Elephant Mimics Human Speech

“Researchers report that an Asian elephant named Koshik, at the Everland Zoo in South Korea, has learned to mimic human speech by placing his trunk in his mouth. The Elephant can say the words for good, no, hello, sit down, and lie down in Korean which is unusual because elephants usually make sounds much lower with some of them being outside the range of human hearing.”

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Reinventing Forgotten Archery

“This fellow’s historically inspired style of fast archery is mighty impressive. It’s based around holding multiple arrows in the drawing hand, and allows him to do things like shoot 11 arrows before the first one hits the ground. What do you think? Is this something that might have counterparts in Glorantha? Heroic archers often shoot this fast regardless, but I could definitely see, say, Odaylans maintaining a technique like this as a cult secret.” — Scott Akers

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Hi-Tech Contraceptive Implant?

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A new birth control drug delivery system can be remotely turned on or off – and each impant can last 16 years. The unnamed device is designed to be implanted under the skin of the buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen. It dispenses 30 micrograms a day of levonorgestrel, a hormone already used in several kinds of contraceptives. According to MIT Technology Review, the firm behind it, MicroCHIPS of Lexington, Massachusetts, the device will begin pre-clinical testing next year in the U.S. The goal is to have it on the market by 2018,’ they say.” w/ photos

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Four-Winged Flying Dinosaur Unearthed In China

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The well-preserved, complete skeleton of the dinosaur Changyuraptor yangi features a long tail with feathers 30cm in length – the longest ever seen on a dinosaur fossil. The feathers may have played a major role in flight control, say scientists in the latest issue of Nature Communications, in particular allowing the animal to reduce its speed to land safely. The 125m-year-old fossil, believed to be an adult, is completely covered in feathers, including long feathers attached to its legs that give the appearance of a second set of wings or “hind wings”. It is the largest four-winged dinosaur ever found, 60% larger than the previous record holder, Microraptor zhaoianus, in the family of dinosaurs known as microraptors.” w/ photos

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The Beauty Of Salt

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Photographer Sergey Anashkevych was traveling across Crimea by train when he spotted a remarkable sight. Alongside the train in one location were vast expanses of colored salt flats stretching into the distance in a place known as Sivash, or the Rotten Sea. With camera in hand the Crimean returned to the location after his journey and managed to capture the remarkable photos you can see here. Salt is one of the biggest export products from Crimea, while chemical industry accounts for 20.6% of industrial output in the region.” w/ photos

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Breakthrough In Bid To Cure Blindness

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“They used ‘induced’ stem cells – taken from ordinary skin cells – to investigate patient-specific causes of the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which leads to blindness or severe visual impairment. By testing retinal cells created from the stem cells in the laboratory, they linked RP in two patients to mutations in a gene called MFRP. The scientists then used a virus to deliver normal copies of the gene into the retinal cells and restore their function.” w/ photos

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Scientists Capture Moment Plant Converts Energy

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Scientists have announced they are closer than ever to the ‘holy grail’ of biochemistry: artificial photosynthesis. By observing the first stage of the process in action, they say they’ve got a better understanding of how plans turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. And ultimately it may be an important step to a future where artificial plants are created that are more efficient than their organic siblings. The groundbreaking research published in Nature was carried out by an international team led by Arizona State University (ASU) scientists.” w/ photos

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Elusive On/Off Switch Found For Human Consciousness

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“…now there is research showing that the brain does have an on/off switch that triggers unconsciousness. Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe for the first time a way to switch off consciousness by electrically stimulating a part of the brain called the claustrum. Their accidental discovery could lead to a deeper understanding of a fundamental mystery of the human brain; that is, how conscious awareness arises.” w/ photos

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