‘Fluffy’ dinosaurs were widespread: The majority of dinosaurs were covered with feathers or had the potential to grow feathers. A discovery of 150 million year-old fossils in Siberia indicates that feathers were more widespread among dinosaurs than previously thought. The details have been published in the Journal Science.
25 July 2014
The creature was about a metre long with a short snout, long hind legs, short arms and five strong fingers. Until now, fossilised evidence of feathery dinosaurs has come from China, and from a meat-eating group called theropods.
The latest discovery – in Russia – is from a completely separate group of plant-eating dinosaurs called ornithischians.
The new find takes the origin of feathers millions of years further back in time than had previously been thought. And, according to the researchers, completely changed ideas about how dinosaurs evolved.
Instead of thinking of them as dry, scary scaly creatures, a lot of species, especially when very young, actually had a fluffy, downy covering like feathers on a chick, they say. And did so when dinosaurs first emerged.
Internet piracy warnings: Warning emails are to be sent to people in the UK who are downloading music and films illegally. From 2015, up to four warnings a year will be sent to households suspected of copyright infringement.
21 July 2014
Anyone who is found to have illegally downloaded material will be sent an alert offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment online.
But these messages will be capped for a year and there will be no penalties for offenders. It’s a far cry from what the entertainment industry originally called for.
When the controversial Digital Economy Act was introduced in the final days of the Labour government in 2010, it included measures to cut off people’s internet connections for repeated misuse.
This new three-year scheme is a compromise.
Latest industry figures suggest nearly a quarter of all content consumed online is illegally downloaded, including more than a billion music tracks within a year.
Assisted dying debate: A law which would allow assisted suicide is being discussed in Britain. The proposal is based on laws already in place in the US states of Oregon and Washington. It has caused controversy.
18 July 2014
The Assisted Dying Bill would allow adults of sound mind with six months to live the right to end their lives at a time of their choosing.
It would be a profound step for society modelled on the law in Oregon. If experience there is a guide, it could lead to around 1,000 people a year in England and Wales choosing an assisted death.
Opponents argue it would put the frail, vulnerable and disabled at risk. Whilst it’s unlikely to get sufficient backing or parliamentary time to become law, simply passing its second reading today would be significant – the first time such a bill would have done so.
Cocaine in supermarket bananas: In Portugal, around 200 bags of cocaine have been found in boxes of bananas on sale in supermarkets around the country. Police say they’re hoping that the discovery will help them find those involved in bringing drugs from Colombia to Europe.
4 July 2014
A shopper browsing in the fruit section of a Portuguese supermarket had a bit of a shock on discovering a packet of cocaine in among the bananas.
According to police, a total of 237 kg of cocaine – parcelled into 198 different bags – has so far been discovered in boxes of bananas in supermarkets in various parts of northern Portugal.
They all came from one pallet from a shipment of bananas from Colombia, from which the smugglers apparently forgot to remove the drugs when ridding themselves of the fruit.
Police in Portugal, Spain and South America are now working together to trace those involved in the suspected smuggling ring.
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