Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 29, 1999
Robots to the rescue
A pipe-crawling rescue robot has been designed by students in North Carolina to listen for survivors trapped deep inside buildings wrecked by earthquakes and explosions.

Mass extinction of freshwater species in North America
The first estimate of extinction rates of North America's freshwater animals shows that they are the most endangered group on the continent.

NSF awards to HBCU institutions to stimulate diversity
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive more than $42 million over five years to promote diversity and increased participation of underrepresented groups in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

UMass climate researchers returning to Bolivian mountaintops
Three University of Massachusetts climatologists will return this month to satellite-linked weather stations in the Andes, atop two of Bolivia's highest mountains, Illimani and the extinct volcano Sajama.

Review identifies factors leading to better outcome for some metastatic breast cancer patients
Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified a subset of patients with advanced breast cancer who had greater success than other patients treated with experimental high-dose chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplant.

Eating soy can lead to dramatic declines in cholesterol, Wake Forest study shows
The cholesterol-lowering effect of soy depends on the amount of isoflavones --plant estrogens-- in the soy, according to a study at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Social factors play key role in teenage health
It's more than physical factors that affect teenage health. Social factors, particularly parents' education, occupation, and household income, also play an important role in susceptibility to adolescent disease, according to a study in the current American Journal of Public Health.

Biologist calls 30% of African primates 'living dead'
Despite huge losses of tropical forests worldwide, no primates are known to have died out there since the year 1600.

Rainforest birds keep dying out long after logging stops
Fragmented rainforests can keep losing biodiversity for a century, according to new research in the October issue of Conservation Biology.

A burning bush could smite New York's mosquitoes
Oil from the burning bush plant could have been used as a surprise weapon against the mosquitoes spreading West Nile virus in New York.

New machine may provide answers about leading cause of blindness
A new device to measure macular pigment in the human eye will improve research opportunities into the correlation between pigment levels and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the world for persons over 60, according to its Brown University designer.

Keep taking the medicine, diabetes research warns
Analysis of over 13,000 patient records has revealed that an alarming number of individuals with type 2 diabetes stop taking their medication, as reported today in a new study presented at this year's congress of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

1999 AAPS Annual Meeting abstracts debut online
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) today premiered an online database of the abstracts to be presented as contributed papers at the association's upcoming 1999 Annual Meeting, Nov.

Say goodbye to wires in the office
Mirror disco balls have inspired an idea for improving the way computers communicate over a wireless office network.

Jefferson study shows women with inherited breast cancer gene at greater risk for recurrence and new tumors
Women under 40 carrying a damaged BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene who have been treated for breast cancer with radiation and lumpectomy carry a greater risk of either relapsing or developing new tumors years later than similarly treated women who don't carry such genes.

Pollution makes crustaceans adapt rapidly
Cornell University and Max-Planck-Institute biologists studying a German lake have shown that rapid evolution can influence the environmental effects of pollution.

Laser heart treatment shown to be safe and effective at lowering pain associated with heart disease
Research published in the Sept. 30 New England Journal of Medicine shows that the use of a laser to drill holes in heart muscle to restore blood flow significantly reduces the pain and discomfort associated with heart disease, according to one of the lead authors, Dr.

'Silent stroke' linked to depression
Researchers have found a connection between depression and 'silent stroke,' a brain abnormality that can lead to a stroke.

New web job resource guides science postdocs
Postdocs and junior faculty can now find unique grant and funding information online.

Researchers say hormones are key to evolution of insect metamorphosis
Two University of Washington zoology professors are proposing a novel hypothesis for how metamorphosis evolved among four groups of higher insects.

Watershed responses to forest practices studied
A newly enhanced computer model may help forest managers design or modify forest roads, tree harvesting and other land-use activities based on effects to watersheds, streams and fish habitat.

NIEHS urges safety workers to prepare for Y2K false alarms and malfunctions
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Worker Education and Training Programs said today that safety and contamination clean-up workers should make Y2K computer checks to prevent false alarms at the beginning of the Year 2000 -- or possibility of alarm failures in truly hazardous situations.

Common parasite overturns traditional beliefs about the evolution and role of hemoglobin
Science's understanding of the evolution and role of hemoglobin, considered one of the most studied and best- understood molecules in nature, is being rewritten with the help of a common intestinal parasite that infects more than 1 billion people worldwide.

Chandra image shows a powerful connection in the Crab Nebula
Another fabulous discovery from Chandra X-ray Observatory shows a bright ring of fire around the pulsar at the heart of the Crab Nebula.

Environmental stress accelerates microevolution - rapid adaptation of planktonic crustaceans to nutrient pollution
Nature reports in its issue of 30 September 1999 that Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Limnology at Plön, Germany,

USGS finds elevated levels of organochlorine pesticides in Aleutian bald eagles
Elevated levels of organochlorine pesticides such as DDE have been associated with low reproduction of nesting bald eagles on remote islands in the seemingly pristine Aleutian Archipelago in Alaska, according to recent USGS research.

Scientists take the heat out of age old question
Scientists at University College London today revealed a novel way of attacking an age old question; how hot is the Earth's core?

UGA grad students solves well-known math problem and receives $500 reward from professor's legacy
Ernest S. Croot III, a graduate student in the mathematics department at the University of Georgia surprised mathematicians at the University of Illinois Number Theory Conference in Champaign, Ill., on September 17 by announcing his solution to a long-standing open question in mathematics posed by two famous mathematicians.

USGS states readiness for Y2K
USGS flood warning and earthquake detection systems that deliver real-time data to local emergency managers are Year 2000 or Y2K compliant.

Are reintroduced wolves eating too many baby moose?
Moose populations are relatively low in the Yellowstone area and some blame the wolves and grizzly bears that are returning after a 60-year absence. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to