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Space

Sunspots Return 276

We're emerging from the longest, deepest sunspot drought since 1913 (we discussed its depths here) with the appearance of a robust group of sunspots over the weekend. Recently we discussed a possible explanation for the prolonged minimum. The Fox News article quotes observer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, Calif.: "This is the best sunspot I've seen in two years." jamie found a NASA site where you can generate a movie of the recent sunspot's movement — try selecting the first image type and bumping the resolution to 1024. The magnetic field lines are clearly visible.
Earth

North Pole Ice On Track To Melt By September? 978

phobos13013 writes "Recently released evidence is showing the North Pole ice is melting at the highest rate ever recorded. As a result, the Pole may be completely ice-free at the surface and composed of nothing but open water by September. As reported in September of last year, the Northwest Passage was ice-free for the first time known to man. The implications of this, as well as the causes, are still being debated. Are global warming experts just short-sighted alarmists? Are we heading for a global ice age? Or is the increase in global mean temperature having an effect on our planet?"
Earth

Alaskan Village Sues Over Global Warming 670

hightower_40 writes to mention that a small Alaskan village has sued two dozen oil, power, and coal companies, blaming them for contributing to global warming. "Sea ice traditionally protected the community, whose economy is based in part on salmon fishing plus subsistence hunting of whale, seal, walrus, and caribou. But sea ice that forms later and melts sooner because of higher temperatures has left the community unprotected from fall and winter storm waves and surges that lash coastal areas."
Earth

California Lawmaker Seeks Climate Change as part of Public Education 313

Andrew Feinberg writes "A California State Senator is seeking to mandate climate change as part of the standard science curriculum. Other members of the legislative body seek to teach an opposing view. 'Simitian noted that his bill wouldn't dictate what to teach or in what grades, but rather would require the state Board of Education and state Department of Education to decide both. Although global warming is mentioned in high school classes about weather, it is currently not required to be covered in all textbooks, said the head of the California Science Teachers Association ... teachers would have plenty to discuss: rising levels of carbon dioxide, how temperatures are measured globally, and what is known and not known about global warming.'"
Biotech

Green Light for Human/Animal Hybrids 292

Henneshoe writes "BBC News is reporting that two research facilities have been given the green light to create part human, part animal embryos. According the the report, 'Scientists want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs in a bid to extract stem cells. The embryos would then be destroyed within 14 days.' The decision to allow the embryos was made after research showed that people in large are OK with the idea."
Space

Sunspots Reach 1000-Year Peak 695

rlp writes "Researchers at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich are reporting that solar sunspot activity is at a 1000-year peak. Records of sunspots have been kept since 1610. The period between 1645 and 1715 (known as the Maunder Minimum) was a period of very few sunspots. Researchers extended the record by measuring isotopes of beryllium (created by cosmic rays) in Greenland ice cores. Based on both observations and ice core records, we are now at a sunspot peak exceeding solar activity for any time in the past thousand years."
Education

Billions Face Risks From Climate Change 659

gollum123 writes with a link to a kind of grim BBC story. According to a report drawn up by 'hundreds of international environmental experts', billions of people face drought and famine, as well as an increase in natural disasters, as a result of climate change. Individuals in the poorest countries face the most danger, due to a lack of infrastructure and geographic location. "The scientific work reviewed by IPCC scientists includes more than 29,000 pieces of data on observed changes in physical and biological aspects of the natural world. Eighty-nine percent of these, it believes, are consistent with a warming world. Several delegations, including the US, Saudi Arabia, China and India, had asked for the final version to reflect less certainty than the draft."

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