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Science News Archive - March 07, 2008

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Scientists from the University of Mexico reported Thursday that the Grand Canyon began being formed 17 million years ago, nearly three times longer than previous scientific consensus dating the canyon’s formation to only 6 million years ago.

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It's hard to study a creature when you only catch fleeting glimpses of it. Up until recently, that was one of the big stumbling blocks for marine biologists and ecologists, but advances in electronic tracking technology have allowed them to peer farther across, and deeper under, the surface of the oceans than ever before.

By Keven Ann Willey, The Dallas Morning News Mar. 7--SAN CRISToBAL, Mexico -- Contrasts are what produce "wow" moments in Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state. It's Mexican. But it's really more Mayan. The Spanish were afraid of the jungle and never succeeded in conquering the region.

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A white killer whale was spotted last month for the first time in Alaska since 2001. The whale, sighted by scientists aboard the Oscar Dyson, was in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, photographed the almost mythic whale. She claimed that although she had heard of the whale, she had never seen one. “It was quite neat to find it.”

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The method to the madness of quasicrystals has been a mystery to scientists. Quasicrystals are solids whose atoms aren't arranged in a repeating pattern, as they are in ordinary crystals. Yet they form intricate patterns that are technologically useful.

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Researchers have developed a new, low-cost material for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants and other generators of the greenhouse gas.

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A brain network linked to introspective tasks -- such as forming the self-image or understanding the motivations of others -- is less intricate and well-connected in children, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have learned. They also showed that the network establishes firmer connections between various brain regions as an individual matures.

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The first study of how individual wandering albatrosses find food shows that the birds rely heavily on their sense of smell. The birds can pick up a scent from several miles away, U.S. and French researchers have found.

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Two kinds of body imaging -- positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -- have been combined for the first time in a single scanner.

Text of report by Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post website on 7 March [Report by Shi Jiangtao in Beijing: "Three Gorges Official Defends Forced Eviction"; headline as provided by source] A senior official in charge of the Three Gorges Dam project has defended the forced eviction of the people in Chongqing yet to be displaced by the gigantic reservoir.

Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.