Moon’s water is useful resource, says Nasa

Scientists studied the full results of an experiment that smashed a rocket and a probe into a lunar crater last year.

The impacts kicked up large amounts of rock and dust, revealing a suite of fascinating chemical compounds and far more water than anyone had imagined.

A Nasa-led team tells Science magazine that about 155kg of water vapour and water-ice were blown out of the crater.

The researchers’ analysis suggests the lunar regolith, or soil, at the impact site contains 5.6% by weight of water-ice.

“That’s a significant amount of water,” said Anthony Colaprete, from the US space agency’s Ames research centre.

“And it’s in the form of water-ice grains. That’s good news because water-ice is very much a friendly resource to work with. You don’t have to warm it very much; you just have to bring it up to room temperature to pull it out of the dirt real easy.”

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Merkel says German multicultural society has failed

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11559451

Attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed”, Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

In a speech in Potsdam, she said the so-called “multikulti” concept – where people would “live side-by-side” happily – did not work.

Mrs Merkel’s comments come amid recent outpourings of strong anti-immigrant feeling from mainstream politicians.

A recent survey showed that more than 30% of Germans believed Germany was “overrun by foreigners”.

The study – by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think-tank – also showed that roughly the same number thought that some 16 million of Germany’s immigrants or people with foreign origins had come to the country for the social benefits.

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Second earth will soon be needed, warns WWF

The over-use and pollution of Earth’s natural resources have become so extreme that, at current rates, a second planet will be needed by 2030 to meet the world’s needs, a new report warns.

The planet’s 6.8 billion people were living 50% beyond Earth’s sustainable means in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available, according to the biannual “Living Planet” report by WWF, a conservation group previously known as the World Wildlife Fund.

“Even with modest U.N. projections for population growth, consumption and climate change, by 2030 humanity will need the capacity of two Earths to absorb CO2 waste and keep up with natural resource consumption,” the report says, adding that four and a half planets would be needed if everyone used as many resources as the average American.

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Study measures Atlantic plastic accumulation

A study has measured the amount of plastic debris found in a region of the Atlantic Ocean over a 22-year period.

US researchers, writing in Science, suggest the volume of plastic appeared to have peaked in recent years.

One reason could be tighter marine pollution rules that prevent vessels dumping their waste at sea.

The team said monitoring the free-floating plastic also provided an insight into the behaviour of ocean surface currents.

They found plastic, most pieces measuring no more than a few millimetres, in more than 60% of 6,136 samples collected by dragging fine-meshed nets along the ocean’s surface.

“Plastic marine pollution is a significant environmental concern, yet a quantitative description of the scope of this problem is the open ocean is lacking,” they wrote.

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Rebuilding Kenya One Bridge at a Time

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/08/19/cnnheroes.parker.kenya.bridges/index.html?hpt=C1#fbid=5ottK_FOtpr&wom=false

West Pokot, Kenya (CNN) — More than 13 years after his parents drowned in a flash flood, David Kakuko is at the Moruny River, building a bridge that might have prevented their deaths.

The hanging footbridge will provide safe passage over the Moruny, a frequently flooded waterway in West Pokot, Kenya.

“Before the bridge, there [were] so many people, so many who lost their lives,” said Kakuko, 32. “I know, because I have no parents. I have no parents, because this river took them.”

Kakuko is working alongside other local residents and Harmon Parker, a master mason who has been building bridges through Kenya’s mountainous terrain since 1997.

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Peter Popham: Japan shows us the limits of growth

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/peter-popham-japan-shows-us-the-limits–of-growth-2054285.html

It’s finally happened: China’s economy has overtaken Japan’s. Less than 20 years after Deng Xiaoping told his people that “to get rich is glorious”, and three decades after the Chinese Communist Party began its first timid opening to the outside world, the Central Kingdom has surpassed its rival across the Sea of Japan. China is now officially the world’s number two and, unless something inconceivable happens, it will hold that place until it becomes number one, maybe as soon as 2030.

There are several reasons why Japan stopped growing after the crash. An ageing population, a shrinking birth rate and a national disinclination to admit millions of immigrants are among the obvious ones. But one reason economists tend to overlook is the following: with the Cold War coming to an end, Japan saw that, for the first time since the 1850s, there really was nothing to fear any more.

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Pakistan floods ‘heart-wrenching’ – UN chief

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10981230

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described as “heart-wrenching” the destruction he witnessed on a visit to flood-devastated Pakistan.

Mr Ban said the scale of the disaster was greater than anything he had seen before.

He again urged the world to speed up aid to the country, saying shelter and medicine were desperately needed.

The Pakistani government says up to 20 million people have now been affected by the monsoon floods.

At least 1,500 are known to have lost their lives.

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