Quadruple Saturn Moon Transit

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Face of Saturn transited by four of its moons.

Fantastic Hubble image of the transit of four moons — Enceladus, Dione, the giant orange moon Titan, and Mimas — across Saturn’s face. Icy white Enceladus and Dione are on the left, casting their black shadows on the cloud surface of the planet. Mimas is on the right edge of Saturn’s disc, just above the rings. via HubbleSite.

An Outbreak of Autism, or a Statistical Fluke?

Major brain structures implicated in autism.

Autism is terrifying the community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis, and some pediatricians and educators have joined parents in raising the alarm. But public health experts say it is hard to tell whether the apparent surge of cases is an actual outbreak, with a cause that can be addressed, or just a statistical fluke.

… A small recent study of refugees in schools in Stockholm found that Somalis were in classes for autistic children at three times the normal rate.

Calls to representatives of Somali groups in Seattle and San Diego found that they were aware of the fear in Minneapolis but unsure about their own rates. Doctors familiar with the Somali communities in Boston and Lewiston, Me., had heard of no surges there.” NYTimes.

Rare Reptile Hatchling Found in New Zealand

A marked tuatara at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

A hatchling of a rare reptile with lineage dating back to the dinosaur age has been found in the wild on the New Zealand mainland for the first time in about 200 years, a wildlife official said Thursday.

The baby tuatara was discovered by staff during routine maintenance work at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in the capital, Wellington, conservation manager Raewyn Empson said.

”We are all absolutely thrilled with this discovery,” Empson said. ”It means we have successfully re-established a breeding population back on the mainland, which is a massive breakthrough for New Zealand conservation.”

Tuatara, which measure up to 32 inches 80 cm when full grown, are the last descendants of a lizard-like reptile species that walked the Earth with the dinosaurs 225 million years ago, zoologists say.

There are estimated to be about 50,000 of them living in the wild on 32 small offshore islands cleared of predators, but this is the first time a hatchling has been seen on the mainland in about 200 years.”

(New York Times )