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Antarctic Lake Discovered

Two and a half miles below the ice in eastern Antarctica lies a freshwater lake as big as Lake Ontario and 400 feet deep. That is the startling conclusion of Russian and British scientists who analyzed new seismic and satellite data on giant Lake Vostok, first discovered in 1974.

In the June 20 Nature, they report that the lake's area is about 5,400 square miles, 50 percent larger than scientists had believed. Its water, insulated by the layers of ice above, is heated to above melting point by geothermal energy. It is one of about 70 bodies of water that lie beneath the continent's central ice sheet.

Because water that melts from the overlying ice is completely sealed off from the outside world for tens of thousands of years or more, Lake Vostok provides a pristine environment that could harbor ancient life forms. Researchers are particularly interested in specialized bacteria, possibly several million years old, that they suspect exist in the sediments.

To avoid contaminating that environment, scientists have recommended that a research team working at the Vostok station stop drilling boreholes when it reaches a depth of about 25 yards above the lake's surface.

- Susan Okie, Washington Post

Hangovers Hurt Heads, Not Work

Hangovers may make you feel lousy, but they don't necessarily impair your work, medical researchers find.

In a study at Penn State University, 21 male managers performed a series of tasks designed to test their work skills, once after spending a night drinking alcoholic beverages and another time after drinking nonalcoholic beverages. …