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Power

Laser Fusion Passes Major Hurdle 354

chill writes "The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has performed their first controlled fusion experiments using all 192 lasers. While still not ramped up to full power, the first experiments proved very fruitful. The lasers create a lot of plasma in the target container and researchers worried that the plasma would interfere with the ability of the target to absorb enough energy to ignite. These experiments show that not only does enough energy make it through, the plasma can be manipulated to increase the uniformity of compression. Ramping up of power is due to start in May." The project lead, Dr. Sigfried Glenzer, is "confident that with everything in place, ignition is on the horizon. He added, quite simply, 'It's going to happen this year.'"
Space

Uranus and Neptune May Have "Oceans of Diamonds" 347

Third Position writes "Oceans of liquid diamond topped with solid 'icebergs' of the precious gems could be on Uranus and Neptune. The first-ever detailed research into the melting point of diamond found it behaves like water during melting and freezing — with its solid form floating on the liquid. A large diamond ocean on one or both of the planets could provide an explanation for an oddity they both share: unlike Earth, they do not have magnetic poles that match up with their geographical poles." The article doesn't mention what the pressures might be like in these outer-planets environments, but the researchers found that liquefying diamond requires 40 million times Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level.
Biotech

Scientists To Breed the Auroch From Extinction 277

ImNotARealPerson writes "Scientists in Italy are hoping to breed back from extinction the mighty auroch, a bovine species which has been extinct since 1627. The auroch weighed 2,200 pounds (1000kg) and its shoulders stood at 6'6". The beasts once roamed most of Asia and northern Africa. The animal was depicted in cave paintings and Julius Caesar described it as being a little less in size than an elephant. A member of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology suggests that 99% of the auroch's DNA can be recreated from genetic material found in surviving bone material. Wikipedia mentions that researchers in Poland are working on the same problem."

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