"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

World News

  • A study of international scientific output - as defined by the total number of peer-reviewed papers published by scientists in various nations - indicates that China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output by 2013. Over the 12 year period covered by The Royal Society's study, US scientific output increased by 8%. In the same period of time, Chinese scientific output increased by 722%.
  • Traces of plutonium-238, plutonium-239, and plutonium-240 have been found in the soil around the Fukushima nuclear complex. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has said that the plutonium levels are not harmful to human health, but it could mean that reactor No. 3's containment mechanism has been breached. "Plutonium is a substance that's emitted when the temperature is high, and it's also heavy and so does not leak out easily," said agency deputy director Hidehiko Nishiyama. "So if plutonium has emerged from the reactor, that tells us something about the damage to the fuel. And if it has breached the original containment system, it underlines the gravity and seriousness of this accident." Opposition leaders in the Japanese Parliament are now demanding that the evacuation zone around the plant be widened.
United States

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