Pipelines conveying natural gas in Washington, D.C., are old and wearing out, with approximately four leaks per mile, a recent scientific survey of the pipes suggests. Researchers say the average amount of methane lost to leaks in Washington seems to be more than twice the national average for cities.
Scientists hunting for planets that could support life have been too focused on finding places that resemble Earth, according to a report in the journal Astrobiology. The authors have come up with a list of traits that might make a planet "superhabitable."
The rare northern spotted owl species faces habitat loss and, now, intruding barred owls. A biologist, and the federal government, have made a difficult decision — killing one owl to ward off the extinction of another.
An aging tree's girth is good for the planet, scientists say, because it helps it suck more carbon dioxide out of the air. "It's as if, on your favorite sports team, you find out the star players are a bunch of 90-year-olds," one ecologist says.
The motivation for flying with other birds in V formation is probably to save energy, say researchers who tracked the pattern of wing flaps in an ibis flock. Each bird in the V catches a bit of lift from the bird ahead.
Computer scientist Peter Stone has taken his passion for soccer into the lab. He's developing robots that can play soccer. The work requires expertise in computer vision, robotics and understanding about how autonomous agents work together.
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