Ancient Stone Scraps, Stardust and Rock People

BY Jenny Marder  March 28, 2011 at 10:18 AM EST

Stone Tools Cut Swathe Through Clovis History

Nature.jpgThousands of stone scrappings and chips, believed to be discarded during an ancient toolmaking process, were unearthed by archaeologists in a Texas creek bed. Dating shows the chips to be as old as 15,500 years — that’s long before the Clovis hunters, thought to be the first American settlers, arrived. The study is in Science Magazine. (Matt Kaplan, Nature)

The Nuclear Risk

New Yorker.jpgElizabeth Kolbert traces the history of nuclear energy, and asks how prepared Americans are for the associated risks. All forms of energy have problems, she points out in this New Yorker article. But are nuclear plants equipped to handle potential dangers? Kolbert mentions the need for workable evacuation plans and defense against terrorist attacks. She also considers risks posed by spent-fuel pools, which Union of Concerned Scientists’ David Lochbaum calls “about as high as you could possibly make them.” (Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker)

NASA Kills off Comet Hunter

New Scientist.jpgNASA deliberately killed off its Stardust spacecraft on Thursday, burning up its last hydrazine fuel reserves in an experiment designed to help engineers with fuel calculations for future missions. Launched in 1999 to collect comet dust, Stardust kept flying after its intended missions, most recently snapping shots of the peanut-shaped Comet Tempel 1. (David Shiga, New Scientist)

I See Rock People: Mimetoliths of the World

Wired.jpgA photo slide show of human faces eerily etched into rocks by nature. (Betsy Mason, Wired)