Monthly Archives: November 2007

Northern Lights

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Northern Lights
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shines above Bear Lake here January 18, 2005. The lights are the result of solar particles colliding with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Early Eskimos and Indians believed different legends about the Northern Lights, such as they were the souls of animals dancing in the sky or the souls of fallen enemies trying to rise again.


Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang

Eruption of Kilauea

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Eruption of Kilauea
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 1972-1974 eruption of Kilauea Volcano at Mauna Ulu. February – March 1974


Credit: National Park Service, Photo by D.W. Peterson

Earth Rise

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Earth Rise
In the image, made from a moving image taken onboard the Kaguya spacecraft, a region of the moon’s surface near its north pole is shown. The Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean can be observed on the Earth.


Credit: JAXA/NHK

News 20071118

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Google unveils cell phone software and alliance

By Marguerite Reardon and Elinor Mills, Staff Writers
Published: November 5, 2007, 8:13 AM PST
Last modified: November 5, 2007, 10:40 AM PST
Update: Google’s cell phone strategy took shape Monday with the announcement of a new open software platform and an alliance of wireless heavyweights that will help form the development community for the planned phones.

Container Ship Strikes Bay Bridge

NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
By Staff
November 7, 2007
At 8:30 am PST on November 7th, the container ship M/V Cosco Busan struck the Bay Bridge in San Francisco Bay, California. A 100-foot gash in the hull of the vessel caused the release of an estimated 53,000 gallons of fuel oil (IFO 380) into the water (as of November 8, 2007). The vessel is no longer leaking product and is undergoing inspection.

30,000 birds dead after Black Sea oil spill

By agencies
Last Updated: 7:01pm GMT 13/11/2
More than 550,000 gallons of fuel oil have now spilled into straits connected to the Black Sea in what Russian officials are calling an environmental catastrophe.

The oil from a tanker cut in two during a storm at the weekend has killed an estimated 30,000 birds and there are warnings the effects of oil sinking to the sea bed could linger for years.


Ancient beer pots point to origins of chocolate

By Jeff Hecht
November 12, 2007
Chocolate was first produced by the ancients as a by-product of beer, suggests a new archaeological study. And evidence from drinking vessels left by the Mesoamericans who developed chocolate suggests that the source of chocolate, cacao, was first used 500 years earlier than thought.

Better Blood Vessels

New artificial blood vessels could help a wider range of patients

Technology Review
By Amanda Schaffer
November 09, 2007

Researchers have developed artificial blood vessels that are derived from human cells but appear to have long shelf lives and are unlikely to provoke an immune response. Such vessels could someday prove valuable to patients undergoing heart-bypass operations, dialysis, or other procedures in which portions of blood vessels, or vascular grafts, may be needed.

Time Slows When You’re on the Fly

ScienceNOW Daily News
By Elizabeth Quill
13 November 2007

Einstein was wrong. So, in essence, begins many a screed by some poor crackpot who aspires to be a physicist. Still, many legitimate physicists are willing to entertain the possibility that, in formulating his theories of relativity, Einstein didn’t get it exactly right. Some are looking for slight deviations from the prediction of his theory that might point to some deeper understanding of the universe. Alas, they’ll have to search even harder than before: A new experiment tests the stretching of time predicted by Einstein’s special theory of relativity and finds it spot on the money to 1 part in 10 million.

Knocks Out Patient’s Defense

ScienceNOW Daily News
By Martin Enserink
12 November 2007
Mention resistant staph bacteria, and most people think about the almost invincible strains–officially called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)–that infect immunocompromised and sick people in hospitals. But in recent years, strains of MRSA that are even more virulent have started spreading outside hospitals and attacking perfectly healthy people (Science, 14 March 2003, p. 1639). Now, researchers say they have discovered how these bugs, which some see as a major public health threat, do their damage.

Climate change is delaying spring in some areas

13 November 2007
The last thing a seasoned gardener would expect from global warming is for leaves to appear later in spring, but exactly that is happening across the southern US.

Giant Grows Restless

ScienceNOW Daily News
By Phil Berardelli
November 8, 2007
It’s a little like being in a room with the proverbial 800-pound gorilla–every little burp or twitch keeps you on your toes. That’s the way geologists feel about the caldera that sits under Yellowstone National Park. Scientists have detected accelerated activity on Earth’s surface that they think is originating from deep inside the geological structure known as a hot spot, and they are attempting to determine whether the giant volcano is growing restless or just turning over in its sleep.

China Reaches the Moon

Sky & Telescope
By Jonathan McDowell
November 13, 2007
China’s space science program took a major step when its first deep-space probe, Chang’e 1, began orbiting the Moon on November 5th. Two days later the 21⁄2-ton craft — named for the Chinese Moon goddess — dropped to a circular 125-mile-high orbit and prepared to begin its close-up studies of the surface.

Cyclone kills hundreds in Bangladesh

USA Today
By Julhas Alam, Associated Press Writer
November 16, 2007

DHAKA, Bangladesh — The death toll from a cyclone that slammed into Bangladesh’s coast with wind speeds of 150 mph, has risen to at least 1,100, a local news agency reported Friday.

While government estimates had earlier put the death toll at 242, the United News of Bangladesh — which has reporters deployed across the devastated region — said they had made their own count in each affected district taking the toll to 1,100.


Guba upgraded to Category 3
By James Luffman
November 16, 2007 19:42

Tropical Cyclone Guba reached Category 3 intensity in the Coral Sea late on Friday, according to

The first named system of the season, Guba continued on a southward track off far north Queensland during Friday, at a pedestrian speed of about 4 km/h. Although slow moving, the cyclone intensified to produce wind gusts of up to 170 km/h, developing a clearly visible eye. By 4pm EST Guba had been upgraded to a Category 3 storm.


Bizarre Dinosaur Grazed Like a Cow, Study Says

National Geographic News
By James Owen
November 15, 2007

A weird-looking dinosaur with a muzzle resembling a vacuum cleaner suggests long-necked plant-eaters such as the well-known Diplodocus didn’t always have their heads in the trees.

The findings are based on fossil analyses of a 110-million-year-old dinosaur found in the Sahara region of Africa by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues.


The Brain in Chronic Pain

Sophisticated brain-imaging studies suggest new ways to treat chronic pain.

Technology Review
By Emily Singer
November 15, 2007

Anyone who suffers from chronic pain knows that the experience is fundamentally different from enduring a scratch or a broken toe. Growing evidence from brain-imaging studies supports this notion: people with chronic pain show fundamental differences in both the structure and function of their brain. Scientists are now using these findings to develop and test new drugs created specifically for chronic pain.

Start-up makes electric power from motion

Cnet News
By Martin LaMonica
November 16, 2007

The company’s mission, in essence, is to apply the long-understood Faraday Principle–that putting a conductor near a magnetic field will produce voltage–to 21st century applications. Its initial target is to create a D-size battery for the military and then create batteries for consumer electronics.

Magnet and coil generators are typically too large for use in mobile electronics. The company’s technologists have been able to generate enough electricity to power small devices by manipulating the electromagnetic field that is produced when a coil moves near a magnet.


Chile’s President Visits Earthquake-Ravaged Area as Aftershocks Continue

Voice of America
By VOA News
15 November 2007

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has toured northern towns hit by a major earthquake that killed two people, injured more than 100 and left thousands without homes.

Tocopilla and the nearby mining town of Maria Elena were hardest hit in Wednesday’s 7.7 magnitude earthquake. Several thousand homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving 15,000 displaced people.

Star Cluster NGC 3603

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Star Cluster NGC 3603
The star-forming region NGC 3603 – seen here in the latest Hubble Space Telescope image – contains one of the most impressive massive young star clusters in the Milky Way. Bathed in gas and dust the cluster formed in a huge rush of star formation thought to have occurred around a million years ago. The hot blue stars at the core are responsible for carving out a huge cavity in the gas seen to the right of the star cluster in NGC 3603’s center.

Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration