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Sugar-Dried Blood: Just Add Water

A discovery might save lives on the battlefield, or any other place where blood platelets are hard to come by.  A simple sugar named trehalose can replace water in platelets and perhaps red blood cells.  This could provide an alternative to freeze-drying, making blood platelets (necessary for clotting) available with a shelf-life of months or […]

How to Prevent Youthful Violence

EurekAlert posted a finding by University of Washington sociologists that “Family discipline, religious attendance, attachment to school cut levels of later violence among aggressive children.” Do we really need scientists to tell us the obvious?  Everyone seems to know this except secular researchers.  Solomon and Paul can tell the University of Washington all they need […]

Cellular Cowboys: How the Cell Rounds Up Chromosomes Before Dividing

Two cancer researchers from UC San Diego describe mitosis (cell division) in the Mar. 4 issue of Nature.1  Pulling together the latest findings about this elaborate and important process, they begin by describing the puzzle that the cell needs to solve: At the beginning of mitosis, the process of cell division, chromosomes are organized randomly […]

Science Journal Editors Face Accountability

This quote by a journal editor comes from a news item in the Mar. 4 issue of Nature:1 “Like everybody else, we are much more interested in other people’s accountability than we are in our own,” explains Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), who helped to draft the new code.  “Editors are […]

Opportunity Finds Evidence of Past Water on Mars

Liquid water once drenched the surface of Mars at Meridiani Planum and made it a suitable habitat for life, according to Ed Weiler at a NASA briefing today.  Four pieces of evidence from the Mars Exploration Rover named Opportunity led principal scientist Stephen Squyres to this conclusion: (1) the spherules appear to be concretions grown […]

Fiber-Optic Sponge Makes Deep-Sea Lamps

Last year, it was announced that a deep-sea sponge named the Venus Flower Basket possessed glass strands similar to fiber optic cables (see 08/20/2003 headline).  Now, a five-member team from Bell Labs has performed the first detailed optical analysis of the fibers.  They indeed found these structures to be “remarkably similar to commercial silica optical […]

Evolution 101: Pro-Evolution Educational Website Opens

Berkeley has a new website for educators and students named Understanding Evolution.  For students, it presents topics on (1) Nature of Science, (2) Evolution 101, (3) Evidence, (4) Relevance of Evolution, (5) Misconceptions, and (6) History of Evolutionary Thought.  For teachers, there is additional material on (6) Teaching Evolution, (7) Overcoming Roadblocks, (8) Potential Pitfalls, […]

We Don’t Know How We Know that Genes Make Minds

“If the mind can be explained from the workings of the brain, and the brain develops by direction from our genes,” Anthony Monaco (Oxford) writes, “then presumably the mind can be explained from our genetic make-up.  But how can only 30,000 genes make a brain with billions of neurons and encode the particular aspects of […]

Was There a Single Common Ancestor for All Life?

Lucy (the alleged human ancestor) had a distant ancestor named LUCA.  That’s the assumption of many evolutionary biologists.  LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, is the mother of us all: the bird and the worm, the bee and the flower, the man and his dog.  In the Darwinian creation story, sex had not yet evolved, […]

No Man Is an Island – We Are the World

Myriads of organisms live in and on our bodies, reminds an article in the Feb. 27 issue of Science,1 and they’re not just freeloaders on a hayride.  We need them, and they need us.  “We are not alone,” claim the three microbiologist authors, but “we get by with a little help from our (little) friends.”  […]

A Weed Is a Nice Plant at the Wrong Party

How do weeds go wild?  That is a question investigated by Science Now on Feb. 20.1  A complex relationship between a plant and its microbial partners may keep it in check.  Transplant that species to an unfamiliar territory, and it may go out of control because it no longer has its restraining pathogens, or “natural […]

Superstar Challenges Theory

A new record holder has been found for biggest star: LBV 1806-20 in Sagittarius.  According to the NewsNotes entry on p. 20 of the April 2004 issue of Sky and Telescope, the star is up to 3 times hotter than the surface of our sun, and has a diameter 200 times as big.     […]

Anthropic Principle Won’t Go Away

The so-called “Anthropic Principle” is the observation that the universe, whether by accident or design, appears to have been fine-tuned for our existence.  Dating back decades, if not centuries, the idea has been alternately criticized and seriously pondered by the world’s greatest cosmologists.  During the 1990s the idea was ridiculed to the point that, if […]

Evolution Is Like the Matrix Revolutions

Matthew L. Albert enjoyed the Matrix movies.  In his review in the Feb. 20 issue of Science,1 he thought the movies were parallels of evolutionary biology.  The machines keeping the rebels alive are like retroviruses, he thinks: “These retroviruses are responsible in part for our evolution, while other retroviruses are attacking us.  So, who is […]

Seniors, Pay Attention: Stay Active

Cardiovascular activity is good for everyone.  Seniors can benefit from taking walks, too.  A new study shows it can help the elderly keep their attentiveness and improve mental performance.  Science News1 reporter Bruce Bower writes: Seniors interested in pumping up their brains and maintaining an attentive edge might consider taking this inexpensive prescription: Go for […]
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