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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: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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