Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Biofuels cause pollution, not as green as thought - study
OSLO (Reuters) - Green schemes to fight climate change by
producing more bio-fuels could actually worsen a little-known
type of air pollution and cause almost 1,400 premature deaths a
year in Europe by 2020, a study showed on Sunday. The report
said trees grown to produce wood fuel - seen as a cleaner
alternative to oil and coal - released a chemical into the air
that, when mixed with other pollutants, could also reduce
farmers' crop yields.
Vomiting Larry battles "Ferrari of the virus world"
LONDON (Reuters) - Poor Larry isn't looking too good. He's
pale and clammy and he's been projectile vomiting over and over
again while his carers just stand by and watch. Yet their lack
of concern for Larry is made up for by their intense interest
in how far splashes of his vomit can fly, and how effectively
they evade attempts to clean them up.
Approaching comet may outshine the moon
International crew of three reaches orbiting space station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz capsule
carrying a multinational crew of three arrived at the
International Space Station on Friday, setting the stage for a
Canadian for the first time to take command of the orbital
research base. The spacecraft carrying Chris Hadfield from the
Canadian Space Agency, NASA's Tom Marshburn and Russian
cosmonaut Roman Romanenko blasted off from Kazakhstan's
Baikonur Cosmodrome on Wednesday and parked at the station's
Rassvet docking module at 9:09 a.m. EST as the ships sailed 255
miles above northern Kazakhstan.
After setbacks, Russia boosts space spending
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The country that oversaw the launch of
the world's first artificial satellite hopes to regain some of
its former glory with a big boost in space spending announced
by Russia on Thursday after a series of failures. Prime
Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a plan to spend 2.1 trillion
roubles ($68.71 billion) on developing Russia's space industry
from 2013 to 2020, state-run RIA news agency reported.
Celebrity bad science: Dried placenta pills and oxygen
LONDON (Reuters) - Pop guru Simon Cowell carries
pocket-sized inhalable oxygen shots, America's "Mad Men"
actress January Jones favors dried placenta pills, and British
soap star Patsy Palmer rubs coffee granules into her skin.
Celebrities rarely shy away from public peddling of dubious
ideas about health and science, and 2012 was no exception.
Britain suspends exploratory drilling of Antarctic lake
LONDON (Reuters) - An ambitious British plan to search for
minute forms of life in an ancient lake beneath Antarctica's
ice has been suspended because of technical problems, the
scientist leading the project said on Thursday. In a move that
clears the way for U.S. and Russian teams to take the lead,
Professor Martin Siegert said technical problems and a lack of
fuel had forced the closure on Christmas Day of the
7-million-pound ($11 million) project, which was looking for
life forms and climate change clues in the lake-bed sediment.
China to open world's longest high-speed rail line
BEIJING/ZHENGZHOU, China (Reuters) - China will open the
world's longest high-speed rail line next week when a link
between Beijing and the southern metropolis of Guangzhou is
inaugurated, officials said on Saturday, underscoring its
commitment to a trouble-plagued transport scheme. The 2,298-km
(1,428-mile) line, parts of which are already in operation,
will begin full service on Wednesday, halving travel time to
less than 10 hours on trains which will run at 300 kph (186
NASA posts YouTube video debunking Maya "Armageddon"
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA is so sure there
will be a December 22, 2012, it has already posted a YouTube
video titled "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday." Scientists
say rumors on social media and the Internet of Earth's
premature demise have been prompted by a misunderstanding of
the ancient Maya calendar, which runs through December 21,