A program designed to help Alabamians lose weight is kicking off its seventh year.
The state Department of Public Health is encouraging four-member teams to start forming for Scale Back Alabama. The teams will weigh in the week of Jan. 19-25 and weigh out the week of April 6-12. The winners will be announced April 26.
There is no charge to enter. Teams where each member sheds at least 10 pounds are eligible for a random drawing where the first prize is $4,000, the second prize $2,000 and the third prize $1,000.
Preliminary figures show 19 coal miners in the U.S. were killed on the job in 2012, down from 21 the previous year.
West Virginia led the nation with seven coal mining deaths.
The figures from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration show Kentucky had four coal mining deaths, followed by Alabama with two. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia each recorded one death.
There also were 17 metal and nonmetal mining deaths, up from 16 in 2011. These fatalities bring the overall death toll in the mining industry to 36.
A group that promotes environmental awareness says Alabama made some big gains in 2012.
The Green Resource Center for Alabama has released its 5th annual Green Progress Report. It says the extension of the Forever Wild land trust program was one of the state's top environmental achievements.
Voters approved continuing the program in November. The 20-year-old program has let the state buy 220,000 acres of land to be used for hunting, fishing, bird watching and other activities.
Health officials say flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly 10 years — and it could be a bad one.
The primary strain circulating is one that tends to cause more severe illness, especially in the elderly.
But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation seems to be fairly well prepared. More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is well matched to the strains of flu so far.
The nation's space agency is tearing down a rocket test stand in Huntsville that was once used by engineers working to send astronauts to the moon.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says workers will use explosives to demolish the concrete towers of Test Stand 4696 at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville on Friday.
The 239-foot-tall tower was built in 1962 to test F-1 engines, which helped power Saturn V rockets to the moon. Documents show it hasn't been used since 1969, the year astronauts first landed on the lunar surface.
Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.
But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.
Mercury is not the first planet to come to mind if you were searching for ice in the solar system. After all, the surface temperature across most of the planet is hot enough to melt lead.
But at the poles on Mercury it's a different story. Almost no sun reaches the poles, and as a result, temperatures can drop to less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, three papers in the journal Science suggest there really is ice at the bottom of craters near the poles on Mercury.
Salad producers haven't succeeded in banishing E. coli and other dangerous microbes from fresh greens, though they've tried hard. As we've reported before, it's a major challenge to both growers and the environment. But one scientist thinks he's making progress – with a spinach spa that zaps bad bugs with ultrasound.