Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 19, 2003
Study shows lightning adds to ozone level
Lightning may be Mother Nature's greatest show on Earth, but scientists now know it can produce significant amounts of ozone and other gases that affect air chemistry.It can be responsible for as much as 90 percent of the nitrogen oxides in the summer and at the same time increase ozone levels as much as 30 percent in the free troposphere, the area that extends 3-8 miles above the Earth's surface.

Trachoma leaves millions blind, costs $2.9 billon to global economy
The human toll and economic burden of trachoma, a chronic infection that causes blindness, has been calculated by researchers for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the International Trachoma Initiative.

Synergistic supergrid could meet nation's energy needs in 21st century
A high-capacity superconducting energy pipeline, or SuperGrid, could deliver electricity and hydrogen fuel across the nation and help meet future energy needs while reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, say experts who recently assessed the scientific feasibility of the idea.

Inactive genes may contribute to failure of animals cloned from adult cells, study finds
Only 1 percent to 3 percent of animals cloned from adult cells survive to birth; many die mysteriously very early in development, around the time of implantation.

Underwater sensor system could protect reservoirs, drinking water
A sensor system that can autonomously, continuously and in real-time monitor streams, lakes, ocean bays and other bodies of liquid may help solve problems for environmentalists, manufacturers and those in charge of homeland security, according to Penn State engineers.

Artemis relays first images for Envisat
The first satellite-relayed images from Envisat have been received via the Artemis data-relay spacecraft in geostationary orbit at ESA's data processing centre at ESRIN, near Rome.

Researchers identify differing risk factors contributing to Parkinson's Disease in men and women
-- New Mayo Clinic research provides evidence that environmental factors may play a greater role in the development of Parkinson's disease in men, while for women, hereditary factors may play a greater role.

Researchers identify signals that cause hair follicles to sprout
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have discovered that the delicate interplay of two chemical signals coaxes stem cells into becoming hair follicles.

UI study discovers cells segregate molecules to control signaling
University of Iowa researchers have discovered a surprisingly simple but effective repair system in airway barrier cells.

Native American artifacts pose pesticide exposure risk
An analysis of museum artifacts returned to California's Hoopa tribe through a federal repatriation act reveals traces of mercury and various pesticides, including DDT.

Artificial synapse chip
Researchers in California say they have created artificial synapses on a silicon chip, which can pump out a neurotransmitter to stimulate nearby cells in a certain way.

Occupation directly impacts a woman's retirement, study says
Women doctors, teachers and other professionals may have a tougher time adjusting to retirement than do women who hold jobs customarily considered nonprofessional, such as clerical positions and cafeteria help, reports a new study from Ohio State University.

Iron deficiency hurts economy in developing countries: Study
Anemic adults and children cost developing countries billions of dollars in lost productivity, says a recent study.

Emory gathers global experts to address business and legal challenges of HIV/AIDS fight
A multinational cast of industry leaders, policy makers and leading scholars will gather at Emory University School for a public symposium addressing the legal, medical, public health and development challenges of fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Spiders weave a web of light
Silk from a Madagascan spider could produce the finest, hollow optical fibres ever - at just 2 nanometres wide.

Scholar suggests we look deeper to find satisfaction
Those of us living in the West must be more grateful for what we have if we are to climb out of the spiritual and psychological malaise that has taken hold of the world's richest societies, says University of Toronto theology professor Mary Jo Leddy.

University of Toronto study charts new realm of physics
By constructing artificial materials that break long-standing rules of nature, a University of Toronto researcher has developed a flat lens that could significantly enhance the resolution of imaged objects.

Professors tackle research for national defense
University of Vermont Professors Paul Bierman (geology) and Christopher Landry (chemistry) are among 31 researchers at 18 academic institutions in 14 states who will receive grants in the amount of nearly $500,000 from the U.S.

Funds for start-up companies will spur nanotech advances
Small start-up organizations are the linchpin of nanotech innovation. Although investors have been cautious of late about funding anything, nanotech companies will rely on venture capitalists and government agencies to spur advances.

Taking the sting out of ant stings
Australian authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how immunisation to desensitise people to the venom of the jack jumper ant shows great promise for preventing severe systemic reactions in people allergic to this venom.

Receptor found that guides nerve cells to their final connecting sites
In the developing brain, nerve cells make connections with one another by extending processes, often over long distances.

Rockefeller scientists identify 'natural' proteins that push stem cells to produce hair, not skin
The clearest picture to date of how two proteins determine the destiny of a stem cell that is genetically programmed to develop into either hair or skin epidermis is emerging with mouse embryos as models for human biology from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Rockefeller University.

Researchers discover strategy that shields HIV from destruction
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)researchers and their colleagues have discovered one way in which the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) wins its cat-and-mouse game with the body's immune system.

Health Affairs forum explores new hospital-tier insurance plans
Hospital-tier insurance plans may save employees money, but may burden health care system with complexity.

Undercover genes slip into brain
American researchers have found an effective way to smuggle genes and drugs past the formidable blood-brain barrier in the brains of primates.

US looks to Nazi Germany as model for regime change in Iraq
A new research paper by University of Warwick researcher Maja Zehfuss points to the increasing tendency of commentators on regime change in Iraq to compare it to US post-war policy in Germany.

High estrogen/progestin levels may reduce asthma severity, say Pittsburgh researchers
Progesterone and estrogen appear to have a positive effect on lung function and reduce the symptoms of asthma, according to a report published by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) researchers in the March issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Sarah Billington and Alexandria Boehm named Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professors
Two new faculty members have been selected as Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professors in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
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