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Scientists knew biological attack alert was flawed

Biological attack alert systemScientists who helped pioneer BioWatch, the government's system for detecting a biological attack on the U.S., knew from the start that it was prone to false alarms, records show.

Between 2003, when the nationwide network of air samplers was first deployed, and 2006, officials at the federally funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory filed five patent applications aimed at improving BioWatch's reliability.

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Mach 6 aircraft reaches 3,600 mph for 5 minutes

Mach 6 aircraftThe U.S. Air Force plans a key test of an experimental aircraft designed to fly at six times the speed of sound, or about 3,600 mph (5,800 kph). The unmanned X-51 WaveRider was expected to reach Mach 6 after it's dropped by a B-52 bomber and takes flight off the Southern California coast near Point Mugu.

Engineers hoped the X-51 would sustain its top speed for five minutes, twice as long as it's gone before. The B-52 took to the skies, but no other information about the test flight was available, John Haire, a spokesman for Edwards Air Force Base in California, said in an email.

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Seeing Through Walls With a Wireless Router

U.S. Navy researchers stumbled upon the concept of radar when they noticed that a plane flying past a radio tower reflected radio waves.

Scientists have now applied that same principle to make the first device that tracks existing Wi-Fi signals to spy on people through walls.

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Astronomers hear 'death cry' of star shredded by black hole

Death dry of starA team of astronomers has detected the "death cry" of a star being devoured by a supermassive black hole. The black hole had been sitting quietly -- almost lying in wait, as it were -- until its gravity reached out and shredded a passing star, pulling the star into its death grip and causing it to emit a characteristic signal.

"You can think of it as hearing the star scream as it gets devoured, if you like," said astronomer Jon Miller of the University of Michigan, lead author of a report appearing in Science Express.

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First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers

First spiral galaxy foundAstronomers have spotted the earliest known spiral galaxy, dating to just three billion years after the Big Bang. Theories of galaxy formation held that the Universe was still too chaotic a place to allow such a perfectly formed or "grand-design" spiral to form.

It should take far longer for gravity to bring matter into thin, neat discs. But a team reporting in Nature says the galaxy BX442 got the gravitational "kick" it needed to form a spiral from a smaller "dwarf galaxy" orbiting it.

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Dark Matter Filament Finally Found

Dark matter filamentEveryone is talking about the recent Higgs boson announcement by the scientists at CERN, but another significant scientific discovery was revealed this week as well. In a study published online in the journal

Nature on Wednesday, scientists show that they have successfully found the first dark matter filament. Dark matter does not emit or absorb light or electromagnetic radiation at a detectable level. This essentially makes it invisible.

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Era of chimp research ends at controversial Maryland lab

Chimp research ends in Maryland labJust four chimps remain at this controversial research facility near Interstate 270 in Rockville. Called Bioqual, the company’s 30-year run of chimpanzee research is ending, victim of a historic shift away from using apes in medical experiments.

On Monday morning, a truck hauled six chimps from Bioqual. Last week, five others were removed. The last four, including Tiffany and Torian, will depart later this summer.

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