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'School of second chances' opens in Costa Rica
24 March 2019 - Last month, The Costa Rican School of Opportunities opened in San Jose and has 75 adult students working toward obtaining a high school degree. It is the only free private school in the country, and maybe Central America, designed to get adults back into the classroom to finish their secondary degrees. The school was the brainchild of Robert Flanzer, a United States citizen from Atlanta (Georgia) with many deep ties to Costa Rica. (more)

Bridges for animals to safely cross freeways are popping up around the world
24 March 2019 - Wildlife crossings are more than simple road signs as you speed down the highway. Increasingly, animal bridges are being employed around the globe in order to preserve our ecosystems. (more)

Photographer captures the magical beginnings of Japan's cherry blossom season
24 March 2019 - Springtime has officially started in Japan, marked by the arrival of the iconic sakura blossom. Every year from late March to early May, the entire country transforms into a colorful splendor, covered in beautiful pink flowers. From Osaka to Kyoto, Japanese photographer Koji captures the beauty of Japan's cherry blossom season in full bloom. (more)

How two Eritrean brothers built a solar power business in some of Africa's riskiest markets
23 March 2019 - As the booming East African solar market brings in significant foreign competition, Aptech Africa, a start-up founded by two Eritrean brothers, is holding its own against better financed firms in some of the continent's riskiest markets. (more)

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs
23 March 2019 - Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize the taste buds, help cure what ails you, oil the body, perfume the air, and attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Many gardeners are trying to help declining pollinator populations by providing them with the plants they need to thrive. Herbs appeal to a great variety of bee species, said Francis Drummond, a professor of insect ecology and insect pest management at the University of Maine. (more)

US: Colorado Springs Utilities to add solar panels to power 30,000 homes
23 March 2019 - Colorado Springs Utilities is taking a significant step toward renewables in seeking to finalize a contract for 150 more megawatts of solar power. This is in addition to an existing solar array at Clear Springs Ranch about 10 miles south of the city. 'We are changing the way we power the Pikes Peak region and are on a path to reduce our carbon emissions by 40 percent or more from 2005 to 2035,' the Utilities' news release said. (more)

US: New project would more than double Wisconsin's solar energy output
23 March 2019 - Dairyland Power Cooperative has announced plans to purchase 149 Megawatts from Jefferson County solar farm. Dairyland Power Cooperative plans to purchase 149 megawatts of solar energy from the Badger State Solar project. That's almost six times Dairyland's current solar investment and would more than double the state's solar production. The new partnership would create one of the largest solar farms in Wisconsin. (more)

Astronomers have found one of the universe's oldest star clusters in our own galaxy
22 March 2019 - After decades of research, an analysis of light has finally identified the age of an ancient star cluster in the Milky Way. It's called HP 1, and it's roughly 12.8 billion years old. That makes it one of the oldest ever found -- not just in the galaxy, but in the entire universe. HP 1 hangs out in the galactic bulge, and we've known about it for a while. But getting an accurate reading of its light signature -- its spectrum -- has proven complicated, due to the way our atmosphere distorts incoming light. (more)

CERN: Study sheds light on one of physics' biggest mysteries -- why there's more matter than antimatter
22 March 2019 - Why the universe we see today is made entirely out of matter is one of the greatest mysteries of modern physics. Had there ever been an equal amount of antimatter, everything in the universe would have been annihilated. Our research has unveiled a new source of this asymmetry between matter and antimatter. ... the LHCb [CERN's Large Hadron Collider beauty] experiment has now managed to observe such an asymmetry in particles called D-meson -- which are comprised of charm quarks -- for the first time. (more)

Physicists reveal why matter dominates our universe
22 March 2019 - Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University have confirmed that matter and antimatter decay differently for elementary particles containing charmed quarks. Distinguished Professor Sheldon Stone says the findings are a first, although matter-antimatter asymmetry has been observed before in particles with strange quarks or beauty quarks. (more)

Physicists see new difference between matter and antimatter
22 March 2019 - CERN discovery of a tiny effect in particles called D mesons provides fresh way to probe why matter exists. An experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful particle accelerator, has seen a new difference in the way matter and antimatter behave differently -- one that physicists have been hunting for decades. (more)

UK: Fund to boost female and black physicist numbers
22 March 2019 - The Institute of Physics is launching a bursary scheme to help female and black students to become physics researchers. The scheme is funded by one of the world's leading astronomers, Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. The discoverer of pulsars donated the [British pounds] 2.3 million she won as part of an international science award. The initial aim is to increase the number of female physics researchers in the UK from the current level of 22 percent to more than 30 percent in the next 10 years. (more)

India bursts with color in celebration of Holi
21 March 2019 - Hindus across India this week celebrate the two-day festival of Holi, which marks the beginning of spring, with an explosion of colors, chanting of devotional songs, and prayer. For many, the festival, also known as the 'festival of colors' or the 'festival of love,' which began on Wednesday (20 March), is a time to laugh, forgive, and mend broken relationships. (more)

Italy's Terna to spend record sums on grid for shift to renewables
21 March 2019 - Italy's Terna said on Thursday (21 March) it would spend a record 6.2 billion euros ($7.1 billion) on its power grid to deal with the shift toward the production of more renewable energy. 'The energy transition process is moving faster than expected and renewables and the phasing out of fossil fuels will have a major impact,' Chief Executive Luigi Ferraris told analysts. (more)

Finland tops world's happiest countries list again: U.N. report
20 March 2019 - Finland topped the ranking of the world's happiest countries for the second year in a row, with the Nordic countries taking the leading spots, an annual survey issued on Wednesday (20 March) showed. It ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption. (more)

Why India celebrates Holi: The legends behind the festival of color
20 March 2019 - It's the bold image of India most often seen in ad campaigns, films, and music videos: People coming together from all walks of life to sing, dance, and splash their friends and family with colored powder and water. Brands such as Sony and Canon have used the vibrant festival to showcase their products. British Airways recently joined in the fun with cabin crew members celebrating in cities across India. Before you travel there to celebrate it, you'll want the answer to these questions: What is Holi? And why do Indians celebrate it? (more)

In a first, a woman wins math's most prestigious prize
19 March 2019 - Karen Uhlenbeck, a mathematician and professor at the University of Texas, has been awarded this year's Abel Prize, a mathematics prize modeled after the Nobels. It's the first time the prize has gone to a woman. The Abel Prize is awarded by the King of Norway to mathematicians who have greatly influenced their field, and includes a cash award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (about $700,000). The first prize was awarded in 2003. (more)

US professor is first woman to be awarded math's top prize
19 March 2019 - An American professor has become the first woman to be awarded the Abel Prize, one of the world's most prestigious international mathematics awards. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced in Oslo on Tuesday (19 March) that Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck of the University of Texas at Austin was this year's winner of the prize, seen by many as the Nobel Prize in mathematics. (more)

US: Prescriptions for healthy food might save lives -- and money
19 March 2019 - Healthy food prescriptions written for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries might lower the risk of costly chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and at the same time lower the costs of care, a new study suggests. (more)

Over a tenth of Danish agricultural land now organic
18 March 2019 - Never before has organic agricultural land been as popular in Denmark as it is currently, according to a new report from the Landbrugsstyrelsen agricultural agency. The report reveals that 10.5 percent of land reserved for agriculture in Denmark has been transformed into organic land, and there are now close to 4,000 organic farmers in the country. (more)

Light physical activity tied to lower heart disease risk in senior women
18 March 2019 - Senior women may be able to reduce their risk of developing heart disease by increasing the number of hours they spend in low intensity activities, such as walking and gardening, a new study suggests. In the study of nearly 6,000 older women, researchers found women in the highest category of daily low intensity activity were 42 percent less likely to experience a heart attack or die from heart disease compared to those in the lowest category. (more)

In Saint Lucia, Britain's Prince Charles touts 'blue economy'
17 March 2019 - On the first leg of his Caribbean tour, Britain's Prince Charles touted a 'vital blue economy,' built on sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, as part of the solution to climate change, noting that rising sea levels represent an especially severe threat to nearby island nations. The Prince, an outspoken environmentalist, in a speech shortly after arriving called attention to efforts to create sustainable agriculture and hailed local entrepreneurs taking risks to protect the environment (more)

Philippines: Cagayan organic farmers get certificates
16 March 2019 - The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) has awarded certificates to organic practitioners after they complied with the standards set by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP). OCCP said its primary purpose is to serve as a certification and inspection body for food and food products, and agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, pesticide, feeds, among others. (more)

Engineers develop cheap, simple tests for car emissions
15 March 2019 - Engineers working to tackle carcinogenic pollution from cars have developed cheap and simple devices to test the effectiveness of particle filters, which could help take toxic vehicles off roads without resorting to blanket bans. ... Regulators also need to find inexpensive ways to measure real-world emissions without installing costly equipment. (more)

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