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Earth

Submission + - Political Idealogy Shapes How People Perceive Temperature (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "In what likely isn't that much of a surprise, a study has shown that political ideology shapes how we perceive temperature changes (but not drought/flooding conditions). (An abstract of the study is here. 8,000 individuals were asked about temperatures and drought/flood events in recent years, then their political leanings. Answers regarding drought/flood events tended to follow the actual changes in conditions, while answers regarding temperature tended to follow people's political beliefs."
Science

Submission + - Solar Cells That Emit Light 'Attain Perfection', Research Suggests (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley say they have come up with a counter-intuitive way of making solar cells more efficient--making them emit light. In a press release the scientists claim to be the first to demonstrate that the better solar cells are at emitting photons (the more LED-like they are), the more efficient they are at generating electricity. However, "unlike an LED, the electrons in a solar cell are absorbing photons from an exterior source as well as emitting their own.""
Science

Submission + - Volcano Near Mexico City Begins Erupting (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "Popocatépetl, A volcano located 34 miles East of Mexico City, has begun a series of small eruptions. It's feared that larger eruptions would not only endanger people within range of its explosions, but disrupt life in Mexico City with ash clouds. More than 30 million people live within sight of the volcano."
Space

Submission + - Russian Probe Craps Out on Way to Mars (theregister.co.uk)

benfrog writes: Russia's fourth attempt to reach Mars has run into trouble and is now stuck in orbit around Earth.

The craft, called -, or Phobos-Grunt ("grunt" means "soil" in Russian) lifted off on time and that was about it. Both engines failed to work. Russia's Federal Space Agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said on Russian television that the space engineers now have three days to reset the craft's computer program to get the engines going. After that, the batteries will die.

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