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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Science Scene

Climate fears may have long term effects

A new federal report says that the rise of carbon dioxide from humans is affecting the climate and vegetation across the United States and will disturb water supplies, agriculture, forestry and ecosystems for decades.

According to the report, Western states in particular will face significant obstacles as a result of a growing demand for water and a lessening supply.

The authors of the report and other experts said the report’s projections and its attention to detail could prove to be especially valuable.

The report also reflects a shift on the part of the Bush Administration. During President Bush’s first term, climate worries raised by President Clinton were largely downplayed. However, the latest report has the signatures of three of Bush’s cabinet secretaries.

The complete report can be found online at climatescience.gov. (nytimes.com)


Childhood obesity may be slowing

Childhood obesity, which has been increasing the past two decades, appears to have finally reached a flattening point. This is a potentially huge landmark suggesting that the epidemic of childhood weight gain may finally be under control.

However, the finding, which is based on survey data from 1999 to 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in Wednesday’s issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, has been met with some reservations by experts.

It is uncertain whether the stall in childhood weight gain is a real trend. Numerous doctors are quick to point out that even if the statistics do hold up, 32 percent of American school children are still overweight or obese.

Still, the good news is that obesity rates have not been going up since 1999, and doctors find reason to be optimistic. (nytimes.com)


Spacecraft lands successfully on Mars

NASA’s spacecraft Phoenix landed safely on Mars on Sunday, landing with all of its systems intact and ready for its mission: searching for signs of life.

It was the first successful landing using parachutes and thrusters since 1976. Of the past 11 attempts by the United States, Russia and England, six of the landings were unsuccessful.

The Phoenix’s search for life on Mars will be largely focused on finding organic material and other potential signs of life. Unlike past Mars rovers that move about the planet, Phoenix will be staying in one place and digging into the soil and ice directly around itself. The vehicle is capable of directly analyzing whatever materials it digs up. (washingtonpost.com)


Science Scene is compiled by EDDIE LEE who can be reached at science@californiaaggie.com.




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