Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 08, 2006
Scientists offer new model for forecasting the likelihood of an earthquake
In assessing the probability of an earthquake, scientists rely on two important pieces of data that are often inconsistent.

Geneticists discover genes that make fruit fly hybrids sterile
Cornell researchers have made the first identification of a pair of genes in any species that are responsible for what causes problems in hybrids, such as sterility or the inability to survive.

Mutant mouse provides insights into breast cancer
By discovering a mutant mouse that is highly susceptible to mammary tumors, Cornell researchers have found a novel potential link between genetic defects in DNA replication and breast cancer.

UCSF pharmacy school receives major grant from Amgen Foundation for Medicare Part D outreach
The UCSF School of Pharmacy has received a $3.7 million grant from the Amgen Foundation to fund an innovative program that will help underserved elderly Californians learn about and select from Medicare prescription drug plans.

EMBO Installation Grants help scientists get set up in Europe
The European Molecular Biology Organization has singled out 10 talented life scientists to receive EMBO Installation Grants, a new scheme that aims to strengthen science in selected member states of the EMBC, EMBO's intergovernmental funding body.

Winner of the 2005-06 Research Councils' Business Plan Competition announced
The winner of the Research Councils' Business Plan Competition has been announced.

New targets may hit bull's-eye for chip makers
The bull's-eye solution to the semiconductor industry's hunt for more exact means to measure the relative positions of ever-tinier devices squeezed by the millions onto silicon chips might be new types of targets, and not expensive new equipment, according to modeling studies by NIST.

Researchers make progress against lung disease attacking women in childbearing years
Researchers are advancing against a rare, deadly lung disease (related to hormones) that no one had even heard of a decade ago.

Melts in your body, not in your hand
Leaded crystal and common glass may look similar, but the crystal is made of a rigid scaffolding of atoms, while the glass is a disordered, atomic slurry.

'Stripes' and superconductivity -- Two faces of the same coin?
Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cornell have made a surprising discovery about high-temperature cuprate superconductors, finding that a nonsuperconducting cuprate has the same electron energy structure.

Mechanical motion used to 'spin' atoms in a gas
For the first time, mechanical motion has been used to make atoms in a gas

Growing catalysts
Porous materials are involved in many chemical reactions that affect our daily lives.

Studies at cancer conference show new therapies changing outlook for blood cancer patients
The International Myeloma Foundation -- conducting research and providing education, advocacy and support for myeloma patients, families, researchers and physicians -- today noted that multiple studies presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology illustrate the breadth of the gains being made in the treatment of multiple myeloma and related blood cancers.

Two studies on bee evolution reveal surprises
A 100-million-year-old bee fossil and a DNA study suggest that bees may have originated in the Northern rather than the Southern Hemisphere and from a different family of bees than previously thought.

Researchers in Montréal and the US create model of key immune-system component
Researchers at Université de Montréal, working with teams at Massachusetts General Hospital and Johns Hopkins University, have made a major breakthrough in understanding an essential aspect of the immune system.

Beyond silicon: MIT demonstrates new transistor technology
MIT engineers have demonstrated a technology that could introduce an important new phase of the microelectronics revolution that has already brought us iPods, laptops and much more.

Why teens do stupid things
Teens take a lot of risks, but not because they think they're invulnerable or haven't thought about the consequences.

Graduate students study links between African and US weather systems
When their DC-8 flew into a tropical storm off the coast of West Africa, Aaron Pratt and Tamara Battle realized their lifelong dream -- to study storms and weather systems at their source.

Unusually stable glasses may benefit drugs, coatings
A new approach to making remarkably stable glassy materials from organic molecules, developed by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the NIST Center for Neutron Research, could lead to novel coatings and to improvements in drug delivery.

When the label says 'low fat,' calories can pile up, study says
People -- especially overweight people -- consume up to 50 percent more calories when they eat low-fat versions of snack foods than when they eat the regular versions, finds a study by Cornell's Brian Wansink.

Queen bee promiscuity boosts hive health
Though promiscuity may be risky behavior for humans, it's healthy for honeybees: Queen honeybees who indulge in sexual surfeits with multiple drones produce more disease-resistant colonies than monogamous monarchs, according to a new study.

Public meeting Jan. 4 on research priorities on EHS aspects of engineered nanoscale materials
The Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Technology is holding a public meeting on Thursday, Jan.

Research highlights how farmers' agri-environment schemes could do more for wildlife
New research published in Ecology Letters offers an explanation for why numbers of many countryside bird species continue to decline, despite Government financial support for farmers to improve their habitat through agri-environment schemes.

Patients' requests for antidepressants can influence physician evaluation of depression
Patients who initiate a general discussion about the need for antidepressant medication with their primary-care physician are more likely to be thoroughly evaluated for depression than those who make a brand-specific request or no request, according to a new study in the December issue of Medical Care.

New study suggests promising drug combinations for sleeping sickness
Results from a clinical trial evaluating new drug combinations for sleeping sickness, carried out by the international humanitarian medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres, and its research arm, Epicentre, have now been published in the journal PLoS Clinical Trials.

NIST math technique opens clearer window on universe
A fast, efficient image enhancement technique developed at NIST and originally applied to improving monochrome microscope images has proved itself equally effective at the other end of the scale -- sharpening details on color images of distant galaxies produced by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Computer scientists unravel 'language of surgery'
Computer scientists are building mathematical models to represent the safest and most effective ways to perform surgery, including tasks such as suturing, dissecting and joining tissue.

Cornell robot discovers itself and adapts to injury
Cornell researchers have built a robot that works out its own model of itself and can revise the model to adapt to injury.

Families need more than quality education from pre-K programs
When selecting a pre-kindergarten, families often have to forego considerations of quality education for more practical needs, such as location, school-home collaboration and provisions such as meals.

Breastfeeding overcomes a genetic tendency toward ear infections, scientists discover
Breastfeeding protects children otherwise made susceptible to ear infections by abnormalities in specific human genes, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered.

Ethylene suggested for hydrogen storage
New research reported by scientists from NIST and Turkey's Bilkent University makes the surprising prediction that ethylene, a well-known inexpensive molecule, can be an important material for an efficient and safe hydrogen-storage system.

Contact lenses a good choice for children 12 and younger
Children 8 to 12 years old are just as adept as teenagers at handling and wearing contact lenses.

Bonuses boost performance 10 times more than merit raises
Giving a 1 percent raise boosts performance by roughly 2 percent, but offering that same money instead in the form of a bonus for a job well done should improve job performance by almost 20 percent, finds a new Cornell study.

Soliris (eculizumab) data to be presented at American Society of Hematology
Data on Soliris (eculizumab) for patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) will be presented at the ASH Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., Dec.

Small, smaller, smallest -- The plight of the vaquita
Research published in the academic journal Mammal Review has uncovered the missing link in the depleting population of the vaquita.

New instrument reveals raindrop formation in warm clouds
How do raindrops form? It's a simple question, but the answer is far from elementary.

Finding an answer to Darwin's Dilemma
The sudden appearance of large animal fossils more than 500 million years ago -- a problem that perplexed even Charles Darwin and is commonly known as

Ebola-outbreak kills 5000 gorillas
Over the last decade human outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa have been repeatedly linked to gorilla and chimpanzee deaths in nearby forests.

'Best of both worlds' -- Targeting a single gene could inhibit bone decay and stimulate bone growth
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have found by targeting the function of a single gene that it is possible to inhibit bone decay while simultaneously stimulating bone formation.

The great number debate on DVD
Rumored to have the historical significance of the Edict of Nantes or the Yalta Conference, a heated debate between Williams College mathematicians Thomas Garrity and Colin Adams is being made available to the public in a 40-minute DVD,
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