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Scientists train fish to recognize human faces, and also spit on them

There's a type of fish that scientists say can recognize human faces.

It's called an archerfish, and it's known for spitting at its food. Sounds a little rude, but it makes them pretty unique. They shoot water at their insect prey above the surface causing them to fall into the water.

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Their expert spitting skills made them ideal for a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers used food as a reward to train the fish to spray at the face they wanted. The fish turned out to be pretty accurate, even when the target face was next to other faces.

This is significant because archerfish don't have the same evolutionary pressures to recognize human faces like, say, a domesticated dog might have.

The research also supports the idea that facial recognition isn't entirely innate. Archerfish brains don't have what's called a neocortex, which some theories suggest is vital for facial recognition. This study indicates that at least part of what it takes to distinguish between faces is learned.

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Humans may have tamed wolves twice because dogs are worth it

It looks like domesticating dogs was such a good idea that humans may have done it twice — independently and half a world apart. 

There's a long-running debate among scientists over when and where an ancient human first looked at an ancient wolf and thought, "Sure, I'll make that my best friend."

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Modern dog DNA is so messy from interbreeding, it's been hard to tease out an answer. 

Some studies point to Europe as the origin, others point to Asia, and some split the difference and say that dogs originated in Central Asia and spread to the east and west. 

Now an international research team has compared DNA from ancient dog bones around the world, and the researchers say the results point to two domestications: one in Europe and a big one in East Asia that later moved west. 

If that's true, it could help make sense of the confusing genetics. Take two different populations of dogs and breed them together, along with some more interbreeding with wolves along the way, and things are bound to get messy. 

It's a pretty convoluted genetic history, but — the things people do for their dogs. 

This video includes clips from Brook Peterson / CC BY ND 2.0, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceAlina Odessitka / CC BY 3.0ScienceBBC and PBS and images from Camilla Faurholdt-Löfvall / CC BY SA 2.0 and the University of California, Los Angeles. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

Mars didn't just have oceans; it might've even had giant tsunamis

Mars is dry — so dry that some trickles in a ravine were big news last year.

But Mars was once wet, and new evidence shows it used to have oceans. And those oceans had giant tsunamis.

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New maps show signs of at least two huge tsunamis, probably caused by meteors. The waves were up to 400 feet tall.

In disaster-movie terms, that's about the same as "San Andreas," but smaller than, say, "Deep Impact."

Mars is thought to have had an ocean the size of the Atlantic. That was more than 3 billion years ago.

The planet eventually lost its atmosphere, and most of the water either evaporated or froze.

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72-year-old woman gives birth to her first child

A 72-year-old woman and her 79-year-old husband are welcoming their first child after years of trying.

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According to Sky News, the baby was conceived after Daljinder Kaur, 72, and Arman Singh, 79, underwent two years of fertility treatment at a clinic in Haryana, India. They have been married for 46 years.

The baby boy, named Armaan, was born about a month ago, is healthy and thriving.

"I feel blessed to be able to hold my own baby. I had lost hope of becoming a mother ever," Kaur told AFP.

The couple says while other worry about how their age may affect their child, they have faith.

"People say what will happen to the child once we die. But I have full faith in God. God is omnipotent and omnipresent, he will take care of everything," Singh told Sky News.

Doctors at the fertility clinic say at first they also worried about the couples' age, but eventually agreed to go through with the treatment.

"I first tried to avoid the case because she looked very frail. Then we made her undergo all the tests and once all the results were okay we went ahead,"said Dr. Anurag Bishnoi, who runs the fertility clinic.

The couple says despite what others may say, they are thrilled to finally have their own child.

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Solar Impulse continues potentially record-breaking voyage, lands safely in Oklahoma

A solar plane on a possibly record-setting flight made a stop in Oklahoma Thursday night.

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The Solar Impulse 2 left Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday morning. The solar-powered jet arrived in Tulsa around 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

The pilot is attempting to set a record for the first around the world solar flight.

"Landing in Tulsa is symbolic, as it lies at the heart of the United States," Solar Impulse employees said in a blog post. "Route 66, the iconic road that stretches from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona until ending in Santa Monica, California was initiated by entrepreneurs in Tulsa, Oklahoma."

The flight is the third Solar Impulse mission flight of the year. Earlier in 2016, the plane crossed the Pacific. Most recently it traveled from San Francisco to Pheonix, where it stayed for a week while waiting for weather conditions to clear well enough to continue the voyage.

Engineers aim to travel to New York "as soon as possible" before making the trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

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7 things to know now: Zimmerman to sell gun; fire was no accident; Hyperloop

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Zimmerman selling gun: George Zimmerman, the man  who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as the two scuffled in a Sanford, Fla., neighborhood four years ago, is auctioning off the  gun he used that night. The 9 mm pistol is being sold on the website "The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin," Zimmerman wrote on the auction site.   Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Martin’s death.  

2. Fire was no accident: A fire that led to a blast at a fertilizer plant that leveled the town of West, Texas, was set intentionally, according to investigators. The 2013 fire and explosion at the plant killed 15 people, 12 of whom were first responders. The town suffered devastating damage – 500  homes and businesses were destroyed. The blast was so powerful it left a 100-foot crater.  

3. A Twitter war: It  may be Donald Trump vs.  Hillary Clinton come this fall, but for now Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass), is the woman giving Trump some trouble. Warren and Trump got into a fight on Twitter Wednesday with Warren saying Trump only bullies women and Trump asking her why she had time to spend sending out tweets all day. Warren wrote at one point, “Your policies are dangerous. Your words are reckless. Your record is embarrassing. And your free ride is over.” Trump countered, “Isn’t it funny when a failed Senator like goofy Elizabeth Warren can spend a whole day tweeting about Trump & gets nothing done in Senate?”

4. Trump,  Ryan to meet: Donald Trump is set to meet with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan Thursday in a meeting that could be a bit uncomfortable. Last week Ryan said he was not ready to endorse Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Trump said this past weekend he was shocked at the comment since he thought Ryan was in his camp. 

5. One fast ride: Looking to get from LA to San Francisco in less than six hours?  ]How does 30 minutes grab you. On Wednesday, a company called Hyperloop One demonstrated a propulsion system they hope to perfect that will shoot customers seated in tubes toward their destinations at more than 300 miles per second, a company’s spokesman said.  On Wednesday, the sled traveled 105 miles per hour using electromagnets. Hyperloop is owned by SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk.

And one more

Officials in Mauritius say  they have found two pieces of an aircraft “most certainly” from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. The discovery brings to five the number of pieces linked to the plane that disappeared  more than two years ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.  The plane was carrying 239 passengers and crew.

In case you missed it

Life does seem to go this fast, especially when you watch someone grow from age 12 to 20.

NASA telescope finds more than 1,000 planets -- still no aliens

As far as Tuesdays go, NASA had a pretty good one. Astronomers announced the discovery of 1,284 new planets.

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The planets are orbiting distant stars way outside our solar system and are known as "exoplanets."

The exoplanets were spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope, which has been in orbit since 2009. This new discovery more than doubles the amount of confirmed planets Kepler has noticed since its launch.

Kepler tracks the dimming of distant stars to determine if possible planets orbit around them. A new statistical method helped scientists confirm that the telescope really was seeing an exoplanet.

According to NASA, almost 550 of the confirmed exoplanets could be rocky planets like Earth. What’s more, nine of them orbit their sun within a distance that allows water to pool.

One scientist said, "This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth."

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New wasp species named after Brad Pitt

Fans are buzzing over the latest honor bestowed on actor Brad Pitt.

A new species of parasitic wasp has been named, Conobregma bradpitti.

According to ScienceDaily, researcher Dr. Bunktika A. Butcher of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand spent long hours in the laboratory during her doctoral studies working under a poster of her favorite actor, Brad Pitt.

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Conobregma bradpitti is deep brown in color, with yellow accents on its head, antennae and legs, along with brightly colored wings. The species is parasitic, and lays its eggs in caterpillars, which then emerge from the “mummified” larva. The Brad Pitt-inspired wasps can be found in South Africa.

In spite of their parasitic qualities, the wasps are seen as beneficial because they help with pest control.

Earthquake swarm detected beneath Mount St. Helens

Magma stores are recharging inside Mount St. Helens, setting off a swarm of small earthquakes since last month, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Since the catastrophic eruption of May 18, 1980, scientists have been conducting research and collecting data on the volcano to learn more about its typical behavior.

Since March 14, a number of small earthquakes have occurred beneath the volcano at a depth between 1.2 to 4 miles. The earthquakes have low magnitudes of 0.5 or less, with the largest a 1.3.

Over the last eight weeks, there have been more than 130 earthquakes located by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and many more that are too small to be detected.

The USGS says the earthquake rates have been steadily increasing since March, reaching nearly 40 located earthquakes per week, but there are no signs of an imminent eruption.

The quakes are too small to be felt, even if you were standing on the surface directly above.

"The earthquakes are volcano-tectonic in nature, indicative of a slip on a small fault," according to the USGS. "Such events are commonly seen in active hydrothermal and magmatic systems. The magma chamber is likely imparting its own stresses on the crust around and above it, as the system slowly recharges. The stress drives fluids through cracks, producing the small quakes. The current pattern of seismicity is similar to swarms seen at Mount St. Helens in 2013 and 2014; recharge swarms in the 1990s had much higher earthquake rates and energy release."

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No anomalous gases, increases in ground inflation or shallow seismicity have been detected with the swarm, and there are no signs of an imminent eruption.

As was seen at Mount St. Helens between 1987 and 2004, recharge can continue for many years beneath a volcano without an eruption.

Boaty McBoatface becomes the RRS Sir David Attenborough, but name to live on

Two months after thousands of people voted to name a new British research vessel "Boaty McBoatface," officials announced they would be going in another direction and naming the ship after renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

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But Boaty McBoatface fans can rest assured: officials are giving the popular name to a remotely operated sub-sea vehicle that will stay with the Royal Research Ship Sir David Attenborough.

The United Kingdom's Natural Environment Research Council received more than 7,000 suggestions after asking the public to name its research vessel. Boaty McBoatface topped the list with more than 124,000 votes, but officials determined Attenborough would be more appropriate, given the broadcaster's decades-long career inspiring a love of nature.

"The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I'm delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation's most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists," said Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson.

The announcement comes just days after Attenborough, well-known for presenting acclaimed wildlife documentaries such as "Planet Earth" and "The Blue Planet," celebrated his 90th birthday.

In a statement released Friday, Attenborough said he was honored by the decision to give the ship his name.

"I have been privileged to explore the world's deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before," he said.

The ship will be equipped with multiple robotic submarines and marine gliders, including Boaty McBoatface, which researchers will be able to dispatch "to allow the ship's research crew to collect data and samples from the deepest waters of the Arctic and Antarctic," the Natural Environment Research Council said.

"The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we're ensuring that the Boaty name lives on," Johnson said.

James Hand, the man who first suggested the vessel be called Boaty McBoatface, called the final name "a fitting and excellent choice."

"That being said, I'm really pleased to hear Boaty McBoatface will live on," he said. "The name appeals to the child in us: that's one of the reasons it's been so popular. There's something about the work of a remote-controlled underwater robot which does the same, so in a way it's quite an appropriate selection."

The ship, which is expected to be ready in 2019, will be deployed in the Arctic and Antarctic. It will be the first British-built polar research vessel with a helideck, which officials say will make more areas open to scientists.

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