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Tag: Secrets

Norilsk: The city built by gulag prisoners where Russia guards its Arctic secrets

Norilsk: The city built by gulag prisoners where Russia guards its Arctic secrets

World
The drive from Norilsk airport to the city takes you past mile after mile of crumbling, Soviet-era factories.It looks like an endless, rusting scrapyard - a jumble of pipes, industrial junk and frost-bitten brickwork. If you were looking for an industrial apocalypse film setting, this would be your place - but you're unlikely to get the permissions. Norilsk was built in Stalin's times by gulag prisoners. This gritty industrial city is a testament to their endurance both of the cruelty of Stalin's regime and of the harsh polar climate. There were no thoughts then on how to build to protect the environment, just to survive it. Image: The drive into Norilsk is like travelling through an endless, rusting scrapyard. Pic: Anastasya Leonova ...
Secrets of ‘1,000-year-old trees’ unlocked

Secrets of ‘1,000-year-old trees’ unlocked

Science
Scientists have discovered the secret of how the ginkgo tree can live for more than 1,000 years.A study found the tree makes protective chemicals that fend off diseases and drought. And, unlike many other plants, its genes are not programmed to trigger inexorable decline when its youth is over. The ginkgo can be found in parks and gardens across the world, but is on the brink of extinction in the wild."The secret is maintaining a really healthy defence system and being a species that does not have a pre-determined senescence (aging) programme," said Richard Dixon of the University of North Texas, Denton. "As ginkgo trees age, they show no evidence of weakening their ability to defend themselves from stresses." ...
Secrets of the largest ape that ever lived

Secrets of the largest ape that ever lived

Science
A fossilised tooth left behind by the largest ape that ever lived is shedding new light on the evolution of apes.Gigantopithecus blacki was thought to stand nearly three metres tall and tip the scales at 600kg.In an astonishing advance, scientists have obtained molecular evidence from a two-million-year-old fossil molar tooth found in a Chinese cave.The mystery ape is a distant relative of orangutans, sharing a common ancestor around 12 million years ago. "It would have been a distant cousin (of orangutans), in the sense that its closest living relatives are orangutans, compared to other living great apes such as gorillas or chimpanzees or us," said Dr Frido Welker, from the University of Copenhagen. ...
Uncovering secrets of mystery civilization in Saudi Arabia

Uncovering secrets of mystery civilization in Saudi Arabia

Science
A team of researchers is carrying out the first in-depth archaeological survey of part of Saudi Arabia, in a bid to shed light on a mysterious civilisation that once lived there. The Nabataean culture left behind sophisticated stone monuments, but many sites remain unexplored.The rock-strewn deserts of Al Ula in Saudi Arabia are known for their pitch-black skies, which allow stargazers to easily study celestial bodies without the problem of light pollution.But the region is becoming even more attractive for archaeologists. A long-lost culture known as the Nabataean civilisation inhabited the area starting from around 100 BC and persisted for some 200 years.While the Nabataeans ruled their empire from the stunning city of Petra in...