Alex

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You really can’t call a raven a birdbrain, because they and other corvids (the avian family they belong to) are actually pretty smart. New research published in Scientific Reports suggests that, at just four months old, these birds can compete as well as adults chimpanzees and orangutans in certain cognitive tasks.

The work focused on eight hand-raised ravens. They were tested at the age of four, eight, 12, and 16 months using the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB), a standardized test for assessing animal cognition. The researchers tested if the birds exhibited spatial memory, understood numbers and addition, and if they could learn from and communicate with their handlers. They even looked at object permanence, which is the ability to know that an object still exists even if it's out of sight.

The researchers found that the ravens' cognitive skills did not change during the test period, suggesting that they are already quite cognitively capable long before they become adults. At four months, ravens start to gain independence from their parents but it takes years for them to reach sexual maturity.

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You might think your dog understands every word you say to him -- but chances are he isn't hanging on your every word, a new study has found. In spite of their "human-like" auditory capabilities for interpreting speech sounds, dogs do not hear the subtle differences between words in the way that humans do, a team of researchers has found. Words are made up of speech sounds, which, if changed, alter the entire meaning -- for example, "dog" can turn to "dig."

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest measured the brain activity of family dogs using a technique called electroencephalography, which involved taping electrodes to the animals' heads. The researchers played the dogs recorded instruction words they knew (such as "sit"), similar but nonsense words ("sut"), and then, very different nonsense words ("bep").
Experts found that dogs, who had not been specifically trained for the experiment, could quickly and clearly tell the difference between the known instruction words and the very different nonsense words.

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Full moons are a thing of beauty when viewed from Earth and from outer space, they're as poetic as can be.

We just had a full moon over the weekend and on Twitter NASA shared snaps of La Luna taken some 250 miles above Earth. They're incredible.

In one picture, the moon appears like a blob of gray floating amid ombre. Below it is a familiar blue peppered with white clouds, gradually becoming a very deep black.

A closer shot shows the full moon and the thinning of the Earth's atmosphere from blue to black.

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When it comes to Christmas decor, it's easy to rely on the same red and green accessories you use year after year. While that's perfectly fine and guaranteed to bring on the holiday cheer, why not mix things up this year with unexpected Christmas colors that suit your style?

Whether you prefer daring metallics or rich hues in tasteful doses, we have you covered. See some of our favorite Christmas color schemes, featuring creative wreaths, ornaments, garland ideas, and more, to give your home personality this holiday season.

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China has achieved a major breakthrough in quantum computing, performing a calculation that would take a modern-day supercomputer billions of years to complete.

The milestone, known as quantum supremacy, comes just over a year after Google became the first in the world to achieve the same feat.

The team from the University of Science and Technology of China built a quantum computer capable of performing computations nearly 100 trillion times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer, according to a research paper published in the journal Science.

China’s leading quantum computing researchers revealed that their next-generation machine used a completely different set up compared to Google, proving that there are multiple approaches to this nascent technology.

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The underwater tunnels connect the islands of Streymoy and Eysturoy in a network some 6.8 miles (11km) long. The network is scheduled to open on 19 December.

The tunnel network will come as a relief to residents, cutting down the travel time between the capital Tórshavn and Runavík, from an hour and 14 minutes to just 16 minutes.

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As the cannabis industry continues to take root state by state, the House of Representatives voted in favor of removing marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The House voted Friday on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE Act, which decriminalizes cannabis and clears the way to erase nonviolent federal marijuana convictions. The Senate is unlikely to approve the bill.

The MORE Act also creates pathways for ownership opportunities in the emerging industry, allows veterans to obtain medical cannabis recommendations from Veteran Affairs doctors, and establishes funding sources to reinvest in communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Friday's vote was the first time a full chamber of Congress has taken up the issue of federally decriminalizing cannabis. Of the vote count, 222 Democrats were in favor of passing the MORE Act and six were against it. Five Republicans voted in favor of it and 158 voted against passing it.

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This new sky survey, which Australia's national science agency (CSIRO) described in a statement as a "Google map of the universe" , marks the completion of a big test for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope –- a network of 36 antennas rooted in the remote Western Australia Outback. While astronomers have been using ASKAP to scour the sky for radio signatures (including mysterious fast radio bursts) since 2012, the telescope's full array of antennas has never been used in a single sky survey –- until now.

By harnessing the telescope's full potential, researchers mapped roughly 3 million galaxies in the southern sky, according to a paper published Nov. 30 in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. As many as 1 million of these distant galaxies may be previously unknown to astronomy, the researchers wrote, and that's likely just the beginning. With the success of this first survey, CSIRO scientists are already planning even more in-depth observations in the coming years.

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Late last month, a 2001 Odyssey-like monolith appeared in the Utah desert. Not long after, another identical-looking structure appeared in Romania. They've both since vanished (men were photographed dismantling the Utah monolith). Now, yet another monolith has been discovered, this time in California.

"There is currently a monolith at the top of Pine Mountain in Atascadero!" tweeted Connor Allen on Wednesday afternoon, with a trio of pictures capturing the strange new monolith at the top of Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California.

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An artificial intelligence (AI) network developed by Google AI offshoot DeepMind has made a gargantuan leap in solving one of biology’s grandest challenges — determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence.

DeepMind’s program, called AlphaFold, outperformed around 100 other teams in a biennial protein-structure prediction challenge called CASP, short for Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction. The results were announced on 30 November, at the start of the conference — held virtually this year — that takes stock of the exercise.

“This is a big deal,” says John Moult, a computational biologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, who co-founded CASP in 1994 to improve computational methods for accurately predicting protein structures. “In some sense the problem is solved.”

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The "Kraken" galaxy hit the Milky Way.

The family tree of the Milky Way galaxy has been revealed by scientists, showing how the mass of stars came together and discovering a mysterious galaxy that could have crashed into the Milky Way that scientists did not know about.

The Milky Way is comprised of hundreds of millions of stars, collected into more than 150 ‘global clusters’ which come together to make up the galaxy.

Scientists have suspected that older clusters could be used to reconstruct how they merged with other ones, and therefore shed light on the history of the cosmos.

Using computer simulations called E-MOSAICS, which include a complete model for how clusters form, change, and are eventually destroyed, an international team of researchers were able to infer how the clusters would have come together to form the Milky Way.

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The life and career of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, who has died at the age of 60.

Argentinian football icon Diego Maradona died on Wednesday from a heart attack at just 60 years old, following years of health problems.

Three days of national mourning were called for the player who led Argentina to a 1986 World Cup win and is revered with cult-like status.

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