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Arctic ocean losing 50% more summer ice than predicted

Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected, according to data from the first purpose-built satellite launched to study the thickness of the Earth’s polar caps. Preliminary results from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometers of summer sea…

Whale uninjured in crash that broke man’s arm

A South African man fractured his arm after a catamaran crashed into a whale off the eastern port city of Durban but the Leviathan was unhurt, an official said Saturday. Derrick Pienaar, 50, suffered a fracture in his right arm, National Sea Rescue Institute official Craig Lambinon said. “Mr Pienaar’s…

Scientists create most disgusting robot yet

Scientists create most disgusting robot yet (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor) An international team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Seoul National University have succeeded in creating the world’s most disgusting robot. Known as Meshworm, the soft, repugnant automaton moves via peristalsis, a method…

Daily aspirin reduces cancer risk and slows its spread, study confirms

Overall risk of dying from cancer was reduced by 16% among people who took daily dose of aspirin when healthy Taking a low dose of aspirin every day may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the spread of the disease, according to a study that followed the health of…

Chinese farmer fights to save Hong Kong’s last incense plantation from poachers

He may not be able to resuscitate Hong Kong’s long-dead incense trade but entrepreneur Chan Koon-wing is at least hoping to save the tree that gave the city its name centuries ago. Chan returned to the southern Chinese city from his adopted home in Northern Ireland four years ago to…

Archeologists plan to use small U.S. drone to map Mawchu Llacta ruins in Peru

Archeologists in Peru plan to use a US-made drone to survey ancient Andean ruins, in the latest civilian application of the unmanned aerial vehicles used to hunt militants in the world’s war zones. The device, which can fit in a backpack, is due to be tested later this month at…

‘Tears of St. Lawrence’ annual meteor shower reaches peak this weekend

The annual Perseid meteor shower — dubbed “the tears of St. Lawrence” in honour of a martyred Christian saint — reaches its peak this weekend, astronomers said on Friday. Cloud-free skies permitting, the show of shooting stars should be an above-average spectacle this year as the Moon is in a…

10,000-square-mile volcanic rock cluster found floating near New Zealand

A huge cluster of floating volcanic rocks covering almost 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 square miles) has been found drifting in the Pacific, the New Zealand navy said Friday. The strange phenomenon, which witnesses said resembled a polar ice shelf, was made up of lightweight pumice expelled from an underwater volcano,…

NASA’s test Moon lander crashes and burns

MIAMI — NASA’s experimental Moon lander crashed and burst into flames seconds after takeoff due to a hardware fault, the US space agency said, prompting an investigation but no casualties. The low-cost Project Morpheus lander prototype, designed to carry cargo to the Moon and other space destinations, lifted off the…

Residents of former asbestos mining town die in droves as government dickers over remediation plan

Death knows the small town of Prieska all too well. A poisonous legacy of South Africa’s years as a global blue asbestos hub, the Grim Reaper has snaked through here for decades, wiping out families and striking down neighbours with deadly precision. “In most of the houses in our street,…

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