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How Elements in Fireworks Make the Human Body Work (Infographic)


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How Elements in Fireworks Make the Human Body Work (Infographic)

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Testing the Scientific Knowledge of Americans (Infographic)


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Testing the Scientific Knowledge of Americans (Infographic)

Survey of the Attitudes of American Catholics (Infographic)


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Survey of the Attitudes of American Catholics (Infographic)

The Alaskan Arctic Oil Drilling Controversy Explained (Infographic)


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The Alaskan Arctic Oil Drilling Controversy Explained (Infographic)

Diagram of the Human Lymphatic System (Infographic)


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Diagram of the Human Lymphatic System (Infographic)

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that primarily consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph. Its primary function is to transport lymph, a clear, colorless fluid containing white blood cells that helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
Lymph nodes are small oval structures that are an important component of the body’s immune system and help in fighting infections. They function as filters of lymph, catching any debris or cells present in the lymph.
The tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system.
The tonsils are a large cluster of lymphatic cells found in the pharynx.
Lymph nodes produce and store cells that fight infection and disease. There are 600 to 700 lymph nodes in the human body.
The thymus is the organ where T-cells mature. T-cells help destroy infected or cancerous cells.
The spleen is the largest lymphatic organ in the body. It contains  white blood cells that fight infection and disease.

Related:

Scientists Discover Weather on Rosetta’s Comet


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Maddie Stone

http://gizmodo.com/scientists-discover-weather-on-rosettas-comet-1732848251

Scientists Discover Weather on Rosetta’s Comet

Scientists Discover Weather on Rosetta's Comet

Earth’s favorite comet is chock full of surprises. The latest? Weather, of sorts. According to research published this week in Nature, Comet 67P has a small weather system driven by an intense day-night cycle.

We got our first hint of comet weather last August, when the Rosetta probe’s VIRTIS instrument sniffed a square kilometer-sized patch of ice in 67P’s “neck” region. Turns out, that ice patch sublimates into a cloud of water vapor when the sun rises, growing again when the neck rotates into darkness.

While this has the hallmarks of a simple water cycle, it’s a bit different from how the weather works on Earth. Rather than raining out onto the comet’s surface, 67P’s ephemeral cloud zips away into space when night falls. The team behind the discovery suspects that the ice is replenished from below, through fissures that grow during the day as the sun’s intense rays scorch the surface. Over time, this process could eat through the comet’s water supply entirely.

Scientists Discover Weather on Rosetta's Comet

The water-ice cycle of Rosetta’s comet. Image credit: ESA

It’s just the latest in a string of fascinating cometary puzzles Rosetta researchers are now sinking their teeth into. From tunnels that continue to grow before our eyes to the rudimentary building blocks of life to dramatic jets that out-puff the solar wind, 67P is showing how little we really knew about about the life and times of the nomadic space rocks zipping about our cosmic backyard.

[Read the full scientific paper at Nature h/t New Scientist]


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This Is the Oldest Case of Ritual Decapitation Ever Uncovered in the Americas


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This Is the Oldest Case of Ritual Decapitation Ever Uncovered in the Americas

George Dvorsky

http://io9.com/this-is-the-oldest-case-of-ritual-decapitation-ever-unc-1732774124

This Is the Oldest Case of Ritual Decapitation Ever Uncovered in the Americas

Archaeologists working in a rock shelter in Lapa do Santo, Brazil, have uncovered the remains of a 9,000-year-old ceremonial beheading. It’s now considered the oldest known case of decapitation in the New World.

As a ritual practice, decapitation was widespread among Native Americans across the entire South American continent—a practice with deep historical roots. Prior to the new discovery, the oldest known case of ceremonial beheading was found in the Andes and dated to 3,000 years ago. The identification of a 9,000-year-old ritual decapitation, confirmed by a team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, extends this practice further back in time by a whopping 6,000 years. The details of the new study can now be found at the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The remains, discovered in the archaeological site of Lapa do Santo in east-central Brazil, consisted of a cranium, jaw, the first six cervical vertebrae, and two severed hands of an adult male. The right hand was laid over the left side of the face, while the left hand was laid over the right side.

This Is the Oldest Case of Ritual Decapitation Ever Uncovered in the Americas34

(Credit: Gil Tokyo)

The archaeologists insist this wasn’t a case of inter-group violence, as it often assumed. The evidence, say the researchers, points to a more complex scenario.

“The chemical analysis of strontium isotopes done in this study indicates that the decapitated individual was not an outsider to the group,” noted Domingo Carlos Salazar-Gárcia of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in a prepared statement. “Therefore, it was probably not a defeated enemy but instead a member of the community.”

This Is the Oldest Case of Ritual Decapitation Ever Uncovered in the Americas

(Credit: A. Strauss et al., 2015/PLOS)

Rather than being an act of violence against an enemy, the practice was likely part of a broader set of mortuary rituals involving the careful and deliberate manipulation of the body. It’s possible that the orientation of skull and hands was an important public display, one designed to enhance social cohesion within the community. As the authors write in the study:

[We] suggest a ritualized decapitation instead of trophy-taking, testifying for the sophistication of mortuary rituals among hunter-gatherers in the Americas during the early Archaic period. In the apparent absence of wealth goods or elaborated architecture, Lapa do Santo’s inhabitants seemed to use the human body to express their cosmological principles regarding death.

First author André Strauss explains the significance of the discovery:

This ritualized decapitation attests to the early sophistication of mortuary rituals among hunter-gatherers in the Americas. Moreover, the finding from Lapa do Santo doubles the chronological depth of the practice of decapitation in South America. Geographically, it expands the known range of decapitation in more than 2,000 kilometers, showing that during the early Holocene this was not a phenomenon restricted to the western part of the continent as previously assumed.

As Michael Casey reports in CBS news, the final removal of the head wasn’t the result of cutting, but instead pulling and rotating until detachment was achieved.

“We have to put this in perspective,” explained Strauss to CBS News. “They had no metal knives. They had no guillotine. Maybe with a huge metal ax it might sound like a good idea to decapitate someone to kill him as we have done a lot in our history. But these guys only had little flakes. We’re talking about razors, delicate instruments.”

Read the entire study at PLOS: “Thee Oldest Case of Decapitation in the New World (Lapa do Santo, East-Central Brazil).


Email the author at george@io9.com and follow him at @dvorsky. Top image by Danilo Bernardo