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Solar plane smashes solo flight record over Pacific

Solar planeAn aircraft attempting to circumnavigate the globe powered only by the sun's energy has broken a world record for the longest non-stop solo flight, the project team said.

The Solar Impulse 2, which took off from Japan on Monday on the seventh leg of its journey, has shattered the solo-flight record threshold of 76 hours while crossing the Pacific.


Oldest stone tools pre-date earliest humans

Oldest stone toolsThe world's oldest stone tools have been discovered, scientists report.  They were unearthed from the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, and date to 3.3 million years ago.

They are 700,000 years older than any tools found before, even pre-dating the earliest humans in the Homo genus.

The find, reported in Nature, suggests that more ancient species, such as Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, may have been more sophisticated than was thought.


Cosmic rays may damage brains of astronauts

Cosmic raysIt may not be space debris, errant asteroids, supply shortages, thruster malfunctions or even the malevolent aliens envisioned in so many Hollywood films that thwart astronauts on any mission to Mars. It may be the ubiquitous galactic cosmic rays.

Researchers said on Friday long-term exposure to these rays that permeate space may cause dementia-like cognitive impairments in astronauts during any future round-trip Mars journey, expected to take at least 2-1/2 years.


'Bizarre' Jurassic dinosaur discovered in remarkable new find

Jurassic dinosaur findFossil hunters in Chile have unearthed the remains of a bizarre Jurassic dinosaur that combined a curious mixture of features from different prehistoric animals.

The evolutionary muddle of a beast grew to the size of a small horse and was the most abundant animal to be found 145 million years ago, in what is now the Aysén region of Patagonia.


Chicago offers reparations package to police torture victims

Rom EmanuelMayor Rahm Emanuel and several Chicago aldermen are offering what they call a reparations package for the victims of torture under the city's former police commander, Jon Burge.

The city said Tuesday that the package will include an apology, a $5.5 million fund and city services, such as job training and tuition for victims and their families.


Pot research stalled even as legalization gains momentum

pot researchSpeaking by phone, Anthony Fabrizio was on a roll about his career in cannabis research when he suddenly fell silent. You could hear the San Francisco–based research director stammering, then grunting. Silence again.

Fabrizio returned to the conversation more than 10 seconds later. He chose his next words gingerly, like someone trying to find a light switch in a dark room, placing one hand in front of the other.


Much Rests On The Enhanced Large Hadron Collider

hadron colliderGet ready to look at the universe through a new window.

Later this month, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the behemoth particle accelerator operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), will be back in action after a two-year hiatus.

The pause was intentional, giving technicians and engineers time to ramp up the collision energy by almost a factor of two. In particle collisions, the higher the energy, the bigger the payoff, as the energy of the colliding particles gets translated into the masses of the debris, following the E=mc2 prescription.


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