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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Video: Was Siberian Meteor Blast a Warning of Things to Come?
15 February 2013 12:00 pm
The 10-meter-diameter chunk of rock that exploded over western Siberia yesterday had nothing to do with the 45-meter asteroid whizzing close by Earth today, scientists say. But it does provide a more dramatic reminder of the incessant rain of cosmic debris that the planet endures. Such a meteoric detonation tens of kilometers high happens on average every 10 years or so. This one just happened to strike over a populated area, injuring several hundred people, mostly by sending window glass flying. That pales beside the destruction wreaked by the detonation of a 40-meter asteroid over an unpopulated part of Siberia in 1908; that so-called Tunguska event leveled 2000 square kilometers of forest. The object's energy—it was traveling at thousands of kilometers per hour—was released in an explosion when it shattered and atmospheric friction burned up the bits in a moment. Airbursts of Tunguska size probably happen every 1200 years on average somewhere on a mostly empty Earth. One of these days, a bigger bit of cosmic debris will make it to the ground intact.
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