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Fiery doom, flaming Tut, arthritis germ, hearing lessons, giant platypus

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Fiery doom (NASA)

A world is ending soon. Not ours, that we know of, but one about the same size, called Kepler 78-b, discovered in the data from the Kepler orbital telescope. It orbits so close to its sun, its "year" is only 8.5 hours long. It is so hot, it must be a ball of lava. Such a tight orbit must be decaying, so it won't be long, astronomically, before this world falls into its sun.

Flaming Tut (Discover)

Speaking of heat, it appears that King Tutankhamen suffered from it, even after death. Archeologists have known since the '60s that Tut's body was partially burned, but they had no good idea why. It now appears, from a virtual autopsy done by CAT scan, that his embalming was botched, causing his mummy to undergo spontaneous combustion inside the coffin.

Arthritis germ (Science)

Rheumatoid arthritis and several other auto-immune diseases may be caused by having the wrong breeds of intestinal bacteria.

Hearing lessons (Science)

Childhood music lessons pay off, even if you haven't touched the instrument in 40 years. As we age, our ears not only become less sensitive to sound, we also lose "neural timing," the ability to make fine judgements about the timing of sounds. But music lessons early in life help preserve this skill.

Giant platypus (BBC, New Scientist)

Paleontologists in Australia have discovered the remains of a giantprehistoric platypus, over a yard long and so twice the length of the puny modern platypi.


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