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How torture may inhibit accurate confessions

The ethics of enhanced interrogation techniques, detailed in a series of White House memos earlier this year, have come under growing fire in Washington and around the world.

September 21, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

AIDS-like retrovirus threatens Australia's koalas with extinction

Koalas ( Phascolarctos cinereus ) may be one of the world's cuter critters, but that doesn't mean they have it easy. Not only have koala populations become heavily fragmented due to habitat loss, they face numerous threats that they never encountered before: household cats and dogs frequently kill koalas; hundreds die every year after being run over by cars and trucks; and now a deadly virus is spreading to koalas throughout Australia.The koala retrovirus, which infects and alters the animal's DNA, has been linked to a variety of diseases and medical problems, including leukemia, bone marrow failure, cancer and AIDS-like immune deficiencies...

September 21, 2009 — John Platt

How much in subsidies do fossil fuels get anyway?

At least some members of the Obama administration plan to call for an end to fossil-fuel subsidies as part of next week's G20 economic leaders summit, citing positive impacts ranging from improved energy security to combating climate change...

September 18, 2009 — David Biello

NASA's moon orbiter returns promising early data in the hunt for lunar water ice

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), launched in June to survey the moon with an eye toward a human return there, is already hard at work. At a news conference from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., NASA presented preliminary results from the spacecraft's instruments, which have just finished a transition from the commissioning to operational phases...

September 17, 2009 — John Matson

Recovered meteorite points to an unusual origin

Meteorites can reveal a lot about the composition and formation of their parent bodies, but such postcards from beyond come with no return address, making their provenance difficult to establish...

September 17, 2009 — John Matson

One in six Mediterranean mammals in trouble

The latest regional update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species finds bad news for mammals living around the Mediterranean. One in six species in the area are now threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN report, "The Status and Distribution of Mediterranean Mammals,"—the first major assessment of mammals in this region...

September 17, 2009 — John Platt

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