Friday 25 June 1999
CONTRAILS - THE white streaks left by aeroplanes crossing the sky - will contribute significantly to global warming within the next 50 years, according to American and German researchers. Though the ice clouds (created when jet engines release water vapour) are short-lived in dry air, they can last for hours in moist air, looking like high-level cirrus clouds. Impact will increase with rises in the volume of air traffic: clouds trap heat in the atmosphere and prevent it escaping to space. By 2050, said Patrick Minnis of Nasa, in areas of Europe with the heaviest air traffic, contrails could cover up to 4.6 per cent of the sky.
THE INTERNATIONAL Space Station had a close encounter with a piece of space junk last week, made worse by the failure of ground controllers to move the station out of the way: the Russian computers on board the uncrewed station refused to fire for as long as the controllers demanded, and shut the station down instead. Though the debris only had a 1 per cent chance of hitting the station, that could have destroyed it. The two missed each other by seven kilometres.
THE US Patent and Trademark Office has ruled that you cannot patent human- animal "chimeras" made from a mixture of the two's cells. The decision followed a test case submitted by Jeremy Rifkin, who was seeking either to provoke a ban or to prevent commercial companies from producing such hybrids by getting the patent himself and restricting its use. The USPTO rejected the claim because it "embraces a human being" - which is not allowed because it could be seen as breaking the law banning slavery. But Rifkin is pursuing the case by appealing, because he thinks that recent applications on cloned cells (including human cell DNA transplanted into denucleated cows' eggs) come under the same definition, and so should also be outlawed.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 3 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 5 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
Eurovision 2015: The best moments from Australia's random entry to Lithuania's gay kiss
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland