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Japan quake: live report (AFP)

AFP - 1410 GMT: The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports the fresh quake southwest of Tokyo was a magnitude 6.1 and said it had been preceded a few minutes earlier by another 5.8-magnitude...

Blog - New Concern at Nuclear Plant in Japan

Pools storing spent fuel are overheating, posing the threat of increased radiation leaks. There have been several reports of a fire at a spent fuel facility at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, where plant operators are struggling to cool down reactors. There were also spikes in radiation measurements in the area. The fire has since been extinguished....

Describing humor with an equation

A new theory of humor addresses questions of human attraction to errors and our susceptibility to ideas we know are bad for us, and summarizes it with an equation. The new theory suggests an equation for identifying the cause and level of our responses to any humorous stimuli: h = m x...

Effects of shade avoidance in crops

The world of a plant can be a stressful place. Many plants constantly compete with their neighbors for light by elongating to try and get out of their shade. In crops, this elongation can dramatically reduce agricultural yield and so is a major limiting factor in how densely a farmer can plant a crop. Scientists have been studying the effects of shade avoidance in plants and are hoping to...

Sheep Genomic Advances

The sheep genome has finally made it on to the international genome sequencing research agenda. Traditionally, the small size of the international market for sheep products has limited investment in sheep genetic and genomic resources. Commercial sheep genomic resources have developed at a slower pace and to lower specifications than for other species of domesticated...

Africa: Long-term planning for chimpanzee rescue and care

Every year throughout Africa, primate rescue centers are flooded with chimpanzee orphans, primarily victims of the bushmeat trade. When adults are killed for meat the surviving infants are often offered for sale as pets, and those that get confiscated by law enforcement are taken to sanctuaries for...

MESSENGER spacecraft to swing into orbit around Mercury

The MESSENGER spacecraft is scheduled to go into orbit around Mercury on March 17. The mission is an effort to study the geologic history, magnetic field, surface composition and other mysteries of the planet. The findings are expected to broaden our understanding of rocky planets in other solar...

Hubble snaps close-up of Tarantula Nebula

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an outstanding image of part of the famous Tarantula Nebula, a vast star-forming cloud of gas and dust in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In this picture, we see a close-up of the Tarantula's central region, glowing brightly with ionized gases and young...

HIV tool launched in Indonesia

A team of Indonesian and Australian researchers has developed a new computerised tool to help authorities reduce HIV infection and track disease burden across the Indonesian archipelago.

Inflammation behind heart valve disease

Research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows, that a specific inflammatory factor may be important in the development of the heart valve disease aortic stenosis. The results suggest that anti-inflammatory medication could be a possible new treatment.