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September 5, Like this: Like Loading Posted in Book Reviews. Caroline Arcini of Sweden's National Heritage Board and colleagues analysed skeletons of men, women and children from to AD. She discovered that 22 of the men bore deep, horizontal grooves across the upper front teeth.

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Traces of teeth mutilation have been found in all parts of the world except Europe, with the practice reaching its peak from to AD, during the height of the Viking Age. The Vikings were the first Europeans to have displayed this custom, perhaps because they picked it up during their travels. However, the reason for and the importance of the furrows remain mysteries.

The filed furrows were made in more or less the same area of the teeth in all individuals," Arcini says. The marks were cut deep into the enamel and occurred often in pairs or triplets. The researcher speculates that the marks could have been some sort of decoration or a badge to indicate class or military rank.

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Pia Bennike, at the University of Copenhagen's biological anthropology laboratory, agrees:. Or maybe they were slaves. This is a very unique and interesting find. One hypothesis is that they could show an individual's ability to resist pain. They could have also represented some kind of achievement. The tools that the Vikings used for handicrafts were made both of iron and stone. An experiment on a medieval tooth showed that with a lot of force and a file of steel, it takes about 20 minutes to cut a mark like the those of the Vikings in the enamel.

Even if the filing did not hurt, it most certainly must have been unpleasant," Arcini says.

The new planet may look like this, a rocky-icy world circling a red dwarf star. Astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet so far, close to the centre of our galaxy. The international team says the planet's relatively small size and large orbit imply a rocky-icy composition with a thin atmosphere.

The discovery, involving a global network of telescopes and reported in today's issue of the journal Nature, is good news for astronomers searching for planets outside our solar system that may support life. These models predict finding planets the size of Earth to Neptune orbiting red dwarf stars, small cool stars, between one and 10 times the distance from the Earth to our Sun. The new planet has mass more than five times that of Earth and orbits a red dwarf at more than two-and-a-half times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

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This makes it the first relatively small extrasolar planet discovered not huddled close to its parent star. The planet is about 28, light years away, near the centre of the Milky Way, and was discovered using a technique astronomers say is better at finding smaller planets.

Most extrasolar planets discovered have been 'hot Jupiters' or gas giant planets in small orbits, detected by the gravitational 'wobble' they induce in the parent star. But the microlensing method Albrow is a founding member of the PLANET collaboration, which found the planet, one of the three microlensing collaborations involved from 32 institutions in 12 countries.

A small 'defect' in the brightening reveals the existence of a planet around the lens star. Because the chances of exact alignment are very rare, astronomers continuously monitor dense star fields such as the galactic centre, which is best seen from the southern hemisphere. The group happened to be testing the world's largest dedicated microlensing telescope at the time, a 1.

The adult female is just 7. The smallest fish in the world has been found lurking in the peat wetlands of Southeast Asia, say scientists. Dr Maurice Kottelat of the National University of Singapore and team report their discovery online ahead of print publication in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B. The record-busting newcomer, Paedocypris progenetica, is skinny and transparent, and a distant cousin of the carp, the researchers say.

Squirrels, Boats, and Thoroughbreds: Lessons for leading change in traditional businesses

The elusive fish lives in highly acid peat swamps on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and in the Malaysian part of Borneo that are threatened by forestry and agriculture. The scientists needed a special stereoscopic microscope to accurately measure the fish. The smallest adult specimen they netted was a mature female, found in Sumatra, that came to just 7. This makes her not only the world's smallest fish but also the world's smallest vertebrate.

She nudged out the previous record holder, a marine fish of the western Pacific called the dwarf goby Trimmatom nanus , which comes in at 8 millimetres at sexual maturity. Kottelat says P. Nervous public speakers should first have penetrative sex to ease the stress, according to a UK study.

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But masturbation is unlikely to have the same effect, the study published in the latest issue of the journal Biological Psychology suggests. Professor Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of Paisley, compared the impact of different sexual activities on blood pressure when a person later undergoes a stressful experience. Brody asked 24 women and 22 men to keep a diary of their sexual activities for two weeks. The volunteers then underwent a stressful ordeal that involved making a speech in public and doing mental arithmetic out loud.

Volunteers who had had penetrative sex during the previous week or so had the least stress, and their blood pressure returned to normal fastest after their test. Penetrative sex was far more effective in this regard than masturbation or oral sex. But those who had abstained completely from any sexual activity had the highest stress levels and blood pressure of all. Brody also did a psychological profile of the volunteers to see whether they had an anxious or neurotic character, and evaluated their work stress and satisfaction with their partners.

Even when such factors were taken into account, sexual behaviour was clearly the best explanation for the stress responses.


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He believes that penetrative sex may release a special 'pair-bonding' hormone called oxytocin, which accounts for the calming effect. Adding another electrode to this ion engine improves fuel efficiency, tests show, promising faster space travel. A new ion engine that promises to propel spacecraft faster and further is four times more fuel efficient than the best available, scientists say. Sutherland says missions to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt would be "quite easily" made, with trips out beyond the solar system also more feasible. Another option is the new engine could help take heavier missions to shorter distances such as the Moon or Mars.

A standard ion engine works by using electrodes to extract ions from plasma, in this case heated xenon gas.

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The ions are focused into beams that accelerate through tiny holes in the electrodes and thrust metres out into space, propelling the spacecraft in the opposite direction. Clusters of magnesium, zinc and copper atoms could be the key to strengthening lightweight metals. An Australian PhD student has taken the first pictures of clusters of metal atoms, which could be the key to tailor-made alloys that are light, strong, durable and flexible. Peter Liddicoat of the University of Sydney will present the digital images at a microscopy conference in Sydney next month.

Liddicoat analysed the atomic structure of a lightweight alloy used in the aerospace industry. After 60 seconds at this temperature, the alloy is twice as hard. Although this hardening process has been used for 50 years, Liddicoat says no one knows how it works. It's like cooking," he says.

Some time ago, his PhD supervisor, Professor Simon Ringer proposed a theory that small clusters of atoms in the alloy could be responsible for the hardening.


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  • And Liddicoat is the first to image them. Liddicoat imaged the clusters using strong electromagnetic fields at very low temperatures to 'decompose' the alloy. A 3D digital image of the alloy and its atoms is then made by computer. Liddicoat says he is "pretty excited" to have imaged these clusters and the next step is to confirm that these clusters are responsible for the alloy's hardening.