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Mon, 15 Jul 2019
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Telescope

Lunar Eclipse set to be 'best in years'



©AP

Skywatchers eagerly awaiting Saturday's total lunar eclipse say that the spectacle could be the "best in years".

The eclipse begins at 2018 GMT, with the Moon totally immersed in the shadow of the Earth between 2244 and 2358 GMT.

No Entry

Island of Dr. Moreau? USDA Backs Production of Rice With Human Genes

The Agriculture Department has given a preliminary green light for the first commercial production of a food crop engineered to contain human genes, reigniting fears that biomedically potent substances in high-tech plants could escape and turn up in other foods.

The plan, confirmed yesterday by the California biotechnology company leading the effort, calls for large-scale cultivation in Kansas of rice that produces human immune system proteins in its seeds.

Better Earth

Scientists probe huge hole in Earth's crust at bottom of Atlantic

Scientists are to sail to the mid-Atlantic to examine a massive "open wound" on the Earth's surface.

Dr Chris MacLeod, from Cardiff University, said the Earth's crust appeared to be completely missing in an area thousands of kilometres across.

The hole in the crust is midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Caribbean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Telescope

Cassini Returns Never-before-seen Views Of The Ringed Planet



©NASA
Here, Cassini looks upward at, and through, the sunlit side of the rings from about 19 degrees below the ring plane. The small moon Janus (181 kilometers, or 113 miles across) can be spotted off the planet's western limb (edge) near the image bottom.

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane trackers catch storm's 'second eye'

Scientists have documented for the first time how the eye of a hurricane dies, and is replaced by a new one. The observations, made by radar-equipped aircraft during the hurricane season of 2005, could be used to improve forecasts of hurricane intensity.

It's well known that there's calm in the eye of a storm. But the eye is in fact a highly dynamical zone that constantly interacts with the rotating bands of rain clouds surrounding it.

Eyes have been seen dying and re-forming several times during the lifetime of cyclones, abruptly altering their strength. 'Eye replacement' temporarily reduces the spin of a hurricane. But as a new eye forms and contracts, the cyclone gathers spin again, like a swirling figure skater who folds his arms, and wind speed increases once more.

Video

Google Maps adds real-time traffic data

Google has added real-time traffic data for several major cities to its mapping service, the company said Wednesday.

The traffic information is integrated with Google Maps and is available in more than 30 American cities, including San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and New York.

The data is provided for major highways and is color-coded to signify traffic conditions: green means no congestion; yellow is for minor holdups; and red means significant slowdowns.

According to Google product manager Carl Sjogreen, the data is aggregated from several sources, including road sensors, as well as car and taxi fleets.

Bulb

Ancient towers in Peru were a 'solar calendar'

Scientists have discovered the oldest solar observatory in the Americas and, in the process, may have solved a centuries-old puzzle about the purpose of an ancient stone fort on a remote hilltop in Peru.

The researchers have shown that an enigmatic wall of 13 stone towers within the Chankillo complex, a 2,300-year-old ruin nearly 250 miles north of Lima, worked as a solar calendar to monitor the winter and summer solstices.

They believe that the solar observatory proves the existence of a sophisticated Sun cult in the region more than 1,000 years before the Inca civilisation built its famous Sun temple in the Peruvian mountain city of Cusco, prior to the Spanish conquest.

Question

Germany preparing for moon mission

The German space agency is reportedly preparing for a mission to the moon.

The head of the German Space Programme (DLR), Walter Doellinger, told the Financial Times Deutschland that it would be ready by 2013 to send an unmanned space shuttle to orbit the earth's only natural satellite.

"We want to show that Germany has the know-how," he said, after the DLR presented its plans for the mission to the German parliament.

Key

Link Found Between Genetics And IQ

U.S. psychiatric geneticists say they have confirmed an association between genetics and intelligence.

Washington University School of Medicine researchers in St. Louis gathered the most extensive evidence to date showing a gene that activates signaling pathways in the brain influences one kind of intelligence.

Display

French researcher says Vista's user interface suffers from more 'friction' than Microsoft XP

Vista's user interface suffers from more "friction" than its predecessor XP, a French analyst said Monday, and is actually a step back for Microsoft Corp. in its pursuit of Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X.

In a reprise of research published last year, French analyst Andreas Pfeiffer oversaw testing of what he calls "User Interface Friction," the fluidity and/or reactivity of an operating system to commands. He likens UIF to the reaction -- fast or not -- when stepping on a car's accelerator.