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Science News Archive - April 06, 2009

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Chile's Llaima volcano, 435 miles south of Chile’s capital Santiago, began erupting again Friday night.

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On Sunday, President Barack Obama announced that the US was ready to lead in addressing the issue of global warming, as EU leaders pressured him to meet their ambitious targets to fight climate change.

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An ice bridge in the Antarctic, which linked a shelf of ice the size of Jamaica to two islands, has collapsed.

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A hamster-sized, fur ball of a creature with short legs, known as the American pika, makes its home in high mountain slopes. However, as climate change causes warming, the tiny pika is forced to scuttle a little farther upslope to seek cooler dwellings.

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As the US Southwest grew warmer from 18,700 to 10,000 years ago, juniper trees vanished from what is now the Mojave Desert, robbing packrats of their favorite food. Now, University of Utah biologists have narrowed the hunt for detoxification genes that let the rodents eat toxic creosote bushes that replaced juniper.

The U.S. space agency says it will Webcast the landing of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft returning the Expedition 18 crew to Earth. The original Friday landing was postponed because of flooding in Kazakhstan and was rescheduled for Wednesday at a more southerly landing site. Expedition 18 U.S.

The design of efficient systems for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, driven by sunlight is among the most important challenges facing science today, underpinning the long term potential of hydrogen as a clean, sustainable fuel.

Despite great hopes for stem cell therapy, major structural and cultural changes within the NHS are needed if it is to succeed in the UK. Currently the chances of getting effective treatments into routine use in the short-term are small and the industry is at serious risk of ‘market failure’.

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"The 'foot' structures that we found in the Jordan valley are the first sites that the People of Israel built upon entering Canaan and they testify to the biblical concept of ownership of the land with the foot," said archaeologist Prof. Adam Zertal of the University of Haifa, who headed the excavating team that exposed five compounds in the shape of an enormous "foot", that it were likely to have been used at that time to mark ownership of territory.

A U.S. civil engineer says she designed and built a straw bale house that has survived a major earthquake simulation. University of Nevada-Reno alumna Darcey Donovan said she built the full-scale, 14-by-14-foot house, complete with gravel foundation and clay plaster walls.

Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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