Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 18, 2001
Maryland crab shell team wins top engineering award
An innovative team of researchers, government officials and entrepreneurs created markets for tons of Maryland crab shell waste, a potential Chesapeake Bay pollutant.

Derivatives could have lessened California blackouts
A systematic use of market contracts called options, purchased before the crisis happened, might have alleviated California energy blackouts, says a Cornell University researcher.

Peptide reduces aggregation of prion-like fibers
A peptide can enhance the human body's natural defenses against the formation of the amyloid fibers typical of prion- like diseases, say researchers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.

Astronomers describe search for molecules of life
Using spectral tools for infrared and submillimeter wave observations, astronomers are looking for the building blocks of life in parts of the universe where there may be oxygen and where it is wet.

Cyberspace collaboration helps AIDS research
AIDS researchers collaborating in cyberspace leads to fresh insights and more efficient use of resources but presents some challenges as well.

Rat study shows high-fat diet impairs concentration and memory
People on high-fat diets may not only be increasing their risk of heart disease -- but they may be damaging their brain function!

Older drivers and telematics
To help keep all motorists safe, developers of telematics products must be sure to include older subjects in safety and usability evaluations of the devices.

Parents' instinctive use of isolated words may help babies learn language
Brevity, as the Bard said, may well be the soul of wit.

Born with the perfect pitch?
The ability to identify a note on the musical scale without a single reference point - known as absolute or perfect pitch - is a rarity even among musicians, but new studies with infants suggest that everyone may begin life with this remarkable talent.

New class of drugs shows potential for treating heart failure
New drugs that relax blood vessels may improve blood flow in people with heart failure, according to two preliminary studies reported in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

New devices could hold key to practical integrated optics
Northwestern University researchers have developed optical components that could help bring high-speed, wideband networks to the home, enabling bigger and more complex packages of information to be sent and received with personal computers.

Author's style can make a difference in selling science book
An author's style and personality and the presence he or she brings to a best-selling science book are generally the main factors in making it a best seller, says Cornell University professor Bruce Lewenstein.

PEDF, protein that inhibits blood vessel growth in the eye, is licensed as possible gene therapy candidate to prevent blindness
An eye protein that blocks excessive blood vessel growth will be developed as a possible candidate for gene therapy to prevent blindness in individuals with diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.

Computer program lends new precision to 'Gamma Knife'
Michael Ferris, a computer scientist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is working with medical physicists and oncologists at the University of Maryland Medical School on a computer program to reduce the threat of human error in treating brain tumors with radiation surgery.
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