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Identical twin linked to 2004 rapes by new DNA test

identical twin gene dnaA Boston-area man long suspected of two 2004 rapes was formally charged after a new DNA test linked him to the crimes and excluded his twin brother.

Dwayne McNair, 33, of Dedham pleaded not guilty Monday. His bail was set at $500,000.

McNair had been charged earlier and spent almost two years in jail. A judge ordered him released, and prosecutors dropped the charges while the new test, which can distinguish between identical twins, was conducted.

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Solar storm heading for Earth

solar flareA "strong" solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could cause some fluctuations in Earth's power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions on Friday and Saturday.

Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was classified as an "X-class" flare, which is at the high end of the solar flare scale. Wednesday's flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.

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Jurassic 'squirrels' push back clock on emergence of mammals

Jurrisic squirrelThe fossil remains of squirrel-like mammals with a hefty dose of cute are helping reset the clock for mammalian evolution, according to a new study.

Over the past three years, a team of researchers has uncovered six 160-million-year-old fossils that represent three new species who were living in trees at the time of the dinosaurs.

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Scientists find larger monument buried under Stonehenge

stonehengeResearchers said on Wednesday that they have produced digital maps of what is beneath Stonehenge, Britain’s ancient and mysterious circle of megaliths, or giant stones. The scientists used an array of ground-penetrating radar and other techniques to peer deep into the soil, finding an array of even more monuments beneath the famous stone circle.

The project produced detailed maps of 17 previously unknown ritual monuments and a large timber building thought to have been used for burial ceremonies, researchers from the University of Birmingham said. Stonehenge is about 4,500 years old.

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Physics Experiment May Prove Our Universe Is A Two-Dimensional Hologram

univese a hologram?Everyone knows the universe exists in three dimensions, right? Maybe not. For some time now serious physicists have been pondering the seemingly absurd possibility that three-dimensional space is merely an illusion--and that we actually live in a two-dimensional "hologram."

And now scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois have launched a mind-blowing experiment to show once and for all what sort of universe we live in.

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Maryam Mirzakhani first woman to win Fields Medal mathematics prize

Fields Prize in MathFor the first time in history, the Fields Medal, the most prestigious prize in mathematics -- the equivalent, some say, of a Nobel Prize -- has been awarded to a woman. The winner is Maryam Mirzakhani, who was born and raised in Iran.

Mirzakhani studied math at Harvard, earning a PhD in 2004. She currently works at Stanford University as a math professor.

"This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Mirzakhani said in a statement released by Stanford.

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IBM's TrueNorth computer chip mimics the human brain

truenorth computer chipIBM today unveiled what it's calling the world's first neurosynaptic computer chip, a processor that mimics the human brain's computing abilities and power efficiency.

Known as TrueNorth, IBM's chip could cram supercomputer-like powers into a microprocessor the size of a postage stamp. Rather than solving problems through brute-force mathematical calculations, like today's processors, it was designed to understand its environment, handle ambiguity, and take action in real time and in context. Plus, it could be among the most power-efficient chips in the history of computing, enabling new types of mobile apps and computing services, IBM principal investigator and senior manager Dharmendra Modha said in an interview.

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