November 16, 2011

Penguin     Photo: xrayspx/Flickr

BBC Drops Climate Change Episode in U.S.

Discovery won't air Frozen Planet finale

The BBC’s upcoming documentary series, Frozen Planet, will be offered in the United States without an episode devoted to climate change. The final of seven episodes, “On Thin Ice,” shows footage of icebergs calving and features David Attenborough discussing climate change. The Discovery Channel, which will televise the series in the United States, has announced that a scheduling conflict will keep the network from showing all of the episodes, but that elements from the seventh will be worked into earlier parts of the series.

Read more at The Telegraph


Security line

Security line     Photo: Josh Hallett/Flickr

EU Bans Airport Body Scanners

Cancer risk may be higher than thought

The European Union has banned the use of X-ray body scanners in European airports amid increased fears that radiation emitted by the devices could cause cancer in a small number of passengers. The scanners, which are widely used by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, emit small levels of radiation that scientists say are not harmful to most people. According to a new report, that risk was overlooked when security officials in the United States deployed the scanners in 2010. That decision contravened a long-held policy of abstaining from using X-ray machines on humans when it is not medically necessary. Past estimates have put the risk of developing cancer from a scanner as approximately equal to the risk of being killed by a terrorist.

Read more at Scientific American


Astronaut John Grunsfeld

A close-up of Astronaut John Grunsfeld shows the reflection of Astronaut Andrew Feustel, perched on the robotic arm and taking the photo. The pair teamed together on three of the five spacewalks during Servicing Mission 4 in May 2009.     Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

NASA is Hiring Astronauts

Lacking spaceship, agency still recruiting

On Tuesday, NASA launched an unprecedented hiring campaign, announcing openings for astronauts even though the agency no longer has a space shuttle. NASA posted a recruitment video and application to the federal government's hiring website urging interested candidates with a Bachelor's degree in science and three years of related professional experience to apply. NASA officials did not indicate how many astronauts they plan to hire, but a National Research Council report published in September suggested that upcoming retirements would leave the agency with a shortage of spacemen and spacewomen in 2013.

Read more at the Washington Post


Cyclist, San Francisco

Cyclist, San Francisco     Photo: mary jane watson/Flickr

Cyclist Charged in SF Pedestrian Death

Man ran red light and killed tourist

The San Francisco District Attorney's office has charged a 23-year-old cyclist with misdemeanor manslaughter for a July bike accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian. Randolph Ang hit Dionette Cherney, 68, a realtor from Washington, D.C., when he ran a red light on July 15 in San Francisco's Waterfront District. Cherney died on August 11 from a head injury sustained in the accident. Ang could face a year in jail. Dionette is the first pedestrian to be killed by a cyclist in the city since 2006.

Read more at The Bay Citizen


Ulan Bator

Ulan Bator     Photo: Alastair Rae

Mongolia Readies Ice Shield to Cool City

Plan would freeze part of river for summer

Later this month, Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator will begin a geoengineering project to create an artificial urban glacier as a cooling mechanism for the city's hot summer months. At a cost of about $1 million, engineering consortium EMI-ECOS plans to create a many-meter buildup of ice in the Tuul River that will melt slowly during the hottest months of the year. Scientists hope that, if successful, the use of "ice shields" could cut electricity-intensive air conditioning and help with irrigation in Northern climates during the summer.

Read more at the Guardian