Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 14, 2007
Funerals without religion set for huge increase
The number of people in the UK who opt for nonreligious funeral services is set to rise dramatically over the coming years, according to a presenter at the death, dying and disposal conference organized by the University of Bath today Friday, Sept.

Bridge strengthening research
These days, a drive across a bridge is not always a pleasure cruise.

New guide available for Fractography of Ceramics and Glasses
NIST recently issued a guide to Fractography of Ceramics and Glasses which aims to increase the use of fractography by scientists and engineers for the analysis of broken brittle materials.

No need for children with lazy eye to wear patches all day
Children with amblyopia (commonly known as lazy eye) need only wear an eye patch for three to four hours a day for 12 weeks to improve vision, say researchers in a study published online today.

New insight into the mechanisms of voltage sensing and transduction in biological processes
The voltage sensor of voltage-gated ion channels is a conserved protein domain that senses millivolt changes in transmembrane potential, to regulate ion permeation through the channel.

JILA finds flaw in model describing DNA elasticity
JILA scientists have found a flaw in the most common model for DNA elasticity, a discovery that will improve the accuracy of single-molecule research and perhaps pave the way for DNA to become an official standard for measuring picoscale forces.

A molecule that protects from neuronal disorders
Researchers from the Mouse Biology Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Italy, have now discovered that a protein that helps organising the cells' skeleton is crucial for preventing mental retardation and other neuronal disorders.

Internal medicine physicians recommend key elements to guide state initiatives
A white paper that examines various state initiatives to expand access to health insurance, as well as proposals by the President and Congress in support of state efforts, was distributed today by the American College of Physicians.

Amid spiralling government interest, world's top 350 DNA barcode scientists meet in Taipei
Amid spiralling interest from health officials, government agencies and others beginning to realize potential applications of DNA barcoding, experts from 46 nations converge in Taipei Sept.

Penn School of Medicine receives $2.3 million to study biomarkers of cigarette smoke exposure
The researchers propose to screen smokers, nonsmokers and those regularly in contact with second-hand smoke for a variety of biochemical markers.

Updated GOLD report presents new understandings in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of COPD
The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease has released new standards for the diagnosis, management and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Sheet of carbon atoms acts like a billiard table, physicists find
Physicists at the University of California, Riverside have demonstrated that graphene -- a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal rings -- can act as an atomic-scale billiard table, with electric charges acting as billiard balls.

GP targets on heart disease should be simpler and based more on treatment and prevention
GP performance related payments for tackling heart disease are too complex.

Dermatologists identify North Texas leishmaniasis outbreak
A team of dermatologists and dermatopathologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center has identified nine North Texas cases of an infectious skin disease common in South America, Mexico and in the Middle East, where it is sometimes referred to as a

Probing a rare material spin state at NIST
A group of physicists that includes researchers from the NIST Center for Neutron Research has found experimental evidence of a highly sought-after type of arrangement of atomic magnetic moments, or spins, in a series of materials.

NIST firebrand device could save US and Japanese homes
NIST researchers have built a firebrand generator that can be used to study the way firebrands ignite structures.

Why is the Hercules Dwarf Galaxy so flat?
Through some of the very first scientific observations with the brand-new Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, an international team of astronomers has found that a recently discovered tiny companion galaxy to our Milky Way, named the Hercules Dwarf Galaxy, has truly exceptional properties: while basically all of its known peers in the realm of these tiny dwarf galaxies are rather round, this galaxy at a distance of 430,000 light years appears highly flattened, either the shape of a disk or of a cigar.

Immune police recognize good and bad guys in the body
Immune system police are as good at recognizing bad guys, such as bacteria and viruses, as they are our own tissue, researchers say.

RSC Project Prospect scoops prestigious award
The Royal Society of Chemistry's Project Prospect had been named as the 2007 winner of the ALPSP/Charlesworth Award for Publishing Innovation.

Experts propose cholesterol tests at 15 months of age
Children could have their cholesterol levels tested at about 15 months of age to prevent heart disease later in life, say doctors in a study published online today.

Boston College profs study oxidative stress subcellular to discover its role in diseases
An interdisciplinary team of scientists from Boston College has found a means to discover more about what role oxidative stress plays in the development of diseases by studying it at the subcellular level.

Europe-wide Researchers' Night
Springing from the initiative of ETH Zurich and Euresearch, the shores of Lake Zurich from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, Sept.

Solar experts gathering at ORNL for summit
Solar energy will be in the spotlight as researchers, engineers, architects and other renewable energy experts from the region convene at Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oct.

NIST team develops novel method for nanostructured polymer thin films
NIST materials researchers have developed a novel annealing process to prepare polymer thin films for patterning nanoscale features in next-generation microchips and data storage devices.

Prolonged respiratory problems for oil spill clean-up volunteers
Workers and volunteers who helped in the clean-up effort after the 2002 Prestige oil spill off the Galician coast of Spain exhibit prolonged respiratory symptoms resulting from their exposure, say researchers from Spain in the first study to examine the long-term effects of such exposures on workers' respiratory health.

Children in affluent countries more likely to develop allergy-related asthma
Children with allergic sensitizations in economically developed countries are much more likely to develop asthma than similarly sensitized children in poorer countries, according to a team of international researchers.

Basic research robust in face of more university patenting
A UW-Madison study of more than 1,800 US life scientists shows that, despite an explosion in academic patenting in recent years, most life science professors still do research the

Researchers test old drug with new hopes for pre-eclampsia cure
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are trying to determine whether a drug already available to heart patients can also be used to delay delivery in expectant mothers with severe pre-eclampsia.

Smithsonian researchers develop models to assess wetland health
In a special issue of the journal Wetlands, Smithsonian scientists report a promising method of wetland assessment that will help environmental managers quickly take stock of wetlands across an entire watershed.

The missing link in the evolution of magnetic cataclysmic stars?
An international team of astronomers might have discovered the missing link in the evolution of the so-called magnetic cataclysmic variable stars.

Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history
The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its lowest level this week since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago, opening up the Northwest Passage -- a long-sought short cut between Europe and Asia that has been historically impassable.

Long-awaited international ethical guidelines for biobank researchers
Many sets of guidelines and regulations, and great differences among countries.

Weight loss game looking for 'NEAT-o' results
Finding a way to motivate the billion people in the world who are overweight to lose excess pounds can be an overwhelming task, but a University of Houston professor is meeting that weighty challenge with a challenge of his own.

USGS Coalition to host congressional reception
On Thursday Sept. 17, the U.S. Geological Survey Coalition will host a reception on Capitol Hill to highlight the important research, information and services provided by the USGS and draw attention to the need for increased funding in the FY 2008 budget.

Researchers discover correlation between GERD and obesity in females
An interesting discovery was published in the Sept. 14 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Springer book wins Quality of Communication Award
The Springer book

Galaxy 'hunting' made easy
Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered in a single pass about a dozen otherwise invisible galaxies halfway across the universe.

Revealing the workings of 'Mother Nature's blowtorch'
Using atom-level imaging techniques, University of Michigan researchers have revealed important structural details of an enzyme system known as

Lift-off for Foton microgravity mission
An unmanned Foton spacecraft, carrying a payload of more than 40 ESA experiments, was successfully launched earlier today.

UVa symposium on race and society to be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 2
Does race matter when it comes to health care in the United States?

A glass of wine can help find new mineral deposits
The key to finding new mineral deposits in Australia could be to start looking with a glass of wine or a soft drink.

'Guide to Secure Web Services' provides blueprint to safer Web 2.0
Many of the attractive features of

'Radio wave cooling' offers new twist on laser cooling
NIST physicists have used radio waves to dampen the motion of a miniature mechanical oscillator containing more than a quadrillion atoms, a cooling technique that may open a new window into the quantum world using smaller and simpler equipment.

Scientists synthesize memory in yeast cells
Researchers in the Harvard Medical School Department of Systems Biology have constructed a memory loop out of bits of DNA. 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