The Week In Science: Turkey Wingmen, Quantum Teleportation And Badger Archaeologists

  @rpalmerscience on August 17 2013 8:00 AM

This week in science, we bid a sort of farewell to the Kepler planet-finding spacecraft, examined a newly discovered mammal and tried to figure out whether Voyager 1 has actually left the solar system. But there are still a lot more discoveries and science out there! So here’s a roundup of what you might have missed:

A badger in Germany has proved to be a pretty adept archaeologist. Two humans living near the town of Stolpe noticed a human pelvic bone emerge during a badger’s excavations, and were curious to see what else might lie in the animal’s den. Further excavation revealed a 12th-century burial ground containing large bronze bowls, jewelry and the remains of eight people. [LiveScience]

Teleportation is closer than you might think. Swiss researchers were recently able to teleport information one-quarter of an inch using quantum detangling. Science writer Liz Fuller-Wright has a good explainer delving into the technical side of quantum teleportation. [Christian Science Monitor]

Scientists took a closer look at Greenland’s vast ice sheet, which has been melting more and more in recent years. The researchers found that in the vast middle of the sheet, meltwater tends to travel through channels and voids. Knowing how the meltwater flows will help scientists create better prediction models to gauge the future behavior of the ice sheet. [LiveScience]

Good-looking male turkeys use less-impressive male relatives as wingmen, new research shows. A dominant male -- with a longer “snood” (the flesh part on the top of the turkey’s head that dangles over its beak) and more colorful head -- will deploy his less-ornate brother to lure in a female turkey. The flashier bird gets to mate, while the wingman gets some solace in that part of his genes get passed onto the next generation, through his brother. [Science World Report]

More and more of the world will be getting hit by heat waves in the coming decades, according to a new study. European scientists said their computer models show that the area of the planet suffering heat waves is set to double in size by 2020. [Reuters]

Strange circles more than six feet wide have been found on the sea floor off the coast of a Japanese island for decades. Scientists have now found the underwater architect -- and it’s not seafaring aliens, but in fact the male pufferfish, which sculpts the structures to attract a mate. [National Geographic]

NASA’s inspector general outlined some of the challenges facing the space agency’s development of the Orion human exploration spacecraft in a new report. Budget concerns have left NASA with little flexibility to deal with any late-stage changes that may be needed for critical systems. Orion is also plagued by a number of technical difficulties, including a heat shield prone to cracking and the fact it still needs to shed 7 percent of its weight. [USA Today]

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