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Earth's 'magnetic personality' much older than previously thought
2 August 2015 - Earth's magnetic field has been a life preserver, protecting against relentless solar winds, streams of charged particles rushing from the Sun, that otherwise could strip away the planet's atmosphere and water. But there has been debate among scientists about when this vital shield generated by Earth's liquid iron core formed. Researchers on Thursday said evidence indicates the magnetic field arose at least 4.2 billion years ago, much earlier than previously believed. The new study shows Earth was protected by its magnetic field beginning very early in its history. (more)

Lithium find in exploding star could help solve astronomy puzzle
2 August 2015 - Astronomers have discovered lithium in a type of stellar explosion known as a nova for the first time, a find that helps clear up a longstanding mystery in astrophysics about the quantity of the element that has been observed in stars. Using two telescopes in Chile, astronomers detected tiny amounts of the chemical element lithium in Nova Centauri, which exploded in 2013 -- the brightest nova so far this century, the European Southern Observatory said this week. That could be the first step in solving the so-called lithium riddle. (more)

Professor Peter Higgs awarded world's oldest scientific award for his 'God particle' work
2 August 2015 - Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Peter Higgs has been awarded the world's oldest scientific award, the Royal Society's Copley Medal. He was given the award for his contribution to particle physics and his work on the so-called God particle, officially known as the Higgs boson. (more)

Scientists figure out pendulum clock puzzle that dates back centuries
2 August 2015 - After more than three centuries, scientists say they have figured out why pendulum clocks hung on the same wall tend to sync up -- with one clock's pendulum swinging to the left just as the other swings right. The strange phenomenon was first observed in 1665 by Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), according to LiveScience. No matter how the clocks started, the Dutch scientist noticed that within about 30 minutes their pendulums wound up swinging in precisely opposite directions. (more)

US: Tourists flock to gawk at massive highway bridge projects
2 August 2015 - One of the biggest and most expensive bridge projects in Minnesota history is sparking a hot market for tours. From the $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement in New York to a 'floating bridge' outside Seattle, bridge construction tours around the country are regularly filled to capacity, too. (more)

India, Bangladesh swap border enclaves, settle old dispute
1 August 2015 - At the stroke of midnight Friday, tens of thousands of stateless people who were stranded for decades along the poorly defined border between India and Bangladesh will finally get to choose their citizenship, as the two countries swapped more than 150 pockets of land to settle the demarcation line dividing them. The boundary dispute has been lingering since British colonialists carved Pakistan out of India in 1947, and granted independence to the two countries. None from Bangladeshi enclaves within India opted for Bangladesh, while 979 people from Indian enclaves living inside Bangladesh applied for Indian citizenship, (more)

US: Beekeeping one honey of a hobby
1 August 2015 - Charity Woodard is an Edwardsville, Illinois resident who took up the hobby of beekeeping about four years ago. She started with two hives and now has 17 hives. Having clearly acquired a wealth of knowledge about bees, Woodard talked about how important honey bees are as pollinators. 'I think what's really threatening all of our pollinators is the loss of habitat,' she said. 'They need fields of clover and alfalfa. They need a lot to forage.' (more)

Largest solar array in Israel hooked up to grid
31 July 2015 - The 'Ketura Solar' field was connected on Wednesday, 29 July, to the national electric grid. It is one of the largest solar parks in Israel with a capacity of 40 MW, making it the largest to be currently part of the grid. The field is jointly owned by Arava Power and EDF √Čnergies Nouvelles Israel a subsidiary of the French national electric corporation. (more)

Canada: Drumi pedal-powered washing machine wins Canadian Dyson award
31 July 2015 - A washing machine that can fit in a micro-condo and uses no electricity has won a national award for its Toronto designer. The Drumi clothes washer is about the size of a water cooler bottle, weighs less than seven kilograms, and is powered with a foot pedal. It's designed to be suitable for use in the tiny apartments in crowded urban areas and in remote areas of the developing world, without good access to electricity. (more)

Exercise during teens reaps long-term benefits for women, study shows
31 July 2015 - Playing team sports and exercising during adolescence can have long-lasting benefits for women and may even reduce their risk of dying from cancer and other causes later in life, a new study showed on Friday, 31 July. The findings were published in the journal 'Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention'. (more)

UK investors pile into stocks as risk appetite returns
31 July 2015 - British investors bumped up their stock bets by the most in a year in July and pulled out of cash, a Reuters poll found, after a deal to keep Greece in the euro stoked investors' appetite for riskier assets. (more)

US: Lines out the door for nation's first organic drive-thru restaurant
31 July 2015 - The country's first all-organic drive-thru has opened in California, with lines out the door as customers flock for a chance to support what could be the biggest step forward for industry ever. The new Amy's Organic Drive-Thru restaurant opened in Rohnert Park, California, featuring an all-vegetarian menu packed with items like veggie burgers, salads, and even mac n' cheese in both regular and vegan flavours. (more)

Russian President Putin praises Iran deal in call with Netanyahu (+ AP video)
30 July 2015 - Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised a deal between Iran and world powers in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (more)

US economy posts solid 2.3 percent growth rate in Q2
30 July 2015 - The U.S. economy posted a solid rebound in the April-June quarter after a harsh winter, led by a surge in consumer spending and a recovery in foreign trade that bode well for the rest of the year. (more)

Survey: German consumers remain optimistic
29 July 2015 - A closely-watched survey indicates German consumers remain optimistic but are showing signs of worry about the country's economic situation amid uncertainty about Greece's financial future. The GfK research group also found ncome expectations rose 1.4 points, backed by 'exceedingly good domestic conditions' including low unemployment. (more)

Britain's economy bounces back, despite currency hit to exporters
28 July 2015 - British economic growth got back on track in the second quarter. The economy grew by 0.7 percent in the three months to June. It was the 10th straight quarter of expansion, with GDP per person returning to pre-crisis levels for the first time. (more)

Canadian math whiz wins International Mathematical Olympiad for high school students in Thailand
27 July 2015 - The name Alex Song is spoken in reverential tones in Canadian mathematical circles. The 18-year-old won the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand in mid-July, achieving the rare perfect score in the two-day competition against more than 600 high school competitors from 104 countries. (more)

Survey shows unexpected upturn in German business confidence
27 July 2015 - Business confidence in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has risen unexpectedly this month as worries over Greece have subsided, a closely watched survey showed Monday. The German economy has been helped lately by low unemployment and increasing domestic demand. (more)

Canada: Self-driving golf cart invented by University of Waterloo students (+ CTV News video)
26 July 2015 - Ttwo resourceful University of Waterloo students have rigged a golf cart with navigation technology that allows the vehicle to drive itself. A series of motion detecting lasers and a rooftop GPS system help the cart steer clear of potential obstacles. The driver instantly becomes a passenger whose only job is to lean back and enjoy the ride. (more)

'Selfies' of the 17th century highlighted in Dutch exhibition
23 July 2015 - The selfie may be a contemporary look, but a Dutch museum aims to show that its roots go back centuries. In an upcoming exhibition, the Mauritshuis (art museum) in The Hague is showing a collection of self-portraits by master artists including Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Carel Fabritius, and Gerrit Dou from Dutch painting's 17th century Golden Age. The self-portrait was particularly popular among Dutch painters of the period. Rembrandt alone painted and drew dozens over his lifetime. (more)

Applications for US unemployment aid plummet to 42-year low
23 July 2015 - Six years after a brutal recession that wiped out more than 8.5 million jobs, Americans are now enjoying a nearly unprecedented level of job security. The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid plunged last week to the lowest in nearly 42 years. Applications for jobless benefits are a proxy for layoffs, so the low level indicates that employers are keeping their staffs and likely hiring at a steady pace. (more)

Astronomers discover most Earth-like planet yet
23 July 2015 - A planet believed to be remarkably similar to Earth has been discovered orbiting a distant sun-like star, bolstering hopes of finding life elsewhere in the universe, U.S. scientists said on Thursday. The planet, which is about 60 percent bigger than Earth, is located 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. It was discovered by astronomers using NASA's Kepler space telescope and circles a star that is similar in size and temperature to the sun, but older. (more)

Culinary tourists driving growth in US tourism
23 July 2015 - Culinary tourists are pushing growth in foreign tourism to the United States, which is transforming its image as a fast-food mecca to a land of regional tastes and dishes, said officials visiting the Expo 2015 world's fair focusing on food this week. Foreign tourism to the United States in 2014 rose by 7 percent to over 75 million, contributing $221 million to the economy. (more)

Scientists find closest thing yet to Earth-sun twin system
23 July 2015 - Scientists have identified a 'close cousin' to Earth that's orbiting a sun-like star and might harbour life. The researchers announced their discovery Thursday based on observations from NASA's Kepler space telescope. What makes this planet remarkable is that it orbits its star at about the same distance that Earth orbits the sun. What's more, its home star looks to be similar to our sun. (more)

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