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How was Bin Laden's identity verified?

Sketchy reports of DNA testing and facial recognition from Reuters and Huffington Post, and detail from Christie Wilcox, but conspiracy theories persist. Also, was this when Twitter came of age? See the live Twitter stream of an Abbottabad man during the raid, and how the news got out via Twitter, Facebook, and television.

Chernobyl plus 25 years

© iStockphoto.com/Maksym Dragunov

A “positive void coefficient” set off the runaway nuclear reaction, but its long-term effects remain open to debate, writes Roger Highfield in the Telegraph in the best retrospective so far. Other angles are explored in Der Spiegel, and the Washington Post, plus National Geographic, with photos of wildlife in the exclusion zone, and excerpts from an oral history.

Affirming spirituality or blurring the line?

The Templeton Foundation gave its $1.6 million prize Wednesday to astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees. Critics soon reacted. The prize is for "exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension," but one skeptic said it promotes religion "by blurring its well-demarcated border with science." More views here, here, and here. Rees speaks.

An update on the Google book (un)settlement

The controversial Google book settlement has come undone. Although there is talk of trying to revise it or appeal the court ruling against it, it's essentially back to square one for efforts to create a broadly accessible digital public library. An update from NASW's Jeff Hecht of his December 2008 guide to the now-rejected pact.

A cure for the content farm plague?

Google isn't saying that its latest new feature is aimed at operations like Demand Media and Associated Content, but it certainly could be. The search giant has begun giving users a way to permanently block certain sites from appearing in their search results. It requires a Google account and is already available for the Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome browsers, with more planned.

Three new critiques of Japan coverage

© iStockphoto.com/Sherwin McGehee

Sixteen days later, the reviews are everywhere. First, a New York Times profile of a Columbia scientist sorting facts from fiction in the radiation realm. Then, from CJR's The Observatory, details about a web site that crowd-sources poor Japan coverage. Finally, in Wired.com, how a popular science writer drew criticism from scientists with his earthquake prediction.

What's next in the Google books case?

A federal judge in New York has set aside the latest version of Google's class action settlement with the Authors Guild over the search giant's scanning and archiving of some 12 million books, many still under copyright. For discussion of what happens now, see this analysis on the Scholarly Kitchen blog, with a list of links to other coverage of the ruling, and a longer review on The Laboratorium.

Another good source for Japan-related news

Science magazine's Science Insider page contains news stories about the triple calamities as well as a section that answers reader questions, such as "Why Are Spent Rods So Deadly?" and "Are Underground Tsunami Shelters a Good Idea?"

A collection of Japan coverage links

From Ed Yong at the Not Exactly Rocket Science blog comes a list of more than three dozen links ranging from explainers and news coverage to political commentary.

The crises in Japan in graphics

Three consecutive calamities — an earthquake, a tsunami, and a crippled nuclear power plant — have challenged journalists and especially news graphics specialists to turn chaos into clear, publishable information. From MediaBistro, here are several noteworthy efforts. Plus one more from The New York Times (hint: use the slider in the middle of each pair of photos).