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Inequality dates back to Stone Age: Earliest evidence yet of differential access to land

Hereditary inequality began over 7,000 years ago in the early Neolithic era, with new evidence showing that farmers buried with tools had access to better land than those buried without.

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Earlier detection of bone loss may be in future: Isotope analysis rather than x-ray used for measurement

Scientists are developing a new approach to the medical challenge of detecting bone loss by applying a technique that originated in the Earth sciences.

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Climate change led to collapse of ancient Indus civilization, study finds

A new study combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan civilization almost 4000 years ago. The study also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology.

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Engineered microvessels provide a 3-D test bed for human diseases

Bioengineers have developed the first structure to grow small human blood vessels, creating a 3-D test bed that offers a better way to study disease, test drugs and perhaps someday grow human tissues for transplant.

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New stem cell technique promises abundance of key heart cells

Cardiomyocytes, the workhorse cells that make up the beating heart, can now be made cheaply and abundantly in the laboratory.

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Method for building artificial tissue devised

Physicists have developed a method that models biological cell-to-cell adhesion that could also have industrial applications.

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Groundwater depletion in semiarid regions of Texas and California threatens US food security

The US’s food supply may be vulnerable to rapid groundwater depletion from irrigated agriculture, according to a new study. The study paints the highest resolution picture yet of how groundwater depletion varies across space and time in California’s Central Valley and the High Plains of the central U.S.

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People smile when they are frustrated, and the computer knows the difference

Do you smile when you’re frustrated? Most people think they don’t — but they actually do, a new study has found. What’s more, it turns out that computers programmed with the latest information from this research do a better job of differentiating smiles of delight and frustration than human observers do.

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The Transit of Venus: June 5-6, 2012

Many astronomers and members of the public in Britain will be getting up early on the morning of June 6, so they can see (using precautions to avoid permanent eye damage) the final Transit of Venus of the 21st century. The Transit, when Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun, was last seen in 2004 and will not happen again until the year 2117.

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Orion clean room subs filters, fans for ceiling

Turns out a clean room doesn’t necessarily need a roof, NASA is finding out as it tries out a design that could be assembled around the Orion spacecraft as it is prepared for launch in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The key to the concept, developed by Astrotech, is two 10-foot-high walls of filter-equipped fans positioned 30 feet apart to push and pull the air in one direction across the capsule, keeping particles from settling on the spacecraft’s surface.

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