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Astronomers spot smallest planet ever: Kepler-37b

Astronomers on Wednesday said they had found the smallest planet ever spotted beyond our Solar System, a scorched and uninhabitable mini-world tinier than Mercury. The planet is the innermost of three that orbit a Sun-like star called Kepler-37, named after the Kepler telescope, which was launched in 2009 with the…

Study of half awake seals may help people sleep better

Scientists have identified brain chemicals that allow seals to sleep with half of their brain at a time, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. And they say the discovery of how what they called a “unique biological phenomenon” works may help millions — including an estimated…

Astronomers spy mini-planet smaller than Mercury beyond our solar system

Astronomers on Wednesday said they had found the smallest planet ever spotted beyond our Solar System, a scorched and uninhabitable mini-world tinier than Mercury. The planet is the innermost of three that orbit a Sun-like star called Kepler-37, named after the Kepler telescope, which was launched in 2009 with the…

Study: Dolphins know to call one another by name

A study published Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B explains that bottlenose dolphins have been observed calling one another by name, in a groundbreaking discovery that extends a behavior previously only seen in humans to a member of the animal kingdom. Researchers have known for some time…

Study casts doubts on benefits of robotic surgery

A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association raises doubts as to whether robotic surgery provides any greater benefits to patients than conventional laparoscopic surgery. According to the Wall Street Journal, use of robotic surgery for hysterectomies has skyrocketed in recent years, and while the procedures cost…

‘Birthplace of stars’ Lobster Nebula revealed in infrared telescope in Chile

The new infrared view of the nebula is radically different from those seen with optical telescopes Far from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius lies the Lobster Nebula. Here, countless hot young suns are forged and glow blue, white and orange through a thin veil of interstellar dust. Great arms…

Scientists looking beyond Earth in search for ‘rare earths’ elements

The quest for rare earths vital to some of modern life’s most indispensable technologies may see mining robots jet to the stars within decades, a world-first conference in Australia was told Wednesday. Yttrium, Lanthanum and the other 15 minerals which make up the group of elements known as rare earths…

Deadly new virus that has already killed six can infect twice as fast as SARS: study

Study: Deadly new virus can infect twice as fast as SARS (via NJ.com) A foreign tourist is seen at Manila’s international airport, Philippines, on Feb. 19, 2013. The Bureau of Quarantine of the Department of Health will screen in-bound passengers for any signs of an infection by a new coronavirus…

Smog causes surge in heart deaths: study

Exposure to higher levels of fine particulates — the airborne pollution that is an emerging problem in many Asian cities — causes a sharp rise in deaths from heart attacks, a study published on Wednesday said. Research published in the European Heart Journal pointed the finger at so-called PM2.5 pollution,…

‘Happy Feet Jr.’ found stranded 1,250 miles from home in New Zealand

A penguin dubbed Happy Feet junior has been found stranded 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from home in New Zealand, reviving memories of another wayward penguin that washed up in 2011. The latest wandering stray was discovered close to death on the coast south of Wellington over the weekend and taken…

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