Month: August 2020

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We think of sharks as solitary creatures. Lurking silently beneath the waves, each single toothy predator operating alone, coming together only temporarily as feasting or mating dictates. We may, however, be totally wrong.   According to new research, sharks could be forming large social groups from which smaller numbers break off to forage, and then
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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 30 July, carrying a host of cutting-edge technology including high-definition video equipment and the first interplanetary helicopter.   Many of the tools are designed as experimental steps toward human exploration of the red planet. Crucially, Perseverance is equipped with a device called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment,
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After a two-month gap, SpaceX has resumed launching batches of dozens of satellites in its gambit to blanket Earth with high-speed internet access. The satellites are a new “VisorSat” variety to make them less shiny to the ground and especially to astronomers’ telescopes. But researchers say the spacecraft’s experimental new feature, while helpful, won’t fully
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A long-extinct lineage of insect, known fondly as the ‘hell ant’, has been discovered frozen in 99-million-year-old amber, with its scythe-like jaw still pinning its prey. According to scientists, this fierce predator is a newly identified species of prehistoric ant, known as Ceratomyrmex ellenbergeri, and it’s the first time we’ve ever seen a hell ant actively
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As if spiderwebs weren’t already icky enough, some spiders have gone and made them poisonous as well, a new study reveals. The unique properties of spiderwebs have long fascinated materials scientists. They’re constructed from one of the toughest known natural materials: lighter, yet five times stronger than steel, and bacteria resistant to boot.   Spider silk is
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When an enormous explosion created a mushroom cloud over Beirut, killing dozens of people and injuring thousands more, online commentators and conspiracy theorists quickly jumped to a frightening claim: A nuclear bomb had gone off in Lebanon’s capital city.   But as state officials say, and contrary to those fast-spreading rumours, the explosion was almost certainly not