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Aging Mars rover suffers mental blackout

The Spirit rover, one of two twin explorers sent to Mars in 2004, suffered a bit of confusion over the weekend. The rover mysteriously did not respond to its driving commands last Sunday, although it acknowledged receiving them, and did not record its activities as it usually does.

January 29, 2009 — John Matson

U.S. infrastructure crumbling

The nation's roads, bridges, levees, schools, water supply and other infrastructure are in such bad shape that it would take $2.2 trillion over five years to bring them up to speed.

January 28, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Fertilizing oceans with iron might combat climate change

A now-defunct California company back in 2007 attempted to fertilize the ocean off the coast of Ecuador with iron to prod plankton to grow. Such a bloom, it proclaimed, would suck up carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and then send it to the ocean floor as the one-celled plants died and sank.

January 28, 2009 — David Biello

Looking for top-secret military info? Try pawn shops

Seems that undeleted information stored on discarded computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices has a habit of re-surfacing and biting its previous owner in the backside, especially if that owner is the U.S.

January 28, 2009 — Larry Greenemeier

Peanut butter company knew its products contained salmonella

Federal regulators charge that the company responsible for salmonella-tainted peanut butter shipped products it knew were contaminated. The bacterial infection has sickened 501 people in 43 states since September and may be linked to eight deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

January 28, 2009 — Jordan Lite

Rabbit at Rest: Pulitzer Prize winner and sometime scientistic versifier John Updike dead

John Updike, a virtuosic writer of fiction, verse, essays and criticism, died yesterday from lung cancer at the age of 76. The prolific Pulitzer Prize–winning author of more than 60 books was born in Reading, Pa., and raised in the nearby former farming community of Shillington, which he would immortalize in a 1984 article that he penned for The New Yorker .

January 28, 2009 — Aaron Fagan

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Limited Time Offer: Scientific American Health & Medicine Premiere Issue

Limited Time Offer: Scientific American Health & Medicine Premiere Issue