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Echoes Can Reveal the Shape of a Room

A snap of a finger, a handful of scattered microphones and a computer algorithm are all it takes to create an accurate three-dimensional map of a room, Swiss and U.S. researchers said Monday.

The method, described in the U.S. journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, measured the distance between echoes to create maps of both a university lecture room and a cathedral alcove.

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Pesticides Slash Water Life by 42 Percent

Pesticides may kill off water insects and other small aquatic life by as much as 42 percent, according to an analysis of German, French and Australian rivers and streams published on Monday.

The study in U.S. journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to compare regional biodiversity in polluted versus less polluted water, said scientists at the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.

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Solar-Powered Plane Lands Near Washington

A solar-powered plane nearing the close of a cross-continental journey landed at Dulles International Airport outside the nation's capital early Sunday, only one short leg to New York remaining on a voyage that opened in May.

Solar Impulse's website said the aircraft with its massive wings and thousands of photovoltaic cells "gracefully touched down" at 12:15 a.m. EDT after 14 hours and four minutes of flight from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dulles in Washington's Virginia suburbs.

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Most Coal Must Stay in Ground to Save Climate

Most fossil fuels must remain in the ground because burning them will unleash changes which will "challenge the existence of our society", a new Australian government agency report warned Monday.

The Climate Commission study found that the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, a key Australian export, represented the most significant contributor to climate change.

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Effort to Revive Galapagos Tortoises Once Thought Extinct

Scientists will try to revive two species of giant Galapagos tortoises thought to have been extinct by breeding genetic relatives in captivity, experts leading the effort said.

The Galapagos Islands, located 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off Ecuador's Pacific coast, are famed for the large number of species that have developed there in isolation.

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U.S. Says Rogue Wheat was 'Isolated' Incident

U.S. agriculture officials said Friday the discovery of genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field appears to be an isolated incident.

The plants, modified to be resistant to Monsanto herbicide, were discovered last month and led some Asian importers to halt or suspend trade with U.S. wheat growers while an investigation was launched.

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U.N. Climate Talks: No Consensus on... Well, Consensus

A debilitating row with Russia at U.N. climate talks this week exposed a fundamental flaw in how decisions are taken -- the entire system balanced precariously on an ill-defined notion of consensus, observers say.

While furious with Russia for allowing the issue to stop important work at a meeting in Bonn, negotiators agree the decision-making procedure must be clarified before any long-term damage is caused.

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Mixed-Bag Climate Conference Draws to a Close in Bonn

U.N. climate negotiations were drawing to a close in Bonn on Friday with delegates reporting progress despite Russia blocking a key working group.

With just over two years remaining before the deadline for a new, universal climate pact, the talks in the former German capital sought to lay important groundwork for the next ministerial-level huddle in Warsaw, Poland, in November.

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Warm Ocean Water Melting Antarctic Ice from Bottom

Warming ocean waters are melting the Antarctic ice shelves from the bottom up, researchers said Thursday in the first comprehensive study of the thick platforms of floating ice.

Scientists have long known that basal melt, the melting of ice shelves from underneath, was taking place and attributed the trend to icebergs breaking off the platforms.

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Fifty Years Ago, Tereshkova Became First Woman in Space

On June 16, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space in a scientific feat that was a major propaganda coup for the Soviet Union.

Two years after Yuri Gagarin's historic first manned flight, Tereshkova blasted off in a Vostok-6 spaceship, becoming a national heroine at the age of 26.

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