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Thu, 22 Jun 2017
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Science & Technology


Canada to ban incandescent light bulbs by 2012

OTTAWA - Canada will ban the sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012 as part of a plan to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said on Wednesday.


Novice tells of Bronze Age find

A metal-detecting novice who unearthed an "extremely important" hoard of Bronze Age artefacts has said his discovery was due to "sheer luck".

John Minns found the items shortly after he started metal detection


Cancer-Fighting Drug Found in Dirt

The bark of certain yew trees can yield a medicine that fights cancer. Now scientists find the dirt that yew trees grow in can supply the drug as well, suggesting a new way to commercially harvest the medicine.


'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

Scientists have discovered a planet not much bigger than Earth that could be covered in oceans and has the right temperature to support life. And it is only 20.5 light years away.

Cloud Lightning

NASA Mission to Explore Noctilucent Clouds

Two hundred seventy thousand feet above the ground, higher than 99.9 percent of the earth's air, clouds still float around - thin, iridescent wisps of electric blue.

NASA is launching a small satellite to take a closer look at these clouds at the edge of outer space and to try to understand why, in recent years, they are appearing more often over more parts of the world. They are also becoming brighter.

Noctilucent clouds are more easily seen from space as this photograph from the International Space Station shows. Since 1980, satellite observations show the number of noctilucent clouds increasing about 28 percent per decade. The ice crystals in the clouds also appear to be getting bigger, with the brightness of the clouds rising about 7 percent per decade.


Junk DNA Now Looks Like Powerful Regulator

Large swaths of garbled human DNA once dismissed as junk appear to contain some valuable sections, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California-Santa Cruz. The scientists propose that this redeemed DNA plays a role in controlling when genes turn on and off.

Evil Rays

H2CAR could fuel entire U.S. transportation sector sustainably for thousands of years

In a recent study, scientists have demonstrated that a hybrid system of hydrogen and carbon can produce a sufficient amount of liquid hydrocarbon fuels to power the entire U.S. transportation sector. Using biomass to produce the carbon, and solar energy to produce hydrogen, the process requires only a fraction of the land area needed by other proposed methods.

A possible configuration of the proposed H2CAR process. Image credit: Rakesh Agrawal, et al.

Comment: The old adage, "If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably isn't" should be applied here. Converting biomass to fuel would in effect, mean the death of millions from starvation so that the rich can still maintain their luxurious lifestyle.


North Sea yields secrets of early man's happy hunting ground

A lost landscape where early humans roamed more than 12,000 years ago has been uncovered beneath the North Sea. A map of the underwater world reveals criss-crossing rivers, giant lakes and gentle hills around which hunter-gatherers made their homes and found their meals toward the end of the last ice age.

Comment: A lot indicates that the people in ancient times were not as primitive as archaeology would like us to believe. For those interested in ancient history and what probably happened in Britain and the world at that time, read Secret History of the World


NASA releases 3D images of sun

NASA released the first three-dimensional images of the sun Monday, saying the photos taken from twin spacecraft may lead to better predictions of solar eruptions that can affect communications and power lines on Earth.

"The first reaction was 'Great, the instruments work,' but beyond that the first reaction was 'Wow!'" scientist Simon Plunkett said as he explained the images to a room full of journalists and scientists wearing 3D glasses.

The images from the STEREO spacecraft (for Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) are available on the Internet and at museums and science centers nationwide.

The twin spacecraft, launched in October, are orbiting the Sun, one slightly ahead of the Earth and one behind. The separation, just like the distance between our two eyes, provides the depth perception that allows the 3D images to be obtained.

Magic Wand

'Kryptonite' discovered in mine

Kryptonite is no longer just the stuff of fiction feared by caped superheroes.

A new mineral matching its unique chemistry - as described in the film Superman Returns - has been identified in a mine in Serbia.

According to movie and comic-book storylines, kryptonite is supposed to sap Superman's powers whenever he is exposed to its large green crystals.

The real mineral is white and harmless, says Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.

"I'm afraid it's not green and it doesn't glow either - although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange," he told BBC News.