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Despite risks, sea-floor mine opens for business in Papua New Guinea

Canada-based mining firm Nautilus Minerals said Tuesday it had signed China’s Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group as the first customer of its pioneering Papua New Guinean sea-floor mine. Nautilus, which is listed on the Canadian and London stock exchanges and has offices in Australia, said Tongling had agreed to buy 1.1…

Britain looks to bring ‘scientific authenticity’ to science fiction

A group of six major British science fiction authors including Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod and Geoff Ryman are calling urgently for closer collaboration between the arts and the sciences. In a letter today to the Manchester Review, also signed by the authors Justina Robson, Simon Ings and Paul McAuley, they…

Energy guzzler Singapore boosts ‘green’ buildings

From the bone-chilling air conditioning that pumps throughSingapore’s malls and offices to lights that burn all night, the city state is one of Asia’s most intensive energy users. Nearly all electricity used by the industrialised island is produced by burning fossil fuels, which in 2010 contributed to the largest carbon footprint…

Scientists in quest to find elusive white orca

A team of Russian scientists say they will embark on a quest next week to observe the only all-white, adult killer whale ever spotted — a majestic and elusive bull they have named Iceberg. The researchers from the universities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg first spotted the orca’s towering, two-metre dorsal finbreak the surface…

Hungary to pull treatments from diabetics who don’t stick to diets

Hungarian diabetics who fail to stick to their diet will be deprived of more modern treatments from July, under a government decree published Monday aimed at cutting health spending. Diabetics undergo a blood test on average every three months and those who score high levels of glycemia more than twice…

Attractive friends make profiles more popular on Facebook: Study

Having attractive friends will make you more popular on Facebook, especially if you are a woman, according to a new study that takes Charles Darwin into the domain of cyber networking. The findings show that signs of reproductive fitness sway our decisions about friendship, Dutch researcher Piet Kommers told AFP.…

NASA sends rubber chicken into radiation storm in stratosphere

In a knitted spacesuit and tight-fitting helmet, Camilla the rubber chicken floated to the edge of space in a modified lunchbox as the sun unleashed the most intense radiation storm since 2003. The mascot for Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory was lofted to the stratosphere on a helium balloon that carried…

Five southern African countries join forces on a climate change research center

Five countries in southern Africa have joined forces to launch a research centre that will work on combating climate change in the region. South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia signed a declaration on Wednesday to base the initiative in the Namibian capital Windhoek. The Southern African Science Service Centre…

Light bulb with 20-year life unveiled in U.S. on Earth Day

A prize-winning, super-energy-saving LED bulb from Dutch electronics giant Philips said to last over 20 years went on sale Sunday to coincide with Earth Day. The bulb that won the US Department of Energy’s “Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize” was available from retailers for $50, down from an initial $60 price tag. The…

Meteor shower causes loud boom over California

A loud boom similar to the sound of an explosion has been heard over much of northern California apparently as a result of an ongoing meteor shower, The Los Angeles Times reported. The newspaper, citing Stefanie Henry, a National Weather Servicemeteorologist in Sacramento, said the sound had been produced by a meteor apparently breaking up…

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