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Science

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Posted by samzenpus
from the silent-spring dept.
Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."
Earth

The Story of My As-Yet-Unverified Impact Crater 250

Posted by Soulskill
from the dent-in-the-world dept.
tetrahedrassface writes "When I was very young, my dad took me on a trip to his parents' farm. He wanted to show me 'The Crater.' We walked a long way through second generation hardwoods and finally stood on the rim of a hole that has no equal in this area. As I grew up, I became more interested in The Crater, and would always tell friends about it. It is roughly 1,200 feet across and 120 feet deep, and has a strange vibe about it. When you walk up to it, you feel like something really big happened here. Either the mother of all caves is down there, or a large object smashed into this place a long, long time ago. I bought aerial photos when I was twelve and later sent images from GIS to a geologist at a local university. He pretty much laughed me out of his office, saying that it was a sinkhole. He did wish me luck, however. It may be sinkhole. Who knows? Last week I borrowed a metal detector and went poking around, and have found the strangest shrapnel pieces I have ever seen. They are composed of a metal that reacts strongly to acids. The largest piece so far reacted with tap water and dish-washing detergent. My second trip today yielded lots of strange new pieces of metal, and hopefully, one day the truth will be known. Backyard science is so much fun. And who knows; if it is indeed a cave, maybe Cerberus resides there."
Science

Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

Posted by samzenpus
from the gold-frankincense-and-mice dept.
crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."
Medicine

Possible Treatment For Ebola 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-a-pill-for-that dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Researchers at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The new drugs are called 'antisense' compounds, and they allow the immune system to attack the viruses before they can do enough damage to kill the patient. Travis Warren, research scientist at USAMRIID, said while the work is still preliminary -— the drugs have been tested only on primates — the results are so far promising. In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived. The drugs were developed as part of a program to deal with possible bioterrorist threats, in partnership with AVI Biopharma."
Image

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Internet 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the vicky-who? dept.
MMBK writes "Our friends at JESS3 have unveiled The Ex-Blocker. It's a Firefox and Chrome plugin that erases all name and likeness of your ex from the Internet, even if they become a meme, or the president. You'll no longer have to threaten to delete your Facebook account or concoct an elaborate e-hoax to assuage the reality-shattering complications that are born from break-ups. Simply construct an Internet that omits bad vibes all together."
Businesses

New Call of Duty Titles Announced, Fired Devs Sue For Name 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the modern-legal-warfare dept.
eldavojohn writes "Activision has announced new Call of Duty titles while fired Infinity Ward Developer leads Jason West and Vince Zampella sue them for the rights to the name. According to Activision, 'The company intends to expand the Call of Duty brand with the same focus seen in its Blizzard Entertainment business unit. This will include a focus on high-margin digital online content and further[ing] the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models.' Ars opines that Activision is set to over-saturate the market with tons of CoD titles similar to how it expertly brought down Guitar Hero."

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