Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 1996)

Science news and science current events archive May, 1996.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 1996

Dating A Caveman
Mass spectrographic U-238->U-234->Th-230 dating of Zhoukoudian cave limestone strata lying just above those in which fossils of

Budget Strained California Universities More Cuts Under Federal R&D Funding Proposals
Reductions in federal R&D programs proposed by Congress and the White House could compound continuing cutbacks in state funding for California's colleges and universities, according to a new report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

GONG Results Illuminate Sun
Solar theorists from Los Alamos and other institutions have seen their models of the sun mostly validated by new results from the GONG project, and been presented new challenges by the observations of sound waves rippling across the sun's surface

Key Feature Of Self-Destructive Brain Disorder Revealed
Researchers at Johns Hopkins, using high-tech medical imaging techniques, have found the suspected fingerprint of a devastating disorder that afflicts patients with uncontrollable urges to hurt themselves

Dust Dominating Jupiter's Ring May Last For Only Hours or Days
The tiny dust grains dominating Jupiter's peculiar ring may last for less than a day before drifting down toward the planet, according to a University of Colorado researcher

Shark-Liver Substance May Slow Growth Of Brain Tumors
Results of Johns Hopkins animal studies show that a natural shark substance nearly stops the growth of new blood vessels that nourish solid brain tumors

Children From Divorced Families Only Half As Likely To Go To A Top College, Cornell Research Shows
Children who do not consistently live with two biological parents are only half as likely to ever attend a selective college, even after researchers take into account factors such as income and parent education, according to a new Cornell University study

Researchers Show Weakened Diaphragm Muscles May Contribute To Sleep Apnea In The Obese
Research on the respiratory system being conducted at the University at Buffalo may shed new light on the causes of sleep apnea, brief episodes during the night when breathing ceases, depriving the brain of oxygen. Sleep apnea occurs most often among people between the ages of 30 and 40 who are overweight

Further Reductions Forcast For Science Funding
The latest budget proposals from the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee would reduce funding for nondefense R&D programs by about 25 percent by 2002, according to a new analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

From Corn Rootworms To Art, Cornell's Reactor Is At The Core
Researchers from agronomy to art at Cornell are making use of a campus resource: A research reactor with a facility for neutron radiography. NR can see things X-rays cannot, and it's helping in discoveries from paintings hidden under paintings to how corn rootworms behave in soil

Penn State Students Send Experiments Aboard Shuttle
What happens to computer chips in space? At what rate do micro meteors hit the shuttle? More than 100 Penn State Students and alumni will have their eyes on the sky waiting for these answers and more, when NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour takes off on May 19.

Looking At The Sun Through New Eyes
Craig DeForest, a young astrophysicist who formall graduates this June, has landed a job that puts hi at the very center of solar studies: He is working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center as liaison fo the 30-member Stanford research team that is operating a key instrument on the $1.1 billio European Space Agency's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO

Users Help Design A High-Tech Facility
Faculty members, students, and campus employees collaborate to ensure that a new research lab will allow interdepartmental research using new technologies such as digital libraries, networking, multimedia, and teleconferencing.

Prehistoric Brazilian Cave Forces New Theories Of Early Human Life In The New World
The tropical rainforest, long considered too hostile an environment for the Amercias' earliest human inhabitants, appears instead to have supported a thriving society 1,000 years ago -- a startling new finding that will change the way scientists think about migration of people throughout the New World

Research Sheds New Light On How "Abs" Function
Researchers at the University at Buffalo have shown for the first time that abdominal-muscle fibers have a specific division of labor, with different fibers answering the call to action, depending on the task. The findings shed new light on how the abdominal muscles function during breathing and other tasks.

Reductions Forecast For Science Funding
The latest budget proposals from the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee would reduce funding for nondefense R&D programs by about 25 percent by 2002, according to a new analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

CU-Boulder Students To Excavate Ancient Pueblo Site In Four Corners
University of Colorado at Boulder students will begin a major excavation this June at an ancient Pueblo Site in the Four Corners region which appears to be linked to the mysterious Chaco culture that once dominated much of the Southwest.

Computer Program For Quicker, More Detailed Mapping
Researchers at the Stanford Human Genome Center have developed a powerful new computer program that can map thousands of genetic markers at once. Using this program, called Mapper, scientists have obtained one of the most accurate views yet of the humangenome as a whole.

Digital Speech Analysis Tests Sobriety
Slurred speech is often a sure sign that someone's been drinking. A Georgia Institute of Technology researcher is working with colleagues from Indiana University to digitally quantify this telltale sign, which could lead to a simple, non-invasive way totest a person's sobriety.

UB Study Shows Obesity Puts People At Risk For Early Death
Researchers at the University at Buffalo have shown that obesity stands alone as a risk factor for death, particularly from heart disease, and that the risk increases as people put on pounds. The results challenge the notion that if other health habits are good, people donÕt have to worry about their weight.

Duke Researchers Find Second Gene Linked To Blood Vessel Disorder
Duke Medical Center researchers have linked a second gene to a rare bleeding disorder, offering insight into how blood vessels form and heal in response to injury. The finding, reported in the June issue of Nature Genetics, links a previously identified human gene to a hereditary bleeding disorder that strikes 1 in 40,000 people

How To Test Whether Workers Are "Fit For Duty"
The author describes a number of biochemical and behavioral tests that can be used to determine if a worker is able to perform work safely, such as driving a truck. Though many performance tests are helpful, the author cautions employers to use reliable tests, apply the results carefully, and give workers feedback about their results

Children Become Gorillas In VR Zoo
Visitors to Zoo Atlanta learned what it was like to be part of a gorilla family at a virtual reality demonstration held May 15. Local schoolchildren put on a virtual reality helmet to see how a simulated family of gorillas would react to them. Responsesfrom the simulated gorillas were programmed into the system by Georgia scientists based on real behavior as studied by Zoo Atlanta researchers.

Heat-loving Microbe Repairs Its DNA With Light
A University of Cincinnati biologist has found a microbe (Sulfolobus acidocaldarius) which not only survives under extremely hot and acidic conditions, it can repair its damaged DNA using visible light. This is the first time this repair process has beenobserved in a hyperthermophile

AAAS Report Cautions Georgia's Economy Threatened By Proposed Cuts In R&D Programs
Leaders to Analyze State's Future in Science & Technology at May 20th Meeting in Atlanta WASHINGTON, D.C. -- May 15, 1996 -- R&D industries and research universities in Georgia could be severely impacted by Congressional and White House budget proposals slated to cut defense programs by as much as one- third by 2002, cautions a new report to be released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

New Strategies Promise Better Diagnosis, Treatment For Prostate Cancer
More than two-thirds of the men who test positive on the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test don't have cancer; but they have to undergo a needle biopsy of the prostate to find out for sure. Now, researchers have taken the first step toward eliminating the need for most of those biopsies.

Inadequate Safety Features Put Commuter Air Passengers At High Risk For Fire Deaths in Crashes
Passengers in commuter airplanes and air taxis face a major risk of death or injury from fire in crashes because of inadequate fire protection equipment and uncrashworthy fuel systems, according to a Johns Hopkins study

Rosemary May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Ordinary rosemary -- the commonly used cooking spice -- appears to help prevent breast cancer in laboratory rats, according to a Penn State study. Rosemary interfered with cancer's initiation phase, or the transformation of normal cells to cancerous ones.

Duke Researchers Show "Editing" Can Fix Faulty Genes In New Approach To Gene Therapy
Duke Medical Center researchers have shown for the first time that enzymes can be used inside living cells to repair faulty genetic messages, instead of replacing them. The finding, published in the June issue of Nature Medicine, opens up a new realm ofpossibilities for correcting genetic information

Surgeon Uses Dissolving Plates And Screws For Craniofacial Surgery
Emory University surgeon Robert J. Wood is implanting medical plates and screws that dissolve within months of implantation. Approved by the FDA, the devices are heated and molded to for customization

Church-based Programs Use Faith to Help Smokers Quit
A government-funded study suggests that physicianns who want patients to quit smoking for good might do well to recruit local churches as health-care partners

Better Right-Turn Warnings Needed On Tractor-Trailer Trucks
No mandates exist for clear and effective warning signs that alert drivers of the hazards of following a truck that is making a right turn. The authors propose an improved warning sign, backed by research and input from ergonomics experts

DNA Imaging to Design Better Drugs
Designing drugs and knowing exactly how they work may have just gotten easier, thanks to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Using a scanning force microscope, researchers have developed a new way to examine an quickly map how nucleic acid ligands, in some cases anti-cancer drugs, bind to and alter DNA at the molecular level.

Drug Treatment Programs Don't Work
Drug rehabilitation programs don't work, says a professor of psychology at Oregon State University who has studied various approaches to this problem all over the world. His message to the countries he has worked in -- you can invest billions of dollars in drug treatment programs with very little effect. In the long run, the money would be better spent on prevention through education

Severe Storms: Three New Research Angles At NCAR
What makes the difference between a stormy spring day and a sunny one? How can a computer program help warn aviators of imminent storminess? What are the chemical and electrical exchanges between thunderstorms and surrounding air? These questions are being researched at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

A New Approach To Fusion Energy Is The Focus Of Two Projects At Cornell
A new, essentially inexhaustible source of energy for the 21st century may result from experiments under way at Cornell UniversityÕs Laboratory for Plasma Studies. Fossil fuels? Forget it. They're a limited resource and pollute when burned. Nuclear fission reactors? Not in my backyard. Too dangerously radioactive. How about creating energy from fusion, the way the sun does?

Duke Researchers Discover Candidate Susceptibility Gene For Autoimmune Disease
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have identified a gene in mice that, when malfunctioning, causes a joint- destroying arthritis-like disease in the animals. The discovery may provide a clue to the underlying genetic defects that can lead some people's immune system to attack their own bodies

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