Ten of the biggest science and technology stories of 2014

Ten of the biggest science and technology stories of 2014

This past year was an exciting time for science researchers—new discoveries and advances were made and more was learned about space, sub-atomic physics, speeding up computers and historical accomplishments, to name just a few.

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Genome Sequencing in Babies to Begin as Part of Study

Genome Sequencing in Babies to Begin as Part of Study

Genome sequencing of infants could provide doctors and parents data likely to reveal a wider range of potential medical risks than the traditional heel-prick test. Most of the human genome remains a mystery, and it isn’t certain doctors will know how to interpret the information sequencing provides.

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A Holiday Guest Is Leaving Dangerous Poop in Your Couch

A Holiday Guest Is Leaving Dangerous Poop in Your Couch

We have long known that we can catch germs while traveling. Recent years have shown that we can also bring home bed bugs. This holiday season, a PLoS One study informs us that by merely plopping into the seat of a car or airplane, we can unknowingly pick up dust mites—microscopic 8-legged arthropods that eat the dead parts of our bodies such as skin scales, dandruff flakes, and hair. Dust mites are eyeless, headless, and heartless, yet they’re expert travelers.

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The persistence of conspiracy theories about MH370

The persistence of conspiracy theories about MH370

Six months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 it is still the subject of a slew of explanations. Why has this tragedy prompted such a wave of conspiracy theories? Sudden, dramatic events often provoke conspiracy theories – particularly where the official version is disbelieved. Think JFK, Princess Diana, 9/11. But in the case of MH370 there is not even an official version. Nobody knows what happened to MH370. It's a modern mystery.

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Scientists show that drunk birds ‘slur’ their songs

Scientists show that drunk birds ‘slur’ their songs

Sometimes science means getting a bunch of finches sloshed. Or at least giving them blood alcohol levels of around .08 percent, which is pretty crazy by bird standards. In a study published last week in PLOS ONE, researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University tempted zebra finches with spiked juice — but not because they wanted to help the lab animals ring in the new year in style.

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Secret Nazi nuclear bunker discovered in Austrian town of St Georgen an der Gusen

Secret Nazi nuclear bunker discovered in Austrian town of St Georgen an der Gusen

A network of underground tunnels and bunkers used by the Nazis to develop an atomic bomb has been discovered in Austria by a filmmaker. The complex was discovered just outside the small town of St Georgen an der Gusen, near Linz. Its exact location was determined using intelligence reports and radiation tests, which revealed higher than normal levels of radioactivity. Andreas Sulzer, the filmmaker who is leading the exploration, discovered a critical 1944 report…

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2014 had the fewest flight crashes in decades

2014 had the fewest flight crashes in decades

Given the number of major flight crashes and disappearances this year, it might seem like flight safety has taken a bad turn. But it turns out that 2014 hasn't actually been a statistically worse year than many of those in the recent past. As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, the Aviation Safety Network currently measures both the accident and fatality rate of 2014 flights as falling beneath the 10-year average — making this year an improvement in some areas.

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