Author Topic: Weekly Science Headlines  (Read 233462 times)

Kai

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #45 on: August 09, 2008, 02:57:26 am »
August 8, 2008
Skin Cells Produce Library of Diseased Stem Cells

from the San Diego Union-Tribune (Registration Required)

WASHINGTON (Reuters)—U.S. stem cell experts have produced a library of the powerful cells using ordinary skin and bone marrow cells from patients, and said Thursday they would share them freely with other researchers.

They used a new method to re-program ordinary cells so they look and act like embryonic stem cells—the master cells of the body with the ability to produce any type of tissue or blood cell.

The new cells come from patients with 10 incurable genetic diseases and conditions, including Parkinson's, the paralyzing disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, juvenile diabetes and Down's Syndrome. Writing in the journal Cell, the team at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston said the point is not yet to treat anyone, but to get as many researchers as possible experimenting with these cells in lab dishes to better understand the diseases.

http://snipurl.com/3cics

US Nuclear Submarine Leaked Radiation Over 2 Years

from the Seattle Times

TOKYO (Associated Press)—An American nuclear-powered submarine leaked radiation for more than two years, releasing the bulk of the material in its home port of Guam and at Pearl Harbor, Japanese and U.S. officials said Thursday.

On Aug. 1, the U.S. Navy notified Japan that the USS Houston had leaked water containing small amounts of radiation during three calls to the southern Japanese ports of Sasebo and Okinawa in March and April this year but caused no threat to people or the environment.

The U.S. Navy released a detailed chronology of the leaks over the past two years, showing that the cumulative radioactivity released was less than 9.3 micro curies—with 8 micro curies released in Guam alone. ... Navy Commander Jeff Davis said the Houston is still in Hawaii being repaired and the reactor is turned off.

http://snipurl.com/3ci75

Bullets Tagged with Pollen Could Help Solve Gun Crimes

from the Guardian (UK)

Pollen could be used to identify the perpetrators of gun crimes, thanks to developments in nanotechnology. The microscopic grains can be coated onto bullets during manufacture and are sticky enough to hold on even after the gun has been fired. Each 'nanotag' is made up of pollen and a unique chemical signature that can be used to identify the batch of ammunition.

The pollen grains—from one of two species of lily—are around 30 micrometres in diameter and are invisible to the naked eye. Thousands can be attached to each cartridge.

"The tags primarily consist of naturally occurring pollen, a substance that evolution has provided with extraordinary adhesive properties," said Prof Paul Sermon from the University of Surrey, who led the research.

http://snipurl.com/3ci4p

Cern Lab Set for Beam Milestone

from BBC News Online

A vast physics experiment—the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—reaches a key milestone this weekend ahead of an official start-up on 10 September.

Engineers had previously brought a beam of protons—tiny, sub-atomic particles—to the "doorstep" of the LHC. On 9 August, protons will be piped through LHC magnets for the first time.

The most powerful physics experiment ever built, the LHC will re-create the conditions present in the Universe just after the Big Bang. For the two-day "synchronisation test," engineers will thread a low intensity beam through the injection system and one of the LHC's eight sectors.

http://snipurl.com/3ci32

For Nanotech Drug Delivery, Size Doesn't Matter—Shape Does

from Scientific American

As nanotechnology to ferry drugs to their destinations is tested in both the laboratory and in clinical trials, scientists have made a surprising discovery about the kinds of nanoparticles that might be most effective for eventually transporting a number of different cancer-fighting therapies throughout the body.

The conventional wisdom is that the smaller, the better. But that may not be true, according to a team of scientists led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (U.N.C.) chemistry professor Joseph DeSimone.

DeSimone and his colleagues have shown that the shape of these microscopic drug carriers is much more important than size and can even mean the difference between whether a drug penetrates target cells effectively or ends up as a target itself, only to be destroyed by the immune system.

http://snipurl.com/3chv6

Solar Systems Like Ours May Be Rare

from New Scientist

Our solar system is a Goldilocks among planetary systems. Conditions have to be just right for a disc of dust and gas to coalesce into such a set of neatly ordered planets, a new computer model suggests.

Similar planetary systems are likely to be a minority in the galaxy, says model developer Edward Thommes of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Even so, if only 1 percent of the Milky Way's hundreds of billions of stars have a terrestrial planet with a stable orbit in the habitable zone, the Earth could have plenty of company.

Astronomers long thought planets orbited where they formed, with small terrestrial planets close to the star, gas giants near the middle, and smaller ice giants such as Neptune towards the edge of a 'protoplanetary' disc of gas and dust before it dissipated.

http://snipurl.com/3choy

Duck-Billed Dinosaurs "Outgrew" Their Predators

from National Geographic News

Talk about being a big baby. The duck-billed dinosaur Hypacrosaurus grew three to five times faster than the fearsome predators that hunted it, reaching its full size by age ten, according to a new study.

Unlike other plant-eating dinosaurs, duckbills such as Hypacrosaurus didn't have piercing horns, dagger-like teeth, or hulking body armor. So the ability to grow bigger faster provided the animals with a size advantage that likely served them well in their early years.

For example, baby duckbills were probably about the same size as Tyrannosaurus rex hatchlings, said study co-author Drew Lee of Ohio University's College of Osteopathic Medicine. But by five years old the duckbill would be the size of a grown cow, while the T. rex would be only as big as a large dog.

http://snipurl.com/3chkd

Making T Cells Tougher Against HIV

from Science News

I pity the fool who messes with these T cells. A method to deliver molecular "scissors" into T cells in mice makes the cells downright hostile to HIV. Not only do the cells reject the virus' advances, but copies of the virus already inside the cells get snipped up.

The technique is the first to deliver these HIV-fighting scissors—called small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs—into T cells in living animals, Premlata Shankar of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso and her colleagues report in the Aug. 22 Cell. Shankar performed the research while at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"I think they’ve shown very nicely that you can ... target T cells and knock down the virus," comments John Rossi, an AIDS researcher at the Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. "It's a nice proof of principle that I think could be developed into a viable therapy."

http://snipurl.com/3chy5

Fingerprints Yield More Telltale Clues

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Registration Required)

WASHINGTON (Associated Press)—Scientists have found ways to tease even more clues out of fingerprints' telltale marks—one in a string of developments that gives modern forensics even better ways to solve mysteries like the anthrax attacks or JonBenet Ramsey's murder.

For example, if a person handled cocaine, explosives or other materials, there could be enough left in a fingerprint to identify them, says chemist R. Graham Cooks of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Progress in forensics comes from a combination of new techniques, like those involved in the anthrax investigation, and existing techniques, like those used in the Ramsey case, said Max M. Houck, director of West Virginia University's Forensic Science Initiative.

http://snipurl.com/3ciab

Anthrax Case Raises Doubt On Security

from the Washington Post (Registration Required)

Revelations about anthrax scientist Bruce E. Ivins's mental instability have exposed what congressional leaders and security experts call startling gaps in how the federal government safeguards its most dangerous biological materials, even as the number of bioscience laboratories has grown rapidly since the 2001 terror attacks.

An estimated 14,000 scientists and technicians at about 400 institutions have clearances to access viruses and bacteria such as the Bacillus anthracis used in the anthrax attacks, but security procedures vary by facility, and oversight of the labs is spread across multiple government agencies.

Screening for the researchers handling some of the world's deadliest germs is not as strict as that for national security jobs in the FBI and CIA, federal officials said.

http://snipurl.com/3cvsk
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Kai

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2008, 05:34:31 pm »
August 11, 2008
DNA Is Just Anthrax Clue, Not Clincher

from the Philadelphia Inquirer

DNA evidence alone wasn't a smoking gun in the case against Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks, say microbiologists and other experts who have read details of the investigation released last week.

Genetic sleuthing was useful in narrowing the list of suspects, they say, but it wasn't conclusive since DNA from bacteria doesn't often carry a unique genetic fingerprint the way human DNA does.

At first, prosecutors seemed to suggest that forensic DNA had solved the case. ... But at least eight other anthrax samples gathered from researchers in the investigation carried the same genetic signature as Ivins' batch at Fort Detrick, Md., court documents say.

http://snipurl.com/3e3f4

Iron Age Warrior with Roman Links Found in U.K.

from National Geographic News

The grave of an ancient British warrior with tantalizing Roman connections has been unearthed in southern England, archaeologists say.

The 2,000-year-old skeleton of the tribal king or nobleman was found buried with military trappings, including a bronze helmet and an ornate shield both of a style previously unknown in Britain, experts say.

The Iron Age man, who died in his 30s, was discovered in June at the site of a new housing development in North Bersted on England's southeastern coast. "What we've found is of national and international importance," said dig team member Mark Taylor, senior archaeologist at West Sussex County Council.

http://snipurl.com/3e3it

An Asteroid Cop Gets Ready to Patrol

from the Christian Science Monitor

Toronto—A satellite the size of a suitcase may soon protect our planet from a catastrophic collision with an asteroid. Dubbed NEOSSat—for Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite—the Canadian craft will be the world's first space telescope designed to hunt asteroids that threaten to slam into Earth.

Several ground-based telescopes already scan the sky for potential dangers, but they only hunt at night and poor weather obscures their view. By circling pole to pole in a sun-synchronous orbit about 500 miles above Earth, NEOSSat can operate nonstop, twirling hundreds of times a day as it photographs sections of space, says Alan Hildebrand, a planetary scientist at the University of Calgary in Alberta.

NEOSSat's six-inch wide telescope has a sunshade that lets it search close to the sun, where potentially hazardous asteroids are concentrated.

http://snipurl.com/3e3cm

A Tall, Cool Drink of ... Sewage?

from the New York Times Magazine (Registration Required)

... When you flush in Santa Ana [Calif.], the waste makes its way to the sewage-treatment plant nearby in Fountain Valley, then sluices not to the ocean but to a plant that superfilters the liquid until it is cleaner than rainwater.

The "new" water is then pumped 13 miles north and discharged into a small lake, where it percolates into the earth. Local utilities pump water from this aquifer and deliver it to the sinks and showers of 2.3 million customers.

It is now drinking water. If you like the idea, you call it indirect potable reuse. If the idea revolts you, you call it toilet to tap. Opened in January, the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System is the largest of its type in the world.

http://snipurl.com/3e2uk

Barbadians Slam Discovery, Naming of Tiny Snake

from the San Francisco Examiner

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Associated Press)—A small snake has sparked a big debate in Barbados. Residents of the wealthy Caribbean nation have been heating up blogs and clogging radio airwaves to vent their anger at a U.S. scientist, who earlier this week announced his "discovery" of the world's smallest snake and named it "Leptotyphlops carlae," after his wife Carla.

"If he needs to blow his own trumpet ... well, fine," said 43-year-old Barbadian Charles Atkins. "But my mother, who was a simple housewife, she showed me the snake when I was a child."

One writer to the Barbados Free Press blog took an even tougher tone, questioning how someone could "discover" a snake long known to locals, who called it the thread snake.

http://snipurl.com/3do0z

Perseid Meteor Shower To Peak August 11 and 12

from National Geographic News

Unlike short-lived solar eclipses or unpredictable auroras, meteor showers regularly offer skywatchers a dazzling show. Soon the curtain will rise on one of the best of these showers: the Perseids, so called because the meteors appear to originate in the constellation Perseus.

Slated to peak sometime during the night and early morning of August 11 to 12, the shower offers one of the year's best chances to see a shooting star.

Under perfect conditions, observers can expect to see about 90 to 100 meteors an hour, said Wayne Hally, a self-professed "meteor geek" who writes a newsletter for the North American Meteor Network.

http://snipurl.com/3d29l

Invisibility Cloak 'Step Closer'

from BBC News Online

Scientists in the US say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people invisible.

Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects making them "disappear."

The materials do not occur naturally but have been created on a nano scale, measured in billionths of a metre. The team says the principles could one day be scaled up to make invisibility cloaks large enough to hide people.

http://snipurl.com/3emkm

Cassini to Search for Source of Saturn Moon's Plumes

from New Scientist

On Monday, the Cassini spacecraft will return to Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, passing within 50 kilometres of its south pole. NASA team members hope the flyby will provide evidence for subsurface liquid water containing the building blocks of life.

Previous encounters revealed huge plumes of ice and water vapour venting from blue-green fault lines, or "tiger stripes", that criss-cross the south pole. The source of these jets, which feed Saturn's rings, is hotly contested.

Gathering data about these features has been slow because only a few instruments can be used fully during each flyby. Early budget cuts to the mission in 1992 limited the ability of its detectors to move independently, so some are often on the wrong side of the spacecraft to be useful.

http://snipurl.com/3e3ly

The Recipe for You

from the San Diego Union-Tribune (Registration Required)

In episode 17 of the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (Stardate 41463.9), a silica-based life form called a "microbrain" disparagingly describes humans as "ugly bags of water."

Which is true—at least the part about us being bags of water. Every school kid learns that humans are mostly water, albeit in varying amounts. The average adult is about 60 percent water. Newborns are 78 percent; obese people can be less than 50 percent water, since lean muscle tissue contains much more water (75 percent) than fat (14 percent).

But as basic as water is to the human condition, other things are even more elemental, such as the hydrogen and oxygen that combine to make water. Roughly 99 percent of your body's mass is composed of just six elements: oxygen (65 percent); carbon (18 percent); hydrogen (10 percent); nitrogen (3 percent); calcium (1.5 percent); and phosphorus (1 percent).

http://snipurl.com/3e3qn

Snake's Impact on Guam Appears to Extend to Flora

from the Washington Post (Registration Required)

One of the most infamous examples of what can happen when a nonnative species is introduced into a new environment involves the brown tree snake—a voracious, semi-venomous species that in less than 50 years all but destroyed bird life on the northern Pacific island of Guam.

Introduced inadvertently from the South Pacific just after World War II, apparently on a cargo ship, the snake has killed off 10 bird species on the island and is in the process of wiping out the remaining two.

The virtual extermination of Guam's birds has been bemoaned for decades, but new research suggests that the damage to the ecology of the narrow, 30-mile-long island did not stop there. The hundreds of thousands of snakes, researchers say, are now changing the way Guam's forest grows ...

http://snipurl.com/3emnt 

A note about the Thread Snake. My advisor says that this is indication we shouldn't use the word "discover" when what we really mean is formally name and describe, because species may be well known to locals but new to science.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Cramulus

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2008, 06:43:52 pm »
great reading! thanks kai!

Kai

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2008, 06:54:24 pm »
great reading! thanks kai!

You're welcome. I'm glad someones reading this thread with all the drama going on. :)
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Vene

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2008, 09:06:12 pm »
This is one of the best threads here.  Thanks Kai

Now, if only I had to initiative to post articles here too.

Cain

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2008, 09:16:03 pm »
Kai,

if you havent already, I suggest downloading somethin like Snarfer, and adding as many science site and blog feeds as possible to it.  I often don't comment in here, thouh I do read it when I have the time, but I have just Reuters Science and Science Daily on my feed and I have tons of stories every day to read in addition to these, should I wish.

Its a great method of keeping track of frequently updated sites, and you could likely find many more science articles as well.

Kai

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2008, 11:02:22 pm »
I'll look into it. I use google reader right now but only have a couple of science blogs on there. I've been trying to find good ways to keep track of science news that isn't ridiculously dumbed down for years. Maybe this would work.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Kai

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2008, 11:19:29 pm »
August 12, 2008
2,500-Year-Old Greek Ship Raised off Sicilian Coast

from National Geographic News

An ancient Greek ship recently raised off the coast of southern Sicily, Italy, is the biggest and best maintained vessel of its kind ever found, archaeologists say.

At a length of nearly 70 feet and a width of 21 feet, the 2,500-year-old craft is the largest recovered ship built in a manner first depicted in Homer's Iliad, which is believed to date back several centuries earlier.

The ship's outer shell was built first, and the inner framework was added later. The wooden planks of the hull were sewn together with ropes, with pitch and resin used as sealant to keep out water. Carlo Beltrame, professor of marine archaeology at the Università Ca' Foscari in Venice, said the boat, found near the town of Gela, is among the most important finds in the Mediterranean Sea.

http://snipurl.com/3fabq

Overweight, but Still Healthy

from the Seattle Times

CHICAGO (Associated Press)—You can look great in a swimsuit and still be a heart attack waiting to happen. And you can also be overweight and otherwise healthy.

A new study suggests a surprising number of overweight people—about half—have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while an equally startling number of trim people suffer from some of the ills associated with obesity.

The first national estimate of its kind bolsters the argument that you can be hefty but still healthy, or at least healthier than has been believed. The results also show stereotypes about body size can be misleading, and that even "less voluptuous" people can have risk factors commonly associated with obesity, said study author MaryFran Sowers, a University of Michigan obesity researcher.

http://snipurl.com/3fa98

The Humpback Whale Is Back

from the Times (London)

Forty years ago conservationists feared that humpback whales were being hunted to extinction. Now numbers have returned to such a level that they have been taken off the danger list.

The latest count stands at 40,000 mature individuals, meaning that, for now at least, the humpback is safe from the threat of extinction.

Several other whales, such as the blue whale, the biggest animal on earth, and the sei and southern right whales, are also growing in number after similar scares.

The populations of several smaller species of whales and other cetaceans are still falling, however, and it is feared that some may be close to disappearing, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

http://snipurl.com/3fa6s

Lower Vitamin D, Higher Risk of Death

from USA Today

Low levels of vitamin D may raise a person's risk of premature death, a study by Johns Hopkins researchers shows.

The research follows other recent studies showing low levels of vitamin D are linked to certain cancers, diabetes, and bone and immune system problems, but this is the first research to connect vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of death, says study author Erin Michos, assistant professor of cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The study appears in this week's Archives of Internal Medicine. Michos and her colleagues analyzed data from a large government observational survey of more than 13,000 people who represented a realistic, diverse swath of U.S. adults ages 20 and up. Participants' vitamin D levels were collected by blood test from 1988 through 1994.

http://snipurl.com/3fa3j

No Room at the Beach

from the Boston Globe (Registration Required)

CHATHAM—After the fog lifts, a cloud of short-billed dowitchers, red knots, American oystercatchers and all types of plovers tear and careen off an inlet. They crest on the breeze, settling near the shore.

... This pristine spot where South Beach meets South Monomoy Island is a critical stopover for many shorebird species on their way from the Arctic to their wintering grounds in Central or South America, or even New Zealand. But such relatively untouched coastal land is getting rarer—and so are the oystercatchers, sandpipers, and plovers that depend on it for their feeding grounds.

The populations of nearly all of North America's 55 shorebird species are declining ... in large part because of disturbance to their beachfront habitats. Every flap of their wings to evade beach walkers, all-terrain vehicles, or dogs depletes more of the energy they need for long flights, leading to lower reproductive success and even death, specialists said.

http://snipurl.com/3fa1h

Handle With Care

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

Last year, a private company proposed "fertilizing" parts of the ocean with iron, in hopes of encouraging carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton. Meanwhile, researchers elsewhere are talking about injecting chemicals into the atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting mirrors into stationary orbit above the earth or taking other steps to reset the thermostat of a warming planet.

This technology might be useful, even life-saving. But it would inevitably produce environmental effects impossible to predict and impossible to undo. So a growing number of experts say it is time for broad discussion of how and by whom it should be used, or if it should be tried at all.

Similar questions are being raised about nanotechnology, robotics and other powerful emerging technologies. There are even those who suggest humanity should collectively decide to turn away from some new technologies as inherently dangerous.

http://snipurl.com/3f9yz

Researchers Work to Turn Car's Exhaust into Power

from the San Francisco Examiner

WARREN, Mich. (Associated Press)—The stinky, steaming air that escapes from a car's tailpipe could help us use less gas.

Researchers are competing to meet a challenge from the U.S. Department of Energy: Improve fuel economy 10 percent by converting wasted exhaust heat into energy that can help power the vehicle.

General Motors Corp. is close to reaching the goal, as is a BMW AG supplier working with Ohio State University. Their research into thermoelectrics—the science of using temperature differences to create electricity—couldn't come at a better time as high gas prices accelerate efforts to make vehicles as efficient as possible.

http://snipurl.com/3eugi

Gardasil Vaccine Doubts Grow

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

Sandra Levy wants to do everything she can to safeguard the health of her 11-year-old daughter—and that, of course, includes cancer prevention. She has had her child inoculated with one shot of Gardasil, the human papilloma virus vaccine that may prevent cervical cancer. But now, she says, she has serious reservations about going ahead with the next two injections of the course.

"It's very confusing, and we really don't know if it's 100% safe," says Levy, of Long Beach. "I'm not against vaccines, but I don't want to do anything that would harm my daughter."

Though most medical organizations strongly advocate using the HPV vaccine, some doctors and parents, like Levy, are asking whether the vaccine's benefits really outweigh its costs. They say they aren't convinced that the expensive shots offer any more protection than preventive measures already available—principally, regular screening via the Pap smear test.

http://snipurl.com/3eqzi

Dachshunds Gene 'Blindness Clue'

from BBC News Online

A genetic mutation in dachshunds could help uncover the roots of some inherited forms of blindness in humans, say scientists.

Cone-rod dystrophies are caused by progressive cell loss in the retina. Dachshunds are particularly prone to similar conditions, and US and Norwegian researchers spotted an altered gene which may play a role.

Writing in the journal Genome Research, they said research on the similar gene in humans might lead to new therapies. Cone-rod dystrophies are relatively rare, and can lead at first to "day-blindness", in which vision in bright light is affected, then to full loss of vision. It can start as early as childhood.

http://snipurl.com/3d2br

The Sprinter's Brain

from the Washington Post (Registration Required)

If American sprinters Tyson Gay and Walter Dix reprise their race in the U.S. Olympic trials at the Olympic finals in Beijing, you will see the athletes crouch low over the starting blocks. Gay's right foot will be in the rear position on the blocks; Dix prefers to have his left foot in the rear position.

It might be a little awkward, but someone ought to tap Dix on the shoulder and tell him to consider switching the position of his legs. And not just Dix—every sprinter in the Olympics ought to think about starting with his or her right foot in the rear position.

That's the surprising conclusion of an unusual new piece of research that ties sprinters' speed off the starting blocks with the structure of the human brain.

http://snipurl.com/3eui7
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Vene

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2008, 02:58:31 pm »
Kai,

if you havent already, I suggest downloading somethin like Snarfer, and adding as many science site and blog feeds as possible to it.  I often don't comment in here, thouh I do read it when I have the time, but I have just Reuters Science and Science Daily on my feed and I have tons of stories every day to read in addition to these, should I wish.

Its a great method of keeping track of frequently updated sites, and you could likely find many more science articles as well.
Science daily doesn't get technical enough for my tastes.  Although, I do like that they actually cite the relevant paper at the end of their article.

Iason Ouabache

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2008, 08:12:16 am »
Quote
Gardasil Vaccine Doubts Grow

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

Sandra Levy wants to do everything she can to safeguard the health of her 11-year-old daughter—and that, of course, includes cancer prevention. She has had her child inoculated with one shot of Gardasil, the human papilloma virus vaccine that may prevent cervical cancer. But now, she says, she has serious reservations about going ahead with the next two injections of the course.

"It's very confusing, and we really don't know if it's 100% safe," says Levy, of Long Beach. "I'm not against vaccines, but I don't want to do anything that would harm my daughter."

Though most medical organizations strongly advocate using the HPV vaccine, some doctors and parents, like Levy, are asking whether the vaccine's benefits really outweigh its costs. They say they aren't convinced that the expensive shots offer any more protection than preventive measures already available—principally, regular screening via the Pap smear test.

http://snipurl.com/3eqzi
There has been a big anti-vaccination blitz against Gardasil this week, including slipping a paper into Medscape.  I wonder who's behind all of it.

Also:  Fuck the Denialists in their pointy little heads.   :argh!:
You cannot fathom the immensity of the fuck i do not give.
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Reginald Ret

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2008, 02:20:39 pm »
Quote
When Play Becomes Work

from the Washington Post (Registration Required)

It happens all the time: Two guys in a garage come up with a cool new technology—and dream of making it big. A thousand people take time off work to campaign for a visionary politician because they feel they are doing something to change the world. A million kids hit baseballs—and wonder what it would take to become a pro.

Then the brainiacs, volunteers and Little Leaguers grow up. What they did for fun becomes ... work. Paychecks and bonuses become the reasons to do things. Pink slips and demotions become the reasons not to do other things.

Psychologists have long been interested in what happens when people's internal drives are replaced by external motivations. A host of experiments have shown that when threats and rewards enter the picture, they tend to destroy the inner drives.

http://snipurl.com/37cmj

This is the one that interests me the most... and how it seems to run counter to the IDEAL of "I want a job where I'm doing something I like."

Is all action-for-pay doomed to become "work" even if we enjoyed the action before we got paid for it?

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
    Aristotle

it seems you are in good company
Lord Byron: "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

Nigel saying the wisest words ever uttered: "It's just a suffix."

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Vene

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2008, 04:01:36 pm »
Quote
Gardasil Vaccine Doubts Grow

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

Sandra Levy wants to do everything she can to safeguard the health of her 11-year-old daughter—and that, of course, includes cancer prevention. She has had her child inoculated with one shot of Gardasil, the human papilloma virus vaccine that may prevent cervical cancer. But now, she says, she has serious reservations about going ahead with the next two injections of the course.

"It's very confusing, and we really don't know if it's 100% safe," says Levy, of Long Beach. "I'm not against vaccines, but I don't want to do anything that would harm my daughter."

Though most medical organizations strongly advocate using the HPV vaccine, some doctors and parents, like Levy, are asking whether the vaccine's benefits really outweigh its costs. They say they aren't convinced that the expensive shots offer any more protection than preventive measures already available—principally, regular screening via the Pap smear test.

http://snipurl.com/3eqzi
There has been a big anti-vaccination blitz against Gardasil this week, including slipping a paper into Medscape.  I wonder who's behind all of it.

Also:  Fuck the Denialists in their pointy little heads.   :argh!:
But, if you vaccine the little girls, they'll have the secks!

fomenter

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2008, 04:11:16 pm »
have you seen the TV add? the disclaimer is longer than the commercial the list of side effects, possible harm it may cause is huge.  it also  says "it may not work " :lulz:
"So she says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy... Without the lumps. HAAA-ha-ha-ha!"


hmroogp

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2008, 07:48:32 pm »
August 14, 2008
Probe Gets Close Up to Enceladus

from BBC News Online

The Cassini spacecraft has returned some remarkable new close-up images of the Saturnian moon Enceladus.

They were captured during a flyby on 11 August, with the probe passing above the icy terrain at a distance of just 50km at closest approach. The pictures show previously unseen detail in the so-called tiger stripes that mark the south pole of Enceladus.

These cracks run across a "hot-spot" region that is hurling plumes of ice particles into space. Scientists are intrigued by what might be driving this activity; and some have suggested the mechanisms involved could be sufficient to maintain a mass of liquid water below the moon's surface.

http://snipurl.com/3frdn

How Are Swimmers Smashing So Many Olympic Records?

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

BEIJING—Anyone tuning in to watch swimming for the first time in several years can't help but be a little suspicious this week.

It's one thing to watch Michael Phelps smash world records left and right, but should every world record in swimming be falling like this? Through the first three days of the 2008 Olympics, there have been 10 world records broken in nine events.

... Is it the new Speedo suits? The deeper pool? Does the sport have a drug problem that no one is talking about? All of the above? People within the worldwide swimming community have different answers. But for the most part, athletes and coaches believe it's just the accelerated progression of the sport.

http://snipurl.com/3fpw6

Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

Weeks before bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace. Jose Nazario of Arbor Networks in Lexington noticed a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: "win+love+in+Rusia."

Other Internet experts in the United States said the attacks against Georgia's Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests—known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks—that overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers.

... As it turns out, the July attack may have been a dress rehearsal for an all-out cyberwar once the shooting started between Georgia and Russia. According to Internet technical experts, it was the first time a known cyberattack had coincided with a shooting war.

http://snipurl.com/3fq2u

Neanderthals Didn't Mate With Modern Humans, Study Says

from National Geographic News

Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans likely did not interbreed, according to a new DNA study. The research further suggests that small population numbers helped do in our closest relatives.

Researchers sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome—genetic information passed down from mothers—of a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal thighbone found in a cave in Croatia.

The new sequence contains 16,565 DNA bases, or "letters," representing 13 genes, making it the longest stretch of Neanderthal DNA ever examined. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is easier to isolate from ancient bones than conventional or "nuclear" DNA—which is contained in cell nuclei—because there are many mitochondria per cell.

http://snipurl.com/3frcw

How Many Arms Does an Octopus Have?

from the Times (London)

A giant Pacific octopus called Mavis has helped researchers to prove that the one thing everyone knows about the creatures is wrong.

The name octopus is derived from the Ancient Greek for eight feet. Mavis, who lives in a tank at Weymouth Sea Life Centre, actually has six arms and two legs. Researchers who were studying octopuses' behaviour were taken aback to discover that some of the most basic assumptions about them were wrong.

Until now it had been believed that the tentacles were deployed in two equal sets, one set of four for propulsion and the other for manipulation. The research, conducted at 20 centres across Europe, was originally intended to establish whether octopuses favoured one side over the other, as people do, or were multidextrous.

http://snipurl.com/3frkm

Firm Evidence that Earth's Core Is Solid

from Science News

Faint yet distinct ground motions recorded by a large network of seismic instruments in Japan in early 2006 are the strongest, most direct evidence that Earth's inner core is solid.

On February 22, 2006, a magnitude-7 quake rocked Mozambique. The temblor was an unusually large one for southern Africa, but it also was quick for its size: Motions at the epicenter lasted only eight seconds or so, says George Helffrich, a geophysicist at the University of Bristol in England.

While much of the quake's energy spread along the planet's surface, some of it radiated downward, traveled through Earth's core and then returned to the surface in Japan, where more than 700 seismometers picked up the vibes. ... [The] size, shape and timing of some of the vibrations picked up by the Japanese instruments suggest that the waves traveled through the planet's inner core as shear waves, which can travel only through a solid material, says Helffrich.

http://snipurl.com/3frmo

How the Brain Monitors Errors and Learns from Goofs

from Scientific American

... Of course, people make mistakes, both large and small, every day, and monitoring and fixing slipups is a regular part of life. Although people understandably would like to avoid serious errors, most goofs have a good side: they give the brain information about how to improve or fine-tune behavior. In fact, learning from mistakes is likely essential to the survival of our species.

In recent years researchers have identified a region of the brain called the medial frontal cortex that plays a central role in detecting mistakes and responding to them. These frontal neurons become active whenever people or monkeys change their behavior after the kind of negative feedback or diminished reward that results from errors.

Much of our ability to learn from flubs, the latest studies show, stems from the actions of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In fact, genetic variations that affect dopamine signaling may help explain differences between people in the extent to which they learn from past goofs.

http://snipurl.com/3frp8
 
Physicists Spooked by Faster-Than-Light Information Transfer

from Nature News

Two photons can be connected in a way that seems to defy the very nature of space and time, yet still obeys the laws of quantum mechanics.

Physicists at the University of Geneva achieved the weird result by creating a pair of 'entangled' photons, separating them, then sending them down a fibre optic cable to the Swiss villages of Satigny and Jussy, some 18 kilometres apart.

The researchers found that when each photon reached its destination, it could instantly sense its twin's behaviour without any direct communication. The finding does not violate the laws of quantum mechanics, the theory that physicists use to describe the behaviour of very small systems. Rather, it shows just how quantum mechanics can defy everyday expectation ...

http://snipurl.com/3frs0

Galileo, Reconsidered

from Smithsonian Magazine

... Galileo helped paved the way for classic mechanics and made huge technological and observational leaps in astronomy. Most famously, he championed the Copernican model of the universe, which put the sun at its center and the earth in orbit. The Catholic Church deemed Galileo's 1632 book "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" heresy, banned it, forced Galileo to recant his heliocentric views and condemned him to house arrest. He died in his Florence home in 1642.

Historians of science have long debated the exact nature of and motivations for Galileo's trial. War, politics and strange bedfellows obscure science's premier martyrdom story. Many of the documents historians use to try and untangle the mystery are mired in their own prejudices or were written long after the fact, or both.

Now the very first written biography of Galileo has been rediscovered. It offers a rare glimpse into what people thought about the trial only 20 years after Galileo's death and even suggests a tantalizing new explanation for why he was put on trial in the first place.

http://snipurl.com/3frue

U.S. Fuel Tanks May Be Fouling Water

from the Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON (Associated Press)—The government owns hundreds of underground fuel tanks—many designed for emergencies during the Cold War—that need to be inspected for leaks of hazardous substances that could be making local water undrinkable.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has known since at least the 1990s that tanks under its supervision around the country could be leaking fuel into soil and groundwater, according to interviews and research.

The agency knows of at least 150 underground tanks that need to be inspected for leaks, according to spokeswoman Debbie Wing. FEMA is also trying to determine by September whether an additional 124 tanks are underground or above ground and whether they are leaking. ... There has been no documentation of reported leaks or harm to communities from the FEMA tanks, Wing said, although former agency officials and congressional testimony suggest that the tanks have long been seen as a problem.

http://snipurl.com/3frye

good set of articles today
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

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Kai

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2008, 12:27:46 am »
August 15, 2008
Screen Wars: Stealing TV's 'Eyeball' Share

from the Christian Science Monitor

Is this the summer that the Internet finally kills television as we once knew it?

Most industry observers are stopping short of that prediction, citing some significant hurdles still in the way. But the growing number of new deals and new devices being announced suggests that a profound change in the way people watch video—and what video they watch—is under way.

The line between "television" and video via the Internet already has blurred and may disappear in coming years. At least one industry analyst has declared "TV is dead" and welcomes Americans to a new age of video everywhere. Increasingly, Americans are watching video when they want to, and on the screen that suits them at the time.

http://snipurl.com/3g1v4

Infant Transplant Procedure Ignites Debate

from the Washington Post (Registration Required)

Surgeons in Denver are publishing their first account of a procedure in which they remove the hearts of severely brain-damaged newborns less than two minutes after the babies are disconnected from life support, and their hearts stop beating, so the organs can be transplanted into infants who would otherwise die.

A detailed description of the transplants in [yesterday's] issue of the New England Journal of Medicine has ignited an intense debate about whether the first-of-their-kind procedures are pushing an already controversial organ-retrieval strategy beyond acceptable legal, moral and ethical bounds.

The doctors who performed the operations as part of a federally funded research project defended the practice, and some advocates for organ donation praised the operations as offering the first clear evidence that the procedures could provide desperately needed hearts for terminally ill babies.

http://snipurl.com/3g1ok

The Old Motor Roars Back

from the Economist

Small cars sometimes struggle to climb steep hills. But a converted Chevrolet Lacetti has something special to help it along. Instead of having to keep changing down and revving harder to ascend a winding Alpine-type test track, the engine can cruise almost to the summit in top gear.

This is because the car benefits from one of the developments that in these more economical and greener times promises to give the petrol engine a new lease of life. Old technologies have a habit of fighting back when new ones come along. This is not surprising because they often have an enormous amount of design, engineering and production knowledge invested in them—especially so in the case of car engines.

So new hybrid systems, fuel cells and electric motors will be chasing a moving target. The internal combustion engine will be getting better too. The Lacetti is just one example. It gets its extra oomph from a supercharger forcing more air into the combustion chambers of its engine. This is an old idea that used to speed up 1920s racing cars ...

http://snipurl.com/3g20k

Giant Prehistoric "Kangaroos" Killed Off by Humans

from National Geographic News

Humans, not climate change, were responsible for the extinction of giant "kangaroos" and other massive marsupials in Tasmania more than 40,000 years ago, according to new research.

Hunting on the Australian island exterminated several prehistoric animals, including the kangaroo-like beasts, marsupial "hippopotamuses," and leopard-like cats, a team of scientists announced.

The giant kangaroo-like Protemnon anak, a long-necked leaf browser, survived on Tasmania until at least 41,000 years ago—much later than previously believed and up to 2,000 years after the first human settlers are believed to have arrived—according to new radiocarbon and luminescence dating of fossils, some of which were accidentally found by cavers.

http://snipurl.com/3g1az

Hope for Arthritis Vaccine 'Cure'

from BBC News Online

A single injection of modified cells could halt the advance of rheumatoid arthritis, say UK scientists. The Newcastle University team is about to start small-scale safety trials of the jab, which will hopefully stop the immune system attacking the joints.

The Arthritis Research Campaign, which is funding the project, said if successful, the treatment would be "revolutionary." It could be fully tested and available within five years.

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of a family of "autoimmune" diseases, in which the body's defence systems launch attacks on its own tissues. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, this means painful inflammation and progressive damage to the joints, eased only slightly by courses of painkillers and immune dampening drugs.

http://snipurl.com/3g1rr

To Protect Whales, Navy Will Limit Use of Low-Frequency Sonar

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

The U.S. Navy will restrict the use of low-frequency active sonar during training to prevent possible harm to whales and other creatures, under an agreement reached with environmental groups Tuesday.

The accord, approved by a federal court in San Francisco, would restrict the use of a type of sonar in areas in the Pacific Ocean that are known to be whale breeding grounds and key habitat, such as the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary off Hawaii.

The Navy and environmentalists have been jousting in court for several years over the risk to whales and other marine life posed by underwater noise from sonar exercises. A separate lawsuit, not involved in Tuesday's announcement, involves mid-frequency sonar. That case is pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

http://snipurl.com/3g1i1

Breast Cancer: Risk of Relapse Low After Surviving 5 Years

from USA Today

Women who survive five years after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a good chance of remaining cancer-free, a new study shows. In the most detailed study of its kind, the report shows that 89% of such patients remain disease-free 10 years after diagnosis, and 81% are cancer-free after 15 years.

Authors of the study, published online Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, say their findings may reassure breast cancer survivors, many of whom assume their odds are much bleaker.

"Patients often ask me, 'Now that I've survived my breast cancer, what is my future risk of a recurrence?' " says author Abenaa Brewster, an assistant professor at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "This is an answer we've had a hard time giving. They remain really terrified about their risk."

http://snipurl.com/3g1q6

Venomous Lionfish Prowls Fragile Caribbean Waters

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Registration Required)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Associated Press)—A maroon-striped marauder with venomous spikes is rapidly multiplying in the Caribbean's warm waters, swallowing native species, stinging divers and generally wreaking havoc on an ecologically delicate region.

The red lionfish, a tropical native of the Indian and Pacific oceans that probably escaped from a Florida fish tank, is showing up everywhere—from the coasts of Cuba and Hispaniola to Little Cayman's pristine Bloody Bay Wall, one of the region's prime destinations for divers.

Wherever it appears, the adaptable predator corners fish and crustaceans up to half its size with its billowy fins and sucks them down in one violent gulp. Research teams observed one lionfish eating 20 small fish in less than 30 minutes.

http://snipurl.com/3g1vz

Drugs Treat Heart Pain Nearly as Well as Stents, Study Says

from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Common heart drugs worked nearly as well in treating chest pain in patients with stable heart disease as a more invasive and expensive procedure known as stenting, according to a study, suggesting that many of the hundreds of thousands of such procedures done each year may be unnecessary as a first-line treatment.

Those who got stents and drug therapy had only a small additional benefit in pain relief and that disappeared within two to three years, compared with those who got drug therapy alone.

The finding, which was published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the latest piece of research to question the need for the large numbers of elective angioplasties to open blocked coronary arteries. It's estimated that several hundred thousand of the elective procedures are performed each year in the United States.

http://snipurl.com/3g1xm

Rapid Growth Found in Oxygen-Starved Ocean 'Dead Zones'

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

Many coastal areas of the world’s oceans are being starved of oxygen at an alarming rate, with vast stretches along the seafloor depleted of it to the point that they can barely sustain marine life, researchers are reporting.

The main culprit, scientists say, is nitrogen-rich nutrients from crop fertilizers that spill into coastal waters by way of rivers and streams.

A study to be published Friday in the journal Science says the number of these marine “dead zones” around the world has doubled about every 10 years since the 1960s. About 400 coastal areas now have periodically or perpetually oxygen-starved bottom waters, many of them growing in size and intensity. Combined, the zones are larger than Oregon.

http://snipurl.com/3gbvl
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey

Her Royal Majesty's Chief of Insect Genitalia Dissection
Grand Visser of the Six Legged Class
Chanticleer of the Holometabola Clade Church, Diptera Parish