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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 16 June 2009 at 3:33pm

This news is a bit old but interesting...

Scientists Get Closer to Center of the Earth

Fiery journeys to the center of the Earth occur only in the sci-fi realm, but now scientists have laid out a way to pinpoint our planet’s center of mass, providing a more accurate map of that core destination.

The results will lead to critical information for studying earthquakes, volcanoes, global sea-level rise and warming, and a post-glacial rise in some surface areas related to the melting of ice sheets.

 


Edited by a well wisher - 16 June 2009 at 3:37pm
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 17 June 2009 at 2:40pm
Very interesting
 
I had read last year that the Japanese were actually investigating similar prjects
 
How faster can computers get?

New Exotic Material Could Revolutionize Electronics

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2009) — Move over, silicon—it may be time to give the Valley a new name. Physicists at the Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have confirmed the existence of a type of material that could one day provide dramatically faster, more efficient computer chips.

Recently-predicted and much-sought, the material allows electrons on its surface to travel with no loss of energy at room temperatures and can be fabricated using existing semiconductor technologies. Such material could provide a leap in microchip speeds, and even become the bedrock of an entirely new kind of computing industry based on spintronics, the next evolution of electronics.

Physicists Yulin Chen, Zhi-Xun Shen and their colleagues tested the behavior of electrons in the compound bismuth telluride. The results, published online June 11 in Science Express, show a clear signature of what is called a topological insulator, a material that enables the free flow of electrons across its surface with no loss of energy.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615144431.htm

 

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 18 June 2009 at 5:18am

Research parks feel the economic pinch

Once lauded as incubators of high-tech jobs, science parks find themselves struggling in the new financial environment.

Science parks, which have proliferated in recent years, face an uncertain future as the recession affects government budgets, university endowments and private investments — all of which science parks often depend on.

"A lot of big projects that were in the works are definitely feeling the crunch," says Anthony Townsend, a New York-based research director at the Institute for the Future think tank

http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090617/full/459896a.html

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 19 June 2009 at 1:36pm

Using Math To Take The Lag Out Of Jet Lag

ScienceDaily (June 19, 2009) — Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the University of Michigan have developed a software program that prescribes a regimen for avoiding jet lag using timed light exposure. 

Traveling across several times zones can cause an individual to experience jet lag, which includes trouble sleeping at night and difficulty remaining awake during the day. These effects largely reflect de-synchronization between the body's internal time clock and local environmental cues.

The program, which seeks to re-synchronize the body with its new environment, considers inputs like background light level and the number of time zones traveled. Then, based on a mathematical model, the program gives users exact times of the day when they should apply countermeasures such as bright light to intervene and reduce the effects of jet lag.

Timed light exposure is a well known synchronization method, and when used properly, this intervention can reset an individual's internal clock to align with local time. The result is more efficient sleep, a decrease in fatigue, and an increase in cognitive performance. Poorly timed light exposure can prolong the re-synchronization process.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618200933.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 20 June 2009 at 1:29pm
Green tea 'slows prostate cancer'

A chemical found in green tea appears to slow the progression of prostate cancer, a study has suggested.

Green tea has been linked to a positive effect on a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

The research, in the US journal Cancer Prevention Research, found a significant fall in certain markers which indicate cancer development.

A UK charity said the tea might help men manage low-risk tumours

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8108831.stm

 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 21 June 2009 at 1:22pm

Sunspots Revealed In Striking Detail By Supercomputers

ScienceDaily (June 21, 2009) — In a breakthrough that will help scientists unlock mysteries of the Sun and its impacts on Earth, an international team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has created the first-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. The resulting visuals capture both scientific detail and remarkable beauty.

The high-resolution simulations of sunspot pairs open the way for researchers to learn more about the vast mysterious dark patches on the Sun's surface. Sunspots are associated with massive ejections of charged plasma that can cause geomagnetic storms and disrupt communications and navigational systems. They also contribute to variations in overall solar output, which can affect weather on Earth and exert a subtle influence on climate patterns.

The research, by scientists at NCAR and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, is being published June 18 in Science Express.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618143958.htm

 

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 23 June 2009 at 10:35am

Ice Sheets Can Retreat 'In A Geologic Instant,' Study Of Prehistoric Glacier Shows

ScienceDaily (June 22, 2009) — Modern glaciers, such as those making up the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, are capable of undergoing periods of rapid shrinkage or retreat, according to new findings by paleoclimatologists at the University at Buffalo.

The paper, published on June 21 in Nature Geoscience, describes fieldwork demonstrating that a prehistoric glacier in the Canadian Arctic rapidly retreated in just a few hundred years.

The proof of such rapid retreat of ice sheets provides one of the few explicit confirmations that this phenomenon occurs.

Should the same conditions recur today, which the UB scientists say is very possible, they would result in sharply rising global sea levels, which would threaten coastal populations.

"A lot of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are characteristic of the one we studied in the Canadian Arctic," said Jason Briner, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and lead author on the paper. "Based on our findings, they, too, could retreat in a geologic instant."

The new findings will allow scientists to more accurately predict how global warming will affect ice sheets and the potential for rising sea levels in the future, by developing more robust climate and ice sheet models.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090621143315.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 23 June 2009 at 1:09pm

Worldwide broadcast for July’s solar eclipse

Jun 22, 2009

22 July will feature the longest solar eclipse of the 21st Century. At 6 minutes and 39 seconds, it will be an impressive sight for those able to see it. Visible from mainland Asia, Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and through the Pacific Ocean, the experience for people in those regions will be incredible.

To allow astronomers and the public all around the world to witness this spectacle, the Chinese Astronomical Society, supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be hosting a live broadcast of the eclipse. Available online at http://eclipse.astronomy2009.org.cn/english, it is an important contribution to IYA2009's goal of making astronomy accessible to all.

Called "Multi-site Federated Live Broadcast of Solar Eclipse on July 22, International Year of Astronomy 2009", it will take full advantage of the latest networking, multimedia, and emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Multiple observation sites will be organised inside the wide eclipse region, especially large cities within the total solar eclipse belt. Signals from different sites will be collected and sent to a central broadcast studio through high-speed network backbones. The public signal will be released to various portals, including websites, TV, and mobile phones.

Thanks to this broadcast, citizens of the world will all be able to share in the experience of witnessing a solar eclipse.

 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 24 June 2009 at 10:42am

Bird Migration: Toxic Molecule May Help Birds 'See' North And South

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2009) — Researchers at the University of Illinois report that a toxic molecule known to damage cells and cause disease may also play a pivotal role in bird migration. The molecule, superoxide, is proposed as a key player in the mysterious process that allows birds to "see" Earth's magnetic field.

The discovery, reported this month in Biophysical Journal, occurred as a result of a "mistake" made by a collaborator, said principal investigator Klaus Schulten, who holds the Swanlund Chair in Physics at Illinois.

Changes in the electromagnetic field, such as those experienced by a bird changing direction in flight, appear to alter a biochemical compass in the eye, allowing the bird to see how its direction corresponds to north or south. (Credit: Creative Commons / Mila Zinkova)
 

Although known primarily as an agent of aging and cellular damage, superoxide recently has been recognized for its role in cellular signaling.

However, its toxicity may also explain why humans, who also have cryptochrome in their eyes, do not have the same ability to see Earth's electromagnetic field, Schulten said.

"Our bodies try to play it safe," he said. "It might be that human evolution chose longevity over orientational ability."

 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 25 June 2009 at 12:06pm

Space Shuttle Science Shows How 1908 Tunguska Explosion Was Caused By A Comet

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2009) — The mysterious 1908 Tunguska explosion that leveled 830 square miles of Siberian forest was almost certainly caused by a comet entering the Earth's atmosphere, says new Cornell University research. The conclusion is supported by an unlikely source: the exhaust plume from the NASA space shuttle launched a century later.

The research, accepted for publication (June 24, 2009) by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union, connects the two events by what followed each about a day later: brilliant, night-visible clouds, or noctilucent clouds, that are made up of ice particles and only form at very high altitudes and in extremely cold temperatures.

"It's almost like putting together a 100-year-old murder mystery," said Michael Kelley, the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Cornell who led the research team. "The evidence is pretty strong that the Earth was hit by a comet in 1908." Previous speculation had ranged from comets to meteors.

The researchers contend that the massive amount of water vapor spewed into the atmosphere by the comet's icy nucleus was caught up in swirling eddies with tremendous energy by a process called two-dimensional turbulence, which explains why the noctilucent clouds formed a day later many thousands of miles away.

Noctilucent clouds are the Earth's highest clouds, forming naturally in the mesosphere at about 55 miles over the polar regions during the summer months when the mesosphere is around minus 180 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 117 degrees Celsius).

The space shuttle exhaust plume, the researchers say, resembled the comet's action

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090624152941.htm

 

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 25 June 2009 at 12:15pm

Volcanic blasts kicked off modern ice ages

Monday, 22 June 2009 Michael Reilly
Discovery News


Volcanic ash rained into the oceans that fertilised a feeding frenzy of algae, say researchers (Source: iStockphoto)

A series of cataclysmic volcanic eruptions gave the planet its polar ice caps, and started a freeze-thaw cycle of ice ages that persists to this day, according to a new theory.

Though we have come to view polar ice as a permanent feature, ice on earth has a checkered past.

Until around 34 million years ago the planet was much warmer than it is today; the Arctic was a vast swamp, Antarctica's mountains were speckled with just a few tiny glaciers. There were no such things as ice caps.

Suddenly, mysteriously, earth's balmy climate cooled. Ice took up residence at the poles, and began marching toward the equator.

Seeding algae

They argue that a series of massive volcanic eruptions spanning nearly all of present-day Mexico, as well as parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho launched vast amounts of ash into the atmosphere.

"All that stuff in the atmosphere is going to block sunlight," says Cather. "But there's no evidence that it lasts more than a few years, maybe a few decades with a big flare-up. So we thought, what about iron fertilisation?"

As ash rained into the world's oceans, the team's theory goes, it brought in millions of tons of iron that fertilised a feeding frenzy of algae. The photosynthetic creatures harnessed sunlight, nutrients and carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas, sucking billions of tonnes of it from the atmosphere and chilling the planet.

The team's work was published this week in the journal Geosphere.

Enormous blast

But it didn't happen overnight. The Silicic Large Igneous Province erupted as hundreds of explosions between 50 and 15 million years ago.

Each eruption was gargantuan, dwarfing the 1991 Mount Pinatubo blast that briefly cooled global temperatures by 0.5°C.

In all, the team estimates the eruptions launched 400,000 cubic kilometres of ash into the atmosphere during that time, enough material to fill the Caspian Sea five times over, or 710,000 times the volume of Sydney Harbour.

The cumulative effect on climate was immense. Over millions of years, what had been a steamy planet turned into the icy place we know today.

And though the direct effects of the eruptions have faded from view, climate feedback from ice sheets, wind patterns, and changes in the earth orbit are enough to keep us in the glacial cycle deep-freeze ice ages that return every 20,000 to 100,000 years.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 26 June 2009 at 12:44pm

Your arteries on Wonder bread

June 25th, 2009

Doctors have known for decades that foods like white bread and corn flakes aren't good for cardiac health. In a landmark study, new research from Tel Aviv University now shows exactly how these high carb foods increase the risk for heart problems.

"Looking inside" the arteries of students eating a variety of foods, Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center -- with collaboration of the Endocrinology Institute -- visualized exactly what happens inside the body when the wrong foods for a healthy heart are eaten. He found that foods with a high glycemic index distended brachial arteries for several hours.

Elasticity of arteries anywhere in the body can be a measure of heart health. But when aggravated over time, a sudden expansion of the artery wall can cause a number of negative health effects, including reduced elasticity, which can cause heart disease or sudden death.

Using a clinical and research technique pioneered by his laboratory in Israel, Dr. Shechter was able to visualize what happens inside our arteries before, during and after eating high carb foods. It is a first in medical history. The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Time to skip the wedding cake?

"It's very hard to predict heart disease," says Dr. Shechter, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. "But doctors know that high glycemic foods rapidly increase blood sugar. Those who binge on these foods have a greater chance of sudden death from heart attack. Our research connects the dots, showing the link between diet and what's happening in real time in the arteries."

Like the uncomfortable medical warnings on packets of cigarettes, this new research could lead to a whole new way to show patients the effects of a poor diet on our body.

 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 June 2009 at 9:24am
COSMIC BLOB PICTURES: Galactic "Coming of Age" Revealed
 
June 24, 2009--Mysterious "blobs" of glowing gas in far-flung regions of space are mysteries no more, according to astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The huge reservoirs of hydrogen gas were found about a decade ago during surveys of young, distant galaxies. The blobs glow brightly in visible light, but the sources of immense energy required to power the glow remained unclear.

Now, in new images from Chandra, scientists have found evidence that the gas blobs are being heated by the growth of nearby galaxies with supermassive black holes at their hearts. Above, a still from an animation shows how the black hole in a spiral galaxy, like our Milky Way, might send out pulses of heat that illuminate the surrounding gas.

Galaxies grow as interstellar gases drawn in by gravity cool and condense to form new stars. But eventually a buildup of heat in the surrounding gas triggers the galaxies to slow down their growth, scientists say.

"We're seeing signs that the galaxies and black holes inside these blobs are coming of age and are pushing back on the gas [being pulled in by gravity] to prevent further growth," study co-author Bret Lehmer, of Durham University in the U.K., said in a statement. "Massive galaxies must go through a stage like this or they would form too many stars and so end up ridiculously large by the present day."

Findings to appear in the July 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
— Image courtesy NASA/CXC/A.Hobart
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 27 June 2009 at 9:04pm

Solar wind blows at 50-year low

The solar wind - the stream of charged particles billowing away from the Sun - is at its weakest for 50 years.

Scientists made the assessment after studying 18 years of data from the Ulysses satellite which has sampled the space environment all around our star.

They expect the reduced output to have effects right across the Solar System.

Indeed, one impact is to diminish slightly the influence the Sun has over its local environment which extends billions of kilometres into space

Confirmation of that prediction should come from the far-distant Voyager spacecraft which were launched in the 1970s and are now bearing down on the edge of the heliosphere - the great "bubble" of wind material that surrounds the Sun.

Scientists now predict the Voyagers will hit the edge and cross over into interstellar space - that region considered to be "between the stars" - sooner than anticipated.

Space age

The solar wind, which originates in the Sun's hot outer atmosphere known as the corona, gusts and calms with the star's familiar 11-year cycle of activity (but also over its less well known longer cycles, too).

Calmer wind conditions would be expected to prevail right now, but the Ulysses data indicates circumstances unprecedented in recent times.

"This is a whole Sun phenomenon," said Dave McComas, Ulysses solar wind instrument principal investigator, from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, US.

"The entire Sun is blowing significantly less hard - about 20-25% less hard - than it was during the last solar minimum 10-15 years ago.

"That's a very significant change. In fact, the solar wind we're seeing now is blowing the least hard we've see it for a prolonged time, since the start of those observations in the 1960s at the start of the space age."

In addition to being calmer, the wind measured at Ulysses is 13% cooler.

However, judging from Sun activity data collected by non-satellite methods over the past 200 years, the current behaviour is thought to be well within the long-term norm.

Nonetheless, scientists expect the weakened wind to have a wide range of impacts.

Energetic rays

The charged wind particles also carry with them the Sun's magnetic field, and this has a protective role in limiting the number of high-energy cosmic rays that can enter the Solar System.

More of them will probably now make their way through .....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7632331.stm

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