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Lucy Sherriff

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What did happen to all those London mayoral votes?

Last week, the nation turned out in record numbers (45 per cent) to decide who would run their local councils. In London, that meant voting Boris Johnson into what Ken Livingstone probably thought was his office for life. Some time earlier, the Open Rights Group had called for volunteers to be part of an election observation …
Lucy Sherriff, 07 May 2008
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How scanners and PCs will choose London's mayor

Very few politicians are recognisable by their first names only, but next week, two such larger than life characters will face each other in the closest battle for the office of London Mayor since it was re-established in 2000. The polls have the Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone running neck and neck with the Tory contender, …
Lucy Sherriff, 30 Apr 2008
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NASA reveals manned Mars mission plans

NASA says it will send a 400,000kg crewed spacecraft on a 30-month round trip to Mars as early as February 2031. The details of the planned mission were announced at a meeting in Houston, Texas, the BBC reports. According to the plans, the spacecraft will be built in orbit, being far too large to ever be lifted from the bottom …
Lucy Sherriff, 29 Nov 2007
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Boffins report lightning on Venus, our non-identical twin

The European Space Agency's Venus Express probe has confirmed that there is lightning on our twin planet. This means that lightning has been confirmed on four of the solar system's eight official planets, but Venus' storms are unique. While lightning on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn is all associated with water clouds, the …
Lucy Sherriff, 29 Nov 2007
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Only bicarbonate of soda can save mankind!

A US firm has come up with a plan to turn the carbon dioxide emitted by coal-burning power plants into bicarbonate of soda. Joe David Jones, founder of Skyonic, says he can capture 90 per cent of the carbon coming out of a smokestack and turn it into a harmless baking ingredient thanks to his Skymine process. The "baking soda" …
Lucy Sherriff, 27 Nov 2007
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Dinosaurs derail desalination drive Down under

A fossilised spanner has been thrown into the works of plans for Australia's largest desalination plant, as a hoard of dino-remains has been uncovered on the beach near the proposed site. The plant, intended to protect Melbourne from drought, was being built at a cost of A$3bn, but the dinosaur discovery has put its future in …
Lucy Sherriff, 27 Nov 2007
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Boffins ponder Galileo signals as ocean monitors

Private enterprise might not know how to make any money from it, but academics are already thinking of uses for it. Yes, it is the Galileo system, Europe's answer to GPS. Scientists at the University of Surrey, along with spin-out firm SSTL, have managed to detect the reflection of signals sent down from an orbiting prototype …
Lucy Sherriff, 27 Nov 2007
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Britain's home front must go green, study

The UK's domestic carbon footprint could be reduced by 80 per cent by 2050, and a good start can be made using existing technologies, according to a report from an Oxford University academic. Brenda Boardman, a senior research fellow at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, said that reducing emissions from people' …
Lucy Sherriff, 27 Nov 2007
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Melting ice kills polar bears, say boffins

Al Gore might have been partly right after all. Melting sea ice could indeed be contributing to the death of polar bears, but the cause is more likely starvation than drowning*. Researchers analysing 20 years of population data of polar bears in Canada's Hudson Bay report a correlation between yearly survival rates of the very …
Lucy Sherriff, 26 Nov 2007
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China celebrates first lunar pictures

China is celebrating the first pictures of the Moon beamed back by its Chang'e 1 spacecraft. The country's leaders hailed the mission as a success, but downplayed reports of plans to put a man on the Moon by 2020. China's first pics of the moon. Credit: Xinhaunet China's first pics of the moon. Credit: Xinhaunet "There are …
Lucy Sherriff, 26 Nov 2007
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Mars Express circles planet 5,000 times

Mars Express has completed 5,000 orbits of the red planet, just short of four years after it arrived on Christmas day, 2003. The craft has sent back marvellously detailed pictures of Mars' surface, adding to our knowledge of the planet's geological history and evolution. Clay deposits on Mars Clay deposits on Mars. Most …
Lucy Sherriff, 26 Nov 2007
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Galileo tugs on public purse strings

EU states have hit upon a compromise deal that will allow them to fund the Galileo satellite project, and save some face. States voted to back a €2.4bn funding deal, drawing cash from unused farming subsidies, and restructuring research and industrial spending for the year. This means the European rival to the US military's GPS …
Lucy Sherriff, 26 Nov 2007
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Russia plans manned space launch centre

Russia is all set to build a new space launch facility, and has its eye on a completion date in 2015. The announcement is yet more confirmation of the rising temperature of international competition in space exploration, and of Russia's determination to be beholden to no one in its bid to conquer the stars. According to local …
Lucy Sherriff, 24 Nov 2007
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Researchers find massive mud flow off African coast

It happened 60,000 years ago, so we'll concede that we're a bit late with the news, but scientists have uncovered evidence of the largest ever flow of sand and mud, off the coast of north-west Africa. Researchers report in Nature that over the course of mere hours, or days, some 225 billion metric tonnes of sediment was dumped …
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Nov 2007
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Missing data found on mysterious comet, Darling

All your data are belong to...er... someone else, we just don't know who You might have noticed a small story going around this week about the government losing a bit of data on some of Her Majesty's subjects... You know, the 25 million personal records of child benefit recipients that were stuffed on to a couple of CDs that …
Lucy Sherriff, 23 Nov 2007
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UK gov bans 'terror' suspect from science class

The UK government is facing a High Court challenge over its decision to ban a suspected terrorist from studying sixth-form science courses, lest he use the knowledge he might gain for terrorist purposes. The government already suspects the man, an Iraqi national referred to in the case as 'A.E.', of terrorist affiliations, and …
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Nov 2007
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Britain's waterways turning 'healthy' brown

A new study has revealed that Britain's rivers and streams are much healthier, if less aesthetically pleasing, than they were two decades ago. The change has been linked with the decline of acid rain since the 1970s, clearing up a riddle that has puzzled researchers for some time. But researchers warn that similar work in the …
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Nov 2007
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UK Gov confirms new Foot and Mouth leak

The government has confirmed that it is investigating another "probable" leak of the foot and mouth virus from Pirbright, the site at the centre of the summer's outbreak of the disease. There are two facilities on the Pirbright site: one is the government owned and managed Institute for Animal Health, and the other, Merial, a …
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Nov 2007
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Moon makes us extra special, scientists say

Having a moon like ours makes us very special, cosmically speaking. This is according to proper scientists at the Universities of Arizona and Florida (as opposed to Mystic Meg), who've been searching the universe with the Spitzer space telescope for other planetary systems like ours. The Earth-Moon system is a rarity in the …
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Nov 2007
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Brian May appointed university chancellor

Ringlet-topped axe-slinger Brian May (PhD) has been appointed Chancellor of Liverpool's John Moores University, after he was named an honorary fellow of the university last year. Dr. May will take over from Cherie Blair in February next year. Dr. May was awarded his PhD after standing up to the academic scrutiny of a viva at …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Nov 2007
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Analysts warn of US broadband meltdown

Updated Analysts in the US are warning that the country's broadband infrastructure will not be able to keep up with demand, and without massive investment will have reached maximum capacity by 2010. A study from Nemertes Research predicts a massive increase in the amount of traffic that the network has to carry, and a subsequent …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Nov 2007
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Most doctors plan to dodge health database

The majority of family doctors have said they will shun a government plan to stuff a database full of all our medical records. According to a poll conducted by the Guardian, 59 per cent of GPs said they would not put records on the so-called spine without the consent of a patient, and fully three-quarters say records will be …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Nov 2007
Recycle sign

Brown pledges to be greener than greens

Are we on the brink of a green revolution? One as world changing as the Industrial Revolution, or the invention of the microprocessor? According to Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, we had better be. In yesterday's speech about climate change, Brown took on the question of how we should tackle climate change with a …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Nov 2007
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Having a migraine? Blame your brain

People who suffer from migraines have differently structured brains. According to new research, those who suffer from the severe headaches (often accompanied by nausea and "aura" - patterns of lights dancing before the eyes) have a thickening in the region of the brain that processes sensory information. A study of 24 volunteers …
Lucy Sherriff, 20 Nov 2007
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Americans clueless on NASA budgets

A recent survey, carried out on behalf of The Space Review, has revealed that the average American believes a quarter of the country's public purse goes towards funding NASA. The survey found that most people reported the belief that NASA is almost as well funded as the military. The Department of Defense does receive roughly 21 …
Lucy Sherriff, 19 Nov 2007