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Science News Archive - June 21, 2009

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The world's biggest atom smasher will be put to the test once more in October after scientists have conducted tests and set up additional safety precautions to stop any further mistakes that halted the $10 billion machine after its startup in 2008, the operator announced on Saturday.

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In an effort to protect rare sea turtles from being caught and killed in fishing nets, fishery managers have looked to a Cape Cod company to build a device they think can help save the turtles without interfering with fishing profits.

Museum officials in Japan say fossilized teeth from an ancestor of the tyrannosaurus have been found in the Hyogo Prefecture. Museum of Nature and Human Activities officials said the teeth found in Tamba were inside strata thought to be up to 140 million years old, Kyodo reported Sunday. Curator Haruo Saegusa said the fossils indicate the carnivorous dinosaur they came from was likely nearly 16.5 feet long. Saegusa added if the fossils' age was similar to that of the strata it was discovered in, the finding would represent an early ancestor of the tyrannosaurus, the Japanese news agency said. If the dinosaur belongs to the same era as the strata, the tyrannosaurus could have started to grow larger much earlier than thought, Saegusa said.

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Modern glaciers, such as those making up the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, are capable of undergoing periods of rapid shrinkage or retreat, according to new findings by paleoclimatologists at the University at Buffalo.

A curator at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute says two artists came up with very similar renditions of a 2,800-year-old Egyptian mummy's face. Curator Emily Teeter said while artists Joshua Harker and Mike Brassell used separate police forensic methods to determine what the mummified Egyptian court singer Meresamun once looked like, their final products were extremely similar, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday. They are so close that we feel pleased that we're giving people a pretty good idea of what Meresamun looked like in life, Teeter said. The two artists each used CT-scan images of the mummy's skull as a basis for their forensic investigation and the only major differences between their creations lay in their renderings' noses and chins. Harker told the Tribune a human skull such as the one from the mummy, which went on display at the museum in February, offer strong insights into a person's former appearance. The skull drives everything, he said.

The salmon population in the Gulf of Alaska has been dwindling as Pacific Ocean currents shift, Alaskan fisheries biologists say. The Anchorage Daily News said Saturday the Pacific decadal oscillation may be to blame for an increase in cooler waters in the Gulf of Alaska, where king salmon fishermen have struggled for two straight years. Changing water temperatures have also been blamed for the poor king salmon catches at Canada's Kodiak Island, Susitna Valley and Kenai Peninsula. As an example, the number of king salmon caught in the Susitna Valley's Deshka River went from an annual harvest of up to 60,000 fish to fewer than 8,000 in 2008. "It kind of has everyone wondering,'' Tom Vania, a regional management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Sport Fish, said. The runs are looking pretty poor,'' Keith Pahlke, a researcher with the state department, told the Daily News.

Word of the Day
whirret
  • To give a box on the ear to.
The word 'whirret' may be onomatopoeic.