Sci/tech

Penn research shows transcranial magnetic stimulation effective in treating major depression
November 26, 2007 11:40 AM - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

PHILADELPHIA – Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and other study sites have found that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – a non-invasive technique that excites neurons in the brain via magnetic pulses passed through the scalp – is a safe and effective, non-drug treatment with minimal side effects for patients with major depression who have tried other treatment options without benefit.

 

 

 

 

Mars' Molten Past
November 26, 2007 11:27 AM - Unversity of California, Davis

Mars was covered in an ocean of molten rock for about 100 million years after the planet formed, researchers from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, UC Davis, and NASA's Johnson Space Center have found. The work is published in the journal Nature on Nov. 22.

The formation of the solar system can be dated quite accurately to 4,567,000,000 years ago, said Qing-Zhu Yin, assistant professor of geology at UC Davis and an author on the paper. Mars' metallic core formed a few million years after that. Previous estimates for how long the surface remained molten ranged from thousands of years to several hundred million years.

Leeds Researchers Fueling the "Hydrogen Economy"
November 26, 2007 11:23 AM - Univeristy of Leeds

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Scientists at the University of Leeds are turning low-grade sludge into high-value gas in a process which could make eco-friendly biodiesel even greener and more economical to produce.

Biodiesel – motor fuel derived from vegetable oil - is a renewable alternative to rapidly depleting fossil fuels. It is biodegradable and non-toxic, and production is on the up. But for each molecule of biodiesel produced, another of low-value crude glycerol is generated, and its disposal presents a growing economic and environmental problem.

US Renewable Fuel for UK Power Plant.
November 26, 2007 08:55 AM - , Private Landowner Network

At a time when the US should be scrambling to build more renewable energy capacity at home it is instead on course to export a valuable homegrown renewable fuel: wood chips.

Prenergy Power Limited, of London, England has been given the go-ahead by Britain’s Department of Trade & Industry to build a 350 megawatt powerplant in Port Talbot on the south coast of Wales. The powerplant will be fueled by wood chips that are expected to be imported from the US and Canada. Wood chip fuel will arrive by ship in the deep water port or perhaps by rail car from other sources. The powerplant will burn around three million tons per year from sustainable sources.

Illuminating Study Reveals How Plants Respond to Light
November 26, 2007 08:41 AM - www.nsf.gov

Most of us take it for granted that plants respond to light by growing, flowering and straining towards the light, and we never wonder just how plants manage to do so. But the ordinary, everyday responses of plants to light are deceptively complex, and much about them has long stumped scientists.

Now, a new study "has significantly advanced our understanding of how plant responses to light are regulated, and perhaps even how such responses evolved," says Michael Mishkind, a program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This study, which was funded by NSF, will be published in the November 23, 2007 issue of Science.

Human safety, prosperity depend on better ocean observing system: Scientists
November 26, 2007 08:26 AM - University of California - San Diego

Speedy diagnosis of the temper and vital signs of the oceans matters increasingly to the well being of humanity, says a distinguished partnership of international scientists urging support to complete a world marine monitoring system within 10 years.

The Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) says warming seas, over-fishing and pollution are among profound concerns that must be better measured to help society respond in a well-informed, timely and cost-effective way.

Nanotech's health, environment impacts worry scientists
November 26, 2007 08:23 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison

The unknown human health and environmental impacts of nanotechnology are a bigger worry for scientists than for the public, according to a new report published today (Nov. 25) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The new report was based on a national telephone survey of American households and a sampling of 363 leading U.S. nanotechnology scientists and engineers. It reveals that those with the most insight into a technology with enormous potential -- and that is already emerging in hundreds of products -- are unsure what health and environmental problems might be posed by the technology.

Termite Guts Yield Enzymes for Better Biofuel
November 25, 2007 05:27 PM -

WALNUT CREEK, CA--Termites -- notorious for their voracious appetite for wood, rendering houses to dust and causing billions of dollars in damage per year -- may provide the biochemical means to a greener biofuel future. The bellies of these tiny beasts actually harbor a gold mine of microbes that have now been tapped as a rich source of enzymes for improving the conversion of wood or waste biomass to valuable biofuels.

The genomic sequencing and analysis of the termite gut microbes by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), the California Institute of Technology, Verenium Corporation (formerly Diversa), a biofuels company, INBio, the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica, and the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, are highlighted in the November 22 edition of the journal Nature.

Astronauts finish station work for European lab
November 24, 2007 01:31 PM - Reuters

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Astronauts spent seven hours in space on Saturday to finish preparing the International Space Station for its next addition -- Europe's first permanent space laboratory.

Passengers unhurt after Antarctic ship hits ice
November 23, 2007 07:12 PM - Reuters

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - More than 150 passengers and crew escaped unhurt after their cruise ship hit ice in the Antarctic and started sinking on Friday, the ship's owner and coast guard officials said.

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