News to Note, November 8, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


This mouse turned back the clock, filling up with fun-gas, a village of Crocodile Hunters, breaking the ice, and more!

1. Frozen Mice Succesfully Cloned

Mice frozen for 16 years have been successfully cloned by Japanese scientists. Could mammoths be next?

2. Tree Fungus a Factor in Petroleum Production

Factors in petroleum production: high pressure and heat, millions of years, underground drilling, and . . . tree fungus?

3. Crocodiles and Humans Coexisting in African Village

It may not be dinosaurs living side-by-side with humans, but it’s close!

4. Researchers Examine Possibility of Life Starting From Ice

Maybe it was primordial soup. Maybe it was crystals. Maybe it was volcanic pools. Maybe it was lumps of ice. Maybe . . . .

5. ScienceNOW: “Solar Storm! Shields Up!”

How could a page out of science fiction remind us of the uniqueness of earth?

British scientists working in the field of fusion reactions have developed a model that could help humans travel far beyond earth: the electromagnetic shield, popularized as part of the defense of any good starship in science fiction franchises.

But some readers might be wondering, there aren’t any Romulans or TIE Fighters out there, so why the need for a defensive shield? The problem is pervasive radiation in outer space, which would rapidly prove lethal to astronauts traveling beyond earth’s magnetic field (in essence, a giant defensive shield).

Because fusion reactors must create powerful magnetic fields to contain the dangerous thermonuclear reactions inside, fusion scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory decided to apply those magnetic fields to protecting astronauts from lethal space radiation.

Computer simulations confirmed that such defensive shields would only need to be a few hundred meters wide and would require less power than shields used to do the reverse (repelling rather than containing harmful radiation).

Ruth Bamford of the laboratory explained that while the team’s initial model probably wouldn’t provide complete protection, “Our aim isn’t perfect protection but to bring down the radiation to acceptable levels.”

We can thank God that earth has a giant magnetic field that deflects most harmful radiation away from us—just another factor in earth’s incredible uniqueness and habitability.

6. Obama Campaign Sparks Discussion About Race

Barack Obama’s campaign and election as the first “black” president of the United States has sparked much discussion about “race.” But what is race, really?

7. Jurrassic Park Author Michael Crichton Dies, 66

Best-selling novelist Michael Crichton—creator of Jurassic Park and the television series ER—has died. He was 66.

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