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University of Arizona

  1. Maybe Lasers Could Be Used to Deflect Lightning From Buildings

    If that doesn't work, perhaps some ill-tempered mutated sea bass.

    Buildings getting struck by lightning accounts for more than $1 billion worth of damage in the U.S. every year. While there are ways to mitigate the amount of damage caused by directing the lightning away and into the ground, all those methods are just so... boring. You know what aren't boring? High intensity lasers. Heeeeell yeah!

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  2. New Study Used QR-Like Codes to Prove Ants Have a Corporate Ladder

    QR codes are generally something we think of as silly. Most people aren't interested in scanning the code you put on your band's flyer to get more information. It turns out they can actually serve interesting purposes for science, like tracking an entire colony of individually tagged ants to better understand their social structure.

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  3. Study Shows Arizona Desert is Literally Trashy, Verdict Still Out on Rest of Arizona

    Oscar the Grouch may want to consider leaving his smelly trashcan hovel on Sesame Street behind in favor of the arid landscape of Arizona's Saguaro National Park. A recent study conducted by the University of Arizona and biologist Erin Zylstra shows that windswept trash -- consisting mostly of plastic bags and latex balloons -- has ended up in the desert. Even more alarming is that the amount of trash in the area actually outnumbers the population of indigenous desert tortoises and western diamondback rattlesnakes, with the very life of these little critters on the line.

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  4. Potential Water Discovered On Mars, Still Not a Sign of Alien Life

    Every time NASA holds a press conference it is completely impossible not to start thinking, well maybe they've done it this time, maybe they've found alien life. It happened when the Internet got carried away with the arsenic life debacle last year. So, when NASA said they had a special announcement about Mars, who didn't start hoping for aliens, really? But, alas, once again NASA has not found life on Mars. What they did find, pictured in the image above, is water. Or, what is most likely, probably, should be, water of some kind. Now, liquid water on Mars, that is pretty cool. But what is the evidence? Images gathered by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have showed dark, finger-like features that appear and extend down some of the slopes on Mars' surface. These features appear during the warmest months on Mars, and retreat as it gets colder, leading to the conclusion that it could possibly be the result of water flowing on or beneath Mars' surface.

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  5. Unreadable Voynich Manuscript Carbon-Dated

    The Voynich Manuscript is the kind of thing that people can easily get obsessed about. The book contains page upon page written in a strange script and containing even stranger illustrations. Brought to the world's attention in 1915 by bookseller and former Polish revolutionary Wilfrid Voynich, it has defied all efforts to decode or understand its contents. So much so, that some have put it down as an outright fraud, perpetrated by Voynich or one of the other many owners of the book. It wasn't until 2009, nearly a century since the book was brought to light, that researchers from the University of Arizona confirmed that the book is as old, in fact older, than originally thought.

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