Category Archives: WeeklyNews

news 20071202



Amyloidosis patients benefits from a second round of treatment

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Stem Cell Research Blog
By Staff Writers
July 6, 2007

Boston University Medical Center (BUMC), Stem Cell Transplant Program reports that multiple rounds of high-dose chemotherapy and blood stem cell transplantation can help patients who haven’t responded to earlier treatment.

Five of 17 amyloidosis patients who received a second round of treatment had a complete remission from their initial treatment.

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.

SciTechLab News for 20071024

Microsoft to Pay $240 Million for Stake in Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 24 — Microsoft has won a high-profile technology industry battle with Google and Yahoo to invest in the social networking upstart Facebook.The two companies said on Wednesday that Microsoft would invest $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. The investment values the three-year-old Facebook, which will bring in about $150 million in revenue this year, at $15 billion.

Apple Announces Leopard Arrival October 26

The world premiere of Leopard, the biggest upgrade to Mac OS X, is October 26. And on that big day, the Apple Retail Store is the place to be. Join us from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and be the first to experience the world’s most advanced operating system. And if you’re one of the first 500 guests, you’ll go home with a special edition Leopard T-shirt. See you there.

Southern California Wildfires Burn Out Of Control: New Nasa Satellite Images Show Fires’ Rapid Growth

October 23, 2007
NASA satellites continue to capture remarkable new images of the wildfires raging in Southern California. At least 14 massive fires are reported to have scorched about 425 square miles from north of Los Angeles to southeast of San Diego.The latest images, captured by NASA satellites on the afternoon of October 22, show the thick, billowing smoke coming off the numerous large fires and spreading over the Pacific Ocean.

Image credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response.

The Chinese Chang’e 1 lunar orbiting mission is scheduled to launch on 24 October.

Chang’e 1 is planned to be the first of a series of Chinese missions to the Moon. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch on 24 October 2007 at 10:05 UT (18:05 Chinese Standard Time) on a CZ-3A (Long March 3A) booster from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Chang’e will orbit the Moon for a year to test the technology for future missions and to study the lunar environment and surface regolith. The primary engineering objectives of the mission are to validate the technology necessary to fly lunar missions. The primary science objectives are to obtain three-dimensional stereo images of the lunar surface, determine the distribution of some useful elements on the surface and estimate their abundance, survey the thickness of lunar soil and to evaluate helium-3 resources, and to explore the environment between the Moon and Earth.Chang’e 1 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.


NASA Offers $2 Million Lunar Lander Competition Prize

October 24, 2007
The purpose of the lunar lander challenge is to accelerate technology development leading to a commercial vehicle that could one day be capable of ferrying cargo or humans back and forth between lunar orbit and the moon’s surface.

Giant balloon to loft world’s largest solar telescope

October 2007
A balloon designed to loft the world’s largest solar ultraviolet telescope high into the atmosphere has performed a successful 10-hour test flight. When the telescope makes its first science flight in 2009, it will boast vision more than two times sharper than any previous solar observatory, shedding light on what causes potentially dangerous outbursts from the Sun.Slender hoses, blown into arcs by the wind, partially filled the Sunrise project’s balloon with helium before launch on 3 October. Much of the balloon – which is larger than a jumbo jet – is left unfilled so it can expand as it rises into the stratosphere, where air pressure is lower.

Image: Carlye Calvin/UCAR.

Planet’s CO2 Production Surges

22 October 2007
An international team of scientists has taken another look at how rapidly Earth’s atmosphere is absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2)–the biggest greenhouse gas in terms of volume–and the news is not good: A high-flying world economy is pumping out the gas at an unprecedented rate. Current CO2 production is outstripping the best estimates used by modelers to predict future climate trends.

Reason for flu the Season

19 October 2007
With flu season almost upon us, it’s a good time to ponder why influenza strikes us hardest in the winter months. A new study chalks it up to the fact that the virus appears to be more infectious at colder temperatures and lower humidity. The findings could lead to strategies that help curtail transmission of the disease.

Evolutionary Sprint Made Us Human

23 October 2007
Many more genes separate humans from chimpanzees than scientists believed. A new study shows that what sets us apart from our closest primate cousin is the accelerated rate at which we acquire new genes and ditch unnecessary ones.

New CU-Boulder Study Confirms First-Known Belt Of Moonlets In Saturn Rings

Oct. 24, 2007
A team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder has detected an unseen belt of moonlets in Saturn’s outermost “A” ring (top image, outer purple band). The moonlets in the belt were detected by gravity “wakes” 10 miles to 20 miles across (boxed in bottom image) by the narrow-angle camera aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft.

Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/ University of Colorado.