Sci/tech

Helium Supplies Endangered, Threatening Science And Technology
January 2, 2008 10:50 AM - Washington University in St. Louis.

The element that lifts things like balloons, spirits and voice ranges is being depleted so rapidly in the world's largest reserve, outside of Amarillo, Texas, that supplies are expected to be depleted there within the next eight years. This deflates more than the Goodyear blimp and party favors. Its larger impact is on science and technology, according to Lee Sobotka, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Insects' 'giant leap' reconstructed by founder of sociobiology
January 2, 2008 10:46 AM - American Institute of Biological Sciences

Wilson’s article surveys recent evidence that the high level of social organization called “eusociality,” found in some Hymenoptera (and rarely in other species), is a result of natural selection on nascent colonies of species possessing features that predispose them to colonial life. Wilson concludes that these features, principally progressive provisioning of larvae and behavioral flexibility that leads to division of labor, allow some species to evolve colonies that are maintained and defended because of their proximity to food sources.

Colon cancer risk traced to common ancestor
January 2, 2008 08:50 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - A married couple who sailed to America from England around 1630 are the reason why thousands of people in the United States are at higher risk of a hereditary form of colon cancer, researchers said on Wednesday. Using a genetic fingerprint, a U.S. team traced back a so-called founder genetic mutation to the couple found among two large families currently living in Utah and New York.

Good News About Ocean Methane
January 1, 2008 10:21 PM - University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is emitted in great quantities as bubbles from seeps on the ocean floor near Santa Barbara. About half of these bubbles dissolve into the ocean, but the fate of this dissolved methane remains uncertain.

Silence may lead to phantom noises misinterpreted as tinnitus
January 1, 2008 10:10 PM -

Brazil - Phantom noises, that mimic ringing in the ears associated with tinnitus, can be experienced by people with normal hearing in quiet situations, according to new research published in the January 2008 edition of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

New plant study reveals a 'deeply hidden' layer of the transcriptome
January 1, 2008 09:55 PM - Salk Institute for Biological Studies

La Jolla, CA – Cells keep a close watch over the transcriptome – the totality of all parts of the genome that are expressed in any given cell at any given time. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of Missouri-Kansas City have now teamed up to peel back another layer of transcriptional regulation and gain new insight into how genomes work.

Deep-sea species' loss could lead to oceans' collapse, study suggests
January 1, 2008 09:49 PM - University of Marche, Italy

University of Marche, Italy - The loss of deep-sea species poses a severe threat to the future of the oceans, suggests a new report publishing early online on December 27th and in the January 8th issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. In a global-scale study, the researchers found some of the first evidence that the health of the deep sea, as measured by the rate of critical ecosystem processes, increases exponentially with the diversity of species living there.

Lack of deep sleep may increase risk of type 2 diabetes
January 1, 2008 09:37 PM - University of Chicago Newswire

Chicago - Suppression of slow-wave sleep in healthy young adults significantly decreases their ability to regulate blood-sugar levels and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, report researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the “Early Edition” of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Politics and graft undermine African health care
January 1, 2008 08:03 PM - Reuters

LIBREVILLE (Reuters) - The crowd of African women are tired and angry after hours waiting in the hot sun, but the officials will not vaccinate their children until the president inaugurates the campaign on state television. When he finally does so, half a day has been lost from the five-day vaccination scheme. It is a small reminder that, for health care in Africa, politics can be as decisive as poverty.

Men don't bother with testosterone pills: study
January 1, 2008 04:36 PM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Testosterone supplements don't do older men much good, Dutch researchers said on Tuesday. The amount of the hormone in the blood drops naturally as men age and is associated with a decline in physical strength and mental functioning as well as a fatter midsection.

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