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Science News Archive - March 24, 2008

HOUSTON - The seven astronauts aboard NASA's shuttle Endeavour will cast off from the International Space Station (ISS) late Monday after a record-long stay at the orbiting laboratory. Shuttle commander Dominic Gorie and his crew will undock from the station at 7:56 p.m. EDT (2356 GMT) tonight, wrapping up a packed 12 days of construction to deliver a Canadian-built robot and the first module of Japan's massive Kibo laboratory. "I sort of looked at this flight sort of like a college team looking at March Madness...every spacewalk was a win, every robotics [operation] was a win," Gorie told reporters on Earth during a Sunday crew conference.

Atmospheric waves that ripple through clouds could spin up tornadoes when a thunderstorm gets in the way, new research shows. Tornadoes generally form in the late spring when warming temperatures make the air unstable (though they've been known to pop up at other times of the year). The classic tornado-forming scenario features a layer of warm, moist air trapped under a layer of cold, dry air.

This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation On the morning of Tuesday, Jan.

Just in time for Easter, the oldest rabbit relation is bounding onto the scientific scene. Tiny foot bones from a 53 million-year-old rabbit ancestor represent the oldest known record of hippity-hoppity mammals and their closest evolutionary relations, according to a new study.

A 6 million-year-old early relative of modern humans apparently walked on two feet, pushing back the origins of so-called bipedalism, according to a new study of a fossil found in Kenya. "I would say at this point it's the earliest fossil hominin that we can clearly identify as bipedal," said paleoanthropologist William Jungers of Stony Brook University, who conducted a quantitative analysis with Brian Richmond of George Washington University of a fossilized femur bone from the species named Orrorin tugenensis.

What's it like to live in a far-off place most of us see only on a vacation? Foreign Correspondence is an interview with someone who lives in a spot you may want to visit.

By Karen Shade, Tulsa World, Okla. Mar. 24--She doesn't know it yet, but Alaina Molinar is about to learn a hard lesson. With the recent passing of Bubbles, her pet goldfish, she wants to set up a new aquarium. But there's a trade-off.

Oil major Saudi Aramco's Sea Island No-4 offshore crude oil loading facility is back in service after the completion of three capital improvement projects and a scheduled test and inspection. Saudi Aramco noted that Sea Island No-4 is capable of berthing and loading the world's largest oil tankers.

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Over two hundred million humans depend for their subsistence on the fact that coral has an addiction to ‘junk food’ - and orders its partners, the symbiotic algae, to make it.

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Black carbon, a form of particulate air pollution most often produced from biomass burning, cooking with solid fuels and diesel exhaust, has a warming effect in the atmosphere three to four times greater than prevailing estimates, according to scientists.

Word of the Day
donative
  • A gift; a largess; a gratuity; a present; a dole.
The word 'donative' comes from a Latin word meaning 'to give'.
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