Archive for August, 2017:

Brazil court blocks Amazon mining decree

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The reserve was created in 1984 by the then-military government A Brazilian court has suspended a government decree that would open up a vast natural reserve in the Amazon to commercial mining. The area covers 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles) and is thought to be rich in gold,

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Cassini hints at young age for Saturn’s rings

Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI Image caption Cassini has been trying to weigh the rings The spectacular rings of Saturn may be relatively young, perhaps just 100 million years or so old. This is the early interpretation of data gathered by the Cassini spacecraft on its final orbits of the giant world. If confirmed, it means we

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Not just stars

From the northern lights to noctilucent clouds, the range of subjects in this year’s competition covers all things astronomical. Here is a selection of the shortlisted images. A battle we are losing Image copyright Haitong Yu The Milky Way rises above a small radio telescope at Miyun Station, National Astronomical Observatory of China, Beijing, in

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Poisonous progress

Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption Chemist Thomas Midgley insisted that tetraethyl lead was safe Leaded petrol was safe. Its inventor was sure of it. Facing sceptical reporters at a press conference in October 1924, Thomas Midgley dramatically produced a container of tetraethyl lead – the additive in question – and washed his hands

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Smelly clue to bird navigation skills

Image copyright B. G. Thomson/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY They migrate thousands of kilometres across the sea without getting lost. The Arctic tern, for instance, spends summer in the UK, then flies to the Antarctic for the winter. Yet, scientists are still unsure exactly how birds perform such extreme feats of migration, arriving in the right place

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Majestic archipelago

The winners have been announced for a photography competition capturing wildlife and scenery from across the Galapagos Islands. Image copyright McKenna Paulley/ Galapagos Conservation Trust Image caption This image by McKenna Paulley has won the 2017 Galapagos Conservation Trust photography competition. The image, of a storm petrel apparently walking on water while looking for food,

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High view

Image copyright JAMES COOK/BBC Image caption The view from over the Pacific “It’s a complex math problem,” said the pilot over coffee and doughnuts at 5am, in what sounded a lot like an understatement. We would be travelling at 520mph, he explained, while the moon’s shadow would be moving at nearly eight times that speed.

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‘Sea dragon’ fossil is ‘largest on record’

Image copyright Joschua Knüppe Image caption Ichthyosaurus were ”sea dragons” that ruled the oceans in Jurassic times The fossil of a marine reptile ”re-discovered” in a museum is the largest of its kind on record, say scientists. The ”sea dragon” belongs to a group that swam the world’s oceans 200 million years ago, while dinosaurs

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Alps melting?

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Rocks and debris cascaded down the mountain to the edges of Bondo village A massive rockslide in Switzerland’s Val Bondasca was not a complete surprise. Many parts of Switzerland, two thirds of which is mountainous, are at risk of avalanches and landslides. Communities in the Alps have been protecting themselves

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Terraforming Earth

Image copyright Stuart Hay/ANU Image caption The biomolecules were contained in oil extracted from deeply buried rock A planetary takeover by ocean-dwelling algae 650 million years ago was the kick that transformed life on Earth. That’s what geochemists argue in Nature this week, on the basis of invisibly small traces of biomolecules dug up from

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© Warren Fyfe
CyberChimps