The Lookout
  • The solar plane is scheduled to land early Sunday morning in New York City and complete a historic first as the only solar plane to fly across America day and night--and without fuel.

    Join the Swiss-based staff of the Solar Impulse as they take your questions and explain the flight instruments, tactics and technology.

    The Solar Impulse weighs as much as a sedan and flies at 40 mph on average. The plane's journey began in San Jose in March with stops in Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Ohio and Washington D.C. In each city, it has been open to public viewing, with more than 75,000 visitors viewing the plane's roughly 70-yard wingspan.

    Read More »from Chat with the crew of the solar plane as it completes its journey across America
  • The Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is much more than a symbolic victory for 84-year-old Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the suit.

    In 2009, Windsor's partner of 40 years, Thea Spyer, died after a battle with multiple sclerosis. Spyer left her estate to Windsor, but because their marriage was not legally recognized, Windsor was charged $363,053 in estate taxes.

    Windsor first sued the United States in November 2010, arguing that DOMA was unconstitutional. In June 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of Windsor. The case then went to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel ruled 2-1 in favor of Windsor.

    With the Supreme Court's decision to strike down DOMA with a 5-4 ruling, Windsor will finally be eligible for a tax refund, plus interest.

    Windsor heard the news of the court's decision while at her lawyer's home, according to the New Yorker. The room, which was filled with family and

    Read More »from Edith Windsor, the woman who took on DOMA
  • Chimpanzees (Thinkstock)Chimpanzees (Thinkstock)

    The National Institutes of Health announced that the agency plans to "substantially reduce the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded biomedical research." The agency also plans to designate for retirement most of the chimps currently on its roster.

    All told, about 310 chimps will be retired to the Federal Sanctuary System in the next few years. The NIH will keep 50 chimps available for further research, if it proves necessary. Animal rights organizations have long been pressuring the NIH to end studies on chimpanzees.

    In a press release, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., said the use of chimps in biomedical research has been valuable in the past, but that new technologies "have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary." Collins wrote that the agency received guidance from many groups and that he is confident the decision to reduce the use of chimps in research is both "scientifically sound and the right thing to do."

    The decision was applauded by the Humane Society of

    Read More »from National Institutes of Health plans to reduce use of chimps in research

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  • Wenger upbeat as injured Gunners return
    Wenger upbeat as injured Gunners return

    Arsene Wenger is upbeat about a strong second half of the season showing from an Arsenal side set to capitalise on the return of injured players like Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta. Wenger expects Ozil and Arteta to return to action in January, while Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny are due back imminently to help reignite the Gunners' quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League. The Christmas schedule features fixtures against QPR, West Ham and Southampton and Wenger believes Arsenal, who occupy sixth place in the table, will soon be in a position to realise their potential.

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