Sign language in Hawaii is distinct
Linguists say they have determined that a unique sign language, possibly dating back to the 1800s or earlier, is being used in Hawaii, marking the first time in 80 years a previously unknown language — spoken or signed — has been documented in the United States. Researchers will formally announce their findings this weekend showing it's not a dialect of American Sign Language, as many long believed, but an unrelated language with unique vocabulary and grammar. Only about 40 people, most in their 80s, are known to use Hawaii Sign Language, meaning the finding comes as the language is on the cusp of disappearing.
Mars rover put in 'safe mode'
Science experiments by the NASA Mars rover Curiosity have been put on hold as engineers troubleshoot a problem with its computer. NASA said Friday that the car-size rover was in "safe mode." In this state, Curiosity suspends science activities but is still in contact with Earth. Engineers discovered a problem with Curiosity's flash memory this week and switched to its backup computer. The rover landed last summer to examine whether environmental conditions on Mars were favorable for microbes.
Autopsy no help in lottery death
An autopsy on the exhumed body of a Chicago lottery winner poisoned with cyanide yielded no significant new clues about his death, Cook County medical examiner Stephen Cina said Friday. After exhuming his body in January, Cina had said he hoped the tests might determine whether Urooj Khan, 46, swallowed, inhaled or was injected with the poison. Authorities have not publicly identified anyone as a suspect in the July death, which happened just days before he was to collect $425,000 in lottery winnings.