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Long before climate change drove them to abandon their thriving cities, a group of hunter-gatherers settled in the Indus River Valley as farmers, leading to the creation of one of the world’s first large-scale urban societies, complete with booming economies and long-distance trade.  The Harappan civilisation, which peaked around 2,600 to 1,900 BCE, boasted pioneering
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The US President has tweeted an American spy satellite image. After some sleuthing, astronomers were able to figure out which satellite it came from: a (formerly) top-secret satellite called USA 224, an optical reconnaissance satellite. Trump’s tweet unwittingly revealed some of the capabilities of American satellite imagery. USA 224 has been kept top-secret for national security
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It’s called the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM): a monumental and mysterious global warming event that scientists have never been able to fully explain. Well over 50 million years ago, this epic climate abnormality produced a massive injection of carbon into the atmosphere. The build-up lasted some 20,000 years, and sent global temperatures soaring by as
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Hidden along the north-east coast of the Spanish island of Mallorca, you’ll find the spectacular Coves d’Artà: a wondrous underground cave network filled with stalagmites and stalactites galore. These natural rock formations dominate stunning cavernous spaces given foreboding names like ‘Chamber of Purgatory’ and ‘Chamber of Hell’ – but the Artà Cave holds an ancient
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Hurricane Dorian has been unleashing an impressive lightning storm as it continues on its tragically destructive way. Looping together satellite images from the end of August, meteorologist Dakota Smith has put together a spectacular show of flashing lights within and around the storm’s swirling eye. “I created the loop mainly to visualise how incredible hurricanes
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A team of researchers has just demonstrated quantum enhancement in an actual X-ray machine, achieving the desirable goal of eliminating background noise for precision detection. The relationships between photon pairs on quantum scales can be exploited to create sharper, higher-resolution images than classical optics. This emerging field is called quantum imaging, and it has some
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Last Wednesday, a gravitational wave detection gave astronomers quite the surprise. As researchers were going about their work at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a pair of gravitational waves rolled in just minutes apart. The first, labelled S190828j, was picked up by all three of LIGO’s gravitational wave detectors at 06:34 am, coordinated universal time. The
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Sounds like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was just kicked out of mom’s basement. In an inexplicable tweet, DARPA asked for help finding “commercially managed underground urban tunnels and facilities able to host research and experimentation.” And nobody knows why. The ideal space would be a human-made underground environment spanning several city blocks w/
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Examples of how human societies are changing the planet abound – from building roads and houses, clearing forests for agriculture and digging train tunnels, to shrinking the ozone layer, driving species extinct, changing the climate and acidifying the oceans. Human impacts are everywhere. Our societies have changed Earth so much that it’s impossible to reverse
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Across the Caribbean this week, island residents docked boats, emptied grocery stores, and boarded up buildings in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, which became a Category 1 storm on Wednesday. Meanwhile, high up in Earth’s orbit, satellites belonging to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) watched the hurricane form and churn. The storm has passed
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Here’s a simple how-to on how to construct a traversable cosmic wormhole that could send your spaceship to the furthest reaches of space: take two charged black holes, place them back to back, and thread two cosmic strings through both. Stretch both strings to infinity and presto! You’ve got yourself a traversable wormhole. Confused yet?