Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 07, 2001
Research to fine tune studies of geologic time
Research by a Virginia Tech geological-sciences graduate student has more closely defined the environmental effect on organisms over time, a step that will help in such fields as evolutionary biology, paleontology, paleoecology, and paleo-environmental interpretation.

Sky survey lowers estimate of asteroid impact risk
The odds of earth suffering a catastrophic collision with an asteroid over the next century are about one in 5,000, which is less likely than previously believed, according to research published this month.

Water shows surprising behavior at molecular level
The well understood peculiarities of water make life possible, but this most common fluid continues to surprise scientists.

Policy paper calls for reduced agricultural tariffs by World Trade Organization members
Greater equity in world trade, particularly agriculture, can be achieved through reduced protectionism, says a paper co-edited by Penn State economist and released for the Nov.

Children's book explores why animals stay home to help
A new children's book by Cornell University scientist Paul Sherman and co-author Gail Jarrow, Animal Baby Sitters, probes a mystery that has puzzled evolutionary biologists for years -- why some animals postpone breeding in order to stay home and help their families.

Optics beyond existing limits - a single ion as a quantum probe
Researchers at Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching have succeeded in using an ion trap to precisely position and permanently keep a single ion in an optical field.

New recommendations to assess male fertility question previous standards
New recommendations from an NICHD study question current standards for determining whether a semen sample is normal or abnormal.

Efficient fertilizer use could benefit river without hurting crop yields
A computational study on nitrogen inputs to the Mississippi River Basin from the 1950s to the 1990s suggests that better use of the fertilizer - such as not over-applying it - could substantially reduce the amount of nitrates flowing down river without compromising crop yields.

Why the big animals went down in the pleistocene-was it just the climate?
There wasn't anything special about the climate changes that ended the Pleistocene.

Selected NSAIDs decrease Alzheimer's plaque-forming protein without adverse effects of anti-inflammatory drugs
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL have shown in cell cultures and mice that certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) use a novel mechanism to decrease the harmful amyloid-beta 42 protein (AB42) that forms brain plaques, a hallmark condition in Alzheimer's disease patients.

Holiday fruit ranks number one in antioxidants
If you want the health benefits of antioxidants but hate broccoli, then pucker up: A new study shows that cranberries may be better for you.

U. of Colorado-led science team studying environmental problems on Alaska's North Slope
A science team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder is conducting extensive research on Alaska's North Slope to better understand, support and enhance local decision-making processes in the face of climate variability and potential environmental disasters.

Rutgers-led research team finds Hudson River is cleaning itself
A Rutgers-led team of scientists has discovered that the Hudson River may be slowly scrubbing itself clean of pollutants through the action of tide, storm, rain and spring runoff.

Early, aggressive treatment for severe infection reduces death rates, length of hospital stay
Patients treated more aggressively for severe infection in the Emergency Department before they are admitted to the hospital had lower death rates, less risk of organ failure and spent less time in the hospital, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study published in the Nov.

Government regulations can prove discriminatory to minority religions
Even modest changes in government regulation of religion have negatively impacted minority religions, which lack the clout of mainstream denominations, a Penn State researcher says.

Geologists use lichens to track recent climate change
Geologists from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Dayton and the University of Maine have developed a new geologic

Ecosystems slowed 1990s greenhouse gas buildup
Earth's land-based ecosystems absorbed all of the carbon released by deforestation plus another 1.4 billion tons emitted by fossil fuel burning in the 1990s, but we can't rely on this uptake to head off global warming in the future, according to NCAR's David Schimel, lead author of a study published this week in Nature.

Link to our ancient past is confirmed in potassium channel research
Research on components of the brain's electrical signaling system has answered a basic question about our human evolution, confirming scientific belief that we two-legged, computer-using creatures are descended from prokaryotes -- cellular organisms so primitive and simple that they exist without nuclei or cell walls.

Geologists find spines make comfy home for some marine organisms
University of Cincinnati geologist Donna Carlson Jones is examining the role of spines in marine bivalves.

Land won't soak up carbon indefinitely say top scientists
A paper to be published this week in the journal Nature provides a new global view of terrestrial carbon sources and sinks and warns that current sinks cannot be counted on to mop up carbon dioxide emissions indefinitely.

Physicians should encourage discussions about alternative therapies
Physicians should encourage patients to talk about their use of alternative and complementary therapies, says National Jewish pulmonologist Esther Langmack.

New resources to assist with gene transfer clinical studies
The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today the award of cooperative agreements in the amount of $2.65 million to establish National Gene Vector Laboratories (NGVLs) at five locations.

Highlighted speakers at first IMFAR conference challenge researchers to raise the bar on autism research
Four prominent autism scientists will identify the current level of understanding in the areas of genetics, neuroscience, the incidences (or epidemiological trends) and diagnosis of autism and present a look at where the fields are headed.

CDC update about anthrax investigations
Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will discuss current information about CDC's response to anthrax investigations.

Weak sperm count does not always mean infertility, study says
The nation's most in-depth study of the quality of sperm shows that sperm counts previously thought to be abnormal do not always mean infertility, and that the shape and ability of sperm to move are important measures.

Popular arthritis drug may enhance radiation effects against cancer
Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have shown in the laboratory that a popular arthritis drug may enhance the effects of radiation against tumor cells.

Researchers discover precise olfactory map
HHMI researchers discover how signals from different odor receptors are arranged in the brain's olfactory cortex.

Small, mountain rivers play big role in ocean sediment
Shallow streams that wind through the mountains of New Zealand and Taiwan carry more sediment into the ocean than giant rivers like the Amazon or the Nile, according to Ohio State University geologists.

Mini motor could change the shape of micromedical applications
While the age of nanobots is not with us yet, a tiny, inexpensive motor with simple circuitry and easy manufacture, may become the motive force in micromedical applications in the near future, according to a Penn State engineer.

Oxygen is toxic to stem cells
A new study shows that oxygen levels in a typical laboratory can kill stem cells, slow growth and even trigger an alternate developmental pathway that converts pre-muscle stem cells into fat cells.

Largest fossil cockroach found: Site preserves incredible detail
Geologists at Ohio State University have found the largest-ever complete fossil of a cockroach, one that lived 55 million years before the first dinosaurs.

Geologists delineate ancient harbor of Troy
Helen of Troy-the face that launched a thousand ships. In search of her, where did those Greek ships land in Troy?

URI oceanographers receive $900,000 from NSF to study carbon cycling in Arctic Ocean
Two URI oceanographers have been awarded $900,000 by the National Science Foundation as part of a $5.4 million, 12-institution, 5-year collaborative research program in the Arctic Ocean.

Chinese art and the rise of modern geology: East versus west
In Chinese art, mastery may be demonstrated in a monochrome line painting of a single rock.
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