May 4, 2009 | 7
Last Friday, we reported on Egypt's recent attempt to curb transmission of the human H1N1 epidemic by butchering all 300,000 of its pigs. Experts we interviewed said there was no sound rationale for such a move, because pigs had never been infected with the new virus, which has sickened at least 1085 people in 21 countries – until now.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently announced that a herd of pigs in Alberta might have caught the new virus from a Canadian who had recently spent time in Mexico, ground zero for the current epidemic. Fortunately, both man and pigs have recovered or are in the process getting better, but the incident raises a new question: do pigs now pose a threat to humans?
Nov 26, 2008 | 5
When NASA astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper lost a tool bag during a space walk last week, it seemed we had seen the last of that gear.
But amateur astronomer Kevin Fetter of Brockville, Ontario, appears to have tracked it down, using coordinates from the U.S. military, according to the Toronto Star. He filmed the sack using a home telescope—it looks like a bright star darting across the night sky. NASA expects the tool kit, now just another piece of space debris, to burn up during re-entry in a matter of months.
Nov 24, 2008 | 31
Hundreds of people witnessed a meteor lighting up the evening sky over Edmonton, Alberta, last week, and the spectacular fireball was even caught on tape by unsuspecting videographers. Around 5:30 P.M. MST Thursday, a brilliant streak of light shot across the western Canadian sky, setting meteorite hunters on a chase to find any surviving fragments of the object.
"We're trying to take all the reports and put them together in a meaningful conclusion as to where it might have fallen," Frank Florian, of the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton, told the Edmonton Sun.
Added Alan Hildebrand, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Calgary and leader of the Prairie Meteorite Search project: "It may have been the largest [meteor], or one of the largest that would have occurred over Canada this year." Hildebrand told the Edmonton Journal that the object probably broke into pieces and landed east of Edmonton, near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.
Sep 26, 2008 | 1
The world's oldest rock has been found along the eastern shore of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. The rock, a chunk of ancient volcanic deposits, is around 4.28 billion years old—or 250 million years older than the previous record-holder, the Acasta gneiss in northwestern Canada. That also makes them less than 300 million years younger than the Earth itself.
"There have been older dates from Western Australia for isolated resistant mineral grains called zircons," says geochemist Richard Carlson of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, who dated the old stone and reported its age this week in Science. But those zircons (which contain some of the world's oldest diamonds) were not actual rock like this bedrock. "This gives us an unprecedented glimpse of the processes that formed the early crust," Carlson says.
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