best space songs: The European Space Agency is holding a contest to see who can come up with the best playlist for astronauts on the International Space Station. The winner will have their 10 songs sent up to the Internatonal Space Station on an iPod when the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle launches later this year. Here are some early bird entries: "Thus Spake Zarathustra' (think 2001: A Space Odyssey), "Thinking Voyager 2 Type Things' by Bob Geldof, "Space Oddity' by David Bowie, "Mir' by the Kicks, and of course, "The Galaxy Song' by Monty Python. Only citizens of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are eligible to compete.
health backlog: The health of Australian aboriginals is 100 years behind that of the rest of the population, a new research says. Accounting for about 2.4 per cent of the Australian population, they are plagued by health problems not prevalent in the rest of the country for decades, says researcher Lisa Jackson Pulver of University of New South Wales in Sydney. "Leprosy, rheumatic heart disease and TB are no longer reported in white populations, but they still affect some indigenous communities,' she says. Aboriginal people are more likely to smoke, abuse substances, exercise infrequently and be obese. High rates of non-communicable diseases in the population are largely preventable, WHO says.
bird fossils: A team of Indian, Belgian and German scientists have unearthed the oldest bird fossils of the Indian subcontinent from the Vastan lignite mine in Gujarat. The fossils date back to the Eocene era (55 to 40 million years ago). The oldest recorded bird fossils from the region so far were from the Neogene era (23 million years ago). The specimen has been classified as Vastanavis eocaena. Earlier research has suggested that the Indian subcontinental plate was the centre of origin for several mammals which abruptly arrived in Europe after it collided with Asia. Reporting in Current Science (May 10), the team said more evidence was needed to prove that a drifting Indian plate may have played a role in this.
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