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Scientists look to West African snake for help building better camouflage

Scientists have identified nanostructures in the ultra-black skin markings of an African viper which they said Thursday could inspire the quest to create the ultimate light-absorbing material. The West African Gaboon viper, one of the largest in Africa and a master of camouflage, has dark spots in the geometrical pattern…

Rare Van Gogh sketchbook copies up for unprecedented sale

Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is selling a limited number of copies of the Dutch master’s sketchbooks for the first time, providing rare insight into his life and the origin of some of his most famous portraits, the museum said on Thursday. Only four of Van Gogh’s many sketchbooks survive today,…

Apple gave $10,000 gift card to man who downloaded the 50 billionth app from iTunes

Apple on Thursday announced that the number of mini-programs downloaded from its App Store has blasted past the 50 billion milestone, and celebrated the moment with a $10,000 prize. The California-based maker of iPads, iPhones, iPods and Macintosh computers said that it gave a $10,000 App Store gift card to…

Putin to forego motorcades to work in favor of new Kremlin helipad

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to switch from car to helicopter for short hops from the Kremlin, his spokesman said Thursday, delighting drivers weary of his motorcade causing huge jams but raising concerns about damage to the historic buildings. Until now Putin has commuted daily to the Kremlin from his…

LulzSec hackers get 20-32 month sentences for hacking Sony Pictures, CIA

Four members of the LulzSec international hacking group were sentenced to prison terms in Britain on Thursday for masterminding cyber attacks on major global institutions, including Sony Pictures and the CIA. Ryan Cleary, 21, Jake Davis, 20, Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, and Ryan Ackroyd, 26, saw themselves as “latter-day pirates” when…

Feminists stage protest against sexism at life-size Barbie Dreamhouse

Feminist activists were among several dozen people who demonstrated against the opening on Thursday of Europe’s first life-sized Barbie Dreamhouse, slamming it as a sexist cliche. Just a few steps from Alexanderplatz, the main shopping district of east Berlin, the 2,500-square-metre (26,900-square-foot) attraction transports the young visitor to a pink-hued…

Palestinians can now order Kentucky Fried Chicken via tunnel to Egypt

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Junk-food starved Gazans can now order Kentucky Fried Chicken to go thanks to a new smuggling service which brings takeout from Egypt via a network of underground tunnels. It’s not exactly “fast” — taking several hours to arrive, with the Palestinian delivery company behind it…

Electric shocks to the brain may help humans solve math problems faster

Psychologists find students do puzzles 27% faster after non-invasive procedure than those who had no treatment People who struggle with maths problems might fare better after a course of gentle electric shocks to the brain, scientists have claimed. Psychologists at Oxford University found that students scored higher on mental arithmetic…

Russian police detain woman after finding bodies of newborn twins in freezer

Russian police said Thursday they have detained a woman suspected of killing her newborn twins and hiding their bodies for five years in the walk-in freezer of a food store where she worked. Police in the Sverdlovsk region said they had detained a 30-year-old woman after finding the bodies of…

Malaria parasite drives infected mosquitos to aggressively pursue human blood

British researchers announced Wednesday that they have established that the malaria parasite makes the smell of human beings even more irresistible to mosquitos that feed on our blood. According to a paper published in the Public Library of Science’s PLOS One journal and reported by NPR, mosquitos that carry malaria…

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