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An alien portal? A grain store? Just a big ol' hole? No: it's Lab notes!

03 / 11 / 2017, The Guardian

Using muon-detecting sensors, archaeologists have discovered a mysterious void deep within Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s the first major structural find since the 19th century and at 30 metres is nearly the same size as the grand gallery, a huge corridor that connects the royal chambers within the pyramid. Exciting is not even the word. Another discovery this week is that, rather unexpectedly, it turns out that there’s a third species of orangutan, which scientists have named Pongo tapanuliensis. Sadly, there are fewer than 800, and its survival is already in doubt thanks to illegal trade and habitat loss. A new great ape species is potentially good news for our understanding of evolution – but what about how theories of evolution can contribute to our understanding of life beyond Earth? A team of researchers have been looking at just that, examining at what Darwin’s theories can tell us about the potential shape of alien life. Bad news on language evolution for grammar pedants though: resistance to changes in grammar is futile, say researchers. They also say chance plays a bigger role than previously thought in the way language changes. Finally, some worrying news from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS): their research station will have to close for the second winter in a row, as cracks in the ice shelf it stands on have grown. BAS don’t want their researchers to get cut off (well, they’ve probably seen The Thing) so despite having changed location earlier this year, Halley VI station will close again for the winter from March 2018. Continue reading...

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