Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 19, 2003
Third set of awards are announced under interagency biodiversity program
A consortium of Federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S.

Three dusty beauties
Three new fine colour images of spiral galaxies have been obtained with the ESO Very Large Telescope.

Ten percent of employees experience work-family conflict
Dutch researcher Nicole Jansen has established that more than ten percent of employees experience a conflict between their work and their home situation.

Greeting another new year without a leap second
From 1972 until 1999, 22 seconds were added to the world's time in order to keep atomic time synchronized with the Earth's time, as measured by the Earth's spin.

UNC study reveals few problems banning smoking at NC schools
Encouraging North Carolina students and adults to work toward adoption of a 100 percent Tobacco-Free School (TFS) policy in their school districts could pay solid dividends -- better health for children, teachers and other school personnel.

The beginning of Beagle 2's lone odyssey
ESA has released the first images of the Beagle 2 lander as it begins its lone voyage to the surface of Mars.

Estimating the risk of cancer
Dutch scientists have developed a new tumour growth model in which the tumour is a part of the host's body.

MESSENGER shipped to Goddard for prelaunch tests
Less than six months from its scheduled launch to Mercury, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is set for the next round of tests to prepare it for the first orbital study of the innermost planet.

Vanderbilt researchers receive fellowships to support early identification, genetic causes of autism
Two Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigators have been awarded mentor-based fellowships by the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) to advance the study of autism through early identification and genetic analysis.

Low-cost, digital cone-shaped tool aids digital projector tests
A relatively simple new NIST tool - dubbed a stray light elimination tube - improves measurements of contrast and sharpness of images produced with digital projectors.

How a tiny abrasion tool will help reveal geology of Mars
Billions of years of exposure to the sun, atmosphere and fine dust has given Mars rocks a weathered

Teen smoking continues to decline in 2003, but declines are slowing
Cigarette use among American adolescents has been falling since the mid-1990s, with smoking rates among younger teens dropping by roughly one-half.

A pair of discoveries helps unravel complex genetics of inflammatory bowel disease
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have linked versions of two different genes with the inflammatory bowel diseases known as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Mars rover wheels will dig in to study soil
A Cornell University planetary geologist and a civil engineer have found a way to use the wheels of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to study the Martian soil by digging the dirt with a spinning wheel.

Test method provides biocompatibility 'barometer'
A new method for quantitatively measuring the compatibility of materials with living tissue has been developed by NIST researchers.

Desert dust enables algae to grow
Biologists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research have demonstrated that desert dust promotes the growth of algae.

The colour of the young universe
A team of astronomers has determined the colour of the young Universe.

Statistics and biology a natural pair for the classroom
Vanderbilt researchers believe students and professionals alike can better understand statistics and biology by studying the two disciplines simultaneously.

Shooting a painting reveals its pigments
Dutch scientists have developed a new method for studying organic pigments in the paintings of old masters.

Standardized blood pressure measurement could improve hypertension prevention, care in the Americas
While hypertension (high blood pressure) affects approximately 140 million persons in the Western Hemisphere, until now there has been no standard approach to measuring blood pressure that has been accepted for use in research studies in all the countries of the Americas.

Low-cost, digital displays through ink jet printing
Convergent technology is one thing--but using your computer's printer to make a new TV screen?

Wind energy not limited by technical barriers
Dutch research has demonstrated that there are no technical barriers to wind energy generating a significant part of the electricity supply.

Ecstasy use falls for second year in a row, overall teen drug use drops
The proportion of American 10th- and 12th-grade students who reported using the drug ecstasy in the prior 12 months has fallen by more than half just since 2001.

Next stop Mars!
We have separation! That was the message from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, to announce that the British-built Beagle 2 spacecraft is now flying independently from its Mars Express

Virginia Tech-led group receives third five-year international biodiversity grant
The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group led by David G.I. Kingston has received a third five-year grant to continue studies in Madagascar, where they have already discovered four potential anticancer compounds, surveyed the national park to create guides for tourists, and made a number of infrastructure improvements.

Chimp vs. human DNA: what's in the 1% difference
DNA analysis of the chimpanzee and human genomes has revealed 'lifestyle

Comet encounter is key moment in UW astronomer's long scientific quest
After a nearly five-year chase, the Stardust spacecraft will finally meet comet Wild 2 on the day after New Year's.

Spreading cancer survives via signals from nearby blood vessels long before new vessels are grown
In one of the clearest models of cancer metastasis, scientists have shown that spreading cancer cells receive growth-sustaining signals from nearby blood vessels telling them where to go for permanent nourishment and oxygen.

Tropical oceans were overheated during prehistoric greenhouse effect
Biogeochemists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research have shown that prehistoric tropical oceans were no less than five to eight degrees warmer than they are now.

Use of rubella vaccine is growing worldwide, but more work remains
Around the world, use of the vaccine to prevent rubella (

U-M study: Doctors more likely to prescribe pricey new blood pressure drugs
Even though research has shown inexpensive treatments for high blood pressure are just as effective as pricey new drugs, doctors perceive the new drugs as more effective and think they carry fewer side effects, according to a new study by a University of Michigan Health System physician.

Separation day arrives for Mars Express and Beagle 2
After a joint journey of 250 million miles (400 million km), the British-built Beagle 2 spacecraft and the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter should now have parted and gone their separate ways.
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