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After studying hundreds of recently discovered exploding stars, physicists have concluded it’s unlikely there are sufficient numbers of primordial black holes out there to account for the dark matter phenomenon. This doesn’t mean the category of material referred to as massive compact halo objects (MACHOs) can’t contribute to the unseen 84 percent of the Universe’s
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Stinging trees grow in rainforests throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales in Australia. The most commonly known (and most painful) species is Dendrocnide moroides (Family Urticaceae), first named “gympie bush” by gold miners near the town of Gympie in the 1860s. My first sting was from a different species Dendrocnide photinophylla (the shiny-leaf stinging
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An international team of scientists has discovered evidence of common bacteria living so far underground and away from sunlight that we may have to re-evaluate the habitability of deep subsurface ecosystems – including those of alien worlds. There’s a deep terrestrial environment – sometimes called the ‘dark biosphere’ – that extends hundreds of metres into
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Animals don’t always stick to traditional menus, and they certainly don’t read the descriptions of their diets we include in textbooks. When it recently emerged that a notorious carnivore (a shark) was actually selecting the vegetarian option, scientists were intrigued. We’ve known for some time that bonnethead sharks consume large quantities of seagrass, but this
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Martin Rees, a well-respected British cosmologist, has made a pretty bold statement when it comes to particle accelerators: there’s a small, but real possibility of disaster. Particle accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider, shoot particles at incredibly high speeds, smash them together, and observe the fallout. These high speed collisions have helped us discover lots
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Life just got worse for the 50 million people caught up in what may be the biggest hack of Facebook ever. On Friday, the Silicon Valley tech firm revealed that it had detected a security breach in which an as-yet unknown attacker, or attackers, managed to gain access to tens of millions of users’ accounts by exploiting vulnerabilities
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The human brain is a remarkable thing. It can do things our primate relatives are thousands – maybe even millions – of years of evolution away from, and our most complex machines are not even close to competing with our powers of higher consciousness and ingenuity. And yet, those 100 billion or so neurons are also incredibly fragile. If
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A magnitude 7.5 earthquake has struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a 1.8-metre (6-foot) tsunami. The wave tore through several of the island’s coastal cities and towns, including the capital Palu, on Friday. The devastating quake has been followed by multiple strong aftershocks, and comes shortly after a magnitude 6.1
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Clever and strange, octopuses are fascinating creatures with incredible problem-solving skills and breathtaking camouflage. But overall, they are short-lived, typically around for just one to two years. That’s because they’re semelparous, which means they reproduce just once before they die. With female octopuses, once she’s laid her eggs, that’s it. In fact, the mother even stops
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In 1954, archaeologist Samuel Lothrop described the horror show of an ancient burial site he’d excavated in Panama. Hacking, mutilation, sacrifice, people buried alive, cannibalism, flesh stripped from bones, decapitation for the purpose of trophy-taking – it was all there. Since then, the paper has been cited over 35 times as evidence of the culture’s
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Centuries of human exploitation in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest – one of the world’s most important forests – has left it nearly empty, according to new research. More than half of the subtropical forest’s local mammal species have been wiped out since Europeans colonised the region in the 16th century, according to the study published in