Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Genesis Enigma: How DID the Bible describe the evolution Of Life 3,000 Years Before Darwin?

Myth or divine inspiration: Was the book of Genesis a gateway into the evolution of life?

From The Daily Mail:

The revalation came to Professor Andrew Parker during a visit to Rome. He was in the Sistine Chapel, gazing up at Michelangelo's awesome ceiling paintings, when a realisation struck him with dizzying force.

'A Biblical enigma exists that is on the one hand so cryptic it has remained camouflaged for millennia, and on the other so obvious one cannot miss it.'

The enigma is that the order of Creation as described in the Book of Genesis, and so powerfully depicted in the Sistine Chapel by the greatest artist of the Renaissance, has been precisely, eerily confirmed by modern evolutionary science.

Read more ....

Mystery Methane Belched Out By Megacities

Photo: Methane was found at surprisingly high levels in the Los Angeles atmosphere (Image: David Iliff)

From New Scientist:

The Los Angeles metropolitan area belches far more methane into its air than scientists had previously realised. If other megacities are equally profligate, urban methane emissions may represent a surprisingly important source of this potent greenhouse gas.

Atmospheric researchers have long had good estimates of global methane emissions, but less is known about exactly where these emissions come from, particularly in urban areas.

Read more ....

Ten Things You Didn't Know About The Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Camera Shy: Neil Armstrong's reflection in Buzz Aldrin's visor is one of the few photos of Armstrong on the moon NASA

From The

This month marks the 40th anniversary of humankind's first steps on the moon. Auspiciously timed is Craig Nelson's new book, Rocket Men--one of the most detailed accounts of the period leading up to the first manned moon mission. Here, we have ten little-known Apollo 11 facts unearthed by Nelson during his research.

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The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11

On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to set foot on the moon. In this image from a panorama of the landing site taken by Aldrin, Armstrong stands at the base of the lunar module.

From Scientific American:

Four decades after mankind's giant leap, a look at the harrowing first lunar landing, the Apollo missions that never flew, and how the historic event looked from the Soviet Union

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Solar Cycle Linked To Global Climate

Scientists find link between solar cycle and global climate similar to El Nino/La Nina.
(Credit: NCAR)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 17, 2009) — Establishing a key link between the solar cycle and global climate, research led by scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., shows that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts on Earth that resemble La Niña and El Niño events in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The research may pave the way toward predictions of temperature and precipitation patterns at certain times during the approximately 11-year solar cycle.

Read more ....

5 Myths About The Male Body

From Live Science:

From rumors about feet size to sex life, there's a lot of cultural misinformation circulating about men and their physiques. And men themselves offer precious little clarification what with their tendencies toward joshing around and playing things close to the chest. So for the record, here are five classic assumptions about men's bodies that are totally false. -- Robin Nixon

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Why Music Moves Us

From Scientific American:

New research explains music's power over human emotions and its benefits to our mental and physical well-being.

As a recreational vocalist, I have spent some of the most moving moments of my life engaged in song. As a college student, my eyes would often well up with tears during my twice-a-week choir rehearsals. I would feel relaxed and at peace yet excited and joyful, and I occasionally experienced a thrill so powerful that it sent shivers down my spine. I also felt connected with fellow musicians in a way I did not with friends who did not sing with me.

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India Moon Probe 'Malfunctions'

From The BBC:

India's first mission to the Moon has experienced a technical problem, India's space research officials say.

A sensor of the unmanned Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft has "malfunctioned" and steps have been taken to ensure it is able to continue its work, they say.

But the possibility remains that the mission may have to be cut short.

Chandrayaan-1 was launched last October and is regarded as a major step for India as it seeks to keep pace with other space-faring nations in Asia.

Read more ....

Man And Machine The Real Legacy Of The Moon Race


For the millions who watched the grainy television feed from the moon on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong’s small step seemed to herald a new era. Arthur C. Clarke had already predicted that the children born during the Apollo missions would one day have their passports stamped on the moon; in the lunar spectacle, we glimpsed a brighter future in which humans would conquer the vastness of space and acknowledge their brotherhood on the pale blue dot of the home planet.

And yet, 40 years on, the Apollo program looks less like the start of a new era and more like an ancient culture that flourished briefly and then vanished, leaving only ruined towers, ritual costumes, and incomprehensible glyphs. In the decades since the last towering Saturn V tore through the night sky, NASA’s astronauts have spent their time on modest missions closer to home. The age of easy space travel that Apollo seemed to promise never materialized. And for all its technological marvels, Apollo bequeathed little to our material culture besides instant orange drink, freeze-dried ice cream, and the statuettes of the MTV video music awards.

Read more ....

Inside the New Harry Potter Movie's VFX Tech

From Popular Mechanics:

The sixth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, opens today. Recently, PM's Digital Hollywood spoke with the film's visual-effects supervisor, Tim Burke, and with Tim Alexander of Industrial Light & Magic, about some of the technical effects behind the new wizarding film.

Millennium Bridge
At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince—the first Potter film in two years, out today—things are looking pretty grim not just for the boy wizard, but for everyone. Gray storm clouds roll ominously over London as pedestrians, eyes on the sky, hurry across the city's Millennium Bridge. Suddenly, the bridge begins to quake. Cables snapping, the bridge undulates and twists, pulling free of its piers, and crashes violently into the Thames. Voldemort has recently returned from the dead, and he isn't satisfied to wreak havoc only in the wizarding world: His Death Eaters take his campaign of violent mayhem into the Muggle realm by destroying the Millennium Bridge in the film's dramatic opening sequence.

Read more ....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lunar Orbiter Photographs Apollo Landing Sites

The Apollo 11 landing site, photographed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The scene is 925 feet across. (Credit: NASA)

From CNET News:

Forty years after the Apollo 11 voyage to the moon, NASA released photographs from the new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft Friday showing five of the six Apollo landing sites. Shadows cast by the Apollo descent stages are clearly visible and in some cases, the moon walkers' paths can be seen in the disturbed dust.

"We were very interested in getting our first peek at the lunar module descent stages just for the thrill - and to see how well the cameras had come into focus," Mark Robinson, principal investigator of the LRO's main camera, said in a statement. "Indeed, the images are fantastic and so is the focus."

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Windpower Could Provide 40 Times Earth's Power Needs

Virgin Waters: The Hywind project aims to perfect technology for floating windmills in the deep ocean, opening up new room for wind power to breathe Stephen Toner/Getty Images


A team at Harvard decided to reinvestigate the potential for windpower around the globe, and found their new results to be significantly different than previous studies. According to the new study, we're capable of someday producing 40 times more power via wind than we currently consume overall.

This finding corresponds with recent research suggesting that you can draw more power at higher altitudes. The Harvard study is based around the use of taller 100-meter turbines, as opposed to 50-to-80-meter turbines.

Read more ....

Apollo 11 Hoax: One In Four People Do Not Believe In Moon Landing

20 July, 1969: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E."Buzz" Aldrin, Jr erecting the US flag at Tranquility Base during the First Lunar walk Photo: NASA

From The Telegraph:

A quarter of Britons believe the Apollo 11 mission moon landings in 1969 were a hoax.

Eleven of the 1009 people surveyed thought Buzz Lightyear was the first person on the Moon.

The Toy Story film character was named alongside Louis Armstrong. Eight of those taking part thought the late jazz musician made the first moon walk.

Read more ....

Attack Of The Giant Squids

Photo: Marine biologist John Hyde holds a jumbo flying squid,
which have returned to the Californian coast

Terror As Hundreds Of 5ft Long Creatures Of The Deep Invade Californian Coastline -- The Daily Mail

Hundreds of aggressive jumbo flying squid have appeared off the coast of San Diego, attacking divers and washing up dead on beaches.

The 5-foot long sea monsters, which have razor-sharp beaks and toothy tentacles, have been bringing terror to scuba drivers and swimmers on the coast's tourist-packed beaches.

The carnivorous calamari, which can grow up to 100 pounds, came up from the depths last week and swarms of them have pounced on unsuspecting divers.

Read more ....

DNA Not The Same In Every Cell Of Body: Major Genetic Differences Between Blood And Tissue Cells Revealed

New research calls into question one of the most basic assumptions of human genetics: that when it comes to DNA, every cell in the body is essentially identical to every other cell. (Credit: iStockphoto)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 16, 2009) — Research by a group of Montreal scientists calls into question one of the most basic assumptions of human genetics: that when it comes to DNA, every cell in the body is essentially identical to every other cell. Their results appear in the July issue of the journal Human Mutation.

This discovery may undercut the rationale behind numerous large-scale genetic studies conducted over the last 15 years, studies which were supposed to isolate the causes of scores of human diseases.

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Neanderthals Were Few And Poised For Extinction

From Live Science:

Neanderthals are of course extinct. But there never were very many of them, new research concludes.

In fact, new genetic evidence from the remains of six Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) suggests the population hovered at an average of 1,500 females of reproductive age in Europe between 38,000 and 70,000 years ago, with the maximum estimate of 3,500 such female Neanderthals.

"It seems they never really took off in Eurasia in the way modern humans did later," said study researcher Adrian Briggs of the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

Read more ....

New Material Could Cool Electronics 100 Times More Efficiently

Thermal Ground Plane Conductive Material Georgia Tech


Georgia Tech researchers are working on a new novel material for cooling high-powered military radar gear up to 100 times better than current conductive heat-dissipation technology.

Developed in conjunction with Raytheon and DARPA, the material is a composite of copper and diamond, two of the most effective heat-conducting materials. The composite would serve as part of a sandwich of cooling materials called a Thermal Ground Plane, which, combined with a liquid cooling setup, would surround the transmit/receive module in a radar system.

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Cave Record Of Britain's Pioneers

From The BBC:

The Cheddar Gorge in Somerset was one of the first sites inhabited by humans when they returned to Britain towards the end of the last Ice Age.

New radiocarbon dates on bones from Gough's Cave show people were living there some 14,700 years ago.

The results confirm the site's great antiquity and suggest human hunters re-colonised Britain at a time of rapid climate warming.

From 24,000 years ago, an ice sheet extended over much of Britain.

Read more ....

Periodic Table Gets A New Element After The Discovery Of 'Copernicium'

Image: Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, after whom the new element is named

From The Daily Mail:

The periodic table - the chart studied by generations of children and chemists - is to get a little more crowded.

Scientists yesterday announced they are to add a 'super heavy' element, called copernicium, to the table.

The element - which has the symbol Cp - is named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus who deduced that the planets revolved around the sun.

It was discovered 13 years ago in a German nuclear laboratory - but was only accepted as a genuine element in June. For much of the last 13 years, copernicium was known as element 112.

The discovery and naming of a new element is big news in the world of chemistry.

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After 40 Years NASA Has Goals, But Lacks Funds

Photo: The Saturn V makes history. The launch is marked in the annals of time by a period that included two other key events: Sen. Edward Kennedy's crash at Chappaquiddick (July 18) and Woodstock (Aug. 15). Apollo 11 video here. NASA

From Houston Chronicle:

It had all come down to three men sitting atop a 363-foot Saturn V rocket.

In the eight years since President John F. Kennedy stunned the spaceflight community and issued his challenge to put a man on the moon, NASA had spent $25 billion — akin to $140 billion-plus, today — and employed more than 300,000 technicians in its race against the Russians.

The result of these labors sat on a pad at Launch Complex 39A.

At 8:32 a.m. Houston time July 16, 1969, the rocket's engines fired, and the Apollo 11 crew — Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins — shook, rattled and reached orbit 12 minutes later.

Four days hence, with the planet watching from 240,000 miles away on television signals delayed by 1.3 seconds, Armstrong guided the lunar module Eagle to the surface of the moon. Then he uttered words that would make the city of Houston famous around the world:

“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Read more ....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Footage Enhanced Hollywood Style

From The Telegraph:

It may have been a giant leap for mankind, but it was recorded for posterity in dark, fuzzy footage that has never quite lived up to importance of the occasion.

However, now, with a little help from Hollywood, man's first steps on the moon can be seen in suitably discernible, if not pristine, quality.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo mission and Neil Armstrong's historic stride down from the ladder of a lunar excursion module, NASA has released an enhanced version of the television footage first broadcast to an audience of half a billion.

Read more ....

Mysterious, Glowing Clouds Appear Across America’s Night Skies

From Wired Science:

Mysterious, glowing clouds previously seen almost exclusively in Earth’s polar regions have appeared in the skies over the United States and Europe over the past several days.

Photographers and other sky watchers in Omaha, Paris, Seattle, and other locations have run outside to capture images of what scientists call noctilucent (”night shining”) clouds. Formed by ice literally at the boundary where the earth’s atmosphere meets space 50 miles up, they shine because they are so high, they are lit by the sun longer than the Earth’s surface.

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Moon Landing Tapes Got Erased, NASA Admits

From Yahoo News/Reuters:

The original recordings of the first humans landing on the moon 40 years ago were erased and re-used, but newly restored copies of the original broadcast look even better, NASA officials said on Thursday.

NASA released the first glimpses of a complete digital make-over of the original landing footage that clarifies the blurry and grainy images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon.

The full set of recordings, being cleaned up by Burbank, California-based Lowry Digital, will be released in September. The preview is available at

NASA admitted in 2006 that no one could find the original video recordings of the July 20, 1969, landing.

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Weaving The Way To The Moon

Don Eyles says getting a job on the Apollo mission was probably the greatest stroke of luck in his life (Archive footage: MIT and Nasa)

From The BBC:

As Apollo 11 sped silently on its way to landing the first men on the Moon, its safe arrival depended on the work of a long-haired maths student fresh out of college and a computer knitted together by a team of "little old ladies".

Now, 40 years after Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, the work of these unsung heroes who designed and built the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) is back in the spotlight.

"I wasn't so aware of the responsibility at the time - it sort of sunk in later," said Don Eyles, a 23-year-old self-described "beatnik" who had just graduated from Boston University and was set the task of programming the software for the Moon landing.

Read more ....

Not Only Dogs, But Deer, Monkeys And Birds Bark To Deal With Conflict

Photo: Why do dogs bark so much? A recent paper by UMass Amherst evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord and colleagues suggests that it has more to do with their evolutionary history as scavengers in dumps than their desire to communicate with humans. (Credit: Raymond Coppinger)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 15, 2009) — Biologically speaking, many animals besides dogs bark, according to Kathryn Lord at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, but the evolutionary biologist also says domestic dogs vocalize in this way much more than birds, deer, monkeys and other wild animals that use barks. The reason is related to dogs’ 10,000-year history of hanging around human food refuse dumps, she suggests.

In her recent paper in a special issue of the journal, Behavioural Processes, Lord and co-authors from nearby Hampshire College also provide the scientific literature with its first consistent, functional and acoustically precise definition of this common animal sound.

Read more ....

40 Years After Moon Landing: Why Aren't People Smarter?

Being smart involves being able to understand the relationships between events, finding and questioning hidden assumptions, and so on. The fact is, most students are not taught how to think analytically and critically. Image Credit: stockxpert

From Live Science:

Editor's Note: Forty years ago this month, humans landed on the moon for the first time. We asked Benjamin Radford why, four decades later, humans have not become any smarter.

A look at old periodicals reveals something very interesting about human nature. Newspapers and magazines from the early 1900s were full of advertisements for instant weight loss gizmos, miracle cures, and all other forms of self-evident quackery. A century later, this stuff is still being advertised — and lots of people are buying.

You would think that by now people would know that you can't lose 10 pounds a week taking a "breakthrough" miracle pill, and you can't earn $50,000 a week working from home in your spare time (at least not legally).

Read more

World's Oldest Tattoos Were Made Of Soot

Photo: Tattoo lines on the right leg of the Tyrolean iceman, Ötzi. (Image:Leopold Dorfer)

From New Scientist:

For those inclined to put ink to flesh, modern tattoo parlours offer dizzying arrays of dyes – mercury-containing reds, manganese purples, even pigments that glow in the dark.

Getting inked wasn't always quite so complicated, however. A new analysis concludes that the world's oldest tattoos were etched in soot.

Belonging to Ötzi the 5300 year old Tyrolean iceman, the simple tattoos may have served a medicinal purpose, not a decorative one, says Maria Anna Pabst, a researcher at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, who trained optical and electron microscopes on biopsies of Otzi's preserved flesh.

Read more ....

What’s In Earth Orbit And How Do We Know?

Tracking all the active satellites and orbital debris around the Earth is a challenging task, even for the US Defense Department. (credit: NASA)

From Space Review:

Whenever the topic of space debris and satellites in orbit comes up a lot of numbers tend to get thrown around by a lot of different people, and it can be hard to keep all the figures straight. Compounding this is the superficial knowledge (at best) of the subject by many media commentators and the tradition of secrecy by the US military, the organization that has historically been the main keepers of the data on space debris.

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The Challenge for Green Energy: How To Store Excess Electricity

From Environment 360:

For years, the stumbling block for making renewable energy practical and dependable has been how to store electricity for days when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. But new technologies suggest this goal may finally be within reach.

“Why are we ignoring things we know? We know that the sun doesn’t always shine and that the wind doesn’t always blow.” So wrote former U.S. Energy Secretary James Schlesinger and Robert L. Hirsch last spring in the Washington Post, suggesting that because these key renewables produce power only intermittently, “solar and wind will probably only provide a modest percentage of future U.S. power.”

Read more ....

Memory Test And PET Scans Detect Early Signs Of Alzheimer's

PET scans can detect the decline in glucose metabolism associated with decreased cognitive function, particularly in the temporal and parietal lobes located on the sides and the back of the brain, the regions associated with memory formation and language. UC Berkeley researchers are finding that brain imaging shows promise as a method of detecting early signs of Alzheimer's disease. On the left is a PET scan showing normal levels of glucose metabolism, indicated in yellow and red. The levels of glucose metabolism in the brain are decreased in patients with mild cognitive impairment (middle) and with Alzheimer's disease (right). (Credit: Cindee Madison and Susan Landau, UC Berkeley)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 15, 2009) — A large study of patients with mild cognitive impairment revealed that results from cognitive tests and brain scans can work as an early warning system for the subsequent development of Alzheimer's disease.

The research found that among 85 participants in the study with mild cognitive impairment, those with low scores on a memory recall test and low glucose metabolism in particular brain regions, as detected through positron emission tomography (PET), had a 15-fold greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease within two years, compared with the others in the study.

Read more ....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Apollo 11 Mission Gear Up For Auction

Sample Return Bag: Lunar rocks were placed in an aluminum box for return to Earth; this Beta cloth cover went over the box, to contain the dust and any stowaways. courtesy Bonhams


Always dreamed of using Neil Armstrong's moon rock collection bag as an overnight duffle? Now's your chance

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of man's landing on the moon, you can buy yourself a little piece of space history. On July 16, the auction house Bonhams is conducting an auction of lunar memorabilia. The sale includes a number of items that the Apollo 11 mission crew carried onto the moon's surface on the history-making trip. Lunar dust still covers some of the lots.

Read more ....

President Obama's Science Czar, John Holdren: Is He An Advocate For Forced Sterializations And Abortions?

President Obama's Science Czar, John Holdren

Obama's Science Czar: Traditional Family Is Obsolete, Punish Large Families -- The Washington Examiner

President Obama's Science Czar, John Holdren, took a controversial and amoral approach to the science of population by recommending mass compulsory sterilization and even forced abortion (and/or forced marriages) under certain circumstances. His 1977 tome, Ecoscience, which he co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, also displays a revealing disregard for the institution of the traditional human family.

Holdren and the Ehrlichs write:

Radical changes in family structure and relationships are inevitable, whether population control is instituted or not. Inaction, attended by a steady deterioration in living conditions for the poor majority, will bring changes everywhere that no one could consider beneficial. Thus, it is beside the point to object to population-control measures simply on the grounds that they might change the social structure or family relationships.

Read more ....

My Comment: This man is President Obama's point man on science??!!??!!. Was he ever vetted .... and if he was, does President Obama also believe in these opinions?

Read the article as well as the comments section in this Washington Examiner article .... there is enough information there to make you wonder on what is happening with this administrations science policies.

On Sixth Try, Endeavour Lifts Off -- News Updates And Roundup July 15, 2009

The space shuttle Endeavour launched from the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Sixth Try, Endeavour Lifts Off -- New York Times

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — For the space shuttle Endeavour, the sixth time proved to be the charm.

After hydrogen leaks, schedule conflicts, lightning strikes and a couple of rain delays, the Endeavour, on the sixth launch attempt, finally lifted to orbit Monday at 6:03 p.m. into the humid Florida sky.

That was one short of NASA’s record for the number of delays. Two previous missions, in 1986 and 1995, were delayed six times before launching on the seventh attempt.

The mission, scheduled to last 16 days, includes five spacewalks dedicated to the construction of the International Space Station. It is the only second time a shuttle mission has been planned for that long.

Read more ....

More News on Today's Space Shuttle Launch

Space shuttle blasts off after month's delay -- AP
Space shuttle Endeavour blasts off after several postponements -- CNN
Sixth time lucky; space shuttle Endeavour blasts off -- Times Online
Endeavour launches on sixth attempt -- BBC
Debris Strikes Endeavour During Liftoff -- New York Times
FACTBOX-The crew of the U.S. space shuttle Endeavour -- Reuters
FACTBOX: Highlights of space shuttle Endeavour's mission -- Reuters

Tracking The Evolution Of A Pandemic

Photo: Birth of a bug: New research on the emergence of the 1918 influenza virus suggests that it may have evolved in a manner similar to that of the current H1N1 strain (shown here). Credit: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

From The Technology Review:

Understanding how viruses evolve could help predict the next outbreak.

A close examination of the genetic evolution of the three major influenza epidemics of the 20th century concludes that all of the viruses involved evolved slowly, through interspecies genetic exchange, and that genes from the catastrophic 1918 pandemic may have been circulating as many as seven years earlier. If true, this means that widespread genetic surveillance methods should have ample time to detect the next pandemic strain, and possibly even vaccinate against it before it gets out of control.

Read more ....

DNA Is Dynamic And Has High Energy; Not Stiff Or Static As First Envisioned

New research shows that DNA is not a stiff or static as once thought.
(Credit: iStockphoto/Andrew Wood)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 14, 2009) — The interaction represented produced the famous explanation of the structure of DNA, but the model pictured is a stiff snapshot of idealized DNA. As researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston note in a report that appears online in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, DNA is not a stiff or static. It is dynamic with high energy. It exists naturally in a slightly underwound state and its status changes in waves generated by normal cell functions such as DNA replication, transcription, repair and recombination.

DNA is also accompanied by a cloud of counterions (charged particles that neutralize the genetic material's very negative charge) and, of course, the protein macromolecules that affect DNA activity.

Read more ....

40 Years After Moon Landing: Why Can't We Cure Cancer?

Neil Armstrong took this picture of Buzz Aldrin, showing a reflection in Aldrin's visor of Armstrong and the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 mission, which landing on the Moon on July 20, 1969. This is one of the few photographs showing Armstrong (who carried the camera most of the time) on the moon. Credit: NASA

From Live Science:

Richard Nixon had every reason to be optimistic when, during his 1971 State of the Union address, he called for a concerted effort to find a cure for cancer. After all, it took only three years for the Manhattan Project to produce the world's first atomic bomb. Nixon's own presidency witnessed the 1969 moon landing, a goal set forth by John F. Kennedy in 1961.

It seemed that given enough resources there was no job that Americans couldn't tackle quickly.

But with $200 billion spent and tens of millions of cancer deaths accumulated since 1971, most would say we are losing the war on cancer. Cancer is the top killer worldwide, responsible for 7.4 million or 13 percent of all deaths annually. In America cancer will soon overtake heart disease as the top killer, claiming more than half million lives annually.

Read more ....

Moon Landing Anniversary: 10 Reasons The Apollo Landings Were 'Faked'

Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969 Photo: AP

From The Telegraph:

Below is a list of ten of the most popular reasons given by conspiracy theorists who believe the Apollo Moon landings that began 40 years ago were faked.

1) When the astronauts are putting up the American flag it waves. There is no wind on the Moon.

2) No stars are visible in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon.

Read more ....

Gravity Wells Could Provide 'Parking Lots' For Spaceships

From McClatchy News:

WASHINGTON — Nature has provided five huge rest stops far out in space for the convenience of spacecraft traveling from Earth.

Some NASA folks call them "parking lots" in space.

They're unusual locations where gravity loses its pull and a spaceship can loiter, rather like a marble at the bottom of a cup, without using a lot of fuel. Three of them are 930,000 miles outside Earth's orbit. One is between the Earth and the sun, and another is hidden on the far side of the sun.

Read more ....

400-Billion-Euro Plan To Pump African Solar Power To Europe

A man pictured next to solar panels whose energy helps pump water into a water tower in a village in Niger, 2004. Twelve European companies launched a 400-billion-euro (560-billion-dollar) initiative on Monday to plant huge solar farms in Africa and the Middle East to produce energy for Europe. (AFP/File/Issouf Sanogo)

From Yahoo News/AFP:

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) – Twelve European companies launched a 400-billion-euro (560-billion-dollar) initiative Monday to plant huge solar farms in Africa and the Middle East to produce energy for Europe.

The consortium says the massive proposal could provide up to 15 percent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050.

Engineering giants ABB and Siemens, energy groups E.ON and RWE and financial institutions Deutsche Bank and Munich Re are among the companies which signed a protocol in Munich.

Read more ....

NASA Aiming For Wednesday Shuttle Launch, Try 6

Space shuttle Endeavour stands on launch pad 39A moments after the launch was scrubbed due to weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla, Monday, July 13, 2009. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

From Yahoo News/AP:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA is hoping the weather finally cooperates for its sixth launch attempt for space shuttle Endeavour.

Endeavour is poised to take off for the international space station early Wednesday evening, along with seven astronauts. Forecasters put the odds of good weather at 60 percent.

Thunderstorms have delayed the mission three times and hydrogen gas leaks have caused two delays. Endeavour holds the final piece of Japan's space lab, which should have flown last month.

Read more ....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Spacemen Who Spent Three Months On A Mission To Mars... Without Leaving Moscow

Still smiling: The six volunteers stayed in good spirits during their three-month mission, despite living in quarters just 12ft across

From The Daily Mail:

A crew of six men saw the Sun for the first time in three months today after they were released from a cramped spacecraft simulator.

The volunteers were taking part in a simulated mission to Mars, which was designed to study the psychological and medical aspects of long-duration spaceflight.

They entered voluntary confinement at the end of March when there was still snow on the ground in Moscow.

Read more ....

Longest Insect Migration Revealed

From The BBC:

Every year, millions of dragonflies fly thousands of kilometres across the sea from southern India to Africa.

So says a biologist in the Maldives, who claims to have discovered the longest migration of any insect.

If confirmed, the mass exodus would be the first known insect migration across open ocean water.

It would also dwarf the famous trip taken each year by Monarch butterflies, which fly just half the distance across the Americas.

Biologist Charles Anderson has published details of the mass migration in the Journal of Tropical Ecology.

Read more ....

H1N1 (Swine Flu) News Updates -- July 14, 2009

Swine flu experts have warned the virus could become more deadly.
Photograph: AP

New Flu "Unstoppable", WHO Says, Calls For Vaccine -- Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saying the new H1N1 virus is "unstoppable", the World Health Organization gave drug makers a full go-ahead to manufacture vaccines against the pandemic influenza strain on Monday and said healthcare workers should be the first to get one.

Every country will need to vaccinate citizens against the swine flu virus and must choose who else would get priority after nurses, doctors and technicians, said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research.

Read more ....

More News On H1N1

New flu resembles feared 1918 virus: study -- Reuters
U.K. Aims for Broad Vaccination Program -- Wall Street Journal
WHO warns of vaccine shortfall for coming flu season -- Globe And Mail
Swine flu: health experts 'surprised' by spread of virus in the UK -- The Guardian
NHS helplines swamped as swine flu panic rises after death of six-year-old girl -- Daily Mail
67 Air Force cadets stricken with swine flu -- Denver Post/AP

El Niño Is Back, Bringing Droughts, Floods, Crop Failures And Social Unrest

A parched paddy field, blamed on Rl Nino, in Merlebau village near Kota Marudu on the Malaysian eastern state of Sabah in Borneo island. (David Loh/Reuters)

From Times Online:

El Niño, the warming of the Pacific Ocean that creates chaos in global weather patterns, is on its way back, threatening droughts, floods, crop failure and social unrest.

According to scientists at America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a new bout of El Niño is under way as the surface of tropical waters across the eastern Pacific has warmed roughly 1C (1.8F) above normal and is still rising.

Further down, some 150 meters (500ft) below the surface, the waters are heating up — by around 4C (7.2F).

These indications have been emerging for about the past month from satellite pictures and an array of robotic buoys strung out across the Pacific. “The persistently warm sea temperatures are important indicators of an El Niño,” Mike Halpert, of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre, said.

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Why It Is Easy To Encode New Memories But Hard To Hold Onto Them

Activated PAK (red) gathers at synapses (green), and might help consolidate fresh memories. (Credit: Rex, C.S., et al. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200901084)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 14, 2009) — Memories aren't made of actin filaments. But their assembly is crucial for long-term potentiation (LTP), an increase in synapse sensitivity that researchers think helps to lay down memories. In the July 13, 2009 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, Rex et al. reveal that LTP's actin reorganization occurs in two stages that are controlled by different pathways, a discovery that helps explain why it is easy to encode new memories but hard to hold onto them.

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Why Are Human Brains So Big?

Human brains are about three times as large as those of our early australopithecines ancestors that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, and for years, scientists have wondered how our brains got so big. A new study suggests social competition could be behind the increase in brain size. Credit: NIH, NIDA

From Live Science:

There are many ways to try to explain why human brains today are so big compared to those of early humans, but the major cause may be social competition, new research suggests.

But with several competing ideas, the issue remains a matter of debate.

Compared to almost all other animals, human brains are larger as a percentage of body weight. And since the emergence of the first species in our Homo genus (Homo habilis) about 2 million years ago, the human brain has doubled in size. And when compared to earlier ancestors, such as australopithecines that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, our brains are three times as large. For years, scientists have wondered what could account for this increase.

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Web Site Recreates Apollo 11 Mission In Real Time

Apollo 11

From Yahoo News/AP:

Families crowded around black-and-white television sets in 1969 to watch Neil Armstrong take man's first steps on the moon.

Now, they'll be able to watch the Apollo 11 mission recreated in real time on the Web, follow Twitter feeds of transmissions between Mission Control and the spacecraft, and even get an e-mail alert when the lunar module touches down. Those features are part of a new Web site from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum commemorating the moon mission and Kennedy's push to land Americans there first.

"Putting a man on the moon really did unite the globe," said Thomas Putnam, director of the JFK Library. "We hope to use the Internet to do the same thing."

The Web site — — goes live at 8:02 a.m. Thursday, 90 minutes before the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla. It will track the capsule's route from the Earth to the Moon, ending with the moon landing and Armstrong's walk — in real time, but 40 years later.

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Space Station Is Near Completion, Maybe the End

The international space station, as seen from the space shuttle Discovery. The station is scheduled to be completed next year, then returned to Earth in 2016. (Courtesy Of Nasa)

From Washington Post:

Plan to 'De-Orbit' in 2016 Is Criticized.

A number of times in recent weeks a bright, unblinking light has appeared in the night sky of the nation's capital: a spaceship. Longer than a football field, weighing 654,000 pounds, the spaceship moved swiftly across the heavens and vanished.

Fortunately, it was one of ours.

The international space station is by far the largest spacecraft ever built by earthlings. Circling the Earth every 90 minutes, it often passes over North America and is visible from the ground when night has fallen but the station, up high, is still bathed in sunlight.

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Can Wine Fight Dementia?

Photo: A glass or two of wine a day -- but no more -- appears to protect older adults from developing dementia, researchers reported here at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.(Riser/Getty Images)

From ABC News:

A Glass a Day in the Golden Years May Protect Against Dementia, Study Says.

A glass or two of wine a day – but no more -- appears to protect older adults from developing dementia, researchers reported here at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.

"Among cognitively normal older adults, one to two alcoholic drinks a day is associated with a 37 percent decreased risk of dementia over 6 years," said Dr. Kaycee Sink, a gerontologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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Hungry Cats Trick Owners With Baby Cry Mimicry

From New Scientist:

Cat owners will know the feeling. Your pet is purring loudly, demanding to be fed, and isn't going to give up until it gets what it wants. What most doting owners won't realise is that the cat is using an acoustic ruse.

According to Karen McComb of the University of Sussex, UK, domestic cats hide a plaintive cry within their purrs that both irritates owners and appeals to their nurturing instincts.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Mystery Mechanism Drove Global Warming 55 Million Years Ago

Photo: Close up of a melting glacier. A runaway spurt of global warming 55 million years ago turned Earth into a hothouse but how this happened remains worryingly unclear, scientists said on Monday.

From Breitbart/AFP:

A runaway spurt of global warming 55 million years ago turned Earth into a hothouse but how this happened remains worryingly unclear, scientists said on Monday.

Previous research into this period, called the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, estimates the planet's surface temperature blasted upwards by between five and nine degrees Celsius (nine and 16.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in just a few thousand years.

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First Direct Evidence Of Substantial Fish Consumption By Early Modern Humans In China 40,000 Years Ago

Lower mandible of the 40 000 year old human skeleton, found in the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing. Analyses of collagen extracted from this bone prove that this individual was a regular consumer of fish. (Credit: Hong Shang / Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (July 13, 2009) — Freshwater fish are an important part of the diet of many peoples around the world, but it has been unclear when fish became an important part of the year-round diet for early humans.

A new study by an international team of researchers, including Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, shows it may have happened in China as far back as 40,000 years ago.

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This Is Why the Shuttle Launch Is Delayed


It's hard to launch a Space Shuttle when the launch pad keeps getting struck by lighting. NASA cameras caught 11 lightning strikes, including one direct hit to the pad, near the space shuttle Endeavour's launch pad, during a thunderstorm on July 10.

The storm forced the space agency to call for a 24-hour delay to inspect the shuttle for possible damage. One spectacular strike even hit the top of the launch pad's lightning rod, which channeled the electricity harmlessly away from the shuttle through a series of metal wires.

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New Treatment Hope For Sufferers Of Cancer That Has Hit Patrick Swayze

Oncologist Dr Andrew Gaya (L) and patient Robert Ferrant are seen with the new CyberKnife system at Harley Street in London Photo: PA

From The Telegraph:

A man suffering from pancreatic cancer – one of most deadly forms of the disease and which has also struck Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze – has been given hope of long-term survival after being treated with an advanced form of radiotherapy.

Robert Ferrant, 62, who is one of the first in Britain to undergo the procedure, was given just a few months to live after he was diagnosed with the condition.

Only 13 per cent of people who contract it are alive a year after diagnosis and only three per cent surviving for five years.

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