December 13th, 2007

A New Hope

Planted Forests Project
On the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, loggers, conservation biologists, and indigenous groups are coming together to test a new model of land use that gives everyone a piece of the pie.

If their plan succeeds, it could be replicated in tropical regions around the world, protecting biological diversity while allowing the local people to enjoy the economic benefits of productive land. The Sarawak state government in Malaysia commissioned the Planted Forests Project in an attempt to have it all: economic development, wildlife protection, and land use by local people.
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20 Things You Didn't Know About Snow
You might as well understand the stuff that could soon paralyze your car.
1. Snow is a mineral, just like diamonds and salt.
2. Lies your teacher told you: Most snowflakes don’t look like the lacy decorations that kids cut from folded paper. Flakes are generally bunches of those perfectly symmetrical crystals stuck together.
3. No two alike? More lies! Many crystals are almost identical in their early stages of growth, and some of the fully formed ones are pretty darned similar.

4. A snow crystal can be 50 times as wide as it is thick, so even though crystals can be lab grown to more than two inches across, they’re generally far thinner than a piece of paper.
5. At the center of almost every snow crystal is a tiny mote of dust, which can be anything from volcanic ash to a particle from outer space.
6. As the crystal grows around that speck, its shape is altered by humidity, temperature, and wind; the history of a flake’s descent to Earth is recorded in its intricate design.
7. Freshly fallen snow is typically 90 to 95 percent air, which is what makes it such a good thermal insulator.
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Virtual Brain

The Blue Brain Project
Scientists rely on computer models to understand the toughest concepts in science: the origin of the universe, the behavior of atoms, and the future climate of the planet.

Now a computer model is being designed to take on the human brain. With assistance from IBM (whose nickname, Big Blue, helped name the project), Scientists hope to have a virtual human brain, with all its 100 billion neurons, functioning by 2015.
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Image of the Day

Rare "Prehistoric" Shark

Flaring the gills that give the species its name, a frilled shark swims at Japan's AwashimaMarinePark. Sightings of living frilled sharks are rare, because the fish generally remain thousands of feet beneath the water's surface.