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Deadly tornadoes

Even with improved warning technology, tornadoes remain a deadly threat. Below is a list of some of the deadliest storms throughout the 20th century.
 
02 Mar 2011

The first dinner in a beast

Surprisingly, there is precedence for eating dinner in the body of a massive beast. In February 1802, Rembrandt Peale, an early American painter best known for his portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, invited 12 friends and family to dine under the rib cage of a mammoth, which had recently been erected in his father’s museum in Philadelphia.
 
03 Dec 2010

Gain some, lose some

Scientists now know that Earth’s rotation is very slowly decelerating, such that the length of the rotational day is about two milliseconds longer than the 86,400 seconds it was nearly two centuries ago. But that doesn’t mean Earth’s rotation is always slowing down. The tidal force of the moon acts to slow Earth’s rotation by taking away some of the planet’s energy. But other factors, such as the expansion and contraction of the atmosphere with the seasons, the churning of material within Earth’s core, and the rebounding of Earth’s surface as the weight of glaciers is removed, can sometimes act to speed up Earth’s rotation by redistributing its mass, thereby altering Earth’s moment of inertia and thus its speed of rotation.

30 Jun 2010

Nuclear Fallout

Willard Libby, who won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1960, was a prominent advocate of nuclear weapons testing, and worked on the Manhattan Project to help develop an atomic bomb during World War II. During the late 1950s, chemist Linus Pauling, a peace activist who won Nobel Prizes for both Chemistry and Peace, presented the United Nations with a petition signed by more than 11,000 scientists that called for an end to nuclear weapons testing. In particular, Pauling cited a 1958 speech on carbon-14 by Libby that suggested nuclear tests would produce large amounts of the radioactive isotope. 
 
18 May 2010

Venturing into Argentina

We chose to spend most of our time on the Chilean side of Patagonia, although you could just as easily decide to spend your entire trip on the Argentine side. But if you follow an itinerary similar to ours (see main story), it’s still worth a jaunt into Argentina. The town of El Calafate, an inexpensive five-hour bus ride from Puerto Natales, Chile, is a great place to sample wines from the Mendoza region and try the local delicacy, crucified lamb. The sheep is affixed to a steel cross and roasted slowly over a campfire. The resulting image is graphic, but the meat is tender and savory. El Calafate is also the gateway to Glaciers National Park. This park is home to many wondrous sights, but prime among them is the Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina’s top tourist attraction. 
 
03 May 2010

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

There are many ways to get to Patagonia. I would have preferred to get there by following Charles Darwin’s route, aboard a replica of H.M.S. Beagle (especially considering that last year was the 200th anniversary of his birth). Sadly, the modern school calendar dictated that I move more quickly: Two weeks was all I had to work with.
 
03 May 2010

Celebrity climb

One billion people are without access to clean water today. When glacial deposits like the one atop Kilimanjaro melt away, that number will increase, some researchers say. To raise awareness about what some people are calling the global clean water crisis, a team of celebrities climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in January in the “Summit On The Summit.” 
 
02 Apr 2010

Travel specs

Booking a climb up Kilimanjaro can be a little daunting. I recommend first figuring out your climbing details and then figuring out how you will get to the mountain. Climbs are offered year round, but weather-wise, it is best to go in January and February or September and October. There are six main climbing routes up the mountain, and they all offer unique sites and spectacular views. Besides differing in scenery, these routes vary in physical difficulty, length (between five and 10 days), accommodations and prices. Prices range from $1,200 to $5,000 per person, with costs covering food, accommodations, park fees, transportation and rescue service, should it be necessary. Moreover, all of the agencies have their own supply of gear in case you are missing anything. For a list of respected, well-known tour operators, check out the “Climb with a Partner Company” page on the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project Web site (www.kiliporters.org/index.php). 
 
02 Apr 2010

The Washington Monument's Apex

An aluminum pinnacle has graced the Washington Monument since 1884, but subsequent modifications have changed the look of the point. 

23 Mar 2010

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