rebecca smythers

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Why Was Her Thumb Turning Black?

The 72-year-old woman carefully loosened the bandage she had wrapped around her thumb. As she gently revealed the injured finger, her daughter gasped. The top third of what should have been the fleshy part looked eaten away. The flesh that remained was black and hard. A foul odor emanated from the …

Found: 47 Lumps of Orichalcum, an Ancient Alloy Attributed to Atlantis

Orichalcum!<p>Off the coast of Sicily, near the city of Gela, a new expedition to a 2,600-year-old shipwreck has returned with 47 lumps of orichalcum, a …

Archaeology

This triceratops is a Smithsonian icon. Now he’ll be fed to a T. rex.

When a dinosaur nicknamed “Hatcher” was cobbled together a century ago, he was the first triceratops the world had seen in 66 million years. And he looked the worse for it.<p>The triceratops mount that went on display in 1905 was stooped and awkward. No one had yet found a complete skeleton of this …

23 science fiction and fantasy novels to read this March

Stories of robots, revolutions, and space empires<p>It’s March, which means that there’s a whole new slate of books ready to crowd our bookshelves — books about robots, revolutions, and vast space empires to tear into.<p>Earlier this year, I mentioned that I’m trying to expand my reading horizons in …

Nine Inch Nails send fans envelopes containing strange black powder

The envelopes warn: 'This will make a mess.'<p>Nine Inch Nails have confused and delighted fans by sending them envelopes containing a strange black …

Nine Inch Nails

A Taste For Pork Helped A Deadly Virus Jump To Humans

It was a balmy Sunday evening in early 1999, and Dr. Kaw Bing Chua hadn't had lunch or dinner.<p>There wasn't time to eat. Chua was chasing a killer.And he thought maybe he had finally tracked it down.<p>He slid the slide under the microscope lens, turned on the scope's light and looked inside. "A chill …

Etruscan Language

The language of the Etruscans, like the people themselves, has remained somewhat mysterious and has yet to be fully understood. The alphabet used a …

Ancient History

Popular heartburn drugs linked to gradual yet 'silent' kidney damage

Most patients don't experience acute kidney problems beforehand<p>Taking popular heartburn drugs for prolonged periods has been linked to serious kidney …

Medicine

Now's Your Chance to Help Transcribe the Smithsonian's Hidden Treasures

Bumblebees and Arctic adventures abound in the Smithsonian's Transcription Center collection.<p>Rejoice, lovers of arcane documents and curated specimens, for today the Smithsonian Institution opened its Transcription Center to the public. Thousands of digitized images of the Institution's collection …

Natural History Museum

Ancient DNA Recovered From Clay Statues Reveal Secrets Of Mysterious African Culture

Tucked away in the northern part of the West African nation of Ghana are the remains of a mysterious culture. With no written or oral records of the …

Giant Arecibo telescope faces closure

After 53 years, many discoveries and starring roles in movies, funds for the Puerto Rico observatory are under threat<p>It has helped guard our planet from the threat of wayward asteroids, studied some of the most remote bodies in the cosmos and been used to make countless invaluable astronomical …

Puerto Rico

So You Want to Read Dystopian Fiction: Here’s Where to Start

Consider this book your introduction to dystopiana. Believe it or not, <i>1984</i> is totally hot right now. There have been reports of retailers actually …

18 Comics You Need To See If You're Dealing With Anxiety

Now this is self care.<p>Anxiety often clouds the brain with false stories such as, “you’re not good enough,” “that mistake will haunt you forever” and “your worst fear is coming true.”<p>The mental health condition, which affects an estimated 40 million American adults, is notorious for creating …

Sunken, 600-year-old Buddha emerges from water in China | CNN Travel

Travel

Hungry Minds

<b>Brain size has</b> traditionally been seen as the best way of comparing the intelligence levels of human ancestors. Now a team of researchers believes it …

Secret WWI telegram holds lessons for today, historians say

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — In a secret telegram a century ago, Germany tried to get Mexico to join its side during World War I by offering it territory in …

Haunted by Vietnam

Half a century later, readers recall the pain and destruction on the battlefield and off.<p>To the Editor: I will never forget the horrors of Vietnam (“The War That Killed Trust,” by Karl Marlantes, “Vietnam ’67” series, Sunday Review, Jan. 8).<p>Say what you want about Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower …

A Superbug Resistant to Every Available Antibiotic Has Killed a Woman in The US

This is very bad.<p>A woman in Nevada died in September from an infection that resisted every kind of antibiotic in the US.<p>The incident, which the CDC …

Medicine

CVS Is Offering A Way Cheaper Alternative To This Life-Saving Allergy Medication

Last year, we learned that the cost of the EpiPen was continuing to rise to sky-high rates, eliciting outrage from those who depend on it for …

Pharma

How to Treat an Opioid Epidemic

Addiction isn’t an illness like any other. Patients need not just the right medicines but therapy, support and, in some cases, tough supervision<p>The grim faces of the nation’s opioid epidemic—an overdosing parent slumped in the front seat of a car, mouth agape, with a neglected child in the rear …

Opioid Crisis

A 'nightmare bacteria' resistant to all US antibiotics has killed a Nevada woman

If it sometimes seems like the idea of antibiotic resistance, though unsettling, is more theoretical than real, please read on.<p>Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection. Testing showed the superbug that had …

The Opioid Crisis in America

Introduction<p>Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin as well as powerful pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, …

Medicine

10 Mysterious Hidden Texts

The archaeological record is filled with hidden messages from the past. Often, these secret texts hide in plain sight. They are buried under …

Ancient DNA can both diminish and defend modern minds: A new study shows cognitive decline may be influenced by the interaction of genetics and ... worms?

A new study shows cognitive decline may be influenced by the interaction of genetics and ... worms?<p>You've likely heard about being in the right place …

Biology

Mysterious 'tomb of forgotten pharaoh' discovered in Egypt as archeologists try to enter 4,200-year-old burial chamber

Excited archaeologists are fervently digging for a forgotten pharaoh they believe to be buried in a new 'tomb' hidden behind a 4,200yr-old wall …

Archaeology

Ancient wall unearthed at heart of Egypt's Qubbet el-Hawa cemetery to reveal stunning secret tombs

Archaeologists working in the elite cemetery of Qubbet el-Hawa, near the Egyptian city of Aswan, have uncovered the remains of an ancient wall hidden …

Earth - The real reasons why childbirth is so painful and dangerous

Giving birth can be a long and painful process. It can also be deadly. The World Health Organization estimates that about 830 women die every day because of complications during pregnancy and childbirth – and that statistic is actually a 44% reduction on the 1990 level.<p>"The figures are just …

Contents of first discovered Philistine cemetery revealed

Earlier this year it was reported that the first–ever Philistine cemetery was discovered on the Israeli coast near Ashkelon. Now, the contents of the 3,000 year–old graveyard have been revealed.<p>Burial practices of the mysterious group, famous for their conflicts with the Israelites in the Bible and …

Your brain on PMS is like your brain on alcohol and depressants

For some it’s unpredictable, and for many it’s hard to explain, but the feelings of worry associated with the menstrual cycle have a very specific cause—and it’s the same hormone used in much birth control.<p>As many as 85% of women experience pre-menstrual stress, or PMS, in the days leading up to …

Women's Health