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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

Between now and the end of the primary season, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in each of the states having primary or special elections for federal or state office this year plus stories from all research universities in major cities having municipal elections as listed in the Green Papers or the 2014 Daily Kos Elections Calendar.  Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington.

This week's featured story comes from Conflict Antiquities on Wordpress, Hat/Tip to annetteboardman.

CONFIRMED: the Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus (Nineveh, Mosul, Iraq) has been destroyed

The photographs are new, from different angles, from different moments in the process, from different people of different politics; their details match up with the details on other photos and satellite images. Christopher Jones (@cwjones89) and I agree: it’s gone; the Islamic State has blown up the Shrine of Jonah/Mosque of Yunus.

Claim, evidence

The geographical and architectural plan of the destroyed site is the same as that of the Shrine-Mosque of the Prophet Yunus (or Younis) and its Tomb of the Prophet Jonah. The terracing, walls, portals and arches of the ancient site are the same. The water tower, roads, street lamps, vehicles in the surrounding modern neighbourhood are the same. The many photographs all correspond with each other. This has happened.

May Pazuzu curse the Sith Jihad.

More stories after the jump.

Recent Science Diaries and Stories

Shocking drought data from NASA
by Jen Hayden

Climate Change and Geotherapy: Two Conferences, Two Workshops, and Another Chance
by gmoke

Creationist Ken Ham: End the space program or go to Hell
by Hunter

Spotlight on green news & views: Tanker car safety, wildfires in Siberia, Heartland infiltrated
by Meteor Blades

The best websites for vaccine information
by SkepticalRaptor

Michael Servetus: Condemned as a Heretic
by Karen Hedwig Backman

McGill Debunks Climate Change Denial and Explains Why We Can't Afford to Go Back
by Scientistocrat

This week in science: the good ole days
by DarkSyde


Saving Antiquities: Abdulamir Hamdani on the implications of the current fighting for Iraq’s cultural heritage

The following is Dr. Abdulamir al-Hamdani’s presentation on the destruction of Iraq’s heritage made on July 18, 2014 at the Iraqi Cultural Center. The event was also live-tweeted by Dr. Damien Huffer (#ICHpanel) and reported here by Dr. Alex Nagel. SAFE is grateful for this collaboration, allowing us to raise awareness about these critical issues.

Culture 24 (UK): Festival of Archaeology 2014: Roman gold coins and daggers of war in the west
Finds Liaison Officer Kurt Adams on the coins, treasures and daggers discovered on Gloucestershire and Avon's archaeological lands and riverbanks
By Ben Miller | 17 July 2014

A gold solidus of Honorius (AD 393-423) (dated to AD 397-402)

"This gold coin was found just outside of Bristol. Roman gold coins are incredibly rare in general, but this one is very, very late – it’s right at the end of the 4th century.

That’s really interesting for the region because you get very, very few Roman coins from that time. The Roman economic system was slowly winding down and collapsing in this country during the period, so you were seeing coins being used less and less on the peripherals of the empire.

Culture 24 (UK): Festival of Archaeology 2014: Roman gold, a medieval matrix and an amulet in Cornwall
Festival of Archaeology 2014: Three top discoveries from Anna Tyacke, the Finds Liaison Officer for Cornwall
By Ben Miller | 19 July 2014

A broken and distorted component of Roman gold jewellery, probably a necklace link.

The fragment comprises a parallel-sided band, made from thin gold sheet, fractured at one end and with a double-eyed fastening loop at the complete end.

Following breakage, the fragment was bent back on itself: first the looped end, then the broken end. The latter resulted in a partial tear.

Denting of one rim may have occurred concurrently or subsequent to the ancient damage.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Discovery News: How Are Conservative And Liberal Brains Different?

Conservatives and liberals disagree on many topics in the world of politics. Are their brains wired differently? Tara takes a look at some new research showing the differences between the brains of the political parties!

Discovery News: Should We Worry About The Bubonic Plague?

The bubonic plague has been killing people for thousands of years. Should we be worried? Join Tara as she discusses a shocking new case of this rare disease.

NASA: Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation on This Week @NASA

There was more celebration of Apollo 11’s 45th anniversary at several events around the country – and more opportunity for the agency to highlight its “next giant leap” to send humans to Mars. Those events included a ceremony during which Kennedy Space Center’s Operations and Checkout Building was renamed on July 21, in honor of Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong, who passed away in 2012. The facility, which was used to process and test Apollo spacecraft, is now being used to assemble NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Also, ISS astronauts appear in the House, Space station cargo ships, Extreme underwater mission underway, RS-25 Engine installed for testing, and more!

NASA: NASA's Next Giant Leap

It was 45 years ago that Neil Armstrong took the small step onto the surface of the moon that changed the course of history. The Apollo missions blazed a path for human exploration to the moon and today NASA is taking its Next Giant Leap to near-Earth asteroids, Mars and beyond. As we develop and test the new tools of 21st century spaceflight on the human path to Mars, we once again will change the course of history.

Science at NASA: Big Mystery in the Perseus Cluster

A mysterious X-ray signal from the Perseus cluster of galaxies, which researchers say cannot be explained by known physics, could be a key clue to the nature of Dark Matter.

Science at NASA: ScienceCasts: One Year to Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is only a year away from Pluto. Researchers are buzzing with anticipation as NASA prepares to encounter a new world for the first time in decades.

Discovery News: How Salt Might Be The Key To Finding Life on Mars

In our ongoing search for liquid water on Mars, scientists are now thinking that salt might be the key! How will salt change the game? Amy Shira Teitel joins DNews to discuss the history of searching for life on Mars, and how we plan on looking in the future!


University of Washington: Sloan Digital Sky Survey — including UW — now to view entire sky
July 18, 2014

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, of which the University of Washington is part, will soon see the entire sky, and even peer into the Milky Way’s galactic center.

The sky survey, called SDSS for short, is a multi-institution group of astronomers who since 2000 have searched the skies with the 100-inch, wide-angle optical telescope at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.

“We have mapped the large-scale structure of the universe, traced out previously unknown structures in the Milky Way, and made unanticipated discoveries from asteroids in our own solar system to the most distant quasars,” said Michael Blanton, an astrophysicist with New York University and director of the new phase of the survey.

Red Orbit: The Most Precise Measurement Of An Alien World’s Size
Whitney Claven
July 24, 2014

Thanks to NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes, scientists have made the most precise measurement ever of the radius of a planet outside our solar system. The size of the exoplanet, dubbed Kepler-93b, is now known to an uncertainty of just 74 miles (119 kilometers) on either side of the planetary body.

The findings confirm Kepler-93b as a “super-Earth” that is about one-and-a-half times the size of our planet. Although super-Earths are common in the galaxy, none exist in our solar system. Exoplanets like Kepler-93b are therefore our only laboratories to study this major class of planet.

With good limits on the sizes and masses of super-Earths, scientists can finally start to theorize about what makes up these weird worlds. Previous measurements, by the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, had put Kepler-93b’s mass at about 3.8 times that of Earth. The density of Kepler-93b, derived from its mass and newly obtained radius, indicates the planet is in fact very likely made of iron and rock, like Earth.


University of Georgia: UGA study presents details of Amazon River Plume, effects on global carbon budget
July 21, 2014

Athens, Ga. - The Amazon River, the largest in the world in terms of discharge of water, transfers a plume of nutrients and organisms into the ocean that creates a hotspot of microbial activity affecting many global processes, including the storage of atmospheric carbon.

In a new study, scientists at the University of Georgia have revealed in greater detail the microbial activity in the Amazon River Plume as part of a broad project to understand the global carbon budget and its possible impacts in a changing ocean.

The study, "Microspatial gene expression patterns in the Amazon River Plume," was published July 14 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

University of Kansas: NASA grant will help KU researcher reveal polar ice details
July 23, 2014

LAWRENCE — Researchers working to measure and predict sea level rise based on changes to ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will soon have a new tool to use in their assessments.

Jilu Li, assistant research professor with the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the University of Kansas, received a three-year $299,178 grant through NASA’s New Investigator Program to provide a complete subsurface map at the point where the ice meets bedrock for Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Li’s team will utilize ice sheet data collected by CReSIS and KU researchers over the past two decades to piece together the maps.

“We’ve collected all this data, but to this point, no one has integrated all of it to provide a basal condition map,” Li said. “When combined with what we already know about ice sheet thickness and ice bed elevations, this should improve the understanding of the overall dynamics of the ice sheet and help better predict future changes.”

University of Kansas: Ancient packrat nests reveal how plants coped with past climate change
July 16, 2014

LAWRENCE — Scientists are greatly concerned about the effects that rising carbon dioxide concentration and temperature will have on organisms in the future. Fortunately, scientists can gain a sense for how organisms may respond to future climate change by determining how they responded to climate change events in the past.

Researchers studying plant life at the University of Kansas are searching for answers to this question by looking at what happened during a time when massive ice sheets covered much of northern North America.

“We’re especially interested in understanding how plants survived during the last glacial period, which peaked around 21,000 years ago,” said Katie Becklin, a NIH IRACDA postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Joy Ward, a well-known plant biologist and associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU.


Washington State University: New bark beetle threatens southern Washington forests
By Sylvia Kantor
July 22, 2014

UNDERWOOD, Wash. – Five years ago, when entomologist Todd Murray received a call from a landowner in Underwood whose ponderosa pine trees were dying, he wasn’t surprised. The trees had been stressed by a nearby fire, a situation that commonly results in a flare-up of bark beetles that can kill the trees. But the calls kept coming.

“People were saying things like, ‘I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen pine trees die like this,’” said Murray, Washington State University Extension director in Skamania County. “The situation has worsened since then.”

At the time, Murray didn’t know that the culprit was a new pest on the scene, the California fivespined ips or Ips paraconfusus.

Washington State University: Ticks turn ‘Rip Van Winkle’ during hot spell
July 21, 2014

PULLMAN, Wash. – Thanks to the recent heat wave in the Northwest, millions of ticks have gone listless to stay alive.

High temperatures forced the insects’ biological processes into slow mode, similar to hibernation in bears during winter, said Glen Scoles, a tick expert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Research Unit at Washington State University.

While humans can escape the heat by donning fewer clothes, jumping in water and turning on air conditioners, ticks are driven into a physiological state called aestivation, characterized by stillness and a lowered metabolic rate, said Scoles, an entomologist who has studied the parasite for 18 years.

University of Georgia: New model helps explain how human-provided food resources promote or reduce wildlife disease
July 22, 2014

Athens, Ga. - Scientists have long known that providing supplemental food for wildlife, or resource provisioning, can sometimes cause more harm than good. University of Georgia ecologists have developed a new mathematical model to tease apart the processes that help explain why. Their research, which has implications for public health and wildlife conservation, appears in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Wildlife of many kinds are increasingly finding their meals in human environments, gathering at places like backyard bird feeders, landfills or farms that offer an easily accessible year-round source of food. As with people, however, when large numbers of animals congregate they can face a higher risk of contracting disease. A number of studies have found large disease outbreaks following the introduction of supplemental food resources, as in the case of Hendra virus in flying foxes in Australia. Others have shown just the opposite, with disease transmission slowed or eliminated, as with gut parasites in macaques in Bali.

A desire to understand this puzzling disparity in disease outcomes motivated the study by Daniel Becker, a doctoral student in the Odum School of Ecology, and co-author Richard Hall, assistant research scientist in the Odum School and the College of Veterinary Medicine department of infectious diseases.

University of Missouri: Wetlands Are Just Ducky
First satellite tracking reveals mallards using conservation lands
July 16, 2014

Mallard ducks monitored with satellite tracking technology during their 2011-2012 migrations extensively used public and private wetland conservation areas, a joint research program has found.

This is the first time that ducks have been so closely tracked during the entirety of their migration from Canada to the American Midwest and back again.

Scientists now have baseline information for future research into what influences migration flight paths, landing site selection and foraging behavior. The data will also be useful to conservationists looking for ways to ensure healthy duck populations into the future.


PLoS via Science Daily: 3-D image of Paleolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage
Three-dimensional imaging of a Paleolithic child's skull reveals potentially violent head trauma that likely lead to brain damage.
July 23, 2014

Three-dimensional imaging of a Paleolithic child's skull reveals potentially violent head trauma that likely lead to brain damage, according to a study published July 23, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Hélène Coqueugniot and colleagues from CNRS -- Université de Bordeaux and EPHE.

A Paleolithic child that lived ~100 thousand years ago found at Qafzeh in lower Galilee, Israel, was originally thought to have a skull lesion that resulted from a trauma that healed.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

University of Georgia: Magnetically controlled nanoparticles enhance stroke treatment
July 16, 2014

Athens, Ga. - Researchers at the University of Georgia and their collaborators have developed a new technique to enhance stroke treatment that uses magnetically controlled nanomotors to rapidly transport a clot-busting drug to potentially life-threatening blockages in blood vessels.

The only drug currently approved for the treatment of acute stroke—recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA—is administered intravenously to patients after the first symptoms of ischemic stroke appear. The protein in the drug dissolves blood clots that cause strokes and other cardiovascular problems, like pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks.

"Our technology uses magnetic nanorods that, when injected into the bloodstream and activated with rotating magnets, act like stirring bars to drive t-PA to the site of the clot," said Yiping Zhao, co-author of a paper describing the results in ACS Nano and professor of physics in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Our preliminary results show that the breakdown of clots can be enhanced up to twofold compared to treatment with t-PA alone."

Georgia Tech: Improved Telemedicine System Connects Doctors to Autism Patients in Rural Georgia
Posted July 17, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

To get the best care for her three autistic children, Mandi Larkin would drive three hours from her family’s home in Tifton, Ga., to Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. The drive to and from Atlanta was exhausting. Missed work, missed school and the long drive were constant sources of stress.

Today, Larkin’s children receive world-class medical care at her local hospital via a state-of-the-art telemedicine link to Marcus Autism Center. The recently improved telemedicine system was optimized by scientists at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and Cisco Systems, Inc. Marcus Autism Center’s telemedicine room is now a showcase for providers of telemedicine, where improved video capabilities and an ergonomic suite allow patients in rural Georgia to meet face-to-face with medical specialists in Atlanta.

“The accessibility to the doctors in Atlanta is the big thing,” Larkin said. “Not everyone has the means to make that kind of a drive. Telemedicine gives us access to the doctors that we normally wouldn’t have access to.”

Kansas State University: Number of people susceptible to painful mosquito-borne virus increasing, says leading researcher
July 23, 2014

MANHATTAN — In just two weeks, the number of Americans infected with the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya has almost doubled and the virus has now been found in mosquitoes in the United States, something that is very concerning to a Kansas State University professor who is a leading researcher of the virus.

At least 243 travel-related cases of chikungunya have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 31 states, with the number expected to grow. The first case acquired in the United States was reported in Florida, seven months after the mosquito-borne virus was recognized in the Western Hemisphere.

Stephen Higgs, one of the world's leading researchers of the virus and director of Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute, says many more people are now at risk of becoming infected.

University of Michigan: All HIV not created equal: Scientists believe they can identify which viruses cause infection
July 20, 2014

ANN ARBOR—HIV-infected people carry many different HIV viruses and all have distinct personalities—some much more vengeful and infectious than others.

Yet, despite the breadth of infectivity, roughly 76 percent of HIV infections arise from a single virus. Now, scientists believe they can identify the culprit with very specific measurements of the quantities of a key protein in the HIV virus.

Quantifying this key protein may reveal which of the many viruses present actually caused the infection.

University of Missouri: Resistance Eradicators
Summer 2014

Virologists at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center are playing a key role in exploring the potential of resistance-subduing discoveries. Among the more notable is Stefan Sarafianos, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology whose research team recently showed that EFdA, a compound that stops HIV from spreading, is effective in combatting tenofovir-resistant HIV. Tenofovir one of the world’s most heavily prescribed HIV drugs.

“HIV in patients treated with tenofovir eventually develops a K65R RT mutation that causes a failure of this first line of defense,” says Sarafianos. “Not only does EFdA work on resistant HIV, but it works 10 times better than if they are not tenofovir resistant.”

Sarafianos and a team of researchers found that EFdA, otherwise known as 4’-ethynyl-2-fluoro-2’-deoxyadenosine, is activated by cells more readily and isn’t broken down by the liver and kidneys as quickly as existing drugs. “These two reasons make it more potent than other drugs, and so our task is to look at the structural features that make it such a fantastic drug,” he says.

Washington State University: Pesticide linked to three generations of disease
By Becky Phillips, University Communications
July 24, 2014

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers say ancestral exposures to the pesticide methoxychlor may lead to adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations.

“What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures,” says Michael Skinner, WSU professor and founder of its Center for Reproductive Biology.


University of Georgia: Election surprises tend to erode trust in government
Media fragmentation plays role in election wishful thinking
July 24, 2014

Athens, Ga. - When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often have less trust in government and democracy.

And the news media may be partly to blame, according to Barry Hollander, author of the study and UGA professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

"You need the trust of those in a democracy for democracy to be successful," said Hollander. "We have become more fragmented in our media diet and that leads to hearing what we want to hear and believing what we want to believe despite all evidence to the contrary, such as polls. Our surprise in the election outcome makes us angry, disappointed and erodes our trust in the basic concept of democracy-the election. And that can threaten our trust in government."

Georgia Tech: Making a mental match: pairing a mechanical device with stroke patients
Posted July 16, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

The repetitive facilitation exercise (RFE) is one of the most common rehabilitation tactics for stroke patients attempting to regain wrist movement. Stroke hemiparesis individuals are not able to move that part of their body because they cannot create a strong enough neural signal that travels from the brain to the wrist.

With RFE, however, patients get a mental boost. They are asked to think about moving. At the same time, a practitioner flexes the wrist. The goal is to send a long latency response from the stretch that arrives in the brain at the exact time the thought happens, creating a neural signal. The result is a strong, combined response that zips back to the forearm muscles and moves the wrist.

It all happens in a span of approximately 40 to 60 milliseconds.

University of Kansas: Researchers help update tool to assist those with intellectual disabilities
July 24, 2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas researchers are at the forefront of efforts to develop standardized measures of the support needs of children and adults with intellectual disability. Such tools represent a new way of thinking about how to enable people with disabilities to actively participate in the community and engage in activities and life experiences.

Karrie Shogren is an associate professor of special education and associate director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities. Michael Wehmeyer is a professor of special education and executive director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities. They have played key roles in the development of the Supports Intensity Scale — Adult Version, known as SIS-A, and the Supports Intensity Scale — Children’s Version, known as SIS-C. Both of the scales will be published by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the coming year. The original version of the SIS, for adults ages 16-64 with intellectual disabilities, was published in 2004. Shogren and Wehmeyer, with other colleagues worldwide, were invited to participate in the development of a “refreshed” version of the ground-breaking scale. Further, because of a recognized need to measure the support needs of children, they were invited to participate in the development of SIS-C.

The KU researchers helped “create norms” for the SIS-C by gathering data on thousands of children ages 5-16 across the nation. They identified the distribution of SIS scores for age groups of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities by assessing the level of support students needed. The SIS-C will be administered by an interviewer, often a field worker or special education teacher, and help build a foundation for a support plan. Like the SIS-A, which focused on multiple domains of life such as work, home life, community life and others, the SIS-C will focus on seven domains of children’s lives.

University of Kansas: Brain imaging study examines second-language learning skills
July 22, 2014

LAWRENCE – With enough practice, some learners of a second language can process their new language as well as native speakers, research at the University of Kansas shows.

Using brain imaging, a trio of KU researchers was able to examine to the millisecond how the brain processes a second language. They then compared their findings with their previous results for native speakers and saw both followed similar patterns.

The research by Robert Fiorentino and Alison Gabriele, both associate professors in the linguistics department, and José Alemán Bañón, a former KU graduate student who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, was published this month in the journal Second Language Research.

University of Kansas: Twin study suggests language delay due more to nature than nurture
July 21, 2014

LAWRENCE — A study of 473 sets of twins followed since birth found that compared with single-born children, 47 percent of 24-month-old identical twins had language delay compared with 31 percent of nonidentical twins. Overall, twins had twice the rate of late language emergence of single-born children. None of the children had disabilities affecting language acquisition.

The results of the study were published in the June 2014 Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

University of Kansas Distinguished Professor Mabel Rice, lead author, said that all of the language traits analyzed in the study—vocabulary, combining words and grammar—were significantly heritable with genes accounting for about 43 percent of the overall twins’ deficit.

The “twinning effect" — a lower level of language performance for twins than single-born children — was expected to be comparable for both kinds of twins, but was greater for identical twins, said Rice, strengthening the case for the heritability of language development.

Kansas State University: Philosopher uses game theory to understand how words, actions acquire meaning
July 21, 2014

MANHATTAN — Why does the word "dog" have meaning? If you say "dog" to a friend, why does your friend understand you?

Kansas State University philosopher Elliott Wagner aims to address these types of questions in his latest research, which focuses on long-standing philosophical questions about semantic meaning. Wagner, assistant professor of philosophy, and two other philosophers and a mathematician are collaborating to use game theory to analyze communication and how it acquires meaning.

"If I order a cappuccino at a coffee shop, I usually don't think about why it is that my language can help me communicate my desire for a cappuccino," Wagner said. "This sort of research allows us to understand a very basic aspect of the world."

Michigan State University: Missing sleep may hurt your memory
July 21, 2014

Lack of sleep, already considered a public health epidemic, can also lead to errors in memory, finds a new study by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of California, Irvine.

The study, published online in the journal Psychological Science, found participants deprived of a night’s sleep were more likely to flub the details of a simulated burglary they were shown in a series of images.

Distorted memory can have serious consequences in areas such as criminal justice, where eyewitness misidentifications are thought to be the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States.

“We found memory distortion is greater after sleep deprivation,” said Kimberly Fenn, MSU associate professor of psychology and co-investigator on the study. “And people are getting less sleep each night than they ever have.”


University of Toronto via Science Daily: Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northern Cape of South Africa

Excavations at an archaeological site at Kathu in the Northern Cape province of South Africa have produced tens of thousands of Earlier Stone Age artifacts, including hand axes and other tools. These discoveries were made by archaeologists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and the University of Toronto (U of T), in collaboration with the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa.

Tehran Times (Iran): Archaeologists find bizarre burials in Burnt City

TEHRAN -- An archaeological team, which has been assigned to reconstruct the ancient society of the 5200-year-old Burnt City in a new research project, have found several bizarre burials.

“From 1200 graves, which have been discovered in the Burnt City since 1975 during various archaeological excavations, there are several burials which are very odd and mysterious,” team director Seyyed Mansur Sajjadi told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.

LiveScience: Egyptian Carving Defaced by King Tut's Possible Father Discovered
By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor  

A newly discovered Egyptian carving, which dates back more than 3,300 years, bears the scars of a religious revolution that upended the ancient civilization.

The panel, carved in Nubian Sandstone, was found recently in a tomb at the site of Sedeinga, in modern-day Sudan. It is about 5.8 feet (1.8 meters) tall by 1.3 feet (0.4 m) wide, and was found in two pieces.

Falmouth Packet (UK): Rare Iron Age remains discovered by builders at Porthleven housing development

An Iron Age hearth and evidence of a Bronze Age settlement have been uncovered in Porthleven by builders working on a new housing development.

Archaeologists have been working alongside the contractors developing land off Shrubberies Hill and have been excited by the find.

Culture 24 (UK): Archaeologists find baths of "sociable" Romans and early evidence of Christianity
By Ben Miller | 22 July 2014

Archaeologists are calling Binchester Roman Fort "the Pompeii of the north" after finding a "spectacular" bath house with seven foot-high walls

Excavating two large trenches near Bishop Auckland, experts say a silver ring from the site evidences Christianity in Roman Britain.

The walls of the bath, where features such as a bread oven nod to an important social as well as recreational space, would once have been covered with brightly-coloured paint designs, with the original floor, doorways, window openings and an inscribed altar dedicated to the Roman Goddess, Fortune the Home-bringer, also surfacing.

BBC: Mysteries of medieval graffiti in England's churches
By Neil Heath

Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and "demon traps" have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England's past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages?

A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England.

Armed with just a torch and a camera, a team of volunteers have recorded more than 28,000 images from churches in Norfolk alone and are a third of the way through searching Norwich Cathedral, where there are many more examples.

BBC: Northampton town centre dig reveals rare medieval linen

Fragments of rare medieval linen and serpentine marble have been discovered by archaeologists at a dig in Northampton town centre.

The excavation is in St John's Street, at the location of Northamptonshire County Council's new £43m headquarters.

Jim Brown, from the Museum of London Archaeology, said the marble is "part of something quite valuable", possibly a portable altar.

University of Wisconsin: Town meets gown to explore Wisconsin’s Trempealeau mounds
by David Tenenbaum
July 23, 2014

Why did migrants from Cahokia, the large mound city near St. Louis, move to the present-day village of Trempealeau in western Wisconsin to build flat-topped mounds about 1,000 years ago?

That question has intrigued Danielle Benden, senior curator in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Anthropology, for more than a decade.

Daily Press: Wren Building dig reveals foundation of long-lost college structure
By Mark St. John Erickson

WILLIAMSBURG— Even in a town that archaeologists have probed countless times since 1930, few places have been dug over as many times as the landmark compound that makes up the historic colonial campus at the College of William and Mary.

But that doesn’t mean the triangle of property that surrounds the late-1600s Sir Christopher Wren Building — which ranks as the nation’s oldest college structure — has been stripped of all its secrets


The Northern Echo (UK): Dining habits of Prince Bishops unearthed at Auckland Castle

A RARE insight into the luxurious dining habits of the Prince Bishops of Durham has been unearthed at Auckland Castle.

The remains of two centuries old glasshouses used for growing pineapples have been found at the medieval Grade I-listed fortress in Bishop Auckland.

The Guardian (UK): Shipwreck excavation may explain how 17th-century warship blew itself up
Cotswold Archaeology and local divers hope to solve mystery of how the warship London sank off Southend
Maev Kennedy

An underwater rescue excavation is being mounted this summer by English Heritage to solve a 349-year-old mystery: how warship the London managed to blow itself up without firing a shot at the enemy off Southend.

Cotswold Archaeology and local divers hope to recover as much information as possible before the ship's splinted timbers finally disintegrate. Much of the wreck has been preserved within a deep layer of silt and mud in the on the bed of the Thames Estuary. But the wreck has been on the national inventory of heritage at risk since it was realised that timbers were being scoured bare and quickly destroyed by changing tidal patterns, including the dredging for the huge London Gateway port development.

York Daily Record: Militia Guard pension applications give clues to Camp Security life
By June Lloyd

After over a decade of ups and downs, thanks to the work of citizens and Springettsbury Township with a mix of private and grant funding, most of the undeveloped site of Camp Security, York County's Revolutionary War prisoner of war camp, has been secured. In late summer, an archaeology dig, funded in part by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will begin.

Many questions remain: About how many British, surrendered by Burgoyne at Saratoga and Cornwallis at Yorktown, were detained there, including accompanying women and children?

CHQR (Canada): Quite the find at an Enmax substation
Calgary, AB, Canada / News Talk 770 (CHQR)
Joe McFarland

A fascinating find at a downtown Enmax substation, dating back decades.
Old metal tools including a pickaxe head and rail spikes as well as a brick and a variety of other items were found in a small square right in the middle of the Enmax substation.
The exact age isn’t known, but could go as far back as to when construction of the rail track began in 1882.
Enmax spokesperson Doris Kaufmann Woodcock says the find was made last week while crews were continuing the work on an expansion project.

ITV (UK): Mystery war message: "I hope your kilt will fit you well"
World War One mystery message found in folds of a kilt
10:02 am, Fri 25 Jul 2014

A mystery message has been found in the folds of a kilt, which dates back to the First World War.

As economic historian Dr Helen Paul was removing the packing stitches from the kilt, which has been passed down her family over many years, she discovered the note.

The Herald (UK): Secret wall that played vital D-Day role in defeating Nazis
Mark Smith

FROM a distance, it looks like an ordinary wall, but history is written all over it.

Look closely and you can see the holes where explosives were planted and at one point there is a massive gap where it was blown apart by a tank.

The historian and archeologist Tony Pollard stands by the gap and explains the importance of it all: this wall, he says, helped defeat the Nazis.

Associated Press via The Commericial Dispatch: Surveys explore U-boat, oil spill impact
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.

Mail & Guardian (South Africa) via Yahoo! News South Africa:  A lover of dirty, smelly and unsightly architecture
By Sean O'Toole | Mail & Guardian Online – Fri, Jul 25, 2014

Industrial archaeologist David Worth champions the bleak monuments of South Africa's industrial architecture.

It is a familiar compromise among the middle classes. The thing you love, let's say beekeeping, just doesn't offer a bankable career, so in its place an unexciting but paying job. As for the African honeybees, well, they get nurtured in one's spare time with the devotion of an amateur.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.


Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) via PhysOrg: Ancient genetic material from caries bacterium obtained for the first time

Streptococcus mutans, one of the principal bacteria that cause dental caries, has increased the change in its genetic material over time, possibly coinciding with dietary change linked to the expansion of humanity.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Shark tooth sifters hope for The Big One at Caspersen Beach
By Thomas Becnel

VENICE - Cindy Robbins packed a stack of colanders for a family trip to Caspersen Beach.

“Five,” she says. “Because there are five of us.”

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, Robbins and her husband and kids use the kitchen strainers to sift through surf and sand for fossilized shark teeth. They find only tiny specimens, but they keep looking and hoping for The Big One — a megalodon fossil as big as your hand.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.


University of Washington: Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides
July 22, 2014

The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the “remobilization” of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.

The research indicates the landslide, the deadliest in U.S. history, happened in two major stages. The first stage remobilized the 2006 slide, including part of an adjacent forested slope from an ancient slide, and was made up largely or entirely of deposits from previous landslides. The first stage ultimately moved more than six-tenths of a mile across the north fork of the Stillaguamish River and caused nearly all the destruction in the Steelhead Haven neighborhood.

The second stage started several minutes later and consisted of ancient landslide and glacial deposits. That material moved into the space vacated by the first stage and moved rapidly until it reached the trailing edge of the first stage, the study found.

University of Washington: Geophysicists prep for massive ‘ultrasound’ of Mount St. Helens
July 17, 2014

A small army of 75 geophysicists is set to converge on Mount St. Helens this weekend to begin final preparations for the equivalent of a combined ultrasound and CAT scan of the volcano’s internal plumbing.

The ambitious project, a joint undertaking by Earth scientists at Rice University, the University of Washington, the University of Texas at El Paso and other institutions, requires placing more than 3,500 active seismological sensors and 23 seismic charges around the volcano during the next few days.

“Mount St. Helens and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range threaten urban centers from Vancouver to Portland, and we’d like to better understand their inner workings in order to better predict when they may erupt and how severe those eruptions are likely to be,” said Alan Levander, a Rice professor of Earth science and lead scientist for the experiment.


University of Michigan: Toward ultimate light efficiency on the cheap
July 15, 2014

ANN ARBOR—Researchers at the University of Michigan have taken a major stride toward perfectly efficient lighting that is also relatively inexpensive and simple to make. The same material can also reveal the presence of water by changing color.

Incandescent bulbs only turn 5 percent of the electricity they use into light, while fluorescent LEDs can produce light from up to 25 percent of the electrons that pass through them. Phosphorescent LEDs offer the potential to turn every electron into a ray of light, but it is very difficult to achieve with inexpensive materials.

LEDs are semiconductors that produce light when an electric current runs through them. Carbon-based, or organic, semiconductors are much cheaper than inorganic semiconductors, but today's organic technologies rely on metals in the semiconductor to enable phosphorescence. This raises the price and sometimes makes the material toxic. Now, the team of Jinsang Kim, a professor of materials science and engineering, developed bright, metal-free, organic, phosphorescent light emitters.


Kansas State University: Ultrafast X-ray laser sheds new light on fundamental ultrafast dynamics
July 17, 2014

MANHATTAN — Ultrafast X-ray laser research led by Kansas State University has provided scientists with a snapshot of a fundamental molecular phenomenon. The finding sheds new light on microscopic electron motion in molecules.

Artem Rudenko, assistant professor of physics and a member of the university's James R. Macdonald Laboratory; Daniel Rolles, currently a junior research group leader at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron in Hamburg, Germany, who will be joining the university's physics department in January 2015; and an international group of collaborators studied how an electron moves between different atoms in an exploding molecule.

Researchers measured at which distances between the two atoms the electron transfer can occur. Charge transfer processes — particularly electron transfer — are important for photosynthesis and in solar cells, and drive many other important reactions in physics, chemistry and biology.


Chemistry World via Scientific American: Plastics Change Color—and Back—in Less Than 1 Second
Smart windows and biosensors need the speed of these new polymers
By Charlie Quigg and ChemistryWorld
Jul 25, 2014

Scientists in China, the UK and the Netherlands have engineered a polydiacetylene polymer that reversibly changes color within 1 second of being heated or cooled.

Thermochromic polymers have a wide range of potential uses, from biological sensors to smart windows. However, the irregular structure and weak molecular interactions in established thermochromic polymers results in long response times, slow reversibility and a narrow working temperature range.

Now, a team led by Zhengzhong Shao of Fudan University in China report that introducing peptide side chains into the polymer gives fibres that are strong and exhibit a remarkably rapid color change even at temperatures up to 200 °C. The critical temperature of the transition can be tuned by varying the length of alkyl chains in the polymer.

Science Crime Scenes

Al-Ahram (Egypt): Egypt’s heritage crisis

The looting of Egypt’s cultural heritage is reaching epidemic proportions with even some major sites now not left untouched, writes David Tresilian from Paris

The breakdown in security that followed the collapse of the Iraqi regime in March 2003 led to the widespread looting of archaeological sites up and down the country, together with the looting of the National Museum and Archives in the capital Baghdad. The ongoing conflict in Syria has seen a similar collapse of security in many parts of the country, with predictable effects on the country’s heritage.

Now it seems that Egypt too may be suffering from the effects of the breakdown in security that has taken place over the past three years and since the 25 January Revolution. While no one is suggesting that this breakdown has led to the kind of losses seen in other Arab countries, where heritage sites and institutions have in some cases been badly damaged or even partially destroyed, the situation of even archaeological sites close to Cairo is becoming more and more worrying.

Irish Central: Archaeologist says “definite indications” of Bessborough baby mass graves
Casey Egan

After a basic examination of the grounds of the former mother and baby home in Bessborough, Co. Cork, a leading archaeologist has concluded that there are “definite physical indications” of unmarked shallow graves.

Toni Maguire, an archaeologist and anthropologist known for her work with the Milltown cemetery in Belfast, visited Bessborough on Wednesday, the Irish Examiner reports. She was joined by four women who were born in the mother and baby home, two of whom had journeyed from the US.

NPR: Young Scientists Say They're Sexually Abused In The Field
by Kara Manke
July 17, 201410:26 AM ET

Many young scientists dream of their first trip to a remote research site — who wouldn't want to hang out with chimps like Jane Goodall, or sail to the Galapagos like Charles Darwin, exploring the world and advancing science?

But for many scientists, field research can endanger their health and safety.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Georgia Tech: BlackForest Aggregates Threat Information to Warn of Possible Cyber Attacks
Posted July 23, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

Coordinating distributed denial-of-service attacks, displaying new malware code, offering advice about network break-ins and posting stolen information – these are just a few of the online activities of cyber-criminals. Fortunately, activities like these can provide cyber-security specialists with advance warning of pending attacks and information about what hackers and other bad actors are planning.

Gathering and understanding this cyber-intelligence is the work of BlackForest, a new open source intelligence gathering system developed by information security specialists at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). By using such information to create a threat picture, BlackForest complements other GTRI systems designed to help corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations battle increasingly-sophisticated threats to their networks.

“BlackForest is on the cutting edge of anticipating attacks that may be coming,” said Christopher Smoak, a research scientist in GTRI’s Emerging Threats and Countermeasures Division. “We gather and connect information collected from a variety of sources to draw conclusions on how people are interacting. This can drive development of a threat picture that may provide pre-attack information to organizations that may not even know they are being targeted.”

Science, Space, Health, Environment, and Energy Policy

Outlook India: Heritage Sites in Gujarat Not Preserved Properly: CAG Report

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found deficiencies in the preservation of ancient and protected monuments in Gujarat, which comes under the jurisdiction of state Archaeology Department.

"There were deficiencies found in the manner in which preservation of monuments was being carried out," the CAG report, which was tabled yesterday in Gujarat assembly, said.

The survey, excavation and research work was almost negligible, it said.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories. Board of State Canvassers approves wolf hunt, denies minimum wage
Vince Lamb, Washtenaw County Elections Examiner

On Thursday, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers decided the fates of two ballot initiatives that had their petitions submitted at the end of May.

The Board unanimously approved the initiative from Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management that would allow the wolf hunt to continue along with funding measures to combat Asian Carp and continue offering free hunting and fishing licenses to active-duty members of the armed services.

They also denied the initiative from Raise Michigan to put a measure on the ballot that would allow voters to vote for an increase in the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on a 3-1 bipartisan vote, citing not enough valid signatures.

University of Kansas: Researcher looks at regulatory muddle in wake of Deepwater Horizon disaster
July 23, 2014

LAWRENCE — In April 2010, a catastrophic explosion sank the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, operated for the BP company some 50 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven rig workers lost their lives, and oil gushed freely into Gulf waters for the next 87 days — some 210 million gallons of oil in total. The spill was the worst in U.S. history, and many viewed the government reaction to be inadequate.

A researcher at the University of Kansas recently has investigated how past experiences with hurricanes may have impeded state and local responses to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

“Because of the size of the spill, it was new,” said So-Min Cheong, associate professor of geography. “In addition, it occurred in the Gulf where frequent hurricanes are a norm. In some ways this was a plus as they are used to dealing with disasters, but in other ways this prevented people and local and state governments from addressing the spill well because they are not used to oil-spill regulations and response.”

University of Michigan: Support for carbon tax grows when revenue fuels renewable energy
July 22, 2014

ANN ARBOR—A carbon tax with revenues used to fund renewable energy programs gained support from 60 percent of Americans, according to a University of Michigan poll.

That's the highest among tax options presented and one that crossed the political divide with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents saying they would support the tax, according to the National Surveys on Energy and Environment.

The survey is a joint effort of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.

"Conventional wisdom is that carbon tax is a political non-starter," said Barry Rabe, U-M professor of public policy and director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. "But there may be broader support for such a tax than is commonly believed, depending upon how revenues from that tax are used."

Science Education

York Press (UK): Yorkshire Museum ask children become dinosaur detectives
Updated 9:58am Saturday 26th July 2014

CHILDREN are being asked to become dinosaur detectives this summer at the Yorkshire Museum.

Museum bosses have said nine dinosaurs are suspected of taking “bites” out of precious artefacts and there has bee discovery of some dinosaur bones

Until August 31, children are being asked to become great dinosaur detectives to help staff solve clues around the museum, look at dinosaur fossils and find out which one of our naughty dinosaurs is responsible for chewing on the collections.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Michigan Tech: Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million from Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to Reform Middle-School Science Education
July 21, 2014

Young children are naturally curious about everything around them. They want to know how and why things work.  Then, around middle school age, many of them lose that natural attraction to science and engineering.

A team of university and public school educators in Michigan say they know what’s wrong with middle school science education. And, with a $5 million, three-year grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, they intend to develop and test some solutions.

“In Michigan and most of the nation’s schools, STEM instruction consists of a series of seemingly unrelated courses that require students to memorize large numbers of facts but fail to engage them in the practice of using science as a tool to address real-world problems,” says Jacqueline Huntoon, a geology professor, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Technological University.

Science Writing and Reporting

University of Washington: Sustainable, sharing communities explored in Karen Litfin’s book ‘Ecovillages’
July 15, 2014

Karen Litfin is a University of Washington associate professor of political science and author of the book “Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community.” She answered a few questions about the book, and her work, for UW Today.

Q: What is the main message of “Ecovillages”?

A: After teaching global environmental politics for two decades and watching planetary conditions deteriorate, I grew disenchanted with top-down solutions. I also grew tired of making my students anxious, depressed and guilt-ridden. If our ways of living are unraveling planetary life-support systems, then we must answer the question: How, then, shall we live?

My search for models led me on a one-year journey around the world to ecovillages, intentional communities aspiring to live sustainably. Living in 14 ecovillages on five continents taught me that not only is another world possible, it is already being born in small pockets the world over.

Science is Cool

Australian Broadcasting Corporation via Yahoo! News Australia: Kabul museum workers 'risked death' to protect priceless Afghan treasures now on display in Perth

Curators at the Western Australian Museum are hoping a new exhibition of priceless artefacts will showcase a different side of war-torn Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures exhibition includes more than 200 items, some up to 4,000 years old, from Afghanistan's National Museum in Kabul.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Originally posted to Overnight News Digest on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 08:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Astro Kos and SciTech.

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