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Science News: From Drip to Glide: How Plate Tectonics Started

From Drip to Glide: How Plate Tectonics StartedNow, a new model seeks to explain why Earth's plate tectonics is unique among the sun's rocky planets. It all comes down to tiny minerals in rocks. "What goes on in rocks has helped us understand how plate boundaries evolve," said David Bercovici, a geophysicist at Yale University and lead author of the new study. Plate tectonics is a widely-accepted theory that says the Earth's outer surface, or crust, in divided into rigid plates.


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Science News: Time running out to meet global warming target: U.N. report

Smoke rises from chimneys of a thermal power plant near ShanghaiBy Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - World powers are running out of time to slash their use of high-polluting fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, a draft U.N. study to be approved this week shows. It says nations will have to impose drastic curbs on their still rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep a promise made by almost 200 countries in 2010 to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 C (1.4F) since 1900 and are set to breach the 2 C ceiling on current trends in coming decades, U.N. reports show. "The window is shutting very rapidly on the 2 degrees target," said Johan Rockstrom, head of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and an expert on risks to the planet from heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas.


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Science News: 'Cosmos' Seeks the Hidden Light of the Universe Sunday Night (Video)

'Cosmos' Seeks the Hidden Light of the Universe Sunday Night (Video)The next episode of "Cosmos" Sunday night (April 6) will delve into the mysteries of light and how it travels through space. The actor Alfred Molina ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") will play Ibn al-Haytham, a physicist that developed the scientific method and first understood the way the eye works during the fifth episode of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" — a Fox reboot of famed astronomer Carl Sagan's beloved science TV miniseries. "This is the method of science, so powerful that it has carried our robotic emissaries to the edge of the solar system and beyond," "Cosmos" host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says in a preview.


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Science News: Will Ocean Discovery On Enceladus Spur Life-Hunting Missions to Icy Moons of Saturn, Jupiter?

Will Ocean Discovery On Enceladus Spur Life-Hunting Missions to Icy Moons of Saturn, Jupiter?Astronomers are hoping that the existence of a subsurface ocean on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus will build momentum for life-hunting missions to the outer solar system. Researchers announced their discovery of the deep watery ocean on Enceladus on Thursday (April 3) in the journal Science, confirming suspicions held by many scientists since 2005, when NASA's Cassini spacecraft spied geysers of ice and water vapor erupting from Enceladus' south pole. The discovery vaults Enceladus into the top tier of life-hosting candidates along with Europa, an ice-sheathed moon of Jupiter that also hosts a subterranean ocean. "I think what this discovery tells us is that we just need to be more aggressive in getting the next generation of spacecraft both to Europa and to the Saturn system once the Cassini mission is over."


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Science News: Time running out to meet global warming target - U.N. report

Smoke rises from chimneys of a thermal power plant near ShanghaiBy Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - World powers are running out of time to slash their use of high-polluting fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, a draft U.N. study to be approved this week shows. It says nations will have to impose drastic curbs on their still rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep a promise made by almost 200 countries in 2010 to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 C (1.4F) since 1900 and are set to breach the 2 C ceiling on current trends in coming decades, U.N. reports show. "The window is shutting very rapidly on the 2 degrees target," said Johan Rockstrom, head of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and an expert on risks to the planet from heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas.


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