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Puppeteer helping to save real-life "Big Bird" from extinction

Wattled cranes ( Bugeranus carunculatus ) are truly big birds—mature adults stand up to 1.8 meters in height—so it's only fitting that puppets and a full-size bird costume are being used to help save this critically endangered species from extinction in South Africa.The destruction of wetland habitats has caused wattled crane populations to shrink throughout Africa, but the species faces its greatest challenge in South Africa, where only 235 birds remain in the wild.The Wattled Crane Recovery Program run by the South Africa–based Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Johannesburg Zoo is hoping to reverse that...

August 11, 2009 — John Platt

Shutdown of nuclear reactors a risk to cancer and heart disease patients

Nuclear reactors save lives, according to the thinking of some doctors. Anti-nuke activists might not see it that way, but when two aging facilities in Canada and the Netherlands recently shut down, a number of healthcare professionals and their patients became concerned, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday...

August 10, 2009 — Lynne Peeples

Routine tests turn up avian flu in Minnesota turkeys

Thousands of turkeys in Minnesota have been quarantined after a strain of avian flu (H7N9) was found at a poultry farm there. Experts say that the strain is markedly less virulent than H5N1, the Asian strain that has caused more than 250 human deaths and millions of poultry deaths...

August 7, 2009 — Katherine Harmon

Should parents spank their kids? Probably not, task force concludes

TORONTO—Corporal punishment has long been a hotly debated subject, with conflicting study results and opposing ideologies feeding the fire. Now the results of a five-year effort to review the scientific literature are in: a task force appointed by the American Psychological Association concludes that "parents and caregivers should reduce and potentially eliminate their use of any physical punishment as a disciplinary measure."

The recommendation was announced at the APA's annual meeting here today by the task force chair, psychologist Sandra A...

August 7, 2009 — Karen Schrock

Imaginary worlds are early sign of highly creative kids

TORONTO—All kids like to use their imagination, and many play fantasy games where they pretend to be characters in a made-up world. Some children persist in building especially elaborate imaginary worlds, with impressive depth in terms of histories, taxonomies, language and maps...

August 7, 2009 — Karen Schrock

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