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El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya

Had we been traveling overland, it would have taken two or three days to get from the end of the road at Carmelita to El Mirador: long hours of punishing heat and drenching rain, of mud and mosquitoes, and the possibility that the jungle novice in our party (that would be me, not the biologists turned photographers Christian Ziegler and Claudio Contreras) might step on a lethal fer-de-lance or do some witless city thing to provoke a jaguar or arouse the ire of the army ants inhabiting the last great swath of subtropical rain forest in Mesoamerica.

from Smithsonian Magazine

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Robo-Jeeves Finds and Folds Your Crumpled Shirts

Simple as they seem, many routine domestic chores are still a big problem for robots. Fetching a beer from the fridge may be within a robot's grasp, but ask it to clear up a messy bedroom and it will be stumped. To a robot, a crumpled pair of trousers can look much like a discarded T-shirt, and it will struggle to tell a fluffy slipper from a sleeping cat.

from New Scientist

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Flies Alter Lice Evolution

How well lice are able to latch onto pigeon flies and catch a lift to new bird hosts affects how the lice evolve. Lice species carried aloft by flies spread to more species and tend to speciate at different times than their hosts, while ground-bound lice more closely coevolve with the birds they infect.

from the Scientist (Registration Required)


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Psst! The Human Brain Is Wired For Gossip

Hearing gossip about people can change the way you see them--literally. Negative gossip actually alters the way our visual system responds to a particular face, according to a study published online by the journal Science.

from NPR

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Top Ten Myths About the Brain

When it comes to this complex, mysterious, fascinating organ, what do—and don’t—we know?

from Smithsonian

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How Piano Wires Changed Through Centuries

When Wolfgang Mozart sat down to perform his masterpieces to audiences, he tapped out the notes on a much different instrument than most pianos used today. Among the differences was the wire inside his instrument...

from Discovery News

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Skepticism Grows Over Products Touted as Eco-Friendly

To Marina Meadows, green may be the new white. When she goes shopping these days, Meadows is often overwhelmed by a bevy of products touted as green, from Earth-friendly dish soaps and bamboo-derived towels to eco-detergents and plant-based soda bottles...

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

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Early Bronze Age Battle Site Found on German River Bank

Fractured human remains found on a German river bank could provide the first compelling evidence of a major Bronze Age battle. Archaeological excavations of the Tollense Valley in northern Germany unearthed fractured skulls, wooden clubs and horse remains dating from around 1200 BC.

from BBC News Online

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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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