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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

  |   Feb. 25, 2013 at 6:56 PM
Large fragment from Russian meteor found

CHELYABINSK, Russia, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Scientists say they have recovered the largest fragment yet found, weighing about 2.2 pounds, of the meteor that exploded over Russia Feb. 15.

It's the largest of more than 100 meteorite fragments that have been found by an expedition from the Urals Federal University searching along a 30-mile trail along the object's flight path, expedition leader Viktor Grokhovsky told RIA Novosti Monday.

Many fragments have been found in a 25-foot-wide crater in the frozen ice of the region's Lake Chebarkul.

When the massive meteor streaked across the sky over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and exploded, it damaged buildings and injured more than 1,500 people, most of whom were hurt by flying glass as windows exploded from the meteor's shock wave.

Researchers at NASA have estimated the meteor was about 50 feet in diameter and entered the Earth's atmosphere over Russia's Urals region at several times the speed of sound.


Frostbite ends explorer's Antarctic trek

LONDON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes says he's pulling out of an Antarctic winter trek after suffering frostbite in temperatures down to minus-22 degrees F.

Fiennes, 68, is leaving the planned trip across the frozen continent after suffering frostbite while attempting to repair a ski binding with bare hands after a fall at a training base, the BBC reported Monday.

"The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided, with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition and its associated aims, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter," a statement from sight loss charity Seeing is Believe, for which the expedition is raising funds, said.

The other five members of the expedition team still plan to start the trek, officially titled the Coldest Journey on Earth, on March 21.

Fiennes' previous exploits include being the first person to travel by land to both the north and south poles and climbing Mount Everest at age 65.

The expedition team said Fiennes would be taken by snowmobile from its training base to a Belgian Antarctic base about 40 miles away and from there will be flown to a Russian-run station and then to Cape Town, South Africa, for treatment.


Mobile data to surpass voice by 2018

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Mobile wireless providers will make more money from providing data access than from voice calls by 2018, an industry group says.

GSMA, which represents the mobile industry, said the surge in connected devices and the growth of machine-to-machine communications were creating huge demand for data access, particularly in the developing world.

"Mobile data is not just a commodity, it is becoming the lifeblood of our daily lives, society and economy, with more and more connected people and things," Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer at GSMA, said at Mobile World Congress, the association's annual tech event in Barcelona, Spain.

Mobile health services could help save 1 million lives in Africa, GSMA said in a five-year forecast released to coincide with the congress, while mobile handsets, e-readers and tablets could put 1.8 million more children in education by 2017.

The fight against diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and the ongoing fight against HIV will increasingly be helped by the greater use of mobile connectivity, a release from GSMA's London headquarters said.

And not just the developing world would benefit, the forecast said; it predicted that mobile health services would shave $400 billion from the annual healthcare bill in developed countries by 2017.


Poll: Environment is low global priority

CHICAGO, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Environmental issues rank low and the issue of climate change is not a priority for people around the world, an international study indicates.

People were five times more likely to point to the economy over the environment as an issue and when asked about climate change, people said they saw the issue more as a national problem than a personal concern, the study found.

The results are from coordinated surveys conducted by the International Social Survey Program in 33 countries from 1993 through 2010.

They were "the first and only surveys that put long-term attitudes toward environmental issues in general and global climate change in particular in an international perspective," said Tom W. Smith of the NORC, formerly the National Opinion Researcher Center, at the University of Chicago, author of a paper that summarizes the surveys.

Survey participants were asked the relative importance of eight issues: healthcare, education, crime, the environment, immigration, the economy, terrorism and poverty.

The economy scored highest in concern in 15 countries, followed by healthcare in eight, education in six, poverty in two, and terrorism and crime in one country each.

The environment did not make the top of the list in any country in the 17-year period, and in the U.S. concern for the environment ranked sixth, the study researches said.

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