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Intel creates a new tool to help Stephen Hawking communicate

Stephen HawkingEddie Redmayne is learning about much more than the beguiling life of Stephen Hawking, whom he plays in the recently released biopic Theory of Everything.

At Intel Labs here, the Tony-winning actor is on hands and knees to get a better look at a specially tailored communications system for Hawking, who has a motor neuron disease (MND) related to ALS that has worsened over the years, rendering him nearly paralyzed.


World's first computer dates to 205 BCE, earlier than thought

Antikythera MechanismLong considered the world's first computer, the Antikythera Mechanism is now thought to be 100 years older than first determined, researchers said.

The bronze mechanism, discovered in 1901 in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, was initially dated to 150 to 100 BCE, but researchers now found that it recorded a solar eclipse that happened on May 12, 205 BCE.


9,300-year-old mummified bison discovered in Siberia

Siberian bison mummyMembers of the Yukagir tribe in Siberia discovered a 9,300-year-old frozen bison mummy complete with all its organs and even some fur.

Details of the necropsy of the animal, which was discovered in 2011, were presented recently at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's annual meeting in Berlin.  The animal, dubbed the Yukagir bison mummy, is a steppe bison or bison priscus, which went extinct after the Ice Age. Never has a steppe bison mummy been found so complete.


NASA Stumbles Upon A Dead Star That's 10 Million Times Brighter Than The Sun

dead star found brighter than our sunThink our sun is bright? NASA says its NuSTAR space-based X-ray telescope has detected a dead star that pumps out as much energy as 10 million suns.

"You might think of this pulsar as the 'Mighty Mouse' of stellar remnants," Dr. Fiona A. Harrison, professor of physics and astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the principal investigator of the NuSTAR mission, said in a written statement.


NASA says it's very close to finding alien life

alien lifeAt a panel discussion on the search for alien life, held this week at NASA's headquarters in Washington, the agency's top scientists said they're getting close.

NASA scientists were joined by leading figures in the fields of astronomy, physics and planetary sciences.

"We believe we're very, very close in terms of technology and science to actually finding the other Earth and our chance to find signs of life on another world," Sara Seager, a physicist at MIT and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, told a packed audience on Monday.


Nasa launches satellite to track CO2 in the atmosphere

NASA satelliteA rocket carrying a Nasa satellite lit up the pre-dawn skies Wednesday on a mission to track atmospheric carbon dioxide, the chief culprit behind global warming.

The Delta 2 rocket blasted off from California at 2.56 am and released the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite in low-earth orbit 56 minutes later, bringing relief to mission officials who lost a similar spacecraft five years ago.

The flight was "a perfect ride into space," said Ralph Basilio, the OCO-2 project manager, at a post-launch press conference.


Bachelor party discovers 3-million-year-old stegomastodon skull fossil

Fossil find in new mexicoA group of friends in New Mexico didn't set out to discover an ancient stegomastodon skull -- or a fossil of any kind. They were just celebrating their friend's waning days of bachelorhood by taking a hike through Elephant Butte Lake State Park, some 150 miles outside of Albuquerque, N.M.

But along the way, the young men spotted a bone sticking out of the ground. They gathered around it and began digging. The bone turned out to be a tusk, and as they dug further they unearthed a giant elephant-like skull.


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