Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 19, 2008
Fighting terror online
Online terrorism is the use of new technology to elicit fear and panic in society.

Floating a big idea: MIT demos ancient use of rafts to transport goods
Oceangoing sailing rafts plied the waters of the equatorial Pacific long before Europeans arrived in the Americas, and carried trade goods for thousands of miles all the way from modern-day Chile to western Mexico, according to new findings by MIT researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Spotting the next GM-like controversy before it happens
Environmental scientists and policy makers have drawn up a list of the 25 new and most pressing issues likely to affect biodiversity in the UK between now and 2050.

Tug of war in the cells
Logistics is a key part of life. Nutrition, tools and information constantly have to be transported from one place to another in cells.

Robot fetches objects with just a point and a click
Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have created a robot, designed to help users with limited mobility with everyday tasks, that moves autonomously to an item selected with a green laser pointer, picks up the item and then delivers it to the user, another person or a selected location such as a table.

AGU Journal Highlights -- March 19, 2008
The following articles were featured recently in Geophysical Research Letters:

Ancient lemur's little finger poses mystery
Analysis of the first hand bones belonging to an ancient lemur has revealed a mysterious joint structure that has scientists puzzled.

Stanford researchers developing 3-D camera with 12,616 lenses
Stanford researchers led by Electrical Engineering Professor Abbas El Gamal are developing an on-chip imaging sensor with small pixels and 12,616 mini-optic lenses that are created as part of the semiconductor manufacturing process.

New regulations tighten controls on restricted chemicals
The Government of Canada is taking action to better control the sale of chemicals that can be used to make explosives.

Community-acquired staph pneumonia appears more common, including MRSA
Preliminary research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that community acquired pneumonia caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium may be more common than originally suspected, including that caused by antibiotic resistant strains.

Clean-vehicle research initiative making progress
A public-private effort to develop technologies for more fuel-efficient automobiles and to investigate the feasibility of hydrogen-based vehicles has made significant progress in most research areas, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Drug prevents dangerous tick diseases
Lyme disease is the blight of countryside users but it may be prevented with a single injection, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Virtual reality can yield real legal woes
What your avatar does in an online fantasy world may very well land you in court.

Reducing carbon emissions could help -- not harm -- US economy
A national policy to cut carbon emissions by as much as 40 percent over the next 20 years could still result in increased economic growth, according to an interactive website that reviews 25 of the leading economic models used to predict the economic impacts of reducing emissions.

Study verifies that cholesterol-associated gene variants can predict cardiovascular events
A study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine confirms that a combination of gene variants previously associated with cholesterol levels does reflect patients' cholesterol levels and can signify increased risk of heart attack, stroke or sudden cardiac death.

Neuronal regulators offer potential targets for cancer
In a previous study, researchers showed that a protein called REST -- which keeps neural programs silent in most parts of the body -- serves as a tumor suppressor.

Disgusting videos used to study coping methods
Stanford researchers have conducted the first-ever brain imaging study that directly contrasts two different techniques for emotion regulation.

Findings could improve fuel cell efficiency
A new type of membrane based on tiny iron particles appears to address one of the major limitations exhibited by current power-generating fuel cell technology.

Rensselaer professor Fengyan Li awarded Sloan Research Fellowship
Fengyan Li, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named a 2008 Alfred P.

Columbia University Medical Center/NYPH receive $28 million donation toward curing diabetes
The Russell Berrie Foundation has donated $28 million to Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, as part of a focused effort to provide comprehensive care to diabetes patients while working, through concentrated research initiatives, toward a cure.

Sleep deprivation used to diagnose sleepwalking
A new, larger study found that sleep deprivation can precipitate sleepwalking in predisposed individuals and can therefore serve as a valuable tool in diagnosing this disorder.

UC-San Diego computer scientists release most realistic online makeover tool on the Web
UC-San Diego computer scientists have released their online makeover tool to the public this week at

Does ADHD look the same in youth of different races?
ADHD presents a quandary. Untreated, it carries greater risks for substance abuse, impulsive behavior and legal problems, while over-diagnosing and over-treating can cause physical difficulties.

Study links dietary folate intake to genetic abnormalities in sperm
It may not be just women who need extra folate in their diets to reduce the risk of birth defects.

Good luck indeed: 53 million-year-old rabbit's foot bones found
One day last spring, fossil hunter and anatomy professor Kenneth Rose, Ph.D., was displaying the bones of a jackrabbit's foot as part of a seminar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine when something about the shape of the bones looked oddly familiar.

Free online scientific journal on drinking water
Researchers can now read scientific articles on drinking water treatments for free in the online DWES journal.

How iron gets into the North Pacific
Most oceanographers have assumed that the iron needed to fertilize infrequent plankton blooms in the high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll regions of the world's oceans comes almost entirely from wind-blown dust.

Stopping a deadly killer
To develop new strategies to control tuberculosis, a contagious disease that infects one-third of the world's population and kills almost two million people every year, the University of Pittsburgh has received $11.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Food insecurity linked with HIV/AIDS in Africa
Determining how the HIV/AIDS epidemic increases food insecurity in African cities -- and what can be done to reduce the chances of this happening -- is the focus of a new, international Queen's-led project.

Researchers sharpen search for new marine medicines with novel techniques
Two studies by scientists at UC San Diego, each utilizing mass spectrometry in novel ways, have helped narrow the gap in identifying potent natural compounds from the sea that could one day treat diseases such as cancer.

Depressed caregivers hostile, not warm, to children
A new study in the journal Family Process reveals that caregivers with moderate to severe depressive symptoms showed greater hostility and less warmth.

Some moms quit cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol during pregnancy, but dads don't
Despite public health campaigns, a surprising number of women continue to use substances such as tobacco, marijuana and alcohol during pregnancy and their usage rebounds to pre-pregnancy levels within two years of having a baby.

Woodburn, Ore.: a microcosm of immigrant shifts in America
Travelers on I-5 know that Woodburn, Ore., is home to the region's largest tax-free outlet center.

Korean adoptees in US seek identity via peers or cultural exploration
Finding out

Molecular biology of sleep apnea could lead to new treatments
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have provided, for the first time, a detailed look at the molecular pathways underlying sleep apnea.

Data study suggests cortisol could alleviate for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are two serious and debilitating diseases with no confirmed cause and limited treatment options.

Research on consequences: Hyperactive girls face problems as adults
Young girls who are hyperactive are more likely to get hooked on smoking, underperform in school or jobs and gravitate towards mentally abusive relationships as adults, according to a joint study by researchers from the Université de Montréal and the University College London that is published in the latest issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Wake Forest to host nanomedicine workshop
Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials will host a gathering of scientists, engineers and medical researchers at a workshop that will explore both the science and the emerging business of nanomaterials used in medicine.

Asthma medicines often not prescribed as national guidelines recommend
More than a decade after national guidelines were issued for asthma treatment, some patients still don't receive prescriptions for the inhalers that experts say offer the safest and most effective long-term control of the disease, a new study suggests.

Production subsidies -- the secret to China's success?
The secret of China's exporting success may lie in unfair production subsidies, according to new research presented at the Royal Economics Society annual conference by a team from the University of Nottingham's Globalization and Economic Policy Center.

State of the Planet Conference
Some of the world's most influential thinkers and scientists will gather in New York March 27-28 for the 5th biennial State of the Planet Conference, sponsored by Columbia University's Earth Institute and the Economist magazine.

Scientists find color vision system independent of motion detection
The vision system used to process color is separate from that used to detect motion, according to a new study by researchers at New York University's Center for Developmental Genetics and in the Department of Genetics and Neurobiology at Germany's University of Wuerzburg.

The difference in eating habits between men and women
When it comes to what we eat, men and women really are different according to scientific research presented today at the 2008 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Hubble finds first organic molecule on extrasolar planet
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made the first detection ever of an organic molecule in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star.

Coming soon: Cell therapies for diabetes, cancer?
This double issue of Cell Transplantation highlights the efforts of Japanese researchers who are working toward using stem cell transplantation to benefit those who suffer from diabetes, cancer, and other debilitating diseases.

19 researchers selected as 2008 Leopold Leadership Fellows
Nineteen environmental researchers from across North America have been awarded Leopold Leadership Fellowships for 2008.

Community-intervention study links successful town makeover focused on boosting calcium and exercise
According to a newly published study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, researchers at the University of Colorado at Denver demonstrated the effectiveness of changing behaviors at a community level, suggesting that community-based interventions could be a viable option to address the nation's obesity epidemic.

Food Policy Institute primer on food imports and regulations
As an aid to understanding the food import system, the Food Policy Institute at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has released a new report, the US Food Import System: Issues, Processes and Proposals.

International Diabetes Federation gives grant to UMDNJ-University Hospital in Newark
The International Diabetes Federation BRIDGES program has given a grant to the UMDNJ-University Hospital in Newark, N.J., to tailor interventions to improve outpatient care and access for people living with type 2 diabetes.

Levels of folate in men's diets is linked to chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm
Researchers have found an association between a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, fruit and foods such as beans and lentils, and levels of chromosomal abnormalities in men's sperm.

Punishment does not earn rewards or cooperation, study finds
Individuals who engage in costly punishment do not benefit from their behavior, according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature by researchers at Harvard University and the Stockholm School of Economics.

Scientists see Norwalk virus' Achilles heel
Using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, an international team led by University of Calgary researcher Ken Ng has determined the detailed structure of the enzyme the Norwalk virus uses to make copies of its genetic code in order to replicate itself.

Hispanics with clogged arteries at greatest risk of stroke, heart attack
Hispanics who have even a small amount of plaque build-up in the neck artery that supplies blood to the brain are up to four times more likely to suffer or die from a stroke or heart attack than Hispanics who do not have plaque, according to a study published in the March 19, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Less can be more, for plant breeders too
A new tool for rice genetics allows rice breeders to surgically inactivate genes that confer unwanted properties.

Prostate size and other neglected factors influence prostate cancer treatment satisfaction
Men with prostate cancer and their partners face difficult decisions regarding treatment, and accurate information regarding expected outcomes can be hard to find, according to results of a multicenter study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

ETH Zurich hosts first of kind conference for industry and academia
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