SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Zookeepers Pressed to Decide Which Species to Save
Zoos are having to make tough choices about which endangered animals to try to save. The reality is that they can't save them all.
In other environmental news, geologist Erik Klemetti says that the crystals in volcanic rocks hold the key to understanding the evolution of magma at volcanoes. Two new studies examine Mount St. Helens and Long Valley using these tools to unlock the unseen history of the volcanoes.
In North Carolina, a state-appointed science panel has reported that a 1-meter rise in sea level along the coast is likely by 2100. The calculation was intended to help the state plan for rising water that could threaten 2,000 square miles. Critics say the report could thwart economic development on just as large a scale.
Across the United States, the coal industry is under siege, threatened by new regulations from Washington, environmentalists fortified by money from Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York City, and natural gas companies intent on capturing much of the nation's energy market. Last year, when the operator of the Big Sandy plant announced that it would be switching from coal to cleaner, cheaper natural gas, local people took it as the worst betrayal imaginable.
Scientists have detected radioactivity in fish that have migrated into California waters from the ocean off Japan, where radiation contaminated the sea after explosions tore through the Fukushima nuclear reactors last year. Radioactive cesium was detected in samples of highly prized Pacific bluefin tuna, but it is well below levels considered unsafe for humans, the scientists say.
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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
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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