Sci/tech

From Seashore to Surgical Suite: Medicine Learns From Mollusks
February 7, 2011 08:27 AM - Editor, Justmeans

...Well, maybe not mollusks, but actually muscles, those black bivalves better known for their culinary attributes (and especially delicious when prepared with white wine and garlic).

Russia poised to breach mysterious Antarctic lake
February 5, 2011 09:57 AM - Alissa de Carbonnel, Reuters, MOSCOW

For 15 million years, an icebound lake has remained sealed deep beneath Antarctica's frozen crust, possibly hiding prehistoric or unknown life. Now Russian scientists are on the brink of piercing through to its secrets. "There's only a bit left to go," Alexei Turkeyev, chief of the Russian polar Vostok Station, told Reuters by satellite phone. His team has drilled for weeks in a race to reach the lake, 3,750 meters (12,000 ft) beneath the polar ice cap, before the end of the brief Antarctic summer. It was here that the coldest temperature ever found on Earth -- minus 89.2 Celsius (minus 128.6 Fahrenheit) -- was recorded. With the rapid onset of winter, scientists will be forced to leave on the last flight out for this season, on Feb 6.

Ice Cores Yield Rich History of Climate Change
February 4, 2011 08:23 AM - Editor, Science Daily

On Friday, Jan. 28 in Antarctica, a research team investigating the last 100,000 years of Earth's climate history reached an important milestone completing the main ice core to a depth of 3,331 meters (10,928 feet) at West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS). The project will be completed over the next two years with some additional coring and borehole logging to obtain additional information and samples of the ice for the study of the climate record contained in the core.

Deep Below Antarctic Ice, Lake May Soon See Light
February 3, 2011 08:45 AM - Richard Harris, NPR Topics: Environment

While a team of Russian scientists were drilling ice core samples from their Vostok base in Antarctica, new satellite imagery revealed the outline of a lake the size of New Jersey buried two miles underneath the ice. Scientists have been drilling through the ice and are now just 100 feet away from breaking into the third largest lake on the planet.

Humans Share Genetic Ancestry with Orangutans
February 1, 2011 12:17 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

For those who believe in the theory of evolution, the general consensus is that mankind evolved from chimpanzees. Chimps are man's most closely related living species. While that may be true, a new study published in the online journal, Genome Research, has a surprising new finding. Parts of the human genome are more closely related to the orangutan.

Caffeinated Gene Therapy
January 31, 2011 09:54 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Many people in society simply cannot function without a daily dose of caffeine. It is so prevalent in many diets. From coffee, to tea, to soft drinks, it has become a staple on par with corn or wheat, or even water. Of course caffeine is not necessary to survive, but it is sure good at keeping our eyes open. However, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Texas, caffeine does more than just keep us awake. It also energizes cells into producing more viruses used for gene therapy.

Amoebas in drinking water: a double threat
January 31, 2011 08:57 AM - Janet Raloff, Science News

Amoebas — blob-shaped microbes linked to several deadly diseases — contaminate drinking-water systems around the world, according to a new analysis. The study finds that amoebas are appearing often enough in water supplies and even in treated tap water to be considered a potential health risk.

Black Sea Oil
January 28, 2011 05:29 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The quest for black gold, oil is an ever on going saga of the modern age. US-based ExxonMobil, the biggest privately-controlled oil company in the world, will make a new investment in Russia for the first time in over a decade as Moscow seeks to thaw its frosty investor climate and keep its oil flowing. The Black Sea is considered to be as rich in oil reserves as the Caspian Sea by some experts, but its real potential is not yet explored. Russian state oil company Rosneft will develop over a billion tons of Black Sea oil using a $1 billion investment by ExxonMobil, whose relationship with the world's top oil producing country has been so far poor in the 21st Century. This is not the only endeavor in the area. The virtually land locked Black Sea has six countries on its shores. Each one would like to develop its potential. Each one will have its potential environmental consequences.

Little Progress Disposing of 34 Metric Tons of Surplus Weapons Grade Plutonium
January 28, 2011 09:12 AM - Celia Sampol, NRNS

Too slow, too expensive, too risky: the multi-billion dollar Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) program, under construction at the Savannah River Site, continues to be controversial. A technology chosen by the United States in the mid-1990s to contribute to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, today it is being held out as a solution for America's energy future.

Egyptian jackal is actually ancient wolf
January 27, 2011 08:58 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

The Egyptian jackal, which may have been the inspiration for the Egyptian god Anubis, is actually not a jackal at all but a member of the wolf family. New genetic research in the open-access journal PLoS ONE finds that the Egyptian jackal is Africa's only member of the gray wolf family. The new wolf, dubbed by researchers as the African wolf, is most closely related to the Himalayan wolf.

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