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Monday, Sep 22nd

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Scientists make chickens that don't spread bird flu

Scientists make chickens that don't spread bird fluBritish scientists have developed genetically modified (GM) chickens that cannot transmit bird flu infections -- a step that in future could reduce the risk of avian flu spreading and causing deadly epidemics in humans.

Scientists from Cambridge and Edinburgh universities said that while the transgenic chickens still got sick and died when they were exposed to H5N1 bird flu, they didn't transmit the virus to other chickens they came into contact with.

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Rocky exoplanet milestone in hunt for Earth-like worlds

Rocky exoplanet milestone in hunt for Earth-like worldsAstronomers have discovered the smallest planet outside our solar system, and the first that is undoubtedly rocky like Earth. Measurements of unprecedented precision have shown that the planet, Kepler 10b,has a diameter 1.4 times that of Earth, and a mass 4.6 times higher.

However, because it orbits its host star so closely, the planet could not harbour life. The discovery has been hailed as "among the most profound in human history".

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Journal’s Paper on ESP Expected to Prompt Outrage

ESP article expecting outrageOne of psychology’s most respected journals has agreed to publish a paper presenting what its author describes as strong evidence for extrasensory perception, the ability to sense future events. The decision may delight believers in so-called paranormal events, but it is already mortifying scientists.

Advance copies of the paper, to be published this year in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, have circulated widely among psychological researchers in recent weeks and have generated a mixture of amusement and scorn.

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Neanderthals cooked and ate vegetables

Neanderthals cooked and ate vegetablesNeanderthals cooked and ate plants and vegetables, a new study of Neanderthal remains reveals. Researchers in the US have found grains of cooked plant material in their teeth. The study is the first to confirm that the Neanderthal diet was not confined to meat and was more sophisticated than previously thought.

The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The popular image of Neanderthals as great meat eaters is one that has up until now been backed by some circumstantial evidence. Chemical analysis of their bones suggested they ate little or no vegetables.

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Fossil Finger DNA Points to New Type of Human

Fossil finger DNA points to new type of humanContinued study of an approximately 40,000 year old finger bone from Siberia has identified a previously unknown type of human — one that may have interbred with the ancestors of modern-day Melanesian people.

The fossil scrap — just the tip of a juvenile female’s finger — was discovered in 2008 during excavations of Denisova cave in Siberia’s Altai Mountains. Anatomically, it looks like it could have belonged to a Neanderthal or a modern human.

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Obama administration issues science guidelines at last

John HoldrenThe White House on Friday released its long-delayed scientific integrity guidelines, intended to ban political interference in science. President Barack Obama campaigned on scientific integrity after scientists and others complained that Bush administration officials distorted scientific work and limited access to information on a variety of issues ranging from climate change to lead poisoning and mountaintop removal mining.

Shortly after Obama took office, he issued a memorandum in March 2009 calling for scientific integrity guidelines. He gave John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, until that July, but the deadline kept slipping until Friday.

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Nasa warns solar flares from 'huge space storm' will cause devastation

Solar flaresNational power grids could overheat and air travel severely disrupted while electronic items, navigation devices and major satellites could stop working after the Sun reaches its maximum power in a few years.

Senior space agency scientists believe the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes “from a deep slumber” sometime around 2013, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

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