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Genghis Khan, History's Greenest Conqueror 279

New research suggests that in addition to being one of history's cruelest conquerors, Genghis Khan may have been the greenest. It is estimated that the Mongol leader's invasions unintentionally scrubbed almost 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. From the article: "Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world's total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests. In other words, one effect of Genghis Khan's unrelenting invasion was widespread reforestation, and the re-growth of those forests meant that more carbon could be absorbed from the atmosphere." I guess everyone has their good points.
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Scientists Find Tears Are the Anti-Viagra 207

An anonymous reader writes "The male test subjects didn't know what they were smelling, they were just given little vials of clear liquid and told to sniff. But when those vials contained a woman's tears (collected while she watched a sad movie), the men rated pictures of women's faces as less sexually attractive, and their saliva contained less testosterone. Is this proof that humans make and respond to pheromones? The researcher behind the study doesn't use that controversial word, but he says his findings do prove that tears contain meaningful chemical messages."
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Satellite-Based Laser Hunts Woodpeckers From Space 53

University of Idaho scientists have figured out a more effective way to track woodpecker populations than following the incessant laughter. They're using a laser onboard NASA's Icesat spacecraft to determine where the birds might be living. From the article: "NASA's Icesat satellite was initially intended for measuring glacial surfaces at the Earth's poles but has proven to be quite effective in measuring vegetation also. The satellite's laser bounces off of forest canopies, tree trunks and the ground making important characteristics about the forest easily measurable. For example, forest density is determined by the relative amount of light returned versus that which is returned from the ground. Once ideal woodpecker locations are identified 'we actually conduct ground-based woodpecker surveys in these locations as well to verify it,' says team-member Patrick Adam."
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Julian Assange's Online Dating Profile Leaked 334

Ponca City writes "The Telegraph reports that an online dating profile created by Julian Assange in 2006 has been unearthed from OKCupid disclosing that the WikiLeaks editor sought 'spirited, erotic' women 'from countries that have sustained political turmoil.' Writing under the pseudonym of British science fiction author Harry Harrison, Assange described himself as a 'passionate, and often pig headed activist intellectual.' Assange said he was seeking a 'siren for [a] love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy' adding that he was 'directing a consuming, dangerous human rights project which is, as you might expect, male dominated' and added enigmatically: 'I am DANGER, ACHTUNG.' Among Assange's listed interests were the 'structure of reality' and 'chopping up human brains' – although he added the caveat '(neuroscience background)' lest the latter put off potential admirers. 'I like women from countries that have sustained political turmoil,' Assange wrote. 'Western culture seems to forge women that are valueless and inane. OK. Not only women!'"
Censorship

Graduate Students Being Warned Away From Leaked Cables 685

IamTheRealMike writes "The US State Department has started to warn potential recruits from universities not to read leaked cables, lest it jeopardize their chances of getting a job. They're also showing warnings to troops who access news websites and the Library of Congress and Department of Education have blocked WikiLeaks on their own networks. Quite what happens when these employees go home is an open question." Update: 12/04 17:48 GMT by T : The friendly warning to students specifically cautioned them not to comment online or otherwise indicate that they'd read any of the leaked information; reading them quietly wasn't specifically named as a deal-breaker.
Space

X-37B Robotic Space Plane Returns To Earth 55

Kozar_The_Malignant writes "The secretive X-37B robotic space plane has returned to Earth after a seven-month mission. This was the vehicle's first flight. Looking like a cross between a Predator Drone and the Space Shuttle, it landed at Vandenberg AFB in California, which was to have been the military's shuttle launch facility. Speculation is that the X-37B is an orbital spy platform."
Science

Pumpkin Pie increases Male Sex Drive 173

Dr. Alan Hirsch, Director of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Center, says the key to a man's heart, and other parts, is pumpkin pie. Out of the 40 odors tested in Hirsch's study, a mixture of lavender and pumpkin pie got the biggest rise out of men ages 18 to 64. That particular fragrance was found to increase penile blood flow by an average of 40%. "Maybe the odors acted to reduce anxiety. By reducing anxiety, it acted to remove inhibitions," said Hirsch.
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The World's Smallest Legible Font 280

hasanabbas1987 writes "From the article: 'Well 'technically' they aren't the smallest fonts in the world as if they were you wouldn't be able to read even a single letter, but, you should be able to read the entire paragraph in the picture given above... we did. A Computer science professor called Ken Perlin designed these tiny fonts and you can fit 500 reasonable words in a resolution of 320 x 240 space. There are at the moment the smallest legible fonts in the world.'"
Graphics

The First Photograph of a Human 138

wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"
Transportation

Airbus Planning Transparent Planes 488

goG writes "European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has come up with the idea to build a passenger flight with a completely transparent fuselage. The central body of the aircraft will allow passengers to the see the stars above and city lights below. 'The planes of the future will offer an unparalleled, unobstructed view of the wonders of the five continents — where you will be able see the pyramids or the Eiffel Tower through the transparent floor of the aircraft,' Airbus said while unveiling the concept 'The Future By Airbus' earlier this year."
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Opossums Overrun Brooklyn, Fail To Eliminate Rats 343

__roo writes "In a bizarre case of life imitates the Simpsons, New York City officials introduced a population of opossums into Brooklyn parks and under the boardwalk at Coney Island, apparently convinced that the opossums would eat all of the rats in the borough and then conveniently die of starvation. Several years later, the opossums have not only failed to eliminate the rat epidemic from New York City, but they have thrived, turning into a sharp-toothed, foul-odored epidemic of their own."

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