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Thursday, May 28th

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Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods

God didn't make man; man made GodBefore John Lennon imagined "living life in peace," he conjured "no heaven … / no hell below us …/ and no religion too."

No religion: What was Lennon summoning? For starters, a world without "divine" messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will." Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is an ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.

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Image of ancient mammoth or mastodon found on bone

Mastodon image found on ancient boneSome of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists. A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Spitzer telescope snaps stunning image of 'ring' nebula

ring nebula photographedThe Spitzer space telescope has snapped a striking false-colour image of the RCW 120 nebula, a vast cloud of gas and dust where stars have recently formed.

RCW 120 lies about 4,300 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius, just above the plane of the galaxy. It emits a broad range of colours in the infrared region, with wavelengths far beyond those we can see.

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2 new elements officially added to periodic table

Periodic TableRemember the periodic table from high school chemistry? It just got a little bigger. Two new chemical elements, numbers 114 and 116, have been officially recognized by an international committee of chemists and physicists.

The elements last for less than a second and join such familiar neighbors as carbon, gold, tin and zinc. The new ones don't have approved names yet. That brings the total of known elements to just 114 because elements 113 and 115 haven't been officially accepted yet, said Paul Karol of Carnegie Mellon University.

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Surprise find in Kepler planet hunt: lots of multi-planet systems

Kepler planet systemsNASA's Kepler spacecraft, which is searching for Earth-mass planets orbiting sun-like stars, is finding hundreds of candidate planets, and many more multi-planet systems than expected.

Two years into a 3-1/2-year mission, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, hunting for planets orbiting some 165,000 stars in the constellation Cygnus, is uncovering planet candidates by the hundreds.

Many of these inhabit multi-planet systems that are unexpectedly flat – the inclination of the planets’ orbits within each of these systems are essentially the same, a feature that may hold clues about how these systems formed and evolved.

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Fukushima's Apocalyptic Threat Demands Immediate Global Action

Fukushima may be in an apocalyptic downward spiral.

Forget the corporate-induced media coma that says otherwise…or nothing at all.

Lethal radiation is spewing unabated. Emission levels could seriously escalate. There is no end in sight. The potential is many times worse than Chernobyl.

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Scientists investigate twisters as crime-scene detectives

Scientists investigate tornado like detectivesWeather scientists are retracing the footprints of this week's monstrous tornadoes the way detectives would investigate a crime scene: talking to witnesses, watching surveillance video and taking the measurements of trees ripped from the ground.

The result will be a meteorological autopsy report on the disaster, revealing how many twisters developed and how powerful they were.

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