Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Scientists Levitate Small Animals
By Charles Q. Choi
Special to LiveScience
posted: 29 November 2006
10:28 am ET
Scientists have now levitated small live animals using sounds that are, well, uplifting.
In the past, researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, China, used ultrasound fields to successfully levitate globs of the heaviest solid and liquid—iridium and mercury, respectively. The aim of their work is to learn how to manufacture everything from pharmaceuticals to alloys without the aid of containers. At times compounds are too corrosive for containers to hold, or they react with containers in other undesirable ways."
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
"The weird and wonderful creatures living by methane vents in the southwest Pacific have been photographed for the first time (see images right and below).
The deep-sea communities live around methane seeps off New Zealand’s eastern coast, up to 1 kilometre beneath the sea surface. The team of 21 researchers from the US and New Zealand, who spent two weeks exploring the area, have just returned to shore. See video footage recorded by the researchers here, here and here.
“It's the first time cold seeps have been viewed and sampled in the southwest Pacific, and will greatly contribute to our knowledge of these intriguing ecosystems,” says Amy Baco-Taylor from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US.
Cold seeps are areas of the seabed where methane or hydrogen sulphide gas escape from stores deep underneath. Like hydrothermal vents, the gases support unique life forms that can convert the energy-rich chemicals into living matter in the absence of any sunlight.
Animals living around methane seeps off Chile and Japan have been observed before, but not near New Zealand. “The seeps here are remarkable in the sheer extent of their chemosynthetic communities,” says Baco-Taylor, whose team visited eight such sites between 750 and 1050 metres beneath the surface.
They used sonar to map the seafloor and to detect plumes of water rich in methane, then lowered a video and stills camera system over each site.
This allowed them to record images of tube worms between 30 cm and 40 cm in length as they emerged from beneath limestone boulders. They also recorded corals, sponges and shell beds covered with various types of clam and mussel..."
Monday, November 27, 2006
A recent article in The New York Times expressed concern that if the use of propanolol becomes routine, people who would not have developed PTSD will be taking the medication unnecessarily. However, neither McGaugh nor Pitman are concerned with this possibility because of the lack of serious side effects associated with the medication.
Even so, some find the manipulation of memory formation troubling.
While not wanting to appear insensitive to those suffering from PTSD, junior Erin Lashnits remarked, “I think that memories make up an important part of a person’s identity . . . even if the memories don’t change, you’re changing the intensity of that memory or of the reaction to an event. [The drug] has the potential to have much more serious complications with a person’s personality than just making life a little easier...”"
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Submitted by BJS on Wed, 2006-11-15 13:57. energy & environment
Climate change must be taken as seriously as the issues that have traditionally monopolized first-order political attention such as conflict, poverty and the proliferation of deadly weapons, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a United Nations conference on the issue in Nairobi today. “Instead of being economically defensive, let us start being more politically courageous,” he said. “The Nairobi conference must send a clear, credible signal that the world’s political leaders take climate change seriously. The question is not whether climate change is happening, but whether, in the face of this emergency, we ourselves can change fast enough.”"
Submitted by BJS on Thu, 2006-11-16 11:06. bioscience & medicine
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified a new protein associated with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Several lines of evidence point to a protein called Tribbles, named after the furry creatures that took over the starship Enterprise in the original 'Star Trek' series. Tribbles was first described in fruit flies."
Submitted by BJS on Wed, 2006-11-15 15:20. nanotech & materials
Finding affordable ways to make technology available to everyone is a common challenge. Now, NASA has done that with the process that creates 'nanotubes.' A nanotube is a tiny, hollow, long, thin and strong tube with an outside diameter of a nanometer that is formed from atoms such as carbon. A hair from a person’s head is around 50,000 nanometers wide. If you split a hair into 50,000 strands, that would be the width of a nanometer."