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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  • Life easy next to Messi, says Neymar
    Life easy next to Messi, says Neymar

    Brazilian star Neymar has given four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi the credit for his upturn in form during his second season with Barcelona. Neymar was set up twice by Messi to bag a double against Elche in a 6-0 rout on Saturday to take his tally for the season to 19 goals in just 24 games, four more than he managed in the entirety of his debut campaign in Spain. "Of all the players I have seen play, Messi is the best and I will always have enormous respect for him," the 22-year-old said on Monday. Neymar has yet to win a major trophy in Barca colours after the Catalan giants missed out last season for the first time in six years.

  • Vintage Venus rolls back the years
    Vintage Venus rolls back the years

    Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams rolled back the years to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time in five years on Monday, battling fatigue in a gruelling three setter. The 34-year-old American finished strongly to win 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 and stun Polish sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, sealing match point with an ace to celebrate her return to the big time. Cheered on from the stands by top-seeded sister Serena, an exhausted Venus somehow found the energy to get past highly rated Radwanska and set up a quarter-final with unseeded compatriot Madison Keys.

  • Sharapova blows away Bouchard to march into semis

    By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova showcased all of her canny experience and brutal efficiency as she gave Eugenie Bouchard a 78-minute tennis lesson to advance to the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday. The 20-year-old Bouchard reached the last four in Australia and France as well as the Wimbledon final in 2014 but was no match for Sharapova, who showed she was not ready to be usurped by the younger generation just yet in a 6-3 6-2 victory. The 27-year-old has now beaten the Canadian in each of their four meetings, three of which have been at grand slams, and set up a meeting with 10th-seeded compatriot Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the final. "I felt pretty good from the start (and) I kept my focus throughout the whole match," Sharapova told reporters.

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