There's a mystery in West Africa that's puzzled scientists for years. Strange circles of bare soil appear in grassland; they're commonly called "fairy circles." These naturally occurring shapes last for decades, until the grass eventually takes over and the circles fade.
Now German scientists think they have an explanation — a horde of insects seems to be bioengineering thousands of miles of desert.
When workplace safety expert Eric Esswein got a chance to see fracking in action not too long ago, what he noticed was all the dust.
It was coming off big machines used to haul around huge loads of sand. The sand is a critical part of the hydraulic fracturing method of oil and gas extraction. After workers drill down into rock, they create fractures in that rock by pumping in a mixture of water, chemicals and sand. The sand keeps the cracks propped open so that oil and gas are released.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 4:30 pm
President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:59 pm
What had earlier been widely billed as the largest cyberattack in history, causing Web-wide disruptions for Internet users, appears on closer inspection to have been not quite so dramatic as first thought. But what did it mean for the innocent bystander sitting at his or her computer?
Probably not much, as it turns out — particularly if that bystander's computer wasn't in Europe.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:47 pm
During a Holy Thursday ritual, Pope Francis continued to break the traditions at the Vatican.
Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 young people at a youth prison. Among them were two women and two Muslims. The act was a break with tradition. As The Guardian reports, all modern popes have partaken in the ritual by washing the feet of fellow priests at either St Peter's or the Basilica of St John in Lateran.
A Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions is on trial for murder. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies who the prosecutor says were born alive. District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case in disturbing detail in a grand jury report last year.
When authorities raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010 they found squalid conditions: blood on the floor, the stench of urine and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:27 pm
One day while he was watching TV, farmer Emmanuel Tshiteta saw a news segment about people digging.
With shovels and picks, they forged deep holes, then packed the rocks they uncovered into plastic mesh bags. They carried the bags to a river to wash away the dirt, revealing handfuls of aqua-colored ore. The next day, they sold the ore for quick cash.