Best evidence so far that humans are still evolving, scientists say
Humans are still evolving, scientists say, but don't expect any winged mutants like this one from "X-Men: The Last Stand."
October 3rd, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Best evidence so far that humans are still evolving, scientists say

Ordinary people evolve to have extraordinary capabilities on TV shows like “Heroes” and movies like the "X-Men" franchise. In real life, people don’t have genetic mutations that give rise to wings or telepathy, but scientists say human evolution is still happening. A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science offers some of the best evidence so far.

Researchers at the University of Quebec at Montreal examined a very detailed database of church records for residents of Ile aux Coudres, a tiny island northeast of Quebec City, Quebec, between 1799 and 1940.

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Filed under: Discoveries • Human ancestors • News • On Earth
Study shows unprecedented loss of ozone above Arctic
At left, colors represent ozone levels in March 2011. At right, colors representing chlorine monoxide are shown.
October 3rd, 2011
02:42 PM ET

Study shows unprecedented loss of ozone above Arctic

Loss of the Earth’s ozone layer above the Arctic last winter was unprecedented, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told CNN on Monday.

In findings published in a new study in the journal Nature, scientists said a hole in the ozone was caused by an unusually long period of low temperatures in the stratosphere, the protective layer that shields the Earth’s surface from harmful radiation.

While ozone loss is a sadly common occurrence at the South Pole, recent findings document a similar event happening at the Earth’s northernmost point. “We’ve never seen that kind of phenomenon in the Arctic before,” Michelle Santee, an atmospheric scientist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said.

Although it was comparatively small – “The area of the Arctic loss zone was about 60% the size of a typical ozone hole,” Santee said – the ozone hole has raised concerns among atmospheric scientists.

“The same process that destroys the ozone layer in Antarctica – chlorine and other man-made compounds such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) – takes place here also, but it’s just that it never occurred in the Arctic to the same degree,” Santee said.

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Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Giffords, retires from Navy
"This was not an easy decision," Mark Kelly wrote on his Facebook page when he announced he was retiring.
October 3rd, 2011
09:16 AM ET

Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Giffords, retires from Navy

(CNN) - Mark Kelly, the astronaut and husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, formally retired from the Navy on Saturday.

Kelly, 47, is a former Navy combat and test pilot who went on to command Space Shuttle flights in 2008 and again in May, several months after his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was wounded in a shooting at a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona. He also flew as part of Shuttle crews in 2001 and 2006.

He announced his retirement in June and it became effective on Saturday.

In a posting on his Facebook page at the time, he said he wanted to devote more time to helping Giffords recover from her injuries, and also to spend more time with his daughters from a previous marriage.

"This was not an easy decision. Public service has been more than a job for me and for my family," Kelly wrote on his Facebook page at the time.

Kelly joined the Navy in 1987 after graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1986.

Kelly and Giffords have a book coming out on November 15.

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Filed under: In Space • News

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