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Research: Diversity on college campuses promotes critical thinking

Four new studies point to evidence that diversity can improve colleges students’ critical thinking skills, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday. The research, presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education meeting in Las Vegas, found that students studied in various ways seemed to improve on…

World Bank warns global temp. could rise devastating 4 degrees this century

The World Bank warned Sunday that global temperatures could rise by four degrees this century without immediate action, with potentially devastating consequences for coastal cities and the poor. Issuing a call for action, the World Bank tied the future wealth of the planet — and especially developing regions — to…

Europe to decide this week on helping NASA build manned spaceship to travel to deep space

Europe is preparing plans to join the United States in building a manned spaceship that would take men and women to the moon and beyond. The project is supported by the UK and could see a British astronaut launched into deep space before the end of the decade. The proposal…

Keystone pipeline protestors to rally at White House

Environmental groups will step up the pressure on Barack Obama to act on climate change in his second term, with a rally Sunday at the White House against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Activists are pressing Obama to deliver early on his promise – renewed at his first White…

Solar vehicles in Chile race across world’s driest desert

Fifteen solar panel vehicles, some that look like small space ships, raced across Chile’s Atacama desert as part of a contest to build low-cost environmentally-friendly cars. Teams from countries like Argentina, Chile, India and Venezuela have crafted aerodynamic racers to speed across 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) of the world’s driest…

Astronomers find most distant, oldest galaxy ever seen

Astronomers using a complex system of super telescopes have caught a glimpse of what is likely the most distant, and thus oldest, galaxy ever seen — some 13.3 billion light years from Earth. The star cluster was observed in its infancy — as it looked when the Universe was just…

Rappers’ brains shift when freestyling, says study

Freestyle rap, an improvised style of the music genre associated with back-to-front baseball caps, baggy jeans and gold chains, has burst onto the science stage, shedding light on the workings of the brain. Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders in the United States have examined…

Rare genetic mutation offers Alzheimer’s clues

Scientists have found a rare genetic mutation that appears to triple the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and provides important clues into how the so-far incurable disease operates. Scientists from two independent teams stumbled on the same result, published in two studies Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine:…

Early humans used stone-tipped spears 500,000 years ago

Early humans were already using stone tips to enhance the killing power of spears at least 500,000 years ago, some 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, anthropologists said Thursday. Attaching stone points to spears — a technique known as “hafting” — requires more planning and effort than simply sharpening a…

BP agrees to pay $4.5 billion in settlement over Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Oil giant will pay $4.5bn to US authorities and agrees to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct over fatal rig explosion BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal fine in US history – $4.5bn – to resolve all criminal charges arising from the fatal oil rig explosion…

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