New York, New York - The USDA joins nations from across the globe to kick off the International Year of Soils, an effort to highlight the importance of soil in everyday life. Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie will address members of the 68th United Nations General Assembly, which designated 2015 for the yearlong celebration.

West Lafayette, Indiana - A laboratory at Purdue University provided a critical part of the world's first transistor in 1947 - the purified germanium semiconductor - and now researchers here are on the forefront of a new germanium milestone.

Pacific Ocean - San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) successfully completed recovery operations of the NASA Orion crew module, forward bay cover, and parachutes, Friday.

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Noise, excessive vibration, and relative inefficiency are drawbacks of the piston-based internal combustion engines (ICE) that power today’s lawn and garden equipment, such as leaf blowers and lawn trimmers.

Berkeley, California - When it comes to getting out of a tricky situation, we humans have an evolutionary edge over other primates. Take, as a dramatic example, the Apollo 13 voyage in which engineers, against all odds, improvised a chemical filter on a lunar module to prevent carbon dioxide buildup from killing the crew.

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Today’s atmosphere likely bears little trace of its primordial self: Geochemical evidence suggests that Earth’s atmosphere may have been completely obliterated at least twice since its formation more than 4 billion years ago. However, it’s unclear what interplanetary forces could have driven such a dramatic loss.