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On Mars, Ice and Salt

An electrical short in the Phoenix Lander's mechanical arm delayed its exploration of the Martian north pole last week, but new photos on Saturday revealed that the spacecraft's thrusters had uncovered a large patch of ice, which is exactly what scientists hope to sample and analyze.

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A Step Toward Thought-Controlled Machines

In last week's issue of Nature, researchers reported a dramatic advance in brain-machine interface. Two monkeys with tiny sensors implanted in their brains were able to control a mechanical arm with their thoughts. It suggests that brain-controlled prosthetics, if not yet practical, are at least technically feasible.

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Ancient Past: A New Meaning for Stonehenge?

British archaeologists said last week that Stonehenge, the prehistoric stone monument, appears to have served as a cemetery for as long as 500 years and may have been a burial site for a single important family, perhaps a royal dynasty.

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Giant 'Kitchen Towel' Could Be Used to Mop Up Oil Spills

Giant "kitchen towels" could replace booms, bombs and detergents as the best remedy for a catastrophic oil spill, researchers said after inventing a super-absorbent membrane. ...

from the Times (London)

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Erbitux OK for Colorectal Cancer Patients with Genetic Marker

A new study shows which colorectal cancer patients may benefit from a drug - and which would be better off without it. ...

from USA Today

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Oyster-Saving Efforts a Wash in Chesapeake

A vast government effort to bring oysters back to the Chesapeake Bay has turned out so dismally that it has the ring of a math-class riddle. How do you spend $58 million to get more of something and wind up with less of it?

from the Washington Post

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Shaky Start for New Quake Alert System in Japan

After late or missed warnings, operators are struggling to figure out why a recently launched earthquake early-alert system in Japan isn't working as planned. ...

from National Geographic News

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Girls Are Becoming as Good as Boys at Mathematics

Tradition has it that boys are good at counting and girls are good at reading. So much so that Mattel once produced a talking Barbie doll whose stock of phrases included "Math class is tough!" ...

from the Economist

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PODCAST & VIDEO: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells, is being amplified with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.

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