Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 25, 2002
Evolution upset: Oxygen-making microbes came last, not first
Get ready to rewrite those biology textbooks - again. Although the

Study shows fossil records remain stable in storm beds
Studies done by a Virginia Tech geology graduate student show that fossil records preserve their community structure through hurricanes even though one would think the heavy waves would rip up the floor and destroy the fidelity of the site.

Hidden face of Mars uncovered by father & daughter
Ghosts of the most ancient craters in the solar system are materializing on Mars.

Is being big clam on the block a factor in species success?
Body size is one of the most important biological characteristics in the study of organisms, telling a researcher a lot about how a particular animal lives and interacts with it's environment and with other species.

Paleontological data better than expected
The quality and completeness of the fossil record and its credibility as a source of information about the history of life have been debated since before Charles Darwin's time.

Impact of geography on species challenges paleontologists
A study by a Virginia Tech geological sciences doctoral student may provide some evidence of whether bivalves that lived along the eastern U.S. coast 3.5 million years ago were close distant cousins of each other.

Tiny plant may yield big environment, energy payoffs
A tiny plant is poised to yield big payoffs: Details of a key plant genome sequenced at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell could provide clues on reducing fertilizer use and developing renewable, clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

Small springs may indicate future water resources in the Blue Ridge
Throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are springs that bubble and trickle a few gallons per minute.

Scientists studying two big craters on earth find two causes
Two of the three largest impact craters on Earth have nearly the same size and structure, researchers say, but one was caused by a comet while the other was caused by an asteroid.

Smog over the Mediterranean
An international team investigates atmospheric pollution over the Mediterranean. Pollution transport into the region causes a large-scale decrease in air quality and precipitation.

Increasing BMD could save Medicare $15 million
Data presented here in a plenary session at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology estimate that a modest 10 percent increase in bone mineral density (BMD) testing to detect osteoporosis could save Medicare $15.5 million over three years.

UCI'S Steven R. White wins top physics award
UC Irvine physicist Steven R. White, whose research is helping to make the use of superconductivity a reality, has won the Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics from the American Physical Society.

Vitamins valuable for baby boomers' eye disease
Prescribing high doses of vitamin supplements to aging baby boomers with vision loss due to macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in patients over 50 years old - could save the North American health care system more than $1.5 billion in the next 10 years, a Queen's University researcher has discovered.

Penn State College of Medicine awarded $6.9 million to create clearer images of body's interior
Clearer images of the body's interior may allow physicians to get to the bottom of their patients' medical problems faster.

Land subsidence measurements may improve groundwater management
Geological sciences researchers at Virginia Tech are using GPS antennas to measure aquifer use and storage.

Yucca mountain nuclear waste repository: Technical sessions of interest
Technical sessions during the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository topics include recent Advances from Scientific Investigations of the Unsaturated Zone I, Effective Communication and/or Partnership Among Geoscientist, the Public, and Policy Makers, Geoscience And Nuclear Waste Disposal Policy, Tectonic Modeling, Challenges in the National Problem of High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal and Characterizing Geochemical Processes.

CDC designates new Kentucky biodefense center
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named the University of Louisville as one of seven national Centers for Health Preparedness that are helping the nation fight the threat of bioterrorism.

Inside fossil embryos of Earth's earliest animals
The shapes and internal structures of individual cells within some of the earliest multicellular animals have been revealed for the first time using technology normally associated with hospitals.

Geology student mapping mountain state's wealth
A Virginia Tech geological sciences doctoral student is mapping the layers of rock from the Mississippian age across West Virginia to find and map oolites, which often contain natural gas, and to better understand the transition from greenhouse conditions similar to today's climate to global ice-house conditions.

Sod busters along the old Cambrian trail
If you've ever had to scrape a barnacle, you can blame a trilobite for your trouble.

Can geologists bridge the gap between Islamic countries and the western world?
Osman Shinaishin, a National Science Foundation senior program officer who funds geoscience projects, thinks so.

$2 per dose vs. $1500 per dose: One doctor develops new therapy for macular degeneration
Richard Spaide, MD, ophthalmologist at the Vitreous, Retina, Macula Consultants of New York (
Increasingly salty Mediterranean favors ice sheet growth
About 150,000 years ago, an anomalous ice age was triggered by an increasingly salty Mediterranean Sea, a development that's occurring today and may start new ice sheet growth in the next few decades, according to a study at the University of Minnesota.

Bacterial protein kills tumors
The use of live bacteria to treat cancer goes back a hundred years.

Women's stroke symptoms differ from men's, often aren't 'traditional' signs, study finds
A new study documents for the first time a significant difference in the way women and men describe their symptoms while they're having a stroke.

Life in a greenhouse world
What constrained the evolution of life during the very hot early Earth?

Chemical society convenes regional meeting in Lawrence, Kan., Oct. 23-25
The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, will convene its 37th Midwest regional meeting, Oct.

USC consortium receives $15 million NCI grant to determine causes of colon cancer
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded $15 million to the University of Southern California as part of a $50 million renewal grant for the Cooperative Family Registries for Colorectal Cancer Studies.

Chinese immigrants generate wealth
Most Chinese immigrants come to Europe to work hard for their families - and generate both employment and wealth, according to research at the University of Oxford.

Glucocorticoid use increases risk of spinal fractures
Daily dosing with oral glucocorticoids (corticosteroids) for chronic diseases was found to be a strong predictor of spinal fracture at one year, according to new data presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Student mapping ancient North Carolina coast
A 1,200-foot long core drilled on the North Carolina coast in 2000 with almost 98 percent recovery is enhancing studies of rock types from the Paleogene age.

Another job discovered for a master metabolic off-switch
Researchers have discovered that an important cellular

UC Riverside leads the country with the highest number of 2002 AAAS Fellows
For their work of scientific or social distinction, 13 faculty members at University of California, Riverside were named as 2002 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the highest number of fellows a single institution has received this year.

Colorado U. space team studying water, ice and potential life on Jupiter moon, Europa
The oozing of glacial material in the floating ice shell on Jupiter's moon Europa has important implications for future exploration of the enigmatic moon and prospects of life in its ice-covered ocean, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder professor.

Sounding Europa on the cheap: Eavesdropping on ice
Forget drilling. A simpler and cheaper way to search for an ocean under Europa's glacial surface is to land a solitary electronic ear on the Jovian moon, and listen to the echoes of cracking ice.

Brazilian shellfish may improve understanding of ancient world
Brazilian brachiopods are being studied as a modern analogy for the life and times of the critter that was pervasive over 250 million years ago. 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