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December 4, 2013 | By Monte Morin
A 400,000-year-old thigh bone from an early European human is causing confusion among genetic anthropologists who say its genetic material is related to another mysterious species believed to have lived only in East Asia. The femur was pulled from Spain's Sima de los Huesos, or "pit of bones," a cold, damp tunnel 90 feet below the surface of the earth in the Sierra de Atapuerco in northern Spain. The pit is said to contain the fossilized remains of 28 individuals. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers said they believed the relic belonged to an extinct species of hominin known as Homo heidelbergensis , a direct ancestor of Neanderthals.
December 3, 2013 | By Hector Becerra and Meg James
Until a month ago, Ricardo Sanchez was flying high as Los Angeles' top-rated local morning radio host. Then the Spanish-language radio personality known as "El Mandril" disappeared from his slot on KLAX-FM (97.9), the Los Angeles station owned by Spanish Broadcasting System. Now details are emerging concerning the 47-year-old radio host's eviction from L.A. airwaves in early November. He's still going to work every day, but his show is no longer being broadcast. The question is, why?
December 2, 2013 | By Laura E. Davis
Scientists may have figured out why Jupiter's Great Red Spot -- the massive storm that's two to three times the size of Earth -- has stuck around for so long, and the finding may give us more insight into similar vortices on Earth and the formation of stars and planets. The Red Spot has been around for centuries, and scientists didn't know why. Their theories led them to believe the vortex should have disappeared after decades, not stuck around for hundreds of years. So Pedram Hassanzadeh, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and Philip Marcus, a professor of fluid dynamics at UC Berkeley, decided to try to figure out why the Red Spot had endured.
November 27, 2013 | By Alice Short
There's no doubt that public education has neglected World War I, with history teachers squeezing in a few lectures before launching into succeeding conflicts. Literature has been kinder to the Great War, offering many opportunities to remedy that oversight. Shell shock alone has been the subject of scores of novels (most notably Pat Barker's "Regeneration" trilogy) that remind us how WWI inextricably altered the trajectory - and the mythology - of the heroic soldier. Now Anita Shreve, the bestselling author of "The Pilot's Wife" and "The Weight of Water," has joined the ranks of writers who want to plumb the depths of shell shock's despair and disruptions.
November 25, 2013 | By Tina Susman and Michael Muskal, This post has been updated with the latest developments.
NEW YORK -- Adam Lanza, whose shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School left 20 first-graders and six adults dead, acted with deliberation despite his mental health problems and is criminally responsible for the attack that horrified the nation, investigators said Monday. In a 48-page report, the state's attorney for Connecticut's Danbury region, Stephen J. Sedensky III, said investigators could not establish a conclusive motive for the attack or why Lanza chose Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as the target for the shooting other than it was close to his home.
November 21, 2013 | By Martin Tsai
Writer-director Eric England's "Contracted" can best be described as "Contagion" meets "Blue Is the Warmest Color," without all those explicit sex scenes. After falling out with her girlfriend, the distraught Samantha (Najarra Townsend of "Me and You and Everyone We Know") spirals into self-destruction, albeit somewhat unintentionally. She goes to a party and very hesitantly gets wasted. Much like the heroine in that NC-17-rated French lesbian sex spectacle, Samantha switches teams and takes up with a stranger to alleviate her domestic ennui.
November 21, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Together, they contain a tiny fraction of the mass of a single electron. But the 28 neutrinos from deep space detected by an icy observatory beneath the South Pole promise a revolution in the study of the universe, scientists said Thursday. The elusive subatomic particles discovered by an international team of astrophysicists are the first ones from outside the solar system to be observed in 26 years, according to a report in the journal Science. The find opens a new window onto the universe, one that researchers say will usher in a new era of astronomy.
November 20, 2013 | Times staff writers
Friends and relatives of the McStay family will gather Wednesday at the desert site near Victorville where the bodies of the mother and father were found, along with remains believed to be those of their children, to place memorial crosses and pay their respects. Wednesday also marks the birthday of Joseph McStay, the father. Authorities on Friday confirmed that the bodies of McStay, 42, and his wife, Summer, 45, had been positively identified after their remains were discovered.
November 18, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
[Updated, 10:41 a.m. Nov. 18: Success! The Atlas V rocket, carrying MAVEN on its mission to Mars, lifted off this morning just as the launch window opened.  Social media lighted up as the robotic explorer left the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. This is just the first step in a 10-month journey. ] And lift off of the #MAVEN spacecraft on a journey to Mars aboard an #Atlas5 rocket: - NASA (@NASA) November 18, 2013 MAVEN is on schedule for its launch to Mars today.
November 18, 2013 | By Amina Khan
A rocket carrying NASA's MAVEN spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral at 1:28 p.m. ET Monday, on a mission to answer a profound mystery about Mars' planetary evolution: What happened to the atmosphere? The agency's latest robotic explorer will sample gas isotopes, catch solar particles and probe magnetic fields in the upper atmosphere, to try and figure out how long the Red Planet was capable of protecting liquid water -- and perhaps even supporting life. Mars' atmospheric pressure is less than 1% of Earth's, making it so thin that it can't keep liquid water from boiling away.
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