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Researchers find unique US Declaration of Independence copy
24 April 2017 - A unique copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence has been discovered in an unexpected place -- England. The copy, similar to the one viewed by millions each year at the National Archives in Washington has been locked away in a local records office in southeastern England forgotten by historians. ... The document is 24-inches-by-30 inches -- the same size as the one housed at the National Archives. Also like the one at the archives, it is written by hand on parchment -- the only two of their kind known to exist. But there are also key differences. (more)

US: Hillbillies who code: the former miners out to put Kentucky on the tech map
24 April 2017 - 'A hillbilly is someone who is hardworking, thoughtful, and loyal,' says Garland Couch, a miner turned coder. His employer's ambition? To turn coal country into 'Silicon Holler.' Rusty Justice...hauled his first truck of coal in eighth grade. Justice and his business partner, Lynn Parish, prayed for a business idea that would not just pay, but pay people what they had been making before in the mines. Their breakthrough came when Justice and Parish visited a workforce retraining expo in 2014 in Lexington, where they learned about coding. Each year, 600,000 US tech jobs go unfilled, jobs that ultimately go overseas but could be on-shored if more Americans had the right skills. Even better, the job paid the same as the mines. Justice had seen first-hand how miners employed logic to solve life or death problems underground. Still, he wondered, could a coalminer really code? He called his computer-savvy friend Justin Hall with that question. 'I don't see why not,' Hall said. 'Great, you're hired,' Justice told him. (more)

Germany increases electric car charging points 27 percent in 2016
23 April 2017 - The number of electric car charging points for public use in Germany rose by 27 percent last year, including hundreds more fast-charging units, amid efforts to boost the technology across Europe. Germany now has 7,407 charging points, electricity industry group BDEW said on Friday. Of those added last year, 292 units were fast charging (direct current) points that can reload an electric car in minutes instead of hours. (more)

Norway: Increase in sales of organic food
23 April 2017 - Norwegians last year bought so-called organic foods worth NOK 2.5 billion. This is an increase of 24 percent from 2015. (more)

US beekeeper: Keeping backyard hives benefits bees, humans
23 April 2017 - Generally, adding honey bees will increase the yield of blueberries by 1,000 pounds of berries per hive per acre. Commercially managed honey bee colonies -- which make up more than three quarters of the 2.75 million honey bee colonies in the country -- face many more stresses than we backyard beekeepers do. ... During the past four years, I have been giving many beekeeping classes at my Hampden honeybee farm and in adult education program. In fact, last month I taught my 1,000th student. ... It is very gratifying to know that while not everyone can be beekeepers to help the honeybees, there are those prepared to help with their generosity and inspiration. (more)

Euro zone economy races into second-quarter with bumper growth: PMI
22 April 2017 - The euro zone economy bounded into the second quarter with strong broad-based growth, according to a survey showing businesses increased activity at the fastest rate for six years as new orders stayed robust. (more)

Thailand 'well suited' to host global tourism conference
22 April 2017 - Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, talks with The Nation on Thailand's readiness to host the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, which will take place in Bangkok from Tuesday to Thursday next week. The summit will be a platform for Thailand to present itself as a hub for tourism and sports before the eyes of more than 700 top executives from 140 companies, representing 30 per cent of the entire travel and tourism sector. Key speakers at the forum include former British prime minister David Cameron, WTTC president and chief executive officer David Scrowsill, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and Siam Piwat CEO Chadatip Chutrakul. (more)

GREEN Tool offers evidence-based guidance for school garden success
20 April 2017 - Researchers [in the US] ... have come up with a planning tool that can help ensure school gardens thrive and endure. School gardens have a host of health and educational benefits, from getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables to boosting academic achievement in science, math, and reading, the study team writes in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (more)

On your bike: Cycling to work linked with large health benefits
20 April 2017 - People who cycle to work have a substantially lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease or dying prematurely, and governments should do all they can to encourage more active commuting, scientists said on Thursday. (more)

Bluebell flowers decorate Belgian forest floor
19 April 2017 - Each spring, the ground of the forest Hallerbos trades in its brown and green hues for vibrant blue, when a burst of bluebell flowers bloom. The protected forest, located south of Brussels near the town of Halle, draws locals and tourists to witness a landscape that looks plucked from a fairy tale. (more)

Physicists observe 'negative mass'
19 April 2017 - Physicists have created a fluid with 'negative mass', which accelerates towards you when pushed. ... in theory, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be positive or negative. Prof Peter Engels, from Washington State University (WSU), and colleagues cooled rubidium atoms to just above the temperature of absolute zero (close to -273C), creating what's known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, particles move extremely slowly, and following behaviour predicted by quantum mechanics, acting like waves. They also synchronise and move together in what's known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy. ...This heightened control also gives researchers a tool for exploring the possible relationships between negative mass and phenomena observed in the cosmos, such as neutron stars, black holes, and dark energy. (more)

US: California utility launches first hybrid power systems
17 April 2017 - A California utility has launched unique systems combining a hybrid battery and gas turbine to produce and store electricity for use during hot summer months and other times when power demand soars. The new Hybrid Electric Gas Turbines are the first of their kind in the world, officials with Southern California Edison and manufacturer General Electric said during an event Monday near Los Angeles. The new systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by 60 percent and save millions of gallons of cooling water annually, Edison said. (more)

US: On Florida courthouse lawn, yoga instructor is the judge
17 April 2017 - One day a month, [a Florida] judge wears yoga clothes under her black robes, making for an easy transition when she heads to her open-air yoga studio: the big grassy lawn in front of the Duval County Courthouse. There ... County Judge Eleni Derke leads a yoga [asana] class. It's free, open to anyone, though for now it's heavy on those in the legal profession. (more)

A dark matter 'bridge' holding galaxies together has been captured for the first time
13 April 2017 - The first image of a dark matter 'bridge', believed to form the links between galaxies, has been captured by astrophysicists in Canada. Researchers at the University of Waterloo used a technique known as weak gravitational lensing to create a composite image of the bridge. Gravitational lensing is an effect that causes the images of distant galaxies to warp slightly under the influence of an unseen mass, such as a planet, a black hole, or in this case, dark matter. Their composite image was made up of a combination of combined lensing images taken of more than 23,000 galaxy pairs, spotted 4.5 billion light-years away. This effect was measured from a multi-year sky survey at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. (more)

These are the first images of the web of dark matter that holds galaxies together
13 April 2017 - Picture the Universe, and you might imagine a dark emptiness speckled with maybe trillions of galaxies, each containing many billions of stars. The truth is a little weirder, with apparently separate galaxies connected into vast intergalactic webs by invisible filaments of dark matter. If you find it hard to imagine, at least now we can actually see some of those threads thanks to some clever use of gravitational lensing. A team of astronomers at the University of Waterloo in Canada used the space-bending effects of dark-matter to see the unseeable, combining catalogues of galaxy groups that act as lenses with catalogues of data on the light-sources behind them to create a visual of their 'dark' features. (more)

German economy gained momentum at start of 2017 - economy ministry
12 April 2017 - The German economy, Europe's largest, picked up speed at the beginning of this year, lifted by a robust industrial sector and rising employment that is supporting private consumption, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday [12 April]. (more)

California's solar energy set renewable record in March
11 April 2017 - California met its goal to produce about half the state's electricity from renewable sources for three hours on March 11, a new estimate from the U.S. government shows. The record was set when almost 40 percent of the electricity flowing across the grid came from large-scale solar power plants. Factor in electricity produced by area homes and businesses, and solar met about half the overall electricity demand in the middle of the day. (more)

Iowa town's editor wins Pulitzer for taking on farm groups
11 April 2017 - The owner of a small-town Iowa newspaper who took on powerful agricultural groups for allowing nitrogen runoff to pollute lakes and streams and wrote that the state 'has the dirtiest surface water in America,' won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing on Monday. (more)

Dancers from around the world show off at Irish Dancing Championships
11 April 2017 - Dancers from around the world will stomp the floorboards and leap into the air as they show off their best moves at Dublin's World Irish Dancing Championships this week. Excitement was palpable backstage on Tuesday as performers warmed up for the championships' categories including the traditional solo step dances, figure choreography team dancing, dance drama that tells a story and ceili, a kind of Celtic square dance. (more)

New Zealand devises test for manuka honey
11 April 2017 - The New Zealand government has tested 800 samples of honey from around the world to establish a scientific definition of genuine manuka honey and crackdown on alleged fakes. After three years of testing honey samples, New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released a scientific definition to be used to authenticate manuka honey destined for export in a bid to restore consumer confidence. (more)

Why Easter is called Easter, and other little-known facts about the holiday
11 April 2017 - [On] April 16, Christians will be celebrating Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. I [Brent Landau] am a religious studies scholar specializing in early Christianity, and my research shows that this dating of Easter goes back to the complicated origins of this holiday and how it has evolved over the centuries. Easter is quite similar to other major holidays like Christmas and Halloween, which have evolved over the last 200 years or so. In all of these holidays, Christian and non-Christian (pagan) elements have continued to blend together. Most major holidays have some connection to the changing of seasons. .... (more)

UK provides millions to help build more electric vehicle batteries
10 April 2017 - Britain awarded millions of pounds on Tuesday to help boost manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, including a project to build the country's second purpose-built electric battery plant and another to make the technology more powerful. Carmakers are racing to build greener cars and improve charge times in a bid to meet rising customer demand and fulfill air quality targets . . . (more)

2017 Pulitzer winners and finalists in journalism and arts
10 April 2017 - Considered the most distinguished awards in American journalism, the Pulitzers are handed out in 14 categories of reporting, photography, criticism, and commentary by newspapers, magazines, and websites. Arts prizes are awarded in seven categories, including fiction, drama, and music. This is the 101st year of the contest, established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. Public service award winners receive a gold medal; the other awards carry a prize of $10,000 each. (more)

Indian govt ready to support Ghana develop technical, vocational sector
10 April 2017 - The Indian government says it is ready to support Ghana in developing the technical and vocational education sector. The Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Birender Singh, said skills in technical and vocational education were what were needed to encourage the growth of the small and medium industries in the country. (more)

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