SciTech Briefs

Aboriginal remains return to Australia

The remains of 18 aboriginal people, once thought to have been illegally exported to Britain, are to be returned from the Natural History Museum in London.
The move back to Australia will take place following a three-month-long study of the remains.

The museum currently holds a collection of 19,950 human remains, ranging in size from as small as a finger bone to as a large as an entire skeleton.

Source: BBC News

Longest golf swing to be achieved

Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin will probably break the current record for longest golf drive — by thousands of miles. The attempt will take place on the International Space Station Wednesday as part of a promotional stunt for Element 21 Golf, the Canadian company that makes the golf club being used.

Tyurin will not be able to hit the ball like conventional golfers on Earth. His suit makes it impossible to hold a golf club with two hands. Instead, Tyurin will swing at the ball with one hand. The ball will be held in a wire mesh basket, instead of a conventional tee.

Tyurin will have to wedge his foot between brackets on the space station to avoid flying off in accordance with Newton’s First Law of Motion, under which he would continue to stay in motion with the swing.

Source: USA Today

‘Carbon tax’ given okay in Colorado

Voters in Boulder, Colo. approved a tax designed to cut down on carbon emissions of greenhouse gases.

The decision came last Tuesday and will take effect on April 1 of next year. The tax is based on the number of kilowatt-hours used by households. The town anticipates that the new tax could mean an extra $16 each month coming from the average homeowner in addition to $46 from local businesses.

Residents of Boulder who use alternative energy sources such as wind power will receive a tax break based on the amount of alternative energy used.

A similar decision was made five years ago in Oregon.

Source: The New York Times

Report finds that animals in danger

A report issued by the United Nations Environment Program suggests that migratory animals could be in danger of extinction due to rising temperatures.

Migratory species cover vast areas, and as a result depend on muliple ecosystems for their survival. Turtles, for example, cover large portions of ocean waters. Birds are also in danger, covering large areas from continent to continent.

The report found that turtles are particularly affected by rising temperatures, primarily in their reproductive patterns. The change in temperature shows a change in the ratio of males to females. At higher temperatures, some turtles produce a greater amount of female eggs than male eggs.

Other species were singled out as well, including the North Atlantic right whale, the white-beaked dolphin, and the Baikal teal.

Source: BBC News