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North Korea Shows Off Space Center and Launches Missile 294

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that nobody would describe North Korea's mission control as imposing. It is a small, unremarkable, two-story building, tiny compared to Nasa's Houston home in America or Russia's space command. But the North's secretive regime, now headed by the third of the Kim dynasty to rule here, Kim Jong-un, is opening up, for the first time in an attempt to allay fears it is about to test missile technology that could deliver a warhead as far as America. 'Sixteen technicians man the satellite command center. Dressed in white coats, like doctors, they sit behind computer screens,' writes Damian Grammaticas. 'On a big screen are live pictures from the launch pad, showing North Korea's rocket being fueled up. The satellite it will carry has already been loaded on board, we are told.' Pyongyang says the minibar refrigerator-sized satellite covered with solar panels and golden foil to protect its instruments will broadcast martial music praising North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung and is designed to monitor weather, natural disasters and agriculture patterns. As the five-day window for North Korea's rocket launch opens today, the United States has warned a launch would be a breach of UN Security Council resolutions that ban the North from testing missile technology. If North Korea goes ahead it could lead to UN sanctions, it has warned. 'That's why we have invited you, to clearly show that this is a satellite launch not a ballistic missile,' says Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control center. 'I hope you become supporters in showing the transparency of our satellite launch.'" After all that North Korea decided to launch a missile anyway. From the article: "The three-stage rocket, called the Unha-3, blasted off from the Soehae launch site near North Korea’s western corner with China, at about 7:39 a.m., the South Korea Defense Ministry said."
Transportation

Sahimo Hydrogen Vehicle Gets Over 1,300 mpg 453

Mike writes "Students from Turkey's Sakarya University have unveiled a remarkable attempt at creating Europe's most fuel-efficient vehicle. Dubbed the Sahimo, their pint-sized hydrogen car is cable of eking out an incredible 568 km on 1 liter of fuel (about 1,336 miles per gallon). An aerodynamic carbon-fiber construction keeps the vehicle's weight down to less than 110 kg (243 lbs), and the designers hope to push the Sahimo's performance even further to a full 1,000 km per 1 liter of fuel before participating in the Global Green Challenge in October."
Science

The Incredible Shrinking Genome 113

Shipud writes "Mammalian genomes have been shrinking for about 65 million years, roughly since the dinosaur extinction. Why? And why were ancient mammalian genomes three times larger than they are today? A new article in Genome Biology and Evolution tries to explain this bizarre finding, and why the genomes of mammals (but not of other living groups) are still shrinking. 'Once [the dinosaurs] were gone, mammals started to radiate, fill those niches, and a whole new level of competition arose. The selective advantage of not having a genome encumbered by potentially damaging mobile DNA elements has probably become critical at this "be ye fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein" stage. In effect, the genomes of mammals has been shrinking by removing mobile DNA elements, just after the KT boundary. And according to the model presented in this study, this process is still ongoing: mammalian genomes are not at an equilibrium size. Unlike flies, mammals are still cleaning up.'"

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