(This report from the PopSci Mothership in the US - pertinent because our editor-in-chief lives in California...) When news broke of a 7.3-magnitude earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan early this morning, our first reaction was to fear a tsunami. The devastating earthquake that hit Japan last March and left 15,000 dead was in large part so damaging because of the ensuing tsunami, massive waves of ocean water which crashed up to six miles inland and over a hundred feet high. Luckily, Japan today's earthquake and its aftershocks seem to have minimal adverse effect, and the waves are not high enough to be damaging.
Today, the US marks 71 years since the attack on Pearl Harbour that catapulted the United States into World War II (it was yesterday for us, of course). The attack was devastating. More than 2,400 people died and more than 1,000 were wounded. It was also, in the cold language of military science, wildly successful.
NASA has already sent its own humanoid Robonaut into orbit aboard the International Space Station, and now Japan's JAXA is following suit. The small humanoid will travel to the station next summer to reside in Japan's Kibo module, where it will keep JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and the rest of the crew company.
Soft drinks and weight loss don't usually go hand-in-hand. But Pepsi aims to change that with a new drink the company has just launched in Japan, called Pepsi Special. The soft drink has an added ingredient, dextrin, that the distributor, Suntory, says reduces your body's ability to absorb fat. So does that mean you can finally enjoy your soda with a slice of cheesy pizza, hold the guilt?
The first serious indications of the ecosystem impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan are in, and they're troubling. Researchers there collected 144 common pale grass blue butterflies from the region a couple of months after the catastrophic nuclear meltdowns leaked radiation into the environment last year. After studying them for a few generations, those researchers are finding signs of genetic mutations that are leading to physical abnormalities.