and to spread rapidly.

Worse still: the new, improved strain of Salmonella doesn’t respond to the first set of antibiotics, meaning that doctors have to use more expensive drugs, instead. Just one more way that HIV is more evil than we ever knew.

Called non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS), the relatively new disease was generated by a new form of the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium that spread from two different focal hubs in Southern and Central Africa. It emerged in two separate waves, the first in 1960 and the second in 1977 (possibly from the Congo Basin).

iNTS is a blood-borne infection that kills 25% to 45% of Sub-Saharan Africans who contract it. In other parts of the world, NTS is fatal in less than 1% of people infected. The disease appears to be more severe in Africa, on account of such factors as malnutrition, co-infection with malaria or HIV — and possibly also, the new mutated version of the Salmonella bacteria.

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‘Dracula’ dinosaur had bristles and fangs

Via:Fox News

Image credit: Tyler Keillor

A bizarre dinosaur had vampire-like fangs, a parrot beak and porcupine bristles, researchers say.

The ancient creature, which was found 50 years ago in southern Africa but drew relatively little attention until now, may shed light on the evolution of the major group of dinosaurs that included famous giants such as Stegosaurus and Triceratops.

The 200-million-year-old dinosaur “was two-legged, probably fleet-footed, and had grasping hands,” said researcher Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago.

Named Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa,” it was less than 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and weighed less than a house cat at 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) at most, “and was mostly tail and neck,” Sereno added.

Strangely, bristles somewhat like porcupine quills may have spread across most of the body of Pegomastax. Such bristles first appeared in a relative named Tianyulong recently discovered in China. Buried in lake sediments and covered by volcanic ash, Tianyulong was preserved with hundreds of bristles covering its body from its neck to the tip of its tail. [Paleo-Art: Stunning Illustrations of Dinosaurs]

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Scientists Identify the Edge of a Massive Black Hole for the First Time

Via:Smithsonian.com

Image by NASA and ESA

The point of no return has been discovered at last. Fifty million light-years from Earth, in the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, a black hole that is six billion times more massive than the Sun has provided scientists with the first measurement of what is known as an “event horizon,” the point beyond which matter is forever lost to the black hole.

“Once objects fall through the event horizon, they’re lost forever,” says Shep Doeleman, a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lead author on the paper published in Science Express.

Black holes are the densest objects in the universe. “There’s such intense gravity there that it’s not just matter that can cross the event horizon and get sucked into the black hole but even a photon of light,” says co-author Jonathan Weintroub, also at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “There’s a bit of a paradox in claiming that we’ve measured a black hole, because black holes are black. We measure light, or in our case, radiowaves” from around the black hole, not the black hole itself.

The black hole in question is one of the two biggest in the sky, according to a September 2011 paper titled, “The size of the jet launching region in M87,” which outlined how measurements of the event horizon could be taken.

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Secrets of the squid from Hell revealed

Via:Cosmos

PARIS: The secret life of a mysterious creature that feeds on the decaying dead in the unlit depths of the ocean has been revealed.

The squid is so weird that it is known as a ‘phylogenetic relic’. It has the honour of occupying a taxonomic category all of its own, combining features of octopuses and squids in a unique evolutionary formula that has survived for millions of years.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a pair of scientists in California report on 30 years of chance encounters with vampire squids by robot submarine explorers, laboratory experiments and dissections.

Lone species

Vampyroteuthis infernalis – the ‘Squid from Hell’ – is the only species in the order Vampyromorpha, where it was placed in 1903.

The 13-centimetre (five-inch) cephalopod lives in temperate and tropical oceans, inhabiting waters at depths between roughly 600 and 900 metres (2,000–3,000 feet), a niche habitat where at the lowest levels there is just enough oxygen to support life.

It uses huge 2.5-centimetre (one-inch) eyes to detect the slightest gleam of movement, and deploys dark-blue bioluminescence to cloak its jelly-like body from predators below when it drifts at higher depths.

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Plans to send a boat to Titan proposed

Via:The Independent

Image From NASA

Plans to send an interplanetary pedalo to Saturn’s largest moon Titan have been unveiled by scientists.

The robot craft would land in one of the moon’s lakes and sail around propelled by paddles.

Other versions of the probe are fitted with screws or wheels.

Titan is the nearest thing the Solar System has to Pandora, the Earth-like moon featured in the film Avatar.

Like Earth it has a thick atmosphere and large bodies of liquid on its surface – only Titan’s chilly seas consist of lighter fluid chemicals instead of water.

The hydrocarbon lakes, seas and rivers cover much of the moon’s northern hemisphere.

Their existence was confirmed by the European Space Agency’s Huygens lander which visited Titan as part of the Cassini mission in 2005.

Huygens landed on solid ground but was designed to float for short periods.

The new plans, presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid, envisage dropping a boat-like probe in the middle of Ligeia Mare, the largest lake near Titan’s north pole.

The craft would then set sail for the coast, taking scientific measurements on the way.

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‘Zombie bees’ found in Washington state

Via:KOMO News

Washington has its first case of “Zombie bees,” but experts say the insects aren’t as dangerous as their name would suggest.

Amateur beekeeper Mark Hohn first noticed the dead bees in front of his shop after returning from vacation in early September.

“When I first saw it, I just assumed it was natural,” he said. “I found them right in the flight path of my hives.”

Because Hohn keeps nearly 300,000 bees and only a couple dozen had died, he didn’t think anything unusual was going. But then he saw bees acting strange, as if they were drunk. He shot some video of the bees, bagged some of the dead ones and contacted the experts.

Soon, biologists at Washington State University and San Francisco State University found out that he had the first recorded case of Zombie bees in Washington. The bees aren’t a threat to humans, but they do pose a threat to the honey bee population, which has already been hit hard by various environmental factors and other sicknesses.

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Former Air Force Colonel, Accuses U.S. Of UFO Cover-Up

Via: Huffington Post

Former Air Force Col. Charles Halt accused the federal government of a UFO cover-up that involves a secret agency to deal with what might be extraterrestrial visitations.

“I’m firmly convinced there’s an agency, and there is an effort to suppress,” Halt told an audience of 200 people Saturday night at the Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum.

Two former Air Force officers who were part of the infamous Project Blue Book — the military’s official UFO investigation in the 1950s and ’60s — and a former investigator with Britain’s Ministry of Defense were among the panel of speakers for a program entitled “Military UFOs: Secrets Revealed.”

Halt, pictured below, was the deputy base commander of the RAF Bentwaters military base in England and one of numerous eyewitnesses to several UFO-related events at Rendlesham Forest in December 1980. He believes the observed UFOs were either extraterrestrial or extradimensional in origin.

“I’ve heard many people say that it’s time for the government to appoint an agency to investigate,” Halt said.

“Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency that’s been investigating this for years, and there’s a very active role played by many of our intelligence agencies that probably don’t even know the details of what happens once they collect the data and forward it. It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

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Kucinich Calls Out Monsanto: Americans Demand GMO Labeling

“In 1992 the Food and Drug Administration decided that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the functional equivalent of conventional foods. They arrived at this decision without testing GMOs for allergenicity, toxicity, anti-biotic resistance and functional characteristics. As a result hundreds of millions of acres of GMO crops were planted in America without the knowledge or consent of the American people: no safety testing and no long term health studies.

“The FDA has received over a million comments from citizens demanding labeling of GMOs. Ninety percent of Americans agree. So, why no labeling? I’ll give you one reason: The influence and the corruption of the political process by Monsanto. Monsanto has been a prime mover in GMO technology, a multi-million dollar GMO lobby here and a major political contributor.

“There is a chance that Monsanto’s grip will be broken in California where a GMO labeling initiative is on the ballot. And here in Congress, my legislation HR 3553 will provide for a national labeling law. Americans have a right to know if their food is genetically engineered. It’s time for labeling and for people to know how their food is being produced.”


First Ever Etruscan Pyramids Found in Italy

Via:Discovery

Image David George

The first ever Etruscan pyramids have been located underneath a wine cellar in the city of Orvieto in central Italy, according to a team of U.S. and Italian archaeologists.

Carved into the rock of the tufa plateau –a sedimentary area that is a result of volcanic activity — on which the city stands, the subterranean structures were largely filled. Only the top-most modern layer was visible.

“Within this upper section, which had been modified in modern times and was used as a wine cellar, we noticed a series of ancient stairs carved into the wall. They were clearly of Etruscan construction,” David B. George of the Department of Classics at Saint Anselm, told Discovery News.

As they started digging, George and co-director of the excavation Claudio Bizzarri of the Parco Archeologico Ambientale dell’Orvietano noted that the cave’s walls were tapered up in a pyramidal fashion. Intriguingly, a series of tunnels, again of Etruscan construction, ran underneath the wine cellar hinting to the possibility of deeper undiscovered structures below.

PHOTOS: Open House: Etruscan Site Reveals Domestic Treasures

After going through a mid-20th century floor, George and Bizzarri reached a medieval floor. Immediately beneath this floor, they found a layer of fill that contained various artifacts such as Attic red figure pottery from the middle of the 5th Century B.C., 6th and 5th century B.C. Etruscan pottery with inscriptions as well as various objects that dated to before 1000 B.C.

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Acoustic levitation

It’s not a magic trick and it’s not sleight of hand – scientists really are using levitation to improve the drug development process, eventually yielding more effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing different pharmaceuticals. While the connection between levitation and drug development may not be immediately apparent, a special relationship emerges at the molecular level.

At the molecular level, pharmaceutical structures fall into one of two categories: amorphous or crystalline. Amorphous drugs typically are more efficiently taken up by the body than their crystalline cousins; this is because amorphous drugs are both more highly soluble and have a higher bioavailability, suggesting that a lower dose can produce the desired effect.

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Bolivia Gives Legal Rights To The Earth

Via:Worldtruth.tv

Image Source NASA

Law of Mother Earth sees Bolivia pilot new social and economic model based on protection of and respect for nature.

Bolivia is to become the first country in the world to give nature comprehensive legal rights in an effort to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world, and to improve quality of life for the Bolivian people.

Developed by grassroots social groups and agreed by politicians, the Law of Mother Earth recognises the rights of all living things, giving the natural world equal status to human beings.

Once fully approved, the legislation will provide the Earth with rights to: life and regeneration; biodiversity and freedom from genetic modification; pure water; clean air; naturally balanced systems; restoration from the effects of human activity; and freedom from contamination.

The legislation is based on broader principles of living in harmony with the Earth and prioritising the “collective good.” At its heart is an understanding that the Earth is sacred, which arises from the indigenous Andean worldview of ‘Pachamama’ (meaning Mother Earth) as a living being. An initial act outlining the rights – which was passed by Bolivia’s national congress in December 2010 and paves the way for the full legislation – defines Mother Earth as a dynamic and “indivisible community of all living systems and living organisms, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny.”

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Dog stands guard over deceased owner’s grave for six years

By

An extremely dedicated dog has continued to show its loyalty, keeping watch on its owner’s gravesix years after he passed away.

Capitan, a German shepherd, reportedly ran away from home after its owner, Miguel Guzman, died in 2006. A week later, the Guzman family found the dog sitting by his grave in central Argentina.

Miguel Guzman adopted Capitan in 2005 as a gift for his teenage son, Damian. And for the past six years, Capitan has continued to stand guard at Miguel’s grave. The family says the dog rarely leaves the site.

“We searched for him, but he had vanished,” widow Veronica Guzman told LaVoz.com. “We thought he must have got run over and died.

‘The following Sunday we went to the cemetery, and Damian recognized his pet. Capitan came up to us, barking and wailing as if he were crying.”

Adding to the unusual circumstances, Veronica says the family never brought Capitan to the cemetery before he was discovered there.

“It is a mystery how he managed to find the place,” she said.

Cemetery director Hector Baccega says he and his staff have begun feeding and taking care of Capitan.

“He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master,” Baccega said.

“During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o’clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave, stays there all night.”

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