Sci/tech

Drug injecting triggers most Mauritius HIV cases
November 12, 2007 12:35 PM -

ROCHE BOIS, Mauritius (Reuters) - Drug abuse accounts for 92 percent of new HIV infections in Mauritius, up from just 14 percent in 2002, the government said on Monday.

The Indian Ocean island nation has an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 1.8 percent, which is low for the region. On the African mainland, HIV infection rates stand at 16.1 percent in Mozambique and 18.8 percent in South Africa, for example.

But officials say risky practices like sharing needles used for injecting drugs are causing many more infections. Mauritius suffers the second highest rate of heroin and opiate use in the world, according to U.N. figures.

Make Way for the Real Nanopod
November 12, 2007 09:08 AM - Berkely Lab

BERKELEY, CA — Make way for the real nanopod and make room in the Guinness World Records. A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley have created the first fully functional radio from a single carbon nanotube, which makes it by several orders of magnitude the smallest radio ever made.

Researchers build a better leaf
November 12, 2007 08:35 AM - University of Illinois, Diana Yates

CHAMPAIGN, IL.  - University of Illinois researchers have built a better plant, one that produces more leaves and fruit without needing extra fertilizer. The researchers accomplished the feat using a computer model that mimics the process of evolution. Theirs is the first model to simulate every step of the photosynthetic process.

Prehistoric women had passion for fashion
November 12, 2007 08:22 AM - Ljilja Cvekic

If the figurines found in an ancient European settlement are any guide, women have been dressing to impress for at least 7,500 years.

Recent excavations at the site -- part of the Vinca culture which was Europe's biggest prehistoric civilization -- point to a metropolis with a great degree of sophistication and a taste for art and fashion, archaeologists say.

J-PAL course in Nigeria promotes science-based approach in poverty fight
November 11, 2007 10:37 PM -

MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is technically located in Building E60 on the edge of east campus. But J-PAL's real laboratory is a primary school in a sub-Saharan African town, a household kitchen in a home in rural India, an unemployment line in a suburb of Paris-anywhere antipoverty programs are necessary to improve a population's health and well-being.

J-PAL is dedicated to fighting poverty by ensuring that policy decisions are based on scientific evidence. As part of that effort, J-PAL undertakes, promotes the use of and disseminates the results of randomized evaluations of poverty-alleviating programs.

A Giant Step toward Infinitesimal Machinery
November 11, 2007 10:33 PM - Caltech News

Pasadena, Calif.--What are the ultimate limits to miniaturization? How small can machinery--with internal workings that move, turn, and vibrate--be produced? What is the smallest scale on which computers can be built? With uncanny and characteristic insight, these are questions that the legendary Caltech physicist Richard Feynman asked himself in the period leading up to a famous 1959 lecture, the first on a topic now called nanotechnology.

In a newly announced global Alliance for Nanosystems VLSI (very-large-scale integration), researchers at Caltech's Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) in Pasadena, California, and at the Laboratoire d'Electronique et de Technologie de l'Information-Micro- and Nano-Technologies (CEA/LETI-MINATEC) in Grenoble, France, are working together to take the pursuit of this vision to an entirely new level.

 

 

 

 

World faces choice on human cloning: U.N. study
November 11, 2007 10:09 PM - Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - The world faces a stark choice between banning cloning of humans or preparing ways to protect them from potential abuse or discrimination, a U.N. study said on Sunday.

Experts at the U.N. University's Institute of Advanced Studies said it would only be a matter of time before scientists manage to clone a human if governments do not impose a ban.

"Whichever path the international community chooses it will have to act soon -- either to prevent reproductive cloning or to defend the human rights of cloned individuals," said A.H. Zakri, head of the Institute, which is based in Yokohama, Japan.

Seas to absorb greenhouse gas, but food chain hit
November 11, 2007 09:53 PM - By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - Tiny ocean plankton can reduce global warming by soaking up unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide but their carbon-bloated cells might damage marine food chains, scientists said on Sunday.

Experiments in a Norwegian fjord showed that plankton -- small drifting plants or creatures -- could absorb up to 39 percent more carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in seawater pens mimicking projected climate conditions to 2150.

"This is a massive and surprising change in the carbon content of these organisms," said Ulf Riebesell, a marine biologist at the Leibnitz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany, who led the German and Norwegian experiments.

Toyota Eyes the Plug-in Prius
November 10, 2007 06:10 PM - By Bernie Woodall

TORRANCE, California (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp on Friday detailed plans to study U.S. consumer demand for a version of its hot-selling Prius hybrid that could be recharged at a standard outlet and run on electric power only.

A senior Toyota executive declined to say when a plug-in Prius would be launched or whether it could beat rival General Motors Corp to market with a technology seen as capable of slashing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Bob Carter, who heads the Toyota brand in the United States, said it was more important for Toyota to understand consumer expectations and hone the battery-centered technology behind plug-in cars than to race to bring them to showrooms.

AIDS vaccines experts confused and dismayed
November 10, 2007 06:04 PM - By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor - Analysis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AIDS vaccine researchers are worried about the future of their field after learning an experimental HIV vaccine not only does not work, but just might make recipients more susceptible to infection with the AIDS virus.

They are worried about their volunteers and the future of AIDS vaccines in general. And they are worried because they cannot understand how a vaccine would make a person more vulnerable.

Researchers from Merck & Co. (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which makes the vaccine, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is helping develop it, said on Wednesday they believe a type of common cold virus used as the basis of the vaccine may somehow have made their volunteers more susceptible to HIV.

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