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Giant tortoise Lonesome George ‘wasn’t lonely after all’

When Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, died in June in the Galapagos, the world mourned the demise of a species. It appears, however, that George was not that lonely after all. There are at least 17 tortoises on the Galapagos Islands that have similar genetic traits to…

Swiss nuclear reactor shuts down due to defect

A reactor at a Swiss nuclear plant shut down automatically Wednesday due to a defect, the operator said, stressing that the procedure had been completely safe. “Block 2 of the Beznau nuclear power plant shut down automatically,” operator Axpo said in a statement. “This was triggered by a defect in…

More eruptions expected as N. Zealand ‘Lord of the Rings’ volcano disrupts flights

Lingering ash from a volcanic eruption in New Zealand disrupted flights across parts of the North Island on Thursday, as scientists warned the mountain could blow again at any time. Mount Tongariro, in the centre of the North Island, erupted for the second time in four months on Wednesday after…

Wormhole sleuth peeks into ancient beetle history

Wormholes reproduced in ancient wood-printed illustrations have revealed the odyssey of European beetles, set against a backdrop of climate change and globalisation. In an unusual study, biologist Blair Hedges at Penn State University in Pennsylvania looked at art printed with carved blocks of wood, a technique that illustrated millions of…

Paleontologists find 6.5-foot tall penguin fossils in Antarctica

Argentine experts have discovered the fossils of a two-meter (6.5 foot) tall penguin that lived in Antarctica 34 million years ago. Paleontologists with the Natural Sciences Museum of La Plata province, where the capital Buenos Aires is located, said the remains were found on the icy southern continent. “This is…

UN: Goals on curbing greenhouse gases even further out of reach

The gap has widened between countries’ pledges for reducing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and what is needed to keep planet warming in check, the UN warned. Based on current pledges, global average temperatures could rise by three to five degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9.0 degrees Fahrenheit) this century…

The world won’t end next month, Maya experts insist

Relax doomsayers, the Maya people did not really mark their calendar for the end of the world on December 21, 2012. As tourists book hotels rooms in Mexico’s Maya Riviera and Guatemalan resorts ahead of next month’s fateful date, experts are busy debunking the doomsday myth. The apocalyptic prophecy that…

Greenhouse gases rose to record levels in 2011: UN

The volume of greenhouse gases causing global warming rose to a new high last year, the UN World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday, warning it is becoming increasingly unlikely the world can limit rising temperatures to UN-backed targets. Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) — the single most important man-made contributor to…

Ecstasy-assisted psychotherapy shows promising results for PTSD

An illegal drug popularized by the rave culture of the 90′s could have beneficial applications in psychological science. Using ecstasy, known scientifically as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), to assist psychotherapy could be a viable treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to research published today in the respectable Journal of Psychopharmacology. PTSD…

Task force recommends HIV testing for everyone

The U.S. Preventative Task Force has recommended that every American between the ages of 15 and 65 get tested for HIV. According to ABC News, the task force, an independent panel formed of mainly primary care providers, hopes to curb transmission of HIV and to speed treatment to people who…

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