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SCIENCE Butterfly-friendly corn

A recent study declares the safety of a genetically engineered corn that was previously thought to harm monarch butterflies.

Corn engineered to contain a naturally occurring pesticide was introduced in 1995, and covers about 20 percent of America's cornfields.

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A previous study had found that monarch larvae could be harmed by a pesticide produced from biotech corn - a finding that caused some to criticize the widely used products and the government regulators who approved them.

Tripping the lights electron

LINCOLN, NEB. - Physics history was made last week, when a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published their observations of the Kapitza-Dirac effect, an accomplishment that could make possible measuring devices that are thousands of times more accurate than those in use today.

The Kapitza-Dirac effect is the diffraction of beam particles, electrons in particular, by a standing wave of light. The phenomenon was predicted in 1933 by a pair of future Nobel Prize winners, Russian Peter Kapitza (1894-1984) and Englishman P.A.M. Dirac (1902-84), but the technology needed to demonstrate it wouldn't develop until well after the laser was invented in 1960.

ENVIRONMENT Spacecraft takes one last dive

PASADENA, CALIF. - On Saturday, Sept. 22, the NASA spacecraft Deep Space 1 will attempt to pass within 1,200 miles of the nucleus of comet Borrelly.

DS1 will first enter a cloud of gas and dust enveloping the comet. It is hoped that measurements taken therein will help reveal the nature of Borrelly's surface and identify the gases coming from the comet.

By the time of the flyby, DS1 will have completed three times its intended life span and its primary mission to test ion propulsion and 11 other high-risk space technologies.


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