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Trans-Pacific ‘ring of fire’ eclipse wows sky-gazers

Millions of sky-gazers got the spectacle of a lifetime as a “ring of fire” solar eclipse crossed the Pacific from Asia to the United States, where it triggered whoops at festive viewing parties. The annular eclipse was visible in western US states from California to Texas late Sunday and in…

Heartland Institute losing key staff, funders after Unabomber fiasco

The first Heartland Institute conference on climate change in 2008 had all the trappings of a major scientific conclave – minus large numbers of real scientists. Hundreds of climate change contrarians, with a few academics among them, descended into the banquet rooms of a lavish Times Square hotel for what…

Climate scientists say they have solved riddle of rising sea

PARIS — Massive extraction of groundwater can resolve a puzzle over a rise in sea levels in past decades, scientists in Japan said on Sunday. Global sea levels rose by an average of 1.8 millimetres (0.07 inches) per year from 1961-2003, according to data from tide gauges. But the big…

New methods of pet ‘pampering’ include fake testicles and facials

People and their pets often end up resembling each other, but image-obsessed Americans are taking that age-old relationship a step further, treating their four-legged friends to everything from spa facials to testicle implants. In a nation of surgically enhanced human breasts, teeth and skin, perhaps it was just a matter…

Project to use facial recognition software to identify subjects of world’s famous artworks

A Californian university has won funding to use advanced facial recognition technology to try to solve the mysteries of some of the world’s most famous works of art. Professor Conrad Rudolph said the idea for the experiment came from watching news and detective shows such as CSI which had a…

Water supply cut near Tokyo due to toxin contamination

The water supply to tens of thousands of households near Tokyowas cut off Saturday after local checks found it was contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical. The city of Noda, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from central Tokyo, said it had stopped supplies to a major part of the city. Most of the neighbouring city of Kashiwa also has…

SpaceX scrubs launch to ISS over rocket engine

The California-based company SpaceX on Saturday scrubbed the launch of its Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station at the last second due to a rocket engine problem. The abort came a half-second before liftoff due to high pressure in the center engine of the Falcon 9 rocket, forcing a…

Fascination of Plants Day highlights coffee-fueled cannabis car

Today is the first ever Fascination of Plants Day. The day’s festivities are aimed at raising awareness of the importance of plant science to the future of our food and energy supplies, and our health. Public events are taking place in 39 countries and UK partners include the John Innes…

NASA says competition is key to private space race

WASHINGTON — Competition is vital to the race among private companies to replace the space shuttle, NASA said Thursday, after Congress called for the US space agency to fund a single company. “We believe that competition is key to accelerating this program,” said NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver in a…

SpaceX to launch first private space rocket on Saturday

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a rocket is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a mission to deliver a capsule full of supplies to the International Space Station. Such launches are unremarkable when government agencies are at the helm, but this flight is different.…

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