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Science Headlines

Controversial New Claim in Death-by-Asteroid Case
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 02:00 pm ET
20 November 2003

A longstanding mystery over what caused five great mass extinctions, including one that destroyed the dinosaurs, has grown with the release of two studies today in the journal Science.

In one study, researchers make the bold claim that an asteroid is responsible for the death of most life on Earth in a catastrophic extinction 251 million years ago. Other scientists are not ready to accept the claim.

Many experts have become convinced over the past two decades that the dinosaurs were exterminated 65 million years ago by an asteroid impact. Some findings suggest other mass extinctions, such as the one 251 million years ago, might also have been caused by rocks from space.
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But the evidence is scant. Volcanic activity remains a suspect in the extinction cases, and a growing scientific minority is skeptical of the whole death-by-space-rock scenario.

The new study uncovered 40 extraterrestrial mineral fragments in the Antarctic, indicating the asteroid impact 251 million years ago. The timing coincides with the well-documented Permian-Triassic mass extinction, the worst of five major events scientists have identified through fossil records. Some 90 percent of all species disappeared, by some accounts.

Scientists generally agree that the newfound tiny grains, called chondritic meteorite fragments, are indeed from space. But agreement stops there.

Too good to be true?

Study leader Asish Basu, a geochemist at the University of Rochester, and his colleagues are puzzled by their own discovery but have arrived at a conclusion nonetheless.

"It appears to us that the two largest mass extinctions in Earth history [65 million and 251 million years ago] were both caused by catastrophic collisions with chondritic meteoroids," the researchers write.

The pristine state of the fragments, however, does not make sense to other researchers. They should have long ago become indistinguishable soil, conventional wisdom holds. The fragments were collected from a layer dated to the Permian-Triassic boundary in time. They were embedded in rock 4-8 inches (10-20 centimeters) beneath the surface.

In a related analysis in Science by the science writer Richard Kerr, other scientists say they are stunned that the fragments survived for a quarter-billion years.

"I get the gut feeling it's wrong," said geochemist Birger Schmitz of the University of Goteborg in Sweden.

"It's astonishing, it's incredible, it's unbelievable," said Jeffrey Grossman of the U.S. Geological Survey. All those adjectives apply, Grossman later told, if the findings prove to be accurate. "Like all experiments it's going to have to be replicated," he said. And that replication is relatively simple. Another group of researchers can go to the same site in Antarctica, bring back their own samples, and analyze them.

Basu stands by the results. He insists the fragments were properly analyzed and that contamination in the sample was ruled out.

"We discovered them," Basu said in a telephone interview today. "Therefore they are there. Time will tell why they are there."

Basu added that the purpose of his team's scientific paper was not to explain how the grains held up over time. "The grains are there. Nobody can challenge that," he said. "We have to figure out how they survived."

Basu's team is back in Antarctica looking for more of the fragments. He said further research could solve the mystery.

Another culprit

Meanwhile, other researchers have been working to understand what role volcanoes might play in mass extinctions.

Deadly climate-altering gases spewed by volcanic eruptions could be the main culprit behind mass death, some figure. Others suppose volcanoes play just a supporting role. There is also the question of whether asteroid impacts trigger the volcanic activity and so are the root of all this evil either way.

Another new study in the journal suggests volcanoes might not be as deadly as some believe. And, if correct, it rules out the possibility that the dino-killing asteroid triggered intense volcanic activity known to have occurred in the era.

Researchers agree that at some time near the dinosaur extinction event 65 million years ago, a vast outpouring of volcanic material created a feature in India called the Deccan Traps, a bed of lava that covers an area about the size of Oregon and Washington states combined. But the timing has not been pinned down.

The Deccan volcanism occurred about 500,000 years before the end of the dinosaurs, according to the new research, by Greg Ravizza of the University of Hawaii and Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The volcanoes loaded the air with carbon dioxide, fueling global warming, these scientists presume. Death of some species would have weakened the biological chain supporting dinosaurs.

Volcanic activity might have made life difficult for dinosaurs, it seems, but an asteroid impact remains the prime suspect in their demise.

The Greatest Myths, Hoaxes & Mysteries in Astronomy and Space Science
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 07:00 am ET
25 March 2003

Few scientific disciplines seem to generate as many mysteries and falsehoods as astronomy and, by extension, the supporting space science effort to explore the unknown. From alleged hoaxes and conspiracies to unintentionally inaccurate accounts, there is plenty to debunk and correct.

Some of the bad information out there is demeaning to real science, an affront to astronomers, astronauts and the general public. Allegations that the Moon landings were fake tops that list.

Some of the misinformation is just what it is, non-facts that manage to pop up again and again, either in our brains or in print, many of them perhaps because they seem logical enough. A classic example is the erroneous suggestion that meteors burn up due to friction with air molecules.

There are countless mysteries, too, things for which we simply don't have answers despite years or decades of investigation. Dark energy, life, and the origin of sex are but three puzzles astronomers contemplate. The universe is a complex place.

Because our weekly Science Tuesday presentations are intended to serve as reservoirs of interesting and factual news and information about the universe, I thought it would be useful to devote one installment to reviewing some of the many myths, outlandish claims, incorrect accounts and plain old enigmas related to nearby and distant cosmic objects and phenomena.

Below are just a few.

Space Mysteries
An amazing number of things that befuddle big-brained scientists

Life remains the greatest mystery of science. How did it start? Nobody knows. Does it exist elsewhere? Nobody knows. Now that astronomers have discovered planets orbiting other stars, the second question has taken on some added urgency, helping to spawn an entire new field called astrobiology. For now, astrobiologists are the only scientists I can think of who are more clueless than biologists, because they ask both of the biggest unanswered questions (the two above), whereas biologists mostly realize they have their hands full with the first one.

Bet you didn't expect to see this entry on a list devoted to space topics. It is here for a compelling reason and with substantial justification: We don't know why sex began. Scientists have long been mystified as to why early life forms switched from asexual reproduction -- which avoids all the complications of monogamy, entirely sidesteps partnering, and enjoys the benefits of cloning -- to sexual reproduction, with its inherent burden of getting hitched, at least for a time. A study in 2001 suggested the stress of repeated asteroid or comet impacts may have fueled the world's first lust, albeit microbial, elevating sex to the level of cosmic mystery (where I suspect many intelligent beings had placed it all along).

Other universes
Here's how space author Andrew Chaikin prefaced an article on this topic: "The irresistible, mind-boggling fantasy comes to just about everyone, sooner or later: What if everything we knew, our whole universe, was just a speck of dust on someone's shoulder?" I've long had a similar thought, but I always imagined our universe as a molecule in the thumbnail of a lumbering giant, whose arm has been swinging forward ever since the Big Bang. Whatever, we have no clue whether our universe is the only one, or one of many. I'm just hoping the giant never smashes his thumb with a hammer (or wipes the dust mote from his shoulder).

Dark matter
"We’ve known that it exists for more than 25 years," says astronomer Virginia Trimble of the University of California Irvine. "But we don’t know what the hell it is." Astronomers do know that something is out there, filling up "space" and adding to the gravity budget of the universe. They know this because without this as-yet-unseen dark matter, galaxies wouldn't hold together.

Dark energy
This one makes dark matter seem simple. "Frankly, we just don’t understand it," says Craig Hogan, an astronomer at the University of Washington at Seattle. "We’re completely clueless … about it." Dark energy's effects are plain as day, however: The universe is accelerating at an ever-increasing pace; something invisible is serving in an anti-gravity capacity over large distances, quite literally pulling the cosmos apart.

Planet X
The purported 10th planet makes an appearance in our Hoax section below, but it belongs here in the Mystery section, too, because there may in fact be another planet-sized object out beyond Pluto. If one exists, searches that are underway or planned will turn likely it up. And you can bet that a great debate will ensue over whether to call the object a planet or not. By one astronomer's definition, there are several additional planets, all round and orbiting the Sun but smaller than Pluto. Other scientists call these either asteroids or Kuiper Belt Objects.

Now and then, astronomers detect unfathomable discharges of energy from deep space. The bursts are brief, and astronomers are still trying to figure out what causes them. The leading speculation is that when a star explodes as a supernova, a lot of the energy escapes along two narrow beams that shoot out along the axis of the star's rotation. If a beam is aimed at Earth, the chance observation boosts an otherwise "normal" supernova to hypernova status.

The scary sounds of meteors
Just ask Chuck Bonner about the loud whistling noise, the buzz, and then the green fireball streaking across the sky. I don't know what it was either, nor do scientists who've looked into Bonner's account and other claims of loud noises associated with meteors.

So why is there no South Star?
There is. Mystery solved.

Space Myths
Stuff that's just not true or that is rooted in cloudy circumstances

"At the edge of the universe …"
There's just one problem with this oft-used phrase: The universe has no edge. To fathom how this could be, imagine an expanding balloon. Now put some ants on the balloon and ask them to find the edge. Try as they will, scurrying around, the ants will never reach an edge. Just one frustrating aspect to our mind-boggling universe.

The Sun has a companion, Nemesis
This one nearly belongs in the Hoax category, below, because fringe writers frequently claim the thing has been found. Facts do not bear this out, but there are real scientists looking into the possibility that the Sun has a stellar companion. Importantly, no one has proved there isn't a dim star, possibly a brown dwarf, orbiting the Sun. Brown dwarfs are considered failed stars, but stars nonetheless. They radiate very little energy, and almost no visible light, so they're not easy to find.

The Sun gets fatter as it sets
Nope. It just looks that way. Here's what really happens: When the Sun gets low on the horizon, its light becomes more noticeably refracted by Earth's atmosphere, because the light has to travel through more of it. Light from the bottom of the Sun travels through just a bit more atmosphere than light from the top of the Sun, and it is refracted slightly upward, making the Sun appear squashed, or rolled up like a window shade. The fact that it looks fatter, instead of shorter, is an illusion, one that works with the Moon, too:

The Moon is bigger when on the horizon
Sorry. It just looks bigger. Scientists aren't sure exactly why, but they think it has to do with our perception as well as our conception of how the sky is shaped. We imagine (without realizing it) the sky to be like an upside-down, not-to-deep bowl. So space objects near the horizon surprise us, because our minds expect them to be farther away.

Meteors burn up due to friction
This falsehood is often reported by mainstream media, which explains why it never goes away. In fact, a meteor vaporizes due to something called ram pressure. Air in front of an incoming space rock or speck of dust is compressed and heated, like the air in a handheld tire pump.

A comet toppled ancient civilizations
Myths are often rooted in real events, and the dictionary says a myth may or may not be based on fact. That's the case with this one. Nobody knows when the last major comet or asteroid struck Earth, or whether it happened recently enough to have altered human history in a big way. But Biblical stories, apocalyptic visions, ancient art, and some recent scientific data all point to the possibility that a series of calamitous events occurred around 2350 BC, wiping out several advanced societies in Europe, Asia and Africa. Could it have all been caused by a disintegrating comet that struck in stages? Ah, that's the stuff of myth, at least for now.

There is no gravity on the Space Station
It might look that way, but actually there's just a cool trick going on. The station, like any satellite, is in a perpetual state of falling back to Earth. It is also conveniently moving sideways, which keeps it from falling and sets up a state of equilibrium, which feels like zero-g to an astronaut.

The Hubble Space Telescope pictures are totally real
I need to be careful here, so as not to spawn any silly hoaxes. Hubble images are real, but they are not always showing reality, whatever that is. Many of the beautiful "objects" photographed by the orbiting observatory involve mere wisps of gas that cannot actually be seen by the human eye. Astronomers let Hubble gather light for many seconds or minutes to tease out the features of, say, a nebula. Then photo processors use the popular software program Photoshop to apply colors to the three filtered images that Hubble provides (the light is actually captured and beamed to Earth as grayscales, not color). All this is then combined to make a pretty picture that scientists find more useful for its distinct coloring. With infrared images, colors from the visible spectrum have to be applied, otherwise we'd have pictures of nothing, as far as our human eyes could tell.

Space Hoaxes
Things that generate too much e-mail

The Moon landing never happened
This has to be the most ridiculous suggestion ever related to the Space Age. It is a hoax of grand proportions (suggesting that NASA carried out a hoax of even grander proportions). Believers are unlikely to be swayed, but if you're on the fence, click the above link to get an account of the facts.

Planet alignments bring gravitational doom
There is a very compelling argument against this claim: It didn't happen. Doomsayers predicted that an alignment of the planets in the year 2000 would rattle Earth and kill bunches of us. It's not often an astronomer calls something "a load of crap," but that was the case regarding the millennium prophecies surrounding the alignment. It wasn't the first time doom had been forecast because planets were lining up, and it probably won't be the last. Here's what was supposed to happen on May 5 of 2000: Severe weather was to rival Noah's tale, earthquakes were to crush cities, the Sun was to act up and Earth's axis was supposed to tilt. Whatever. Let's move on to something more plausible:

The "Face" on Mars
There are four salient facts related to this hoax: NASA started it; it's patently false; believers will never give up; I will get nasty e-mail for calling them mere "believers." The first suggestions that a hill in the Cydonia region of Mars appeared to have human features came from NASA scientists when they released the Viking photo in 1976. In hindsight, they could be said to have publicly ruminated a bit too much and have caused the agency to pay for their press-release ponderings ("…errors comprise part of one of the 'eyes' and 'nostrils' on the eroded rock that resembles a human face near the center of the image") ever since.

Planet X or a comet will destroy Earth
Hoaxes and doom seem mutually attractive. This one crops up every now and then, and it hasn't happened yet, but let's not let that fact get in the way of a good story. Recently, NASA was purported to have hidden evidence of a comet that was heading our way. If you're reading this, please note that this page was published after the predicted time frame for the end of the world.

NASA Rovers to Probe Mars Sites for Water - Apr 12th, 2003
Pasadena, Calif. - NASA unveiled the landing sites Friday where it hopes to land twin rovers on Mars in January to look for geological evidence that the Red Planet was once a warmer, wetter place hospitable to life.
Unlocking the secrets of life - Mar 2nd, 2003
Fifty years ago, James Watson and Francis Crick resolved the structure of DNA. Today, we celebrate their achievement, which changed the face of science
Seized SUVs match patrol vehicles - Feb 25th, 2003
Federal agents in Tucson, Ariz., yesterday seized nearly a ton of marijuana concealed inside a pair of sport utility vehicles painted to perfectly match the marked U.S. Border Patrol vehicles that search for illegal aliens and illicit drugs along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Russian fat cat creams the rest - Feb 25th, 2003

Russia has its fair share of mafia fat cats, but it also has what may be the fattest pet cat in the world.

Congolese Kill Teachers Accused of Ebola Spell - Feb 25th, 2003

BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - Congolese villagers have stoned and beaten to death four teachers accused of casting an evil spell to cause an outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease that has killed nearly 70 people, a local official said Friday.

Fire crews save naked man cuffed to toilet - Feb 25th, 2003

It is not every day that Wichita firefighters find a panicky, naked man handcuffed to a toilet in a motel room just set on fire.

Sunbather Critical After Being Run Over by Police SUV - Feb 25th, 2003

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — A French tourist was in critical condition early Monday, two days after her sister was killed when a police sport utility vehicle ran the women over as they sunbathed on a beach.

US snowboarder slides to death down hotel handrail - Feb 25th, 2003

NAGANO -- An American pro snowboarder fell 15 meters to his death early Sunday morning after sliding down the handrail of a fourth-floor staircase at a hotel he was staying, police said.

Alligator Bites Fla. Woman's Arm Off - Feb 25th, 2003

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- An 8-foot alligator surprised a woman who was working in her yard and bit her arm off, according to a Local 6 News report. Internet Will Not be Crippled - Feb 25th, 2003 Monday scoffed at VeriSign's claims that the Internet is so unstable that the appellate court victory by in its lawsuit against the registrar "would cripple the Internet and jeopardize the national economic benefit for e-commerce."
Saddam's bodyguard warns of secret arsenal - Feb 4th, 2003
SADDAM Hussein's senior bodyguard has fled with details of Iraq's secret arsenal. His revelations have supported US President George W. Bush's claim there is enough evidence from UN inspectors to justify going to war
Lawmaker Proposes 'Choose Death' License Plates - Jan 30th, 2003
CHARLESTON, S.C. — One lawmaker said he has a compromise for the debate over "Choose Life" license plates for South Carolina -- "Choose Death" tags.

Three hurt, pilot safe when American U-2 spy plane crashes in S. Korea - Jan 30th, 2003

SEOUL, South Korea -- An American U-2 spy plane crashed Sunday in South Korea, injuring three people on the ground. The Air Force pilot ejected safely.

Georgia Southern student may have meningitis - Jan 30th, 2003

An 18-year-old Georgia Southern University freshman from Gwinnett County has been admitted to a Savannah hospital with a probable case of bacterial meningitis.

Kazaa strikes back at Hollywood, labels - Jan 30th, 2003

Sharman Networks, owner of the popular Kazaa file-swapping software, has launched a legal counterstrike against the major record labels and Hollywood studios, asserting that they have “obscenely” abused their copyright powers.

US Probes Recording-Industry Web Site Hack Attack - Jan 30th, 2003

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Web site of the U.S. recording industry's trade group remained offline Tuesday, as federal officials probed the source of the hacking attack that has rendered the site unreachable since Friday.
Internet attack rattling assumptions - Jan 28th, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Disruptions from the weekend attack on the Internet are shaking popular perceptions that vital national services, including banking operations and 911 centers, are largely immune to such attacks.

Verizon must turn over name of music downloader - Jan 28th, 2003

The recording industry can get its hands on the name of an Internet user who downloaded more than 600 songs in a single day, a federal judge has ruled.
RIAA Chief Rosen Quits - Jan 24th, 2003
Hilary Rosen, chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America, will step down from her post by the end of this year, the organization says.

NFL fines Raiders $50,000 for violating media policy - Jan 24th, 2003

SAN DIEGO (Ticker) - The Oakland Raiders were not going to make it through Super Bowl week without antagonizing the NFL.

Iraq 'preparing to use chemical weapons' - Jan 24th, 2003

Iraqi documents obtained by the BBC appear to suggest that the country's president, Saddam Hussein, is preparing to use chemical weapons against western troops in the event of war, it was reported today.

Yes, babies do watch TV - Jan 24th, 2003

Infants receive emotional stimuli from box: Study They decode social cues much earlier than once thought
Statue of Liberty to be scanned in case of terror attack - Jan 20th, 2003
The United States is using laser scanning technology to map every contour of iconic landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, so they can be quickly rebuilt if destroyed by terrorists.

French Finally Prove Gulf War Syndrome Caused by "Cocktail" Inoculations - Jan 20th, 2003

"Rather than help the media in its never-ending quest to lay misleading smoke screens around the true origins of Gulf War Syndrome, General Roquejoffre appears to have used his statement to finally isolate and expose the real villain behind the debilitating and sometimes lethal disease..."

Nasa prepares for nuclear-powered leap towards Mars - Jan 20th, 2003

PRESIDENT BUSH is to authorise Nasa to develop a hugely expensive nuclear- powered spacecraft that would take just two months to reach Mars.
US on Hong Kong: Calling the kettle black - Jan 4th, 2003
A clear manifestation of US exceptionism is a December 27 editorial in the New York Times deploring "Hong Kong's current drive to enact insidious security legislation that threatens its people's freedoms".

Tinkering with clouds - Jan 4th, 2003

Researchers say evolving technologies could allow manipulation of major weather patterns. But should humans tamper?

Turtles die in record number - Jan 4th, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG - Sea turtles died in record numbers in 2002 for the second year in a row, biologists from the Florida Marine Research Institute announced Thursday.
Second cloned baby to be born in Europe in next few days, Clonaid says - Jan 2nd, 2003
PARIS - The head of the company claiming to have created the world's first cloned human told French television Thursday that a second cloned baby would be born somewhere in Europe in the next few days.
Hundreds of Species Pressured by Global Warming - Jan 2nd, 2003
STANFORD, California, January 2, 2003 (ENS) - Hundreds of plant and animal species around the world are feeling the impacts of global warming, although the most dramatic effects may not be felt

Internet Use in U.S. Homes Routine - Jan 2nd, 2003

WASHINGTON - The Internet has become a staple source of information for American households about health care, government services and potential purchases, a survey to be issued on Monday finds.

Myths of Cloning Distort Reality, Scientists Say - Jan 2nd, 2003

NEW YORK - The claim that a human being has been cloned for the first time has fueled concern that science fiction is about to become reality.

China Aims to Put Man in Space This Year - Jan 2nd, 2003

BEIJING - China said Thursday it plans to launch its first manned spacecraft in the second half of this year, starting a countdown for its ambitions to become the third country capable of putting people in space.

Climate change puts nature on the move - Jan 2nd, 2003

Gradual warming over the past century has forced a global movement of animals and plants northward, and it has sped up such perennial spring activities as flowering and egg hatching across the globe: two signals that the Earth's species are dramatically responding to a minute shift in temperature, according to two studies published today.
A Fearful New Year - Dec 29th, 2002
Dec. 28 — Americans have grown sharply more fearful about the new year ahead, in terms of both their personal outlook and the world's in general, an ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll has found. Two prime factors appear to be at play: the possibility of war with Iraq, and the condition of the nation's economy.

The year’s top 10 space mysteries - Dec 29th, 2002

The funny thing about discoveries is that they often produce new mysteries, too. This year was no exception, as many remarkable space science findings generated puzzling problems for astronomers to look into.

NASA Testing K9 Rover In New 'Marscape' For Future Missions - Dec 29th, 2002

NASA scientists and engineers are testing new technologies using a K9 rover in a newly built 'Marscape' test facility in preparation for future missions to Mars.

Iraq Shoots Down US Recon Robot - Dec 29th, 2002

"The sky eagles and the courageous men manning anti-aircraft artillery downed a US Predator reconnaissance aircraft which flew in from Kuwaiti airspace to violate our airspace," the spokesman said.

Ten-year-old boy dies after wind storm - Dec 29th, 2002

SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Utility crews scrambled to restore power Saturday to tens of thousands of homes and businesses left in the dark after a deadly storm whipped the coasts of Washington and Oregon.

Telescope Tips: How to Use a New Scope and Where to Point It - Dec 29th, 2002

Over the years when I’ve spoken with amateur astronomers about their interest in the sky, most have said that it could be traced back to receiving their first telescope at Christmas time.

California Town Sells for $1.78 Million on eBay - Dec 29th, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An 82-acre town in northern California sold on eBay Inc. on Friday for $1.78 million, a strong price considering the sellers called the place a "fixer-upper" and the first bidder had only wanted to pay $5,000 for it.

Raelians seek path to human immortality - Dec 29th, 2002

MONTREAL -- Rael, the spiritual guru behind the world's first alleged human clone, says his Quebec-based cult is already turning to the next chapter in the quest for human immortality -- deathbed cloning.

Group claims 1st human clone - Dec 29th, 2002

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. -- Ushering in either a brave new world or a spectacular hoax, a company founded by a religious sect that believes in space aliens announced Friday that it has produced the world's first cloned human baby.

U.S. global warming emissions in biggest decade drop - Dec 29th, 2002

WASHINGTON — U.S. greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming fell by 1.2 percent last year, the largest decrease in a decade, due in part to slow economic growth and a milder winter, the government said recently.

An alternative to reservoir construction - Dec 29th, 2002

It is no secret in Texas that Tarrant County's Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is growing exponentially and that having an adequate water supply is of mounting concern.

'Human shields' head for Iraq - Dec 29th, 2002

A convoy of anti-war activists, likely to include dozens of British volunteers, will leave London next month to act as human shields protecting strategic sites in Iraq.

Unmanned drones will guard U.S. coastlines - Dec 29th, 2002

NEW YORK - Aerial drones have had starring roles in the war on terrorism, but a new generation of the flying robots is going to be deployed to patrol the U.S. coastline for drug smugglers, refugees and ships in distress.

Navy plan on dolphins faces flak - Dec 29th, 2002

One of the most peace loving creatures, the dolphins, are becoming the victims in a war not of their making. While many other countries are discontinuing the use of dolphins to plant mines on enemy ships and submarines, the Indian Navy has plans of training them to do the dangerous job.

Pluto is undergoing global warming, researchers find - Dec 27th, 2002

(OLD NEWS) BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Pluto is undergoing global warming, as evidenced by a three-fold increase in the planet’s atmospheric pressure during the past 14 years, a team of astronomers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Williams College, the University of Hawaii, Lowell Observatory and Cornell University announced in a press conference today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences in Birmingham, AL.

Former hacker Mitnick headed back online next month - Dec 27th, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man the federal government once labeled "the most wanted computer criminal in U.S. history" has won a long fight to renew his ham radio license and next month can resume surfing the Internet.
Birth of girl through cloning: Raelian sect - Dec 27th, 2002
A baby has been born through cloning, French scientist and member of the Raelian sect Brigitte Boisselier has told AFP.

Mysterious Oak Island up for sale - Dec 27th, 2002

French crown jewels, pirate treasure chests said to be buried there

Humans on Mars 'by 2025' - Dec 27th, 2002

Europe is considering sending humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond within the next few decades.

Meteorite 'ready-made home' for life - Dec 27th, 2002

CNN) -- Strange organic bubbles in one of the oldest known meteorites could have served as habitats for primitive microbes on our planet, according to a NASA study.
Mild Earthquake Shakes Upstate New York - Dec 26th, 2002
REDFORD, N.Y. –– A mild earthquake shook upstate New York on Wednesday and was believed to be an aftershock of the April tremor that jolted the Northeast.

Senator praises Osama, criticizes U.S. - Dec 25th, 2002

Seattle, WA – Today The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver reported that U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) told a group of local students that Osama bin Laden had done good things for Afghanistan and the Third World, and asked whether the people of poverty-stricken countries would have a better view of the United States if we had followed bin Laden’s example.

Lewis & Clark Revisited: Satellite Archeology Digs Out The Past - Dec 25th, 2002

The U.S. Congress made an Apollo-like decision nearly 200 years ago to dispatch an expedition of explorers into uncharted territory. Back then the financial bar to probe the unknown was a bit lower than the $25 billion needed to hurl human adventurers to the Moon.

New clues to ancient Mississippi culture - Dec 25th, 2002

To a visitor walking up a slight rise to the tracks' end at a pile of dirt and two makeshift worktables, it appears that no one is home. Suddenly, a hand hefting a bucket sprouts from the ground, vanishes, and is replaced by a human

Mexico to Exploit Consular Offices to Issue Drivers Licenses to Illegals - Dec 24th, 2002

State Dept. Permits Mexico to Exploit Consular Offices Across U.S. to Issue Drivers Licenses & Bank Accounts to Illegal Aliens
Terrorists on the Net? Who Cares? - Dec 22nd, 2002
To all those Chicken Littles clucking frantically about the imminent threat of a terrorist attack on U.S. computer networks, a new report says: Knock it off.

Bombs Away: Airport Security Hole - Dec 22nd, 2002

Bad news for airline passengers this holiday season: Despite heightened security measures implemented since Sept. 11, airports still do not systematically screen luggage or passengers for explosives.

Even NASA Unsure How to Counter Claims of Faked Moon Missions - Dec 22nd, 2002

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- Is that the moon or a studio in the Nevada desert? How can the flag flutter when there's no wind on the moon? Why can't we see stars in the moon-landing pictures?

Curse of the Mummy's Tomb Broken - Dec 22nd, 2002

LONDON (Reuters) - King Tutankhamen's infamous "curse of the mummy's tomb," supposed to have killed off many of those involved in the opening of the pharaoh's tomb 80 years ago was a myth, Australian researchers say.

XP Flaw Puts MP3, Windows Media Files at Risk - Dec 22nd, 2002

Thanks to a newly found flaw in Windows XP, two of the most popular audio file formats can be used by crackers to take control of remote PCs. Users only need to hover their mouse pointers over the icons for malicious MP3 or Windows Media files to execute the attacker's code, Microsoft Corp. said in a bulletin published Wednesday.

Bush Administration to Propose System for Monitoring Internet - Dec 22nd, 2002

The Bush administration is planning to propose requiring Internet service providers to help build a centralized system to enable broad monitoring of the Internet and, potentially, surveillance of its users.

Floating 'spider webs' fill Galveston skies - Dec 21st, 2002

GALVESTON -- Galveston residents are still trying to figure out what caused the skies over their coastal city to literally be filled on Friday with floating strands of wads that looked like spider webs.

Microbes Rain Down from Space? More Support for Controversial Theory - Dec 21st, 2002

A controversial finding last year of microbes high in Earth's atmosphere and thought to have come from space gained another scientist's support this week.

Atlantis Still Alive - Dec 21st, 2002

They live in their underwater cities and sometimes frighten people

Survey Says U.S. Confused About Smallpox - Dec 21st, 2002

Survey Finds Many Misconceptions About Smallpox, but Public Wants to Take Vaccine

Missing: four tons of nerve gas, 8.5 tons of anthrax, and assorted nuclear bomb parts - Dec 21st, 2002

The United States pushed the world closer to armed conflict last night when Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, asserted that Iraq's declaration on its weapons capacities "totally failed" to meet the conditions laid down by the United Nations. The document, he said, was nothing more than "a catalogue of flagrant omissions and recycled information."

Global Warming Emissions in Biggest Decade Drop - Dec 21st, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming fell by 1.2 percent last year, the largest decrease in a decade, due in part to slow economic growth and a milder winter, the government said on Friday.

Surprise Comet Streaks Into Solar System - Dec 21st, 2002

Astronomers have received a holiday bonanza in the form of the arrival of a previously unknown comet that has entered our part of the solar system.

Moon's 'youngest' crater discovered - Dec 21st, 2002

Astronomers have discovered the only known lunar crater to have been formed in recorded history.

Endangered whales win right of way - Dec 21st, 2002

Endangered whales are to be given right of way in North Atlantic waters after collisions with ships became the primary cause of their death.

Norwalk-like virus symptoms detected in Southern Oregon - Dec 21st, 2002

ROSEBURG - Illnesses caused by a Norwalk-like virus have been reported in three Douglas County senior care facilities and one elementary school.

Neil Armstrong: Much progress since Wright brothers - Dec 21st, 2002

(CNN) -- The Wright brothers made history 99 years ago this week, ushering in a new era with their series of manned flights. Only six decades later, another adventurer from Ohio, Neil Armstrong, took the first steps on the moon.

Deep Space 1: The Archeology Mission - Dec 20th, 2002

A thousand years from now NASA's Deep Space 1 probe could make some archeologist very happy.

Quebec group claims human clone days away - Dec 20th, 2002

An international fringe religion based in Quebec says it is about to make human cloning a reality. A spokesman for the Raelian organization told CTV News that a baby girl is expected to be born in the next 14 days.

NASA Builds Tiny Spider Robot - Dec 20th, 2002

NASA has built a "spider-bot," named for its spider-like appearance, which one day may be used for exploring other planets, comets, asteroids, the moon or even Earth.

Hubble Spies Birth of Tiny Galaxy POX 186 - Dec 20th, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A tiny, late-blooming galaxy -- a distorted clump of gas and stars whose development lags far behind its galactic cousins -- has been captured in Hubble Space Telescope images released on Thursday.

Mysterious energy source detected - Dec 20th, 2002

A mysterious cloud of high-energy electrons envelops a young cluster of stars in our Milky Way galaxy

Michigan city razes house overrun by hundreds of guinea pigs - Dec 20th, 2002

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - Hundreds of guinea pigs did so much damage to a house in this Detroit suburb that authorities called in a demolition crew and razed it to the ground. The owner had given more than 440 guinea pigs free run of his house in a prosperous subdivision of brick ranch houses.

Salmonella armoury exposed - Dec 20th, 2002

Scientists have identified the genes that the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium uses to make us ill.

FTC acts on telemarketing - Dec 20th, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators are creating new protections for people plagued by unwanted telemarketing calls, establishing a national "do-not-call" list that consumers can use to keep their phones from ringing with sales pitches.

E-card virus warning for Christmas - Dec 20th, 2002

LONDON (CNN) -- Sophisticated computer viruses are hiding behind some Christmas e-cards, wrecking the season of goodwill, analysts warn.

Galaxies in death waltz spied by Hubble - Dec 20th, 2002

(CNN) -- Several galaxies appear to be dancing toward mutual destruction in a newly released image from the Hubble Space Telescope.

'Thunderstorms' spotted on Saturn moon - Dec 20th, 2002

(CNN) -- Bright patches of methane have been detected swirling around the southern pole of Titan, settling a longstanding question as to whether Saturn's largest moon possesses clouds, according to a new study.

Cascade glaciers are shrinking, posing threat to everything below - Dec 20th, 2002

Eons ago, great ice glaciers carved the canyons of the Cascades. They pulsed with the seasons, swelling in the frigid winters and melting at the edges in the summer to fill the Northwest's rivers.

Military Seeking Radical Ways of Stumping Need for Sleep - Dec 18th, 2002

It was finals week at the University of Illinois when biology major Peggy Gatsinos got a clear sign she was running short on sleep.

Is the South Sister closer to an eruption? - Dec 18th, 2002

BEND - Seismic recorders detected a tiny earthquake this week near the South Sister, an indication that a bulge on the volcano's west flank could be closer to eruption.

Fastest computer sparks global race - Dec 18th, 2002

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Dec. 18 — It’s a machine so fast it performs more computations per second than there are stars in our galaxy. It’s so large it’s housed in a building the size of an aircraft hangar. Running 35.6 trillion calculations per second, the Earth Simulator is the fastest supercomputer in the world, almost five times faster than the next best one, and as fast as the top five U.S. supercomputers combined.

Detailed Photos Reveal Clouds on Saturn's Moon Titan - Dec 18th, 2002

The most detailed images ever made of Saturn's moon Titan confirm earlier weather reports that suggested Titan generates clouds and thunderstorms much as Earth does.

Saltwater May Streak Across Martian Surface - Dec 18th, 2002

Dark streaks appearing and disappearing on martian slopes suggest active water exists on the Red Planet.

Iraq Plans Scorched-Earth Strategy - Dec 18th, 2002

WASHINGTON - Iraq is preparing to destroy its own oil fields, food supplies and power plants and blame America for the devastation in the event of war, U.S. intelligence officials said Wednesday.

Space Scents - Dec 18th, 2002

Researchers hunting for new and profitable fragrances will soon send a pair of flowers into Earth orbit.

Black hole hunter's first image - Dec 18th, 2002

The Integral gamma-ray observatory - described as Europe's "black hole hunter" - has produced its first images of the Universe.

Galileo recorder fixed, data streams home - Dec 18th, 2002

PASADENA, California (AP) -- NASA said it has completed a long-distance repair of the tape recorder aboard Galileo, allowing the aging spacecraft to transmit to Earth the last scientific data of its seven-year mission at Jupiter.

A distant Pioneer whispers to Earth - Dec 18th, 2002

CNN) -- NASA engineers picked up a radio signal this month from the first spacecraft to fly beyond Pluto.

Student gets 'A' for hacking school computer - Dec 18th, 2002

(CNN) -- It was a breeze for 15-year-old Reid Ellison to hack into his high school's computer grading system. But what to do once he broke in took a bit more ingenuity

2,800-year-old frozen microbes revived - Dec 18th, 2002

Within ice that covers a salty, liquid Antarctic lake scientists have found and revived microbes that were at least 2,800 years old. The discovery points to probable life within the underground lake and suggests the sort of ecosystem that might exist on Mars.

Crash skeleton is 'wanted robber' - Dec 18th, 2002

Detectives are attempting to unravel the mystery of reports of a car crash that led them to discover the skeleton of a man killed at the same spot five months ago.

Ebola 'could be spread by birds' - Dec 18th, 2002

There are fears that birds could spread the deadly Ebola virus.

Survey: 60% of Russian children unhealthy - Dec 18th, 2002

More than half the children in Russia are in poor physical or psychological health, a government survey has revealed.

Key Ancient Egyptian Tomb Found? - Dec 17th, 2002

Dec. 16 — A team of British Egyptologists may have identified the oldest tomb in the Valley of the Kings, solving the long-standing mystery over the burial place of pharaoh Amenhotep I.

Antarctic lake offers Mars clues - Dec 17th, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In ice that has sealed a salty Antarctic lake for more than 2,800 years, scientists have found frozen bacteria and algae that returned to life after thawing. The research may help in the search for life on Mars, which is thought to have subsurface lakes of ice.

Earth hotter in 2002 - Dec 17th, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- El Nino's return in 2002 helped to hike global temperatures to the second highest on record and scorch the earth with widespread drought, U.S. government forecasters said Tuesday.

Real Lord of the Rings shines - Dec 17th, 2002

(CNN) -- Saturn makes its closest approach to the Earth in 30 years this week, promising exceptional views whether seen with the naked eye or via a telescope.

Why Does This Metal Detector Keep Going Off?? - Dec 17th, 2002

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - It took an airport metal detector to give a Canadian woman a clue to why she was suffering from persistent stomach aches four months after having abdominal surgery.

UK 'close to record warmth' - Dec 17th, 2002

This year will come within a whisker of being the warmest recorded in the UK for 350 years, according to weather experts.

Portland scientists look to unlock key to West Nile Virus - Dec 17th, 2002

PORTLAND - So far this year, the mosquito-borne West Nile virus has claimed the lives of 255 U.S. citizens and almost a dozen endangered Humboldt penguins, former denizens of the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Antarctic lake's secret water - Dec 17th, 2002

A five-kilometre-long ice-sealed super-concentrated saltwater lake has been discovered by scientists working in Antarctica.
First cloned baby 'to be born in Belgrade' - Dec 17th, 2002
Belgrade - The world's first cloned baby would be born in Belgrade in January, controversial Italian gynaecologist Severino Antinori said in an interview in the Serbian weekly Nin.

Northern Californian Dies In Marine Training - Dec 17th, 2002

SAN DIEGO -- A Marine recruit died of a "bacterial infection," but investigators don't know if the death was related to an outbreak of strep A at San Diego's Marine Corps Recruit Depot, officials said Monday.

Staph infections making alarming headway - Dec 17th, 2002

SAN ANTONIO - Outbreaks of a common skin infection are becoming more common and occasionally life-threatening in Texas as the bacteria develop resistance to common antibiotics, officials say.

Record melt in Arctic and Greenland - Dec 17th, 2002

Ice covering the Arctic Ocean and Greenland shrank by record amounts this summer, new research shows. The rise in seasonal melting has led some experts to estimate that 20% of Arctic sea ice could be lost by 2050.
Tiahuanacu, ancient seaport 12,500 feet above sea level - Dec 16th, 2002
As an amateur mesoamerican history buff, I have always wanted to see Tiahuanacu, an ancient city perched high in the Andes above La Paz, Bolivia -- the remains of a civilization predating the Incas which may be over 17,000 years old.

Anthrax Clues Underwater? - Dec 16th, 2002

The FBI is carrying out a major search of Gambrill State Park outside Frederick, Md., in connection with the ongoing anthrax investigation, federal law enforcement sources told ABCNEWS.

Albino penguin hatched at zoo - Dec 16th, 2002

Bristol zoo has hatched an albino penguin which it says may be a world first.

The War After Iraq - Dec 16th, 2002

For the United States, fighting and winning a war against Iraq has become a strategic imperative. Although it is true that this war could engender greater support for al Qaeda among the Islamic masses, the consequences of not attacking Baghdad -- from Washington's perspective -- could be worse.
Friends, Family Members Waiting for Test Results to Determine Possible Poisoning Link - Dec 14th, 2002
INDIANA, Pa. (AP) - Elaine Holodnik lost two of the people closest to her in less than a year: a woman whose son went to school with hers, and a man she said she had dated, rekindling a relationship that started in their teens.

Breathtaking Saturn - Dec 14th, 2002

On Dec. 17th, Earth and Saturn will have their closest encounter in nearly 30 years.
In Austria, Incursion of the American Santa Triggers a Yuletide Backlash - Dec 13th, 2002
Santa Claus is coming to town - and many Austrians wish he'd just stay home. The jolly old elf is getting an icy reception in this alpine country that gave the world "Silent Night" and clings to beloved Christmas traditions.

A Teacher in Space - Dec 13th, 2002

December 12, 2002: NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced that Barbara Morgan, the agency's first Educator Astronaut, has been assigned as a crewmember on a November 2003 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

More signs that solar system has tenth planet - Dec 13th, 2002

The solar system may have a tenth planet lurking beyond the orbit of Pluto, calculations by astronomers in Britain and Argentina indicate. "Planet X" could lie 60 times further from the Sun than the Earth, roughly 600 million miles out. But nobody would have spotted it directly because, if it exists, it orbits in a direction that astronomers rarely study.

Balder than your average bear - Dec 12th, 2002

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST, Florida (AP) -- More than half the black bears living in the forest around the north-central Florida community of Lynne are suffering from a type of mange that makes their hair fall out.

Most Americans want smallpox jabs, survey shows - Dec 12th, 2002

WASHINGTON - Two-thirds of Americans would get the smallpox vaccine if it were offered, saying they were not confident the government could protect them from a biological attack, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

Dark Streaks on Mars Suggest Running Water Still Present - Dec 12th, 2002

Dark surface streaks along canyon and crater walls on Mars could be signs of running water presently scouring the surface, according to a new study.

Dentist scales tree to fix molar - Dec 12th, 2002

A protester who has lived in a tree for more than five weeks has received a visit from a dentist.

Honda's upgraded walking robot understands gestures - Dec 12th, 2002

Honda has unveiled a new version of its humanoid robot that understands human gestures and movements.
'Tornado in a can' pulverizes materials - Dec 11th, 2002
CLINTON, N.C. — Inside the corrugated tin shed that serves as the top-secret test site for Vortex Dehydration Technology's strange new invention, Frank Polifka cranks open a valve and unleashes the force of a tornado. Compressed air rushes into an 8-foot-tall steel cone and whirls counterclockwise at tremendous speeds, producing winds capable of turning rock into dust.

Scientists Find Tiny Space Alien Probe - Dec 11th, 2002

WASHINGTON — Preliminary examination of a mysterious UFO measuring just ¼-inch in length has reportedly convinced U.S. Air Force experts that the tiny craft hails from a miniature planet!

Resistant bacteria common in poultry - Dec 11th, 2002

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 — Americans sickened by chicken contaminated with salmonella and campylobacter may stay ill longer and pay more for treatment due to virulent strains of the bacteria that resist common antibiotics, Consumers Union said Tuesday.

Jupiter moon 'full of holes' - Dec 11th, 2002

Amalthea, Jupiter's smallest and strangest moon, recently visited by the Galileo spacecraft, is full of holes.

Bolivian glaciers shrinking fast - Dec 11th, 2002

Glaciers in the Bolivian Andes are shrinking at an alarming rate, say scientists.

Stonehenge tunnel approved - Dec 11th, 2002

Plans for a tunnel through hills near Stonehenge in Wiltshire have been approved.

New Study: Life on Mars Unlikely - Dec 11th, 2002

Dec. 6 — Mars is a cold and dry planet unlikely to have ever fostered life, its barren climate only rarely punctuated with scalding rain caused by the heat of asteroid impacts, according to a report in the magazine Science.

Potato-shaped moon riddled with holes - Dec 11th, 2002

CNN) -- A daring flyby by a NASA probe revealed that an oddly shaped moon orbiting Jupiter is full of empty gaps and as light as ice, the space agency said this week.

Man saved by condiments - Dec 11th, 2002

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) -- A man trapped for nearly a week in his car after it plunged into a ravine survived in the freezing cold by burning paper, melting snow for water and eating packets of fast-food sauce, rescuers say.

Calling ET - Dec 11th, 2002

We're still waiting for a real signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence

Flu-Like Illness Sweeps Through Hawkins - Dec 11th, 2002

School officials cancelled classes after learning 18 % of the entire student body was out sick on Monday. The students are experiencing headaches, fever and student has even been hospitalized with those symptoms.

Three East Texas Women Die From Mysterious Illness - Dec 11th, 2002

Three East Texas women die after suffering from similar flu like symptoms.

Clear Channel Stumbles - Dec 11th, 2002

Can you name a Texas-based multinational company that is facing a Department of Justice investigation, lawsuits for inappropriate business practices, a flurry of criticism in the mainstream press, and a bill in congress to curb its impact on the industry?
World's 1st bionic leg developed - Dec 10th, 2002
'Mini-brain in your knee'

Bigfoot Hoax Revealed - Dec 10th, 2002

CENTRALIA, WA (AP) -- The 16-inch footprints credited by some with reviving the legend of Bigfoot were really meant to scare away thieves. That's according to a co-worker of the man credited with making them in 1958.

Meteors from the Twilight Zone - Dec 10th, 2002

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks this year on Saturday morning, Dec. 14th.

Of mice and men - Dec 10th, 2002

The publication last week of a complete draft of the mouse genome may lead to developments in our understanding of both human disease and evolution, says Steve Connor

Secret plot to play down risks of air pollution - Dec 10th, 2002

Harold Macmillan's government put pressure on scientists to play down the dangers of air pollution.

Scientists shake down Alaska quake - Dec 10th, 2002

The 7.9 temblor could provide clues about how California faults will act

Seattle Mayor Urges Water Conservation - Dec 10th, 2002

SEATTLE -- Our record-breaking dry weather has Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels asking people to start conserving water immediately.

Smallpox Vaccine Results Are In - Dec 10th, 2002

The first returns are in on the smallpox vaccine. A recent multi-center US government clinical trial on 200 “young adults” has been completed.

BBC News Online Mars Express PT 2 - Dec 10th, 2002

In the second instalment of the BBC News Online Mars Express diary, John Reddy describes how Europe's first probe to the Red Planet is being prepared for the rough and tumble of space.

Shipshape has a new meaning - Dec 10th, 2002

The futuristic-looking Sea Shadow arrives today at PSNS for three months of work.

Astronauts' view of eclipse - Dec 10th, 2002

This is the view the new crew on the International Space Station (ISS) got of the recent total solar eclipse.

Turning food waste into plastic - Dec 10th, 2002

(CNN) -- A meal you don't eat could return to your kitchen table not as leftovers, but as plastic wrap.

NASA: Water, water everywhere on Mars - Dec 10th, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- New observations by a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars show a planet rich in water, but suggests that for billions of years it has done little other than remain frozen in the soil. The finding challenges theories that Mars was once a warm, wet place hospitable to life.

Record ice loss in Arctic - Dec 10th, 2002

Melting was so severe on the Greenland ice sheet in June that field researcher Konrad Steffen wondered just how he would get off the continent.
Moon's surface brimming with untapped power - Dec 9th, 2002
Astronauts journeyed to the moon as a display of Cold War technical prowess, but the far-reaching legacy of their explorations may be the discovery of an invisible nuclear power source locked in the gray lunar soil.

Secret blasts rattle Cheney's neighbors - Dec 9th, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- Neighbors of Vice President Dick Cheney are being shaken and rattled at least once a day by mysterious blasts on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory where Cheney lives.

Astronauts recall moon landing on 30th anniversary of Apollo 17 - Dec 9th, 2002

BEVERLY HILLS – Thirty years have passed, but no amount of time could dim the vivid memory Eugene Cernan has of being the last person to leave footprints on the moon.

Water from Air - Dec 9th, 2002

Everyone needs water to live, but not everyone has access to clean drinking water. The situation in many countries is not getting better.

Scientists: Data Suggest Arctic Warming - Dec 9th, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The northernmost reaches of the Earth are warming, reducing the sea ice across the Arctic Ocean, melting the ice sheet in Greenland and spreading shrubs into the Alaskan tundra, scientists said Saturday.

Super typhoon hits Guam - Dec 9th, 2002

HAGATNA, Guam — Super Typhoon Pongsona, with winds as high as 160 mph and 25-foot surf, pounded Guam today.

NORAD to test Santa tracker Dec. 18 - Dec 9th, 2002

ARLINGTON, Va. — Santa Claus has agreed to allow the North American Aerospace Defense Command to conduct a full-blown flight test of his sleigh and all eight tiny reindeer Dec. 18, according to NORAD.

Looking for the dark side of the universe - Dec 9th, 2002

The scientists who brought us the size and shape of the universe are going for something even more ambitious.

World's 'oldest' volcanic rocks - Dec 9th, 2002

The oldest volcanic rocks in the world have been discovered by geologists in Canada.

'Compelling evidence' of global warming - Dec 9th, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The northernmost reaches of the Earth are warming, reducing the sea ice across the Arctic Ocean, melting the ice sheet in Greenland and spreading shrubs into the Alaskan tundra, scientists said Saturday.

Albino squirrel has its own groupies - Dec 8th, 2002

DENTON, Texas - The albino squirrel is not an obvious magical creature. There is no puff of smoke when he appears, no pot of gold - only a nervous little rodent with eyes pinker than candy.

Who Really Sank the Bismarck? - Dec 8th, 2002

You are 16,000 feet below the North Atlantic, peering out the window of a tiny submersible. The wreck you see was once the most feared warship in the world.

Threat to Earth from supernova blast falls - Dec 8th, 2002

The likelihood of a supernova explosion that would strip off the Earth's protective ozone layer for decades and imperil life has been reduced to a remote threat, according to new calculations by American astrophysicists.

Was Mars once a hot-and-cold hell? - Dec 8th, 2002

Mars in the popular imagination is a planet that was once warm and wet, a place that might have fostered life. But new research shows how these imagined pleasant periods were brief, hellish and punctuated by utter catastrophe.

UT scientist's satellite project will take stock of Earth's ice - Dec 8th, 2002

Bob Schutz likes to use a pencil-sized laser device to aim a red dot at points of interest when he gives slide shows. Soon, the professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Texas will use an industrial-strength version aimed from space to determine whether the polar ice caps are growing or shrinking.
Scalding Rains, Flash Floods and Worse Plagued Ancient Mars - Dec 8th, 2002
Mars in the popular imagination is a planet that was once warm and wet, a place that might have fostered life. But new research shows how these imagined pleasant periods were brief, hellish, and punctuated by utter catastrophe.

Reliable Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Dec. 13-14 - Dec 8th, 2002

Less than a month after the Leonid meteor shower, another excellent display is just around the corner. The reliable, annual Geminid meteor shower is scheduled to reach its peak during the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, Dec. 14.

FBI Raids Software Firm for al-Qaeda Ties - Dec 8th, 2002

U.S. government investigators have raided a Quincy, Massachusetts software firm with alleged ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, according to Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesperson.

I want my country back By Harry Browne - Dec 8th, 2002

Thoughts on the American empire … Is it an empire? Whenever I say that America has become an empire, someone is sure to say I'm being ridiculous.

9th Circuit: Gun Ownership Not a Personal Right - Dec 8th, 2002

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that there is no individual right to gun possession, holding that only state-run militias have a constitutional right to bear arms.

Passport technology to be tested - Dec 8th, 2002

The federal government has decided to test state-of-the-art face recognition technology as a means of spotting fake Canadian passports and impostors.

Researchers accuse ASU's THEMIS of fraud and cover-up on latest image of 'Face on Mars' - Dec 8th, 2002

Under the surface of Mars lies an ancient, nuclear-powered city left by Martian citizens. At least, that's what a group of space researchers think. And they're trying to prove it by invoking a little-known remnant of President Clinton's last days called the "Data Quality Act" that went into force in October of this year. The filing, dated October 31, 2002, gives NASA 40 days to address the complaint that there is faulty data on Arizona State University's THEMIS Web site.

Mexican plaque fragments may bear ancient writing - Dec 8th, 2002

Archeologists digging near Mexico's Gulf Coast have discovered the earliest known example of writing in the New World, pushing the date for the appearance of this crucial development back by at least 350 years to about 650 B.C.

City-swallowing Sand Dunes - Dec 8th, 2002

NASA-supported researchers are studying the complex physics of menacing sand dunes.

Live Nude Ghouls - Dec 8th, 2002

You've heard of haunted houses and haunted forests - now a suburban New Jersey town is the home of America's first haunted strip club.

New Beagle to boldly go to Mars to seek life - Dec 8th, 2002

LONDON (Reuters) -- Nearly two centuries after Charles Darwin set sail in HMS Beagle on a journey that revolutionized the way people viewed the Earth, Beagle 2 will blast off in search of life elsewhere in the universe.

The Microwave Phaser - Dec 8th, 2002

The Pentagon has always craved a phaser. Now it's turning to microwaving as a potential means of singeing the enemy.

Europe plans world's biggest telescope - Dec 8th, 2002

Astronomers in Europe have agreed to join forces in a single project to design and build the largest optical telescope in the world.

Earliest Evidence Of Americas' Writing Found - Dec 8th, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Symbols carved on stones 2,600 years ago in Mexico suggest that the Olmecs, an early North American people, invented the first writing system in the Americas and that the symbols were adopted by later native cultures such as the Mayas.

Small Aircraft Crashes Into Federal Reserve Bank Building - Dec 6th, 2002

MIAMI -- A small plane crashed into the Federal Reserve Bank Building at NW 41 Street and 90 Avenue near Doral in Miami earlier tonight, killing the pilot and forcing the evacuation of more than 100 people attending a holiday season party, authorities said. No one inside the building was injured.

Severe Sickness Plagues Vancouver Residents - Dec 6th, 2002

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A highly contagious virus that's plaguing Florida cruise ships is spreading through two assisted living homes in Vancouver.

Earth Gets Fatter Thanks to Faster Glacial Melting - Dec 6th, 2002

Accelerated melting of Earth's glaciers in recent years has forced the planet to let a notch out of its belt as its midsection gains girth, according to a study released today.

Man Found Dead 44 Years After 'Trip to U.S.' - Dec 6th, 2002

MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian man who packed his bags 44 years ago and told friends he was leaving for America was found dead inside one of the walls of his home.

Water found at Martian south pole - Dec 6th, 2002

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Scientists reported Thursday they have discovered frozen water near the south pole of Mars, a finding that will help to create more accurate computer models of Martian climate and could be useful when human space missions reach the planet.

Mexican Skull May Explain Indigenous Origins - Dec 6th, 2002

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A 13,000-year-old skull found in Mexico may help prove theories that some of the New World's first settlers arrived along a Pacific Coast route from Japan, and not just across the Bering Strait.

Star sheds light on African 'Stonehenge' - Dec 6th, 2002

(CNN) -- Mysterious ruins in Zimbabwe, nearly brushed this week by the shadow of a total solar eclipse, once served as an astronomical observatory to track eclipses, solstices and an elusive exploding star, a South African scientist said.

Study: Asteroids shaped Mars canyons - Dec 6th, 2002

Martian wet seasons may not have supported microbes

Interstellar Signal from the 70s Continues to Puzzle Researchers - Dec 6th, 2002

By Seth Shostak

Better Warheads Through Plastics - Dec 6th, 2002

ONR's Reactive Materials Enhanced Warhead Program seeks to demonstrate missile warheads that achieve visible catastrophic structural defeat of cruise missiles and manned aircraft.

A sea oddity - Dec 6th, 2002

Multicoloured lobster has both kinds of sex organs

Managers sentenced in Japanese mad-cow meat mislabeling scam - Dec 6th, 2002

TOKYO - Five former managers of Snow Brand Food Co., Japan's No. 6 meatpacker, were given suspended prison terms Friday for their roles in a beef-mislabelling scam that undermined public confidence in the quality of Japanese food.

Scientist Buried Alive to Study Avalanches - Dec 6th, 2002

Dec. 5 — Snow scientist Ed Adams spent the last 20 years trying to predict avalanches by using a direct method. He sets off an avalanche and puts himself directly into its path so that it buries him alive.

Scientists 'weigh' distant world - Dec 6th, 2002

For the first time, astronomers have obtained an accurate measurement of the mass of a planet circling another star.

Irradiated patients set off security devices - Dec 6th, 2002

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Patients treated with radioactive materials may be setting off anti-terrorism devices installed in public places, according to a medical journal letter detailing a case that occurred in the New York subway.

Mice, men share 99 percent of genes - Dec 6th, 2002

(CNN) -- When it comes to DNA, it turns out there's not that much difference between mice and men.

China to unveil world's fastest train - Dec 6th, 2002

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Chinese and German engineers are rushing to prepare the world's first commercial magnetic levitation train, capable of speeds of around 250 mph, for a debut run some time around New Year's Day.

Lovable trickster created a monster with Bigfoot hoax - Dec 5th, 2002

"Ray L. Wallace was Bigfoot. The reality is, Bigfoot just died," said Michael Wallace about his father, who died of heart failure Nov. 26 in a Centralia nursing facility. He was 84.



copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004 by Frank Cross.
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