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Nature volume 440, page 133 (09 March 2006) | Download Citation


On the record

“Mars is hard, and Mars is unpredictable. Mars doesn't treat you very well.”

NASA's Jim Graf crosses his fingers for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, due to arrive at the red planet on 10 March.

“Libertines, both male and female, have always been around in math and physics.”

Science writer Jennifer Ouellette ponders whether physicists are really having more sex these days.

Sources: Washington Post, Seed


Science and kung fu

Movie star Jackie Chan has just secured himself a very different type of billing. The Australian National University is naming a new science centre after the action hero as a vote of thanks for his recent donation.


Researchers in Canada have come up with a way to stop wading birds landing on oil fields in Alberta. As the birds fly in, radar picks them up and triggers a deterrent noise.


Japanese scientists have found an unusual source of vanillin, the aromatic component of vanilla used as a fragrance. The sweet smell can, apparently, be extracted from cow dung.

Number Crunch

A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that moving to the United States, especially if you are hispanic, might be bad for your health.

16% of Hispanic immigrants living in the United States for five years or less are obese.

13% of the same group have high blood pressure.

22% of Hispanic immigrants living in the United States for more than five years are obese.

20% of the same group have high blood pressure.

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