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2009
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Backpacking Birds

Thanks to technological advances, scientists are now able to track the migratory patterns of small songbirds using tiny electronic backpacks.

Space Crash

In an unprecedented incident, two satellites hit each other on Tuesday. A defunct Russian Cosmos satellite and an Iridium communication satellite collided some 490 miles above northern Siberia. So far, more than 500 pieces of space debris have been detected from the collision. View animation/more info.

Kansas UFO

On Friday morning, east of Wichita, Kansas, a man photographed an unusual aerial object that has been garnering attention. Dirk Vander Ploeg, who originally received the photo at UFO Digest, speculates the object could be a new technology fighter jet. More at the Wichita Eagle.

New Asteroid Discovery

A new potentially dangerous asteroid has been discovered. The relatively small near-Earth asteroid named 2009 BD81 has several impact dates after 2042. Read more at Universe Today.

Trapped on Ice

More than 130 fishermen were left stranded Saturday when a giant 8-mile wide slab of ice broke away from Lake Erie's shoreline. The U.S. Coast Guard along with local volunteer firemen organized a massive rescue effort, using helicopters and air boats. One person was found dead in the water. View the ABC News report for more details.

Nessie Feud Brewing

Attempts to gain UN World Heritage status for Loch Ness have given way to a new dispute over the infamous creature said to reside there. Much to the chagrin of outraged Nessie enthusiasts, a UN consultant has suggested that the cryptid stories may actually hurt the landmark's chances of winning the prestigious prize. More on the story here.

Holiday Mail For Heroes

The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have joined together for a special cause this holiday season: sending one million cards to members of the American Armed Services and their families. For more information on how to participate in this program, go here.

Video: Pyramid Theory

In this AP video clip, Bob Brier comments on architect Jean-Pierre Houdin's theory that the Great Pyramid was built from the inside out using a long internal corridor.

Old Man Winter

An icicle resembling a man's face was discovered hanging on the home of Jeremy Olden, resident of Lake Stevens, Washington. Larger images can be found at komonews.com.

Baby Aardvark

The Detroit Zoo recently welcomed a newborn aardvark. The baby, described as "hideously cute," has nearly doubled in size since its birth in December. More at the Detroit Free Press.

Mind Control Games

A mind-control game due in toy stores this fall will allow players to sharpen their Jedi-like powers. The aim of the Force Trainer (pictured) is to concentrate hard enough to make a sphere within a transparent 10-inch-tall tube rise. Another game also coming in 2009, the Mind Flex, will challenge players to move a ball through an obstacle course using only the power of their thoughts. More info at USA Today and Telegraph.co.uk.

Polar Roll Call

European scientists have just completed the first cataloging of Antarctica's land and sea wildlife. The ambitious study logged over 1,000 species in the area. BBC News has more on the story, including video of the creatures in their natural habitat.

An Array of Anomalies

Tonight's guest, Sir Charles Shults, sent us an image which coveys the vast number of enigmatic objects seen on the surface of Mars. Click Martian Anomalies below to see the complete collection of Martian oddities.

'Atlantis' Update

UK tabloid The Sun reported yesterday on a Google Earth image (pictured) showing a massive rectangular grid resembling the streets of a city on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The grid lay in an area -- 600 miles off the west coast of Africa near the Canary Islands -- long thought of as a possible location for the fabled city of Atlantis. Hopes were dashed, however, when a spokeswoman for Google explained the grid-like markings were an 'artifact' of its map making process. More details at Mail Online.

Giant Borneo Snake?

A blurry photo that appears to show a gigantic snake swimming in Borneo's Baleh river appeared this week in London's Telegraph. Villagers reportedly fear the massive reptile may be a creature of folklore they call Nabau, an ancient, shape-shifting sea serpent. But is the photo authentic? Some are not convinced. SciAm's 60-Second Science Blog provides a critical analysis. Update: According to cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, this photo and story are a hoax. More info here.

Ours, Not Theirs

Whether they appear as blimp-like craft or oddly-shaped ships, there is a good chance that many unidentified flying objects are actually government black projects. Popular Mechanics looks at six previously classified government craft that were often mistaken for UFOs.

Five Years on Mars

NASA's Mars rovers are celebrating their fifth birthday on the Red Planet, far exceeding their original operating life span of 90 days. To everyone's surprise, Spirit and Opportunity continue rolling around the planet's surface, conducting experiments and making discoveries. NASA has put together a video to mark the anniversary, as well as a new panoramic image of Mars.

Yellowstone Quake Swarms

Recently, hundreds of small earthquakes have struck Yellowstone National Park, prompting fears that a disastrous volcanic eruption might happen there. Scientists are continuing to monitor the earthquake swarms, the largest Yellowstone's had in the last 20 years.
First hour guest, researcher Mitch Battros offered analysis of the quake situation. While the Yellowstone caldera is due for an eruption, the current signs, such as the quakes being under 4.0, suggest that volcanic activity there is not imminent, he said. We'd have weeks of notice before it blows, he added. Battros also noted that a Mayan elder has named a volcanic eruption at Yellowstone as part of their prophecy.

Comet's Arrival

Comet Lulin (pictured in a photo taken by Phil Jones) is making its closest approach to Earth early this morning, high in the southern sky near Saturn. To the naked eye, it will look like a patch of gas, while with a telescope or binoculars the green comet should be more visible. More info, and a gallery of images at Spaceweather.com.

Deyo Graphics

Holly Deyo sent us two graphics for tonight's show. The first shows how natural disasters are escalating worldwide and the second shows where billion dollar disasters have hit in the US.

'Saintly' Figure?

Twin brothers Phil and Mick Cahalane say this photo (pictured) shows their great-grandfather with the ghostly image of St. Teresa of Avila. According to family stories, the "saintly" figure appeared in a photo he took after surviving a terrible storm during a fishing trip. "He started praying because he thought he was going to die. The storm passed and because he thought it was safe, he kept fishing, and that's when he caught most of his fish," Phil Cahalane said. More info and larger photo available from Mt Druitt Standard.

Green Comet Approaches

A green comet known as Lulin could soon become visible to the naked eye as it moves closer to Earth. Amateur astronomer Jack Newton took this photo from his backyard observatory. More here.

New Frog Discoveries

In Colombia, 10 new species of amphibians have been discovered, including the pictured spiky orange rain frog, and "glass frogs" whose skin is almost transparent. More here.

Strange Blue Light in PA

A 12-year-old student from Bucks County, Pennsylvania noticed a blue light shining through his bedroom window, grabbed his Kodak Easy Share camera, and snapped images of the strange object (pictured). The young man said the light was probably 20 miles away and about 50 feet above the rooftops. It also appeared to be stationary, disappeared within 60 seconds, then reappeared an hour later, the student reported. More details and photos at examiner.com.

Giant Koalas & 'Megafauna'

Through a new fossil study, scientists have learned that hundreds of thousands of years ago, Australia was home to giant versions of its current wildlife. Such extinct "megafauna" included koalas weighing over 60 pounds, and kangaroos that were 10 ft. tall. More at The Independent.

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