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april 2009

Jupiter breaks out in spots

Like any aging planet, Jupiter’s face has undergone a few changes over time. And even as the gas giant’s most famous feature — the colossal storm known as the Great Red Spot — appears to be shrinking, other spots have appeared.

02 Apr 2009

Earthquake rocks central Italy

Updated on April 7:

As of April 7, the death toll from the magnitude-6.3 earthquake that struck central Italy on April 6 has risen to more than 200 people. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency on Monday. On Tuesday, he told reporters that rescue efforts would continue for two more days.

06 Apr 2009

Earthquake prediction: Gone and back again

The 1990s and early 2000s were hard times for earthquake prediction research. “For 10 years, there was limited funding in the U.S.,” says Dimitar Ouzounov, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. That changed in 2004, Ouzounov says, after a magnitude-9-plus quake struck off the coast of Sumatra and set off a tsunami, killing more than 225,000 people in 11 countries.

07 Apr 2009

Coal-to-liquids: Can fuel made from coal replace gasoline?

Amid all the attention to the converging of three energy-related crises — climate change, resource depletion and international extremism funded by the energy trade — a surprising energy choice keeps rearing its head: coal. That especially includes liquid fuels made from coal, which can be a substitute for gasoline, jet fuel and just about any other transportation fuel on which we currently rely.

08 Apr 2009

Storms brewing over volcanoes

Two hundred years ago, a sea captain was sailing in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, when he observed “an immense body of smoke rising from the sea.” As he watched, the smoke, from a volcanic vent offshore of the island of St. Michael’s, began to rotate on the water “like a horizontal wheel,” the captain wrote in his 1811 account of the event. The rotating smoke and ash grew into a dark column and ascended high into the sky, spawning waterspouts and flashes of lightning.

09 Apr 2009

Lack of water threatens "Garden of Eden"

Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis and scientists from around the world have been working hard to restore Iraq’s once-lush marshes. But after several years of measurable improvement, drought and competition over limited water supplies threaten to reverse this progress. Those working on the marshes are confident that the marshes can come back — but whether the people who rely on these wetlands for their livelihood will be as resilient remains to be seen.

15 Apr 2009

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