Wednesday signed into law the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research
and Development Act, which authorizes funding for nanotechnology
research and development over four years, starting in FY 2005.
This legislation puts into law programs and activities supported
by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), one of the President's
highest multi-agency research and development priorities.
A year ago, a
mystery virus began to kill people in China. Causing an illness
dubbed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the virus quickly
spread beyond Asia and for a few months stirred fears of a worldwide
epidemic. With stunning speed, scientists identified the virus
and decoded its genetic sequence. Now, a research team has claimed
victory in the race to identify the cellular receptor—the
protein to which the virus attaches when it infects cells—for
the SARS virus.
Stick and slip
leads to jagged edges, show ripping experiments. Two physicists
in Britain have been investigating why you can open an envelope
cleanly with a paper knife but not with your finger. Similar ripping
processes could explain the formation of jagged edges that sometimes
interleave on adjacent ice sheets.
Planets can be
spawned by the same process that makes stars, say astronomers who
have discovered a developing planet floating alone in a stellar
nursery. "It's a planet but it has all the hallmarks of an
embryonic star," says Jane Greaves of the Royal Observatory
in Edinburgh (ROE). Until recently, it was thought that planets
could only build up, or "accrete", from gas and dust
swirling in a disc around a newborn star. But everything changed
in 2000. . .
might cause the periodic flips observed in the Sun's magnetic field,
say researchers. The star's switches come after a lull in storms
at its poles. Every 11 years or so, the solar magnetic field reverses,
and the poles switch places. The last switch happened in 1999.
Despite recent massive solar flares, we are now in a relatively
hot day last summer, a 10-year-old boy performed a few miracles
at a hospital near Calcutta, India. For openers, he caught a balled-up
piece of paper thrown to him. Then, he picked up paper clips and
inserted them into a holder through a small opening. Looking determined,
the boy proceeded to identify drawings of an elephant and other
animals. Finally, he greeted all of his physicians and nurses,
referring to each by name.
- the recurrent climate swing that brings flood, fire and famine
- can be triggered by volcanic eruptions, according to a new report.
Climate and eruption records dating back to the seventeenth century
suggest that a large eruption can double the likelihood of an El
Niño event the following winter.
can now evaluate the global impact of natural and human-induced
activities on climate and better predict probable climate patterns
in the future, thanks to the world's first 1,024-processor supercomputer.
The newly installed 1,024-processor machine at NASA's Ames Research
Center in California's Silicon Valley, along with a 512-processor
supercomputer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,
Md., are producing a 10-fold improvement in Earth science applications.
Using a sound-based
scanning technique to determine the shapes of moving creatures
and other objects, an international team of scientists has found
that the human form bounces sound waves as if each person were
a huge, elongated chicken egg. This new acoustic portrait of people
as a hard ellipsoid may aid designers of concert halls and other
venues where acoustics are of paramount concern.
A team of researchers
at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing a "Flu
Chip" that will aid physicians in swiftly diagnosing respiratory
illness for future flu seasons. The Flu Chip will allow doctors
and public health officials to differentiate between three types
of influenza and other viruses that cause similar clinical symptoms,
such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.
homed in on a brain region that leaves some people struggling with
mathematics. Their research might point up better ways to teach
numbers. The study looked at people with dyscalculia - the mathematical
equivalent of dyslexia. Up to 6% of children are thought to suffer
from the condition; they toil with times tables and can find it
tough to add small numbers even as adults.
news about hot cocoa: Researchers at Cornell University have shown
that the popular winter beverage contains more antioxidants per
cup than a similar serving of red wine or tea and may be a healthier
choice. The study adds to growing evidence of the health benefits
of cocoa and points to a tasty alternative in the quest to maintain
a diet rich in healthy antioxidants, chemicals that have been shown
to fight cancer, heart disease and aging, the researchers say.
A satellite designed
to test one of the more twisted predictions of Albert Einstein's
general theory of relativity is finally at its launch site after
40 years of preparation. The probe will look for evidence of a
gravitational effect known as frame dragging. Just as a dipper
drags honey along as it twirls in a honey jar, any spinning body
in space, including Earth, ought to drag some space-time along
with it. That was Einstein's prediction, anyway. The effect has
never been convincingly observed.
A mysterious arc
of light found behind a distant cluster of galaxies has turned
out to be the biggest, brightest and hottest star-forming region
ever seen in space. The so-called Lynx Arc is one million times
brighter than the well-known Orion Nebula, a nearby prototypical ‘starbirth’ region
visible with small telescopes. It is a rarely glimpsed example
of the early days of the Universe where furious firestorms of starbirth
blazed across the skies.