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Climate talks mean life or death for island states

DURBAN (Reuters) – Nature does not negotiate. So while climate change delegates haggle over deadlines, binding targets and finance, some of the world’s poorest states are warning that rising sea levels and storms will sweep them away unless the world agrees to tackle global warning. “We will be one of…

Hundreds of NASA’s moon rocks missing: audit

WASHINGTON — Researchers have sticky fingers when it comes to NASA’s moon rocks and meteorites, and hundreds of samples have gone missing after being loaned out by the US space agency, an audit said Thursday. NASA Inspector General Paul Martin issued a report detailing foibles such as the US space…

Obama backs restrictions on morning-after pill

President Barack Obama on Thursday said he supported Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to keep the restrictions that prevent teens from being able to buy emergency contraception without a prescription. U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Margaret Hamburg had told reporters that she backed lifting the age…

Ancient super-predator eyes found in Australia

Australian scientists on Thursday hailed the discovery of a pair of insect-like eyes belonging to a freakish prehistoric super-predator which trawled the seas more than 500 million years ago. Measuring three centimetres (1.2 inches) across and with a whopping 16,000 individual lenses the fossilised eyes, from a huge shellfish-type creature…

Author John Grisham laments bad courtroom science

Best-selling crime author John Grisham told lawmakers that faulty science is all over the US justice system, and urged nationwide improvements to forensic techniques. “It is time to clean up the bad science,” said Grisham, who serves on the board of the Innocence Project, a group that works to exonerate…

Ancient super-predator eyes found in Australia

Australian scientists on Thursday hailed the discovery of a pair of insect-like eyes belonging to a freakish prehistoric super-predator which trawled the seas more than 500 million years ago. Measuring three centimetres (1.2 inches) across and with a whopping 16,000 individual lenses the fossilised eyes, from a huge shellfish-type creature…

ACLU asks Supreme Court to invalidate patents for human genes

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to invalidate patents for human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. “We are asking the Court to rule that patent law cannot impede the rights of scientists and doctors to conduct…

Japan using quake disaster budget for whaling aid

Japan on Wednesday confirmed it planned to use some of the public funds earmarked for quake and tsunami reconstruction to boost security for its controversial annual whaling hunt. Greenpeace charged that Tokyo was siphoning money from disaster victims by spending an extra 2.28 billion yen ($30 million) on beefed up security amid…

Ocean cacophony a torment for sea mammals

With the constant churn of freighter propellers, the percussive thump of oil and gas exploration and the underwater din of military testing, ocean noise levels have become unbearable for some sea mammals. Contrary to the image of a distant and silent world under the sea, underwater sound intensity has on average…

NASA vows $8.8 billion space telescope on track for 2018

WASHINGTON — After a series of delays and billions spent over budget, the potent James Webb Space Telescope is on track to launch in 2018 at a total project cost of $8.8 billion, NASA vowed on Tuesday. The project, which aims to build the world’s most powerful telescope, 100 times…

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