Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 26, 2003
Snowy days on the decline during Christmas season
It's looking and feeling a lot less like Christmas in many parts of the country as higher temperatures and fewer snowfalls are becoming the norm from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

First view of giant crabs - at home on the slope
Australian scientists have had their first view of the habitats and ecosystem that support Australia's largest commercial crab - the

Max Planck Research awards 2003 presented
Promoting international cooperation in science, the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation presented the Max Planck Research Award for 2003 on November 26, 2003 to 12 scientists and researchers in an award ceremony in Berlin, Germany.

Breaking into the third dimension of computer chip design
EUREKA project E! 2259 VSI (Vertical Stack Integration) has developed a technique to produce 3D computer chips, breaking through the 2D barrier and the restrictions it imposes.

Researchers call for trials of menstrual cycle monitors used for natural family planning
Research is urgently needed to test the accuracy of the monitors used by couples practising natural family planning methods because a pilot study shows some are wrong over half the time, according to German researchers writing in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.

Taming Jaws: Scientists lift great white sharks from ocean to fit with satellite tags
A group of scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), working with the Marine and Coastal Management Branch of South Africa, have perfected an unusual, hands-on method to study great white sharks, where these fearsome predators are gently hauled into research vessels to receive high-tech satellite tags.

Nitric oxide can prevent lung disease and death for premature infants
Low-doses of inhaled nitric oxide decrease the risk of chronic lung disease and death in premature infants who have respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) by nearly one-fourth, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the Nov.

Geologists discover new class of spreading ridge on sea bottom
Scientists have discovered a new

Investigative study of stent grafting
Rodney White, M.D. heads a team of physician-scientists seeking better ways to prevent aneurysm ruptures.

What makes volcanoes explode? UC Berkeley geophysicists say it's the bubbles
Scientists have wondered for centuries what makes volcanoes explode, since many simply ooze lava for most of their lives.

Space: ESA and EU sign cooperation agreement
On the heels of the launch of the White Paper on Space, European space policy took another leap forward as ESA and the EC successfully completed negotiations on a new Framework Agreement, signed today in Brussels.

Study finds clues to brain tumors' origins
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center have discovered that brain tumors may be derived from the cells that form the nervous system, called neural stems cells, which may help researchers understand how this cancer begins and could one day lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.

Booby-trap patent thwarts spammers
The US Patent office last week granted telecoms firm AT&T a patent which means spammers can now be sued if they try to fool anti-spam filters running on mail servers.

Ecstasy can trigger heart attacks in users
The illegal drug MDMA (Methylene 3, 4 dioxy-methamphetamine) more commonly known as

Envisat images delivered to Antarctic eclipse spotters
The great white expanse of Antarctica experienced the eerie darkness of a total solar eclipse late Sunday night.

New emergency department program 'fights' firearm-carrying youths
A new screening tool administered to adolescents seeking emergency care is effective and highly specific in predicting whether they carry firearms or not, according to a new study in the December 2003 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine.

New findings implicate cell size controls in a variety of diseases
Basic research into a tumor suppressor gene that controls cell size has uncovered a link between three different genetic diseases and points to a possible treatment for all of them.

Information note: PPARC funding of the linear collider
Recent articles in The Sunday Times [23 November 2003] and Research Fortnight [26 November 2003] stated that the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC] has received £700M from government for the Linear Collider, the next generation particle physics accelerator.

Even more 'couch potatoes' in Brazil than in the United States--but they're starting to move
Adults in Brazil are far less likely than adults in the United States to perform sports or exercise even one day per week, according to the results of one of the few broad-based studies that have been conducted to measure levels of physical activity during leisure time among persons in a developing country.

Pasture grass fights wheat fungus danger to plants, animals, people
A western American pasture grass crossed with wheat can improve resistance to a fungus that can be toxic to plants, animals and people, according to Purdue University researchers.

Biggest star in our galaxy sits within a rugby-ball shaped cocoon
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer, astronomers found that the stellar wind of Eta Carinae, the most luminous star known in our Galaxy, is rather elongated: one axis is one-and-a-half times longer than the other!

Leading U.S. gun manufacturer joins NJIT to develop personalized handgun
An agreement to form a trilateral partnership to develop a unique personalized handgun was signed by New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc., Florida, and the Australian-based research and development company Metal Storm, Ltd.

Lack of sun poses danger in our twilight years
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to falls and injuries in elderly women living in residential care in Australia, a Melbourne University study has found.

European Space Policy Institute founded in Vienna
The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Austrian Space Agency (ASA), on behalf of the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) of the Federal Republic of Austria, today founded the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna.

First gene therapy approved
For the first time, a gene-therapy based treatment has been approved by regulatory authorities.

War on termites heats up with world's largest test site
In the world's largest experiment of its kind, scientists have set up 80 model homes on termite-infested land in the Australia's Northern Territory to test a range of novel anti-termite solutions.

Marine scientists discover nutrient pollution boosts fungi, bacteria killing Caribbean reefs
In the Caribbean Sea, coral reefs -- those gorgeous, eye-popping, fish-nourishing, ship-scraping biological wonders that are among the region's crown jewels -- continue to die rapidly, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill biologist says.

Study finds factors impeding bystander CPR
A study in this issue of Annals identifies specific factors that may impede dispatcher-assisted bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and could potentially be corrected through dispatcher training, variation in CPR technique, or community education.

New standard for voice saving care of larynx cancer patients
Results of a national clinical trial confirm that simultaneous treatment with chemotherapy and radiation preserves the voice of patients with advanced larynx cancer without compromising survival rates.

Cell death promotes learning growth
Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is involved in learning. Researchers in France report that different phases of learning differentially influence neurogenesis.

UC San Diego to host two-day conference on 'sustainable development' Dec. 11 & 12
UCSD will host leaders from the Bush Administration, industry, academe and non-governmental organizations for a workshop on water resources and the annual meeting of the U.S.

3D scanner gives the full picture
Displaying jewellery and other small products for sale over the Internet or managing museum collections of plant or animal specimens could be revolutionised by new CSIRO technology for scanning and displaying 3D objects.

Wanted: people to test orgasmatron
In February 2001, New Scientist broke the news of an electronic spinal implant that can trigger the same effect for women who have an inability to achieve an orgasm naturally.

Carnegie Mellon neuroscientist wins prestigious award
Carnegie Mellon University Cognitive Neuroscientist Jay McClelland has received the esteemed William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society.

Gene may protect against heart disease rather than be harmful as previously thought
A genetic pathway whose activity was suspected to advance heart disease by increasing inflammation in the blood vessels and arteries feeding the heart may actually protect against it at least in laboratory mice, reports a team of Rockefeller University scientists.

Skin cancer breakthrough
Researchers from Germany have identified a gene that is associated with an increased risk of suffering from skin cancer. 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