Sci/tech

Mutation may cause inherited neuropathy
December 31, 2007 09:54 PM -

Chicago - Mutations in a protein called dynein, required for the proper functioning of sensory nerve cells, can cause defects in mice that may provide crucial clues leading to better treatments for a human nerve disorder known as peripheral neuropathy, which affects about three percent of all those over age 60.

Robots Taking Over The Job On Offshore Oil Drilling Platforms
December 31, 2007 06:03 PM - SINTEF

SINTEF scientist Pal Liljeback is standing in the new NOK 80 million laboratory financed by Norsk Hydro. The lab covers only 30 square metres and lies deep in the basement of one of the Electro buildings on the SINTEF/NTNU campus on Gloshaugen in Trondheim. An orange robot arm hangs from a steel beam that spans the room at ceiling height, framed by large, sky-blue support beams.

Restless legs ups heart disease, stroke risk
December 31, 2007 05:56 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with restless legs syndrome, or RLS, are twice as likely as those without RLS to suffer a stroke or heart disease, and the risk is greatest in those with the most frequent and severe symptoms, according to the results of a large study. RLS is a movement disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs that worsen when a person is inactive, such as during sleep. This is not the first study to link RLS with cardiovascular disease, the study team notes in the January 1st issue of the journal Neurology. However, the prior two studies that supported an association did not use current RLS diagnostic criteria and one of them included only men.

The Cosmic Bird: Triple Cosmic Collision Of Galaxies Stuns Astronomers
December 31, 2007 05:53 PM - European Organisation for Astronomical Research

Underneath the chaotic appearance of the optical Hubble images - retrieved from the Hubble Space Telescope archive - the NACO images show two unmistakable galaxies, one a barred spiral while the other is more irregular. The surprise lay in the clear identification of a third, clearly separate component, an irregular, yet fairly massive galaxy that seems to be forming stars at a frantic rate.

Science's 2007 Breakthrough of the Year: Human Genetic Variation
December 31, 2007 11:57 AM - Evelyn Brown - www.aaas.org

In 2007, researchers were dazzled by the degree to which genomes differ from one human to another and began to understand the role of these variations in disease and personal traits. Science recognized "Human Genetic Variation" as the 2007 Breakthrough of the Year, and detailed nine other of the year's most significant scientific accomplishments in its 21 December issue.

December Wind Blows in the Right Direction for Vestas.
December 31, 2007 11:17 AM - , Private Landowner Network

If one company’s sales are a bellwether for the industry then the wind energy industry is set for years of solid growth. Vestas Wind Systems, of Randers, Denmark, with a 28 percent market share and more than 33,500 wind turbines in service worldwide, is the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer.

Taking on the E-Waste Problem
December 31, 2007 11:11 AM - Andrew Burger, Triple Pundit

Ongoing growth in volumes and disposal rates of electronic waste and scrap pose consumers, governments and industry with a growing threat to environmental health and safety. In its 2002 report “Exporting Harm,” the Seattle arm of the Basel Action Network revealed that about 80 percent of electronic waste brought to recyclers in the US is in fact not recycled here but exported to Asia, most likely China, where “it is melted down in primitive, environmentally damaging conditions including the cooking and melting of computer circuit boards in vast quantity.”

Symposium looks at developing biofuel research
December 31, 2007 10:34 AM - Cornell Chronicle

Global warming, oil's role in national security and bolstering rural economies are all pressing issues in the United States today. A potentially important consideration in addressing these issues? Bioenergy and biofuels, according to Cornell experts who reviewed research into developing biofuel technologies at a Dec. 14 Cornell symposium.

Smokers butt out in Germany and France
December 31, 2007 09:15 AM - Reuters

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) - For years, anyone needing a nicotine fix in a German pub or French cafe didn't even have to light up -- the air was already so full of smoke that they only had to open their mouth and inhale. But that all changes on Tuesday when strict new bans take effect in two of Western Europe's final bastions for smokers, Germany and France. There was long and fierce resistance to the prohibitions on tobacco that other countries imposed.

World's oldest Sumatran orangutan dies in Miami
December 30, 2007 03:17 PM - Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Sumatran orangutan, thought to be the world's oldest, has died in Miami at age 55, a zoo spokesman said on Sunday . Nonja, who was born in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in June 1952, was found dead on Saturday morning, Miami Metro Zoo spokesman Ron Magill told Reuters.

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