When people are polled about the ability they would most like to have, the majority say they would like to be able to sing or play a musical instrument. Scientists have now discovered that we all start out with perfect pitch.

They theorize that most English speakers lose the ability to identify a note by frequency alone because perfect pitch is not necessary for an understanding of English words.

“Our hypothesis is that the ability goes away for most of us because it’s not really useful-unless you happen to be speaking a tonal language like Thai or Mandarin,” says Jenny Saffran of the University of Wisconsin. Perfect pitch is necessary in order to understand the subtle differencesbetween similar sounding words in those languages.
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Japan’s Mount Fuji is showing signs of erupting for the first time in 300 years. Fuji is only 60 miles from Tokyo and when it last erupted, in 1707, tons of ash rained down on the city. Tokyo was a much smaller city in those days, but now it contains millions of people who might have to be evacuated if Fuji erupts again.

The number of tremors around the long-dormant volcano rose to 35 last September, after averaging only one or two a month in recent years. The tremors rose to 133 in October, then jumped to 222 in November before falling to 144 in December and sliding back down to 36 in January.
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Massive storms left at least twenty people dead in the United States and are now dumping snow on Scotland and are expected to spread into northern Europe today.

A tornado spread damage along a 23-mile path in Mississippi, while more than 20 inches of snow covered Minnesota. Snow closed down highways in South Dakota and Iowa, and heavy rain caused flooding in Missouri and Kansas. Missouri suffered flooding, and in Kansas a New York man drowned when his family car was swept off a bridge by flood waters. His wife and son survived.

The single storm dumped snow in the norther tier of states, and caused flooding and tornado-related damage farther south.
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Tens of thousands of farm animals are being slaughtered across the United Kingdom in a desperate effort to halt the spread of hoof and mouth disease.

The disease has reached the large Devon farming region, already hard-hit by BSE, and threatens to bankrupt large parts of British agriculture, and radically reduce meat supplies in the UK. It is probable that Britain will have to increase meat imports substantially to fulfill normal demand in coming months. Consumers are being urged not to panic buy.
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