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Stiletto-wearing women and ostriches help prosthetic leg development

Women in stilettos and ostriches have unwittingly contributed to scientific advancement by showing researchers how to design aprosthetic leg better adapted for walking, said a study published Wednesday. The best prosthesis for above-knee amputees, and for humanoid robots, would work nothing like the human leg, scientists found, — but like that of an…

Scientists: Mini-mammoths lived on Crete

The smallest-ever mammoth roamed Crete up to 3.5 million years ago, measuring some four feet (just over a metre) at the shoulder, the size of a baby elephant today, said a study published Wednesday. Mammuthus creticus weighed in at about 310 kilogrammes (680 pounds) and probably had no woolly coat unlike some of its…

Paralyzed woman makes marathon history in bionic suit

A paralysed woman became the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit as she crossed the finishing line in London 16 days after the race began. Claire Lomas was in tears but said she was “over the moon” as she completed the 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometre) course in…

Pacific plastic waste has grown 100-fold

The vast swirl of plastic waste floating in the North Pacific has grown 100-fold over the last 40 years, according to a research paper published Wednesday. And scientists warned the killer soup of microplastic — particles smaller than five millimetres (0.2 of an inch) — threatened to alter the open…

Canada teen discovers tree pulp has anti-aging benefits

OTTAWA — A Singapore-born teenager who recently moved to Canada won a national science award Tuesday for her groundbreaking work on the anti-aging properties of tree pulp, officials said. Janelle Tam, 16, won the $5,000 award in the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada for showing that cellulose, the woody material…

Major overhaul of U.S. life urged to cure obesity: experts

WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of American adults are too fat, and a major overhaul of US policies — from schools to restaurants to urban planning — is needed to stem the epidemic, medical experts said Tuesday. In a hefty, 400-plus page report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called for urgent action…

China probing claims of toxic cabbage

China is investigating claims vegetable sellers are spraying cabbage with harmful formaldehyde to keep it fresh, an official said on Tuesday, in yet another food safety scare to hit the country. Dozens of vegetable dealers in the eastern province of Shandong, a major vegetable supplier, are using the chemical to keep produce fresh on the way to market,…

Long commutes linked to larger waistlines in U.S.

People who drive long distances to work are more likely to be overweight and have poorer fitness levels than people who live closer to their jobs, a US study said Tuesday. The study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine was based on data from nearly 4,300 people in Texas near the major metropolitan hubs of…

Rock analysis suggests France cave art is ‘oldest’

WASHINGTON — Experts have long debated whether the sophisticated animal drawings in a famous French cave are indeed the oldest of their kind in the world, and a study out Monday suggests that yes, they are. The smooth curves and fine details in the paintings of bears, rhinoceroses and horses…

EPA scientist who warned of caustic dust from Ground Zero wins job back

A government scientist sacked for exposing the dangers to firefighters from the caustic air at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11 got her job back on Monday. A federal court ordered that Cate Jenkins, a chemist at the Environmental Protection Agency, be reinstated to her job with back pay.…

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