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The skinny

The skinny: In California drought, salmon hatchlings getting ride downstream

Keep on Truckin'

Young Salmon hitching a ride downstream

The severe drought in California is prompting state and federal wildlife officials to mount an unusual rescue operation: Helping millions of 6-month-old salmon at risk of dying in depleted rivers and streams make their way to the sea. The first phase of what's expected to be a 10-week effort began Tuesday, when about 450,000 hatchlings were loaded on tanker trucks at a government hatchery in Northern California and released 160 miles south into the Sacramento River. The smolts, as they're known, normally rely on currents to help them get downstream and eventually out to sea. Officials are giving them a lift this year because the lack of rain has led to reduced flows, increased water temperatures and greater threats from predators.

FAR OUT

'Biden' found way out in solar system

Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7 ½ billion miles from the sun. It's the second such object discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto that was long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 and named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic. The latest discovery was detailed in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. Like Sedna, the new object, 2012 VP113, is also a dwarf planet. It's jokingly nicknamed "Biden" after Vice President Joe Biden because of its initials. Or because it's really out there?

One good turn

Flies put on brakes to steer into turns

How does a fly steer in flight? Much like a car, it turns out. Using a new 3-D, X-ray scanning technique, English and Swiss researchers were able to offer a virtual glimpse at the inner workings of one of the more complex mechanisms in nature — the flight motor of a tiny blowfly. Their findings appear in the most recent edition of the journal PLOS Biology. Graham Taylor, a professor at Oxford University's Department of Zoology, said researchers discovered the flies turn similar to the way a car does. "The fly effectively 'brakes' on one side by diverting excess power into a steering muscle specialized to absorb mechanical energy," he said. Now you know.

Compiled from wire services and other sources.

The skinny: In California drought, salmon hatchlings getting ride downstream 03/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 7:58pm]
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[The New York Times file photo]