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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  • Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia
    Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia

    Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Russia was under US pressure Saturday to convince pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine to cease occupying eastern towns, after Washington warned the situation in the former Soviet republic was in a "pivotal period". But with the separatists' refusal to budge throwing a deal to defuse the crisis into doubt, and US sanctions looming large, Russia warned that its military was massed on Ukraine's border, ready to act. In the major eastern city of Donetsk, gunmen remained barricaded inside the regional government building. The failure to implement the agreement hammered out in Geneva on Thursday by the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU threatened to deepen the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

  • Abrupt Lurch in Wyoming Landslide Splits House in Two
    Abrupt Lurch in Wyoming Landslide Splits House in Two

    Other Homes, Businesses Threatened by Sudden Earth Movement and Debris.

  • Judge says American can't end retiree benefits yet

    DALLAS (AP) — A federal judge has rejected an attempt by American Airlines to quickly cut off benefits for many of its retirees.

  • Frigid Winter? Blame 4,000 Years of Wild Jet Streams
    Frigid Winter? Blame 4,000 Years of Wild Jet Streams

    The roaring jet stream, whose swooping winds drove frigid cold in the East and record warmth in the West this winter, first started twisting and turning about 4,000 years ago, according to a new analysis of ancient rainfall records from North America. The study shows the jet stream's plunging pattern is a long-standing natural phenomenon. "The pattern we've observed points to a strong potential for an increase in winter extremes in the future," said Gabe Bowen, a study co-author and paleoclimatologist at the University of Utah. Bowen and his co-authors examined the 8,000-year history of a weather pattern called the Pacific-North America Teleconnection.

  • Second wave of milder flu hitting Northeast

    NEW YORK (AP) — A second, milder wave of flu is hitting the Northeast.

  • Current underwater search for Malaysia plane could end within a week

    By Matt Siegel and Byron Kaye SYDNEY/PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - The current underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, focused on a tight 10 km (6.2 mile) circle of the sea floor, could be completed within a week, Australian search officials said on Saturday. Malaysia said the search was at a "very critical juncture" and asked for prayers for its success. A U.S. Navy deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is scouring a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for signs of the plane, which disappeared from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board. "Provided the weather is favorable for launch and recovery of the AUV and we have a good run with the serviceability of the AUV, we should complete the search of the focused underwater area in five to seven days," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre told Reuters in an email.

  • Costa Rican woman attributes miracle to pope
    Costa Rican woman attributes miracle to pope

    TRES RIOS, Costa Rica (AP) — On a warm spring day, Floribeth Mora was in her bed waiting to die from a seemingly inoperable brain aneurysm when her gaze fell upon a photograph of Pope John Paul II in a newspaper.

  • Delay in ferry evacuation puzzles maritime experts
    Delay in ferry evacuation puzzles maritime experts

    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — It is a decision that has maritime experts stumped and is at odds with standard procedure: Why were the passengers of the doomed South Korean ferry told to stay in their rooms rather than climb on deck?

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