Science News Archive - July 17, 2009

A drug developed with Pentagon approval offers protection from radiation in the event of a nuclear attack, U.S.


The world’s glaciers are indeed melting, but a monumental study released Thursday in the journal Science discovered that it might not happen as quickly as once thought.


Scientists are now discovering why a jockey's posture during a horse race speeds up the horse.


A small NASA aircraft completed its first successful science flight Thursday as part of an expedition to study the receding Arctic sea ice and improve understanding of its life cycle and the long-term stability of the Arctic ice cover.


Scientists have long suspected that the sex chromosome that only males carry is deteriorating and could disappear entirely within a few million years, but until now, no one has understood the evolutionary processes that control this chromosome's demise.

It's a terrible sight: hundreds of dead seabirds washed up on the seashore. These catastrophic events occur in the winter and are known as winter wrecks. No one knows why the birds perish, and it is almost impossible to study the animals out in stormy winter seas to find out how they meet their fate.


The shuttle Endeavour was to perform a backflip Friday so astronauts on the International Space Station can inspect it for damage before docking, NASA said. Station astronauts were to photograph the shuttle's underside for any damage suffered Wednesday during launch when pieces of thermal foam peeled off the external fuel tank, The New York Times reported Friday. A preliminary review Friday from a camera mounted on the shuttle's robotic arm showed minor dings in some thermal protection tiles, NASA said. We don't expect any issues.


Ocean-planning policies are urgently needed to prevent public waters from being damaged by overcrowding, U.S. activists said. The oceans are kind of the last frontier for use and development, said Amanda Leland, ocean policy director at the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group.

The United States and China are racing to see who can make dirty coal cleaner by trapping emissions and pumping them deep underground, sources said. The technology, called carbon capture storage, got a boost last month when President Barack Obama announced a $1 billion revamp of a near-zero-emissions coal-fired power plant in Illinois called FutureGen.


Scientists have discovered that a tiny lizard drifts slowly to the ground like a feather when it falls.

Word of the Day
  • The horn of a unicorn considered as a medical or pharmacological ingredient.
  • A winged horse with a single horn on its head; a winged unicorn.
The word 'alicorn' comes from Italian alicorno, already associated with unicorns and reinterpreted, popularized by Bearing an Hourglass (1984) and other fantasy novels by Piers Anthony.