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Monday, June 22, 2009

Field Notes

First Image—of Whirlpool Galaxy— From the Herschel Telescope
The observatory's quest is to study how stars and galaxies form, and how they evolve through cosmic time. (Jonathan Amos, BBC News)

Restart of Large Hadron Collider Pushed Back a Few Weeks
The world's largest atom smasher will likely be fired up again in October after scientists have carried out tests and put in place further safety measures to prevent a repeat of the faults that sidelined the $10 billion machine shortly after startup last year, the operator said Saturday. (Associated Press)

Ancient Quarry Found in West Bank
Israeli archaeologists said on Sunday they had discovered the largest underground quarry in the Holy Land, dating back to the time of Jesus and containing Christian symbols etched into the walls. (Ari Rabinovitch and Michael Roddy, Reuters)

British Scientists Say Religious Slaughter Techniques Are Cruel
The Farm Animal Welfare Council says that slitting the throats of the animals most commonly used for meat, chickens, without stunning, results in "significant pain and distress." The committee, which includes scientific, agricultural and veterinary experts, is calling for the Government to launch a debate with Muslim and Jewish communities to end the practice. (Martin Hickman, The Independent)

Theocracies Are Doomed by Modernity But Religion Is No Less Important
Jon Meacham: There is a deep irony at work here. Theocracies usually mandate the teaching of religion, but the teaching of religion—the spread of texts and commentaries, the opening of theological debates among the people as well as the clerics—can lead not to uniform public belief but to a questioning of orthodoxy. Which is always a favorite activity of a new generation. (Newsweek)