Sunday, May 14, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Carcinogens from parents' tobacco smoke found in their babies' urine:

When mom or dad puffs on acigarette, their infants may inhale the resulting second-hand smoke. Now, scientists havedetected cancer-causing chemicals associated with tobacco smoke in the urine of nearly half the babies of smoking parents.

Creating new insight into HIV-AIDS virus wins Canada's top student biotech prize:

Research by a 16-year-old Ottawa-area student that contributes new insights into the workings of the HIV-AIDS virus has earned top prize in the 2006 National sanofi-aventis biotech challenge, announced Thursday in a ceremony at the National Research Council of Canada.

Wearable sensors to improve soldier post-action reports:

A soldier's after-action mission report can sometimes leave out vital observations and experiences that could be valuable in planning future operations. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is acting as an independent evaluator for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in exploring the use of soldier-worn sensors and recorders to augment soldiers' recall and reporting capabilities.

Methane-belching bugs inspire a new theory of the origin of life on earth:

Scientists at Penn State have discovered a previously unknown biochemical process that has led to their development of a fundamental new theory of the origin of life on Earth. The new theory improves upon two long-contentious prevailing theories by proposing a central role for energy conservation during early evolution, based on a simple three-step biochemical mechanism. Their results also provide insights into the evolution of the microbial production of methane.

Studies shed new light on why exercise can protect against skin and bowel cancers:

Two studies published on Saturday 13 May in Carcinogenesis journal show that exercise can protect against skin and bowel cancer, and they identify new mechanisms that could be responsible for this effect.

New technology will allow for flexible television and computer screens:

The fabrication of flexible OLEDs has up to now been held back by the fragility of the brittle indium tin oxide layer that serves as the transparent electrode. But researchers at the Regroupement Qu.becois sur les Mat.riaux de Pointe (RQMP) have found a solution which they published in the May online issue of Applied Physics Letters.

Scientists discover two genes linked to early heart attack risk:

One of the genes, known as VAMP8, normally expresses a protein essential for early stages of clotting. When clotting occurs in a coronary blood vessel, it can lead to heart attack.

Light's most exotic trick yet: so fast it goes . backwards?:

In the past few years, scientists have found ways to make light go both faster and slower than its usual speed limit, but now researchers at the University of Rochester have published a paper today in Science on how they've gone one step further: pushing light into reverse. As if to defy common sense, the backward-moving pulse of light travels faster than light.Confused? You're not alone.

Nanotechnology shows early promise to treat cardiovascular disease:

A new tactic in the battle against cardiovascular disease - employing nanoengineered molecules called "nanolipoblockers" as frontline infantry against harmful cholesterol - is showing promise in early laboratory studies at Rutgers University. Researchers propose a way to combat clogged arteries by attacking how bad cholesterol triggers inflammation and causes plaque buildup at specific blood vessel sites. The approach creates clusters of nanoengineered molecules that target specific receptor molecules on cell membranes and block oxidized LDLs from attaching.

Copying nature could save us energy, study shows:

New technologies that mimic the way insects, plants and animals overcome engineering problems could help reduce our dependence on energy, according to new research published in the Royal Society journal Interface.

Evolutionary forces explain why women live longer than men:

Despite research efforts to find modern factors that would explain the different life expectancies of men and women, the gap is actually ancient and universal, according to University of Michigan researchers.

Women attracted to men when they see interest in children refected in their faces:

Women are able to subconsciously pick up cues of interest in children in men's faces and use those cues to determine if they are attracted to them for long-term relationships, according to new research at the University of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Barbara. The research also shows that women's judgments of men's facial masculinity accurately reflect individual men's testosterone levels. Accordingly, women are attracted to those men for short-term relationships.

Robots manipulating animal behaviour:

A pet dog sits on command, but nobody expects an insect to follow human instructions. So it may come as a surprise to learn that researchers recently succeeded in controlling cockroaches with tiny mobile robots. The results hint at a future where we can interact and communicate with many different kinds of animal.

New 'metal sandwich' may break superconductor record, theory suggests:

After an exhaustive data search for new compounds, researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have discovered a theoretical "metal sandwich" that is expected to be a good superconductor. Superconductive materials have no resistance to the flow of electric current.

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