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May 2001 Archive

Chicano bodegas, tattooed students, and vibrant musicians make Austin's Sixth Street the cultural hive of Texas' capital city.

A highway during the Gold Rush that connected the Rockies to the Plains States, 30-mile-long Colfax Avenue still carries travelers to the riches of Denver.

For women in Gambia and other West African countries, having many children is a ticket to a secure future. A new study shows, however, that the toll is heavy in terms of serious female health problems that seldom receive medical attention.

As water resources grow increasingly scarce, threatening the way of life for billions of people around the world, a number of scientists argue that there can be enough for everyone if communities give it its proper economic value.

Dolphins have an ability to recognize and examine themselves in mirrors, scientists say. The findings will likely stir the debate on animal self-awareness and the ethics of using them in experiments.

Scientists have acquired a much better understanding of Earth's inner dynamics in the past decade. Two geophysicists have drawn on these findings in an effort to explain what's going on inside the planet to drive events at the surface.

With plant and animal species disappearing from Earth at unprecedented rates, biodiversity expert E. O. Wilson has proposed an immediate strategy to help halt that loss: buying access to the world's most important and threatened ecosystems so they can be managed for conservation.

Susan Roesgen, co-anchor of the TV news show National Geographic Today, talked with Traveler magazine editor Keith Bellows about ideas on where to go when you need a vacation but time is limited.

Scientists have found that small streams are extremely efficient at removing some of the excess nitrogen that is flowing into waterways, endangering fish and other forms of aquatic life.

For the first time in more than a decade supporters of oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge see a real chance to make it happen, which has brought the simmering debate over the issue to a full boil.

The interior of Guyana is one of the last remaining undisturbed rain forest habitats in the world. Biologists using long-practiced field techniques are collecting data about the natural wealth of this hothouse of tropical biodiversity to aid conservation decisions.

In a commentary for The Salt Lake Tribune, wildlife biologist Robert H. Schmidt says that the return of wild wolves to the state of Utah is inevitable. He urges planning to prepare the people, the economy, and the ecosystems of Utah for their arrival.

Trinidad's most famous wildlife photographer, Roger Neckles, was never formally trained. Instead, his career grew from a childhood passion for birds and his frustration at not being able to find good pictures of them in the library.

A study of frogs that could yield benefits for both conservation and human health received the 7,000th grant awarded by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.

The population of emperor penguins in an area of Antarctica has declined by 50 percent since mid-century. Scientists have now determined that an abnormally long warm spell in the Southern Ocean is to blame.

With the crabbing industry in the Chesapeake Bay on the verge of collapse, officials have imposed regulations aimed at what they say is the major cause: overfishing. But, National Geographic Todayreports, many watermen disagree that their harvests are to blame, and say they are being unfairly targeted, at the risk of their livelihood.

One of several known mass extinctions on Earth occurred 200 million years ago, wiping out half of all species and leading to the age of large dinosaurs. From fossil evidence, scientists have determined it happened almost instantly—at least in geological time.

Scientists have found the first definitive proof that early humans in North America hunted horses for their meat. The discovery gives greater weight to the idea that overhunting was a major factor in the extinction of prehistoric horses.

Tom Foreman, co-anchor of the TV news show National Geographic Today, talked with Traveler magazine editor Keith Bellows about what's new in theme parks.

What causes tornadoes is still largely a mystery. To acquire the data needed to study this often violent phenomenon, scientists known as storm chasers use Doppler-topped trucks to track storms in the field during tornado season on the Plains.

Soaring consumption of tequila is endangering a plant important to the ecology of Mexico's dry forests. In a new project to remedy the problem, local people may soon benefit from sustainable commercial production of mezcal, a cousin to tequila.

Twelve years ago the giant tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, fouling the waters with 11 million gallons of crude. Since then, an intense effort has been underway in the shipping industry to reduce the risk of similar incidents.

Although no official deadline for achieving human travel to Mars has been set, a mission to the red planet is imminent, according to scientists interviewed on the television news show National Geographic Today.

He Kechang retired to a village above the Yangtze River hoping to spend his last years with his family working their half-acre of land. But as construction started on the Three Gorges Dam about 200 miles down river, the former ship worker found himself slowly drawn into a morass of deceit and corruption.

One of the chief causes of the rapid loss of plant and animal species today is the clearing of habitat for farmland by millions of poor and hungry people around the world. In a new study, researchers call for a radically different approach to conservation that balances the need for both agriculture and wildlife protection.

In the style of early explorers, a crew of experienced and novice sailors traverses the Southern Ocean and Antarctica under the mighty sails of a turn-of-the-century square rigger.

Although Indonesia's traditional puppet shows are still popular in some parts of the country, the craft is struggling to maintain its place in an increasingly urbanized society flooded with soap operas, international pop music and other cultural imports.

Recent excavations at the Maya city of Chac in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula shed new light on Mesoamerican prehistory. Data show that the city flourished much earlier than previously thought, and was influenced by the powerful Teotihuacan culture that dominated central Mexico.

Jackson Square is a popular area with the throngs of strangers who visit New Orleans each year. But the square is also home to a number of full-time residents, including some who live in apartments that were among the first built in America.

Human travel to Mars may happen sooner than we think, but human safety is paramount in space missions, and traveling such a long distance poses health problems never faced before.

The rich Mesopotamian marshlands known for centuries as the Fertile Crescent have shrunk 90 percent in recent years, a new study shows. The United Nations agency that used new Landsat images from NASA to determine the loss says the damage was caused by extensive damming and draining of the Tigris and Euphrates river system.

Sounding the alarm that time is running out for gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos, conservationists led by the United Nations have launched a global campaign to save the world's last wild great apes from extinction.

Scientists analyzing the recovered H.L. Hunley Confederate submarine, which sank during an attack on a Union blockader during the U.S. Civil War, have found the skull of its captain. With the discovery, all nine crew members have been accounted for among the remains.

For more than 60 years a prison farm in Britain has managed the country's largest breeding facility for the Suffolk Punch, which has a long history of service. Now that the Prison Service plans to close the stud farm, there is concern that the breed could slip into extinction.

Ten students won through to the final round of the 2001 National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, emerging as the brightest young geography brains from a group of 55 U.S. state and territory bee champions.

Many species of African wildlife in danger of extinction are being killed by hunters for food and commercial trade. Alarmed by the situation, an international coalition is working to raise awareness of the problem and prevent the loss.

For more than 60 years a prison farm in Britain has been managing the country's largest breeding facility for the Suffolk Punch, one of the esteemed "heavy horses" with a long history of service. Now that the Prison Service plans to close the stud farm, there is concern that the breed may slip into extinction.

Participants in the Geographic Bee have always differed in age, ethnicity, religion, and gender. However, when it comes to earning a place at the national championships, the majority of semifinalists share one thing in common—they are boys. National Geographic Today looks at what's being done to balance out the situation.

It was a long road for Kyle Haddad-Fonda, eighth grader from the state of Washington and this year's National Geographic Bee champion. The three-time national finalist, and five-time state competitor has had a passion for geography since age three.

Will the Internet change humanity? Why do we make music and art? Does sex have a future? Scientist and investment banker Robert Kuhn has developed a multi-media forum for contemplating answers to such questions.

Before the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans were a divided people, observes noted historian Stephen Ambrose. But U.S. involvement in World War II changed that.

Researchers studying artifacts recovered from the long-submerged Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley have recovered a long-sought object: a bent gold coin the captain was said to carry as a good-luck piece after it saved him from death by a bullet.

The fossil of a paper clip-size animal that lived about the same time as dinosaurs offers important clues to the evolution of mammals. With a brain only about half an inch wide, it is also one of the smallest mammals ever found.

Thor, an eight-day-old eaglet, is the first eagle in the world to be conceived through artificial insemination using frozen sperm. Scientists say the technique may one day be widely used to help preserve endangered species of large raptors.

Scientists who track tornadoes in radar trucks often drive hundreds of miles a day without encountering any major storms. Yet even the "failures" provide data useful in developing a better understanding of this powerful phenomenon of nature.

The Hudson River was recently named one of America's "most endangered" rivers because of wide contamination by cancer-causing chemicals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has drafted a cleanup plan, but many communities along the river are fighting it as unnecessary and potentially "destructive."

The jade-encrusted tomb of a Maya king has been unearthed in northern Honduras by road diggers near the Copán archaeological park

A case for returning to the moon to look for the beginnings of life was made at the National Space Society's 20th Annual International Space Development Conference held recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lifeguards stationed at beaches across Florida have been hoisting blue flags as a warning in a season that marine safety officials describe as particularly "itchy." Unsuspecting swimmers who pass through an invisible swarm of thimble jellyfish larvae often end up with a nasty, itchy, acne-like rash, usually in the most awkward spots where their bathing suits cling to their bodies.

NASA has assembled the most comprehensive view of pollution in the Earth's atmosphere to date. Images show huge clouds of carbon monoxide wafting across entire continents and oceans, caused by fires and fossil-fuel burning.

When the male potency drug Viagra came on the market in 1998, some people predicted it would dampen world demand for animal parts used as aphrodisiacs. But conservationists say it's had little impact in curbing the overall trade in endangered species and other wild animals.

Researchers have unearthed fossils of what appears to have been the second largest known creature ever to walk on Earth. Named Paralititan stromeri, the new dinosaur dwelled 94 million years ago in ancient mangrove swamps of modern-day Egypt.

Malaria is on the rise again worldwide, claiming anywhere from 1 million to 3 million lives per year. The Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated U.S. $100 million as part of a billion-dollar worldwide initiative to develop a vaccine to eradicate the disease. logo