Topic: Sciences

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  • Top 5 'rare earth' minerals: What are they?

    Top 5 'rare earth' minerals: What are they?

    Setting off speculation that China is manipulating exports to punish certain trade partners, Beijing announced in July it was slashing its six-month export quota of so-called 'rare earths' by 72 percent. Speculation continued this week with reports of an expanding embargo of the minerals. But the so-called "rare earths" are neither rare nor does China have a lock on them. Although China produces 97 percent of the world's rare earths, it contains only 30 percent of the world's supply. The United States, Russia, and Australia all have significant reserves of the 17 elements essential in semiconducters, lasers, and other high-tech gadgets. While mining them has proved uneconomical at usual world prices and environmentally harmful, that may be changing. Click through the following slides to read how rare earths are important to your daily life.

  • Orionid meteor shower from Halley's Comet has big finish Thursday night

    Orionid meteor shower from Halley's Comet has big finish Thursday night

    Orionid meteor shower will conclude Thursday night as the Earth finishes traversing through the debris field that follows Halley's Comet.

  • Reader recommendation: The Flooded Earth

    Reader recommendation: The Flooded Earth

    Monitor readers share their favorite book picks.

  • Astronomers build on a Hubble find, report light from oldest galaxy

    Astronomers build on a Hubble find, report light from oldest galaxy

    Astronomers, aiming a ground-based telescope at a target spotted by the Hubble in space, confirm the find as the oldest galaxy so far. Its light was emitted at a time when hydrogen and helium fog still filled the universe.

  • Photos of the Day Photos of the Day 10/20

    A boy plays in front of his flooded house in downtown of Ha Tinh city, Ha Tinh province, Vietnam.

  • Is coal power headed for a downsizing in US?

    Is coal power headed for a downsizing in US?

    Utilities may close up to 1 in 5 coal-fired power plants after tougher EPA air pollution rules go into effect next year, Wall Street investment banker Credit Suisse recently reported. Coal power is losing its price edge to natural gas, too.

  • Comet Hartley 2 to swing by Earth Wednesday

    Comet Hartley 2 to swing by Earth Wednesday

    Comet Hartley 2 will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, and is best viewed with binoculars or a low-magnification telescope.

  • 10 best teen books of 2010

    10 best teen books of 2010

    More than 8,000 teens voted for their favorite book of last year in a contest sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. What made the list?

  • In Pictures Space photos of the day: Comets

    This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the broken Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachm ann 3 skimming along a trail of debris left during its multiple trips around the sun. The flame-like objects are the comet's fragments and their tails, while the dusty comet trail is the line bridging the fragments.

  • In Pictures Space photos of the day: Heavenly Rings

    This false-color image shows the incredible, complex beauty of Saturn's rings. The massive ring system is over 150,000 miles in diameter.