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Behind Saturn, fairy-tale evolution, European dogs, brain exercise

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Behind Saturn (NASA)

This shot from the Cassini probe was taken from the far side of Saturn, showing it backlit by the Sun. Earth, Venus, and Mars are just visible as little specks behind the ringed planet.

Evolution once upon a time (ScienceNOW)

Biologists analyze genetic codes to determine the relationships and genealogical histories of species and ethnic groups. Now, a statistical study of fairy tales, using the same methods, has traced "Little Red Riding Hood" and the family of stories like it (all involving a deceitful predator) back as far as the Middle East, 2000 years ago.

Evolution ever after (New Scientist)

Evolution never stops, ever. That is the conclusion a team of biologists came to after watching a bacterial culture that lived in a constant lab environment for 45 years. Even though there was plenty of time to reach equilibrium with that environment, the bacteria never stopped evolving ways of competing with each other.

Dogs are European (New Scientist)

Genetic studies of DNA from the bones of prehistoric canines leads paleontologists to the conclusion that dogs were first bred from wolves in Europe (not the Middle East, as was thought) between 19,000 and 32,000 years ago. Or, of course, if new evidence turns up, it could be somewhere else even further back.

Brain exercise (Discover)

It's never too late to improve your brain. But mere stimulation, either socializing or passive entertainment, won't help. Neither will picking up information. Learning a new skill, though, like photography, will. That is the result of a three month study involving 200 people between 60 and 90 years old.

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