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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Luring Back the Swallows to San Juan Capistrano

A last-ditch effort is under way to lure back the cliff swallow, which put San Juan Capistrano on the map but has snubbed the mission in recent years. The mission has tried drawing them back with food. It has tried shelter. Now, it's trying seduction.

In other environmental news, citizen scientists have captured about 13,000 moths in southern England in a project described as the largest of its kind. Researchers hope the data will help them understand how species will migrate in response to climate change.

According to oil firm Total, the gas leak from the Elgin platform in the North Sea has been stopped. The company's platform was evacuated when the gas began leaking on March 25. An attempt to stop the leak by pumping heavy mud into the well got under way on Tuesday.

The proposed 2,200-megawatt Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, which would flood much of the Ene River valley in Peru, would displace thousands of people and species in the process.

At the Millennium Seed Bank in West Sussex, an hour or so from London, scientists are racing against time: 100,000 species of flora are threatened with extinction. "Even if we know that plants are being lost in the wild," says Paul Smith, head of seed conservation, "if we can get them into the seed bank, we can regenerate them in the future."


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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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