New Cause Of Blindness Discovered
September 10, 2007 08:20 AM - PLOS
The scientific community is just starting to appreciate the importance of pH regulation in normal vision, according to researchers. Drs Joe Casey and Yves Sauvé found evidence for blindness associated with a gene involved in retinal pH regulation. Their characterization of a mouse model with a targeted disruption of the Slc4a3 gene has revealed a new cause of blindness. Identification of Slc4a3 as underlying a previously unrecognized cause of blindness has direct clinical implications: it opens the door to a new diagnostic possibility for many yet unknown causes of blindness, including hereditary vitreoretinal degenerations (HVDs). No link has been established between Slc4a3 and HVDs.
What Is Dark Energy? 'Beyond Einstein' Program Aims To Investigate
September 10, 2007 08:18 AM - The National Academies
NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy should pursue the Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM) as the first mission in the "Beyond Einstein" program, according to a new report from the National Research Council.
Study: Asteroid Breakup Likely Cause Of Mass Earth Extinction
September 9, 2007 12:49 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Boulder, Colo. — New research says it started as an asteroid vs. asteroid collision and breakup far above earth, and got worse from there, with large chunks eventually striking earth and the moon. After years of analysis and computer modeling, scientists now believe the impact that wiped out dinosaurs and other life forms on Earth some 65 million years ago began with a breakup event in the main asteroid belt. A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute and Charles University in Prague thinks the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina broke up when it was hit by another large asteroid.
Bog Mummies Yield Secrets
September 9, 2007 08:36 AM - North Dakota State University
Human remains yield secrets. Researchers, including Dr. Heather Gill-Robinson, assistant professor of anthropology at North Dakota State University, are now probing the secrets of 'bog mummies' some dating back 2000 years, preserved from the Iron Age with amazing detail in peat bogs of Europe.
NASA: Little Mars Rovers Survive Dust Storms On Mars
September 8, 2007 08:30 PM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - (Video inside) Gusts of wind have cleared dust from the solar collectors on one of two robot rovers on the surface of Mars and both have awakened from the sleep NASA put them into, the space agency said on Friday. It said Opportunity was now preparing to drive into the half-mile diameter Victoria Crater next week and Spirit had climbed onto a formation called Home Plate, a plateau of layered bedrock. The rovers have been operating for more than three years, although they were only designed to last three months. "These rovers are tough. They faced dusty winds, power starvation and other challenges -- and survived," NASA's Alan Stern said in a statement.
Forest Chief Touts Ethanol to Power Cars
September 8, 2007 07:36 AM - John Heilprin -Associated Press
The U.S. Forest Service chief is proposing replacing 15 percent of the nation's gasoline with ethanol made from wood, while doubling the amount of carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by public and private forests. "These are ambitious goals, and they would take a concerted national effort to reach," Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell said in remarks prepared for a speech before the Society of Environmental Journalists Friday night in San Francisco.
Tel Aviv scientists probe 'deep' questions aboard EcoOcean's environmental research ship
September 7, 2007 02:57 PM - American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Did the great flood of Noah’s generation really occur thousands of years ago" Was the Roman city of Caesarea destroyed by an ancient tsunami" Will pollution levels in our deep seas remain forever a mystery" These are just a few of the questions that are being addressed by a new environmental marine research team from Tel Aviv University and the non-profit research and education organization, EcoOcean.
MIT works toward safer gene therapy
September 7, 2007 10:34 AM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In work that could lead to safe and effective techniques for gene therapy, MIT researchers have found a way to fine-tune the ability of biodegradable polymers to deliver genes.
Toilets Behind The Times?
September 7, 2007 08:01 AM - Reuters, Ritsuko Ando
Interior designer Timothy Corrigan had never heard of a "washlet" -- until a client asked him to install one of the high-tech Japanese toilets. When he saw the bidet-style bathroom appliance, equipped with a warm-water spray and other functions to cleanse and coddle posteriors, he was impressed.
Fuel Efficiency Focus At Frankfurt
September 7, 2007 07:52 AM - Reuters, Gilles Castonguay
(Video) Car makers will show off their latest efforts to fight pollution at Frankfurt's autoshow next week by unveiling models with improvements rather than substitutes to the standard internal combustion engine. Under pressure to reduce harmful emissions produced by their vehicles amid fears of global warming, they are keen to show the greenest of intentions with the latest line of engines that consume fuel more efficiently.