virus found in a food market in Guangdong, China jumped from animals
to people - and not the other way around - suggests new research.
The study represents an important step in tracing the original
source of the virus. However, the work still leaves many important
questions about the route of transmission of the SARS virus to
It was no ordinary
earthquake that struck near the town of Chi-Chi in central Taiwan
on 21 September 1999. The ground seemed to explode as huge boulders
were flung into the air, and flashes of light lit the night sky.
Taiwanese geologists have now explained this unusual and terrifying
geological event. The boulders were powered by high-pressure steam,
they say, as sliding rocks heated ground water to boiling point.
Over the past
decade, research groups in academia and industry have been racing
to fabricate electronic devices—integrated circuits, displays
for handheld computers, and solar cells—not from silicon
but from semiconducting polymers. Components made from such organic
materials could be flexible, as well as cheaper and easier to manufacture
than their silicon counterparts.
A massive methane
explosion frothing out of the world's oceans 250 million years
ago caused the Earth's worst mass extinction, claims a US geologist.
Similar, smaller-scale events could have happened since, which
might explain the Biblical flood, for example, suggests Gregory
Ryskin of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. And they
could happen again: "It's a very conjectural idea but it's
too important to ignore," says Ryskin.
NASA is gearing
up for the launch of its fourth and final "Great Observatory" from
Cape Canaveral on Monday. The telescope, known as SIRTF, has infrared
eyes that will seek out newborn stars in galaxies near the edge
of the visible Universe. SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility,
has a 0.85-meter mirror and three science instruments. It will
be the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space and
will detect light with wavelengths between 3 and 180 micrometers.
data from a NASA satellite have found another piece in the global
climate puzzle created by El Niño. El Niño events
produce more of a steady rain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
This is important because whenever there is a change in the amount
and duration of rainfall over an area, such as the central Pacific,
it affects weather regionally and even worldwide.
The first game-playing
DNA computer has been revealed - an enzyme-powered tic-tac-toe
machine that cannot be beaten. The human player makes his or her
moves by dropping DNA into 3 by 3 square of wells that make up
the board. The device then uses a complex mixture of DNA enzymes
to determine where it should place its nought or cross, and signals
its move with a green glow.
is getting dimmer and dimmer," says Alan Heavens. Star numbers,
his University of Edinburgh team has found, are falling. They calculate
that star formation is now around 30 times slower than during the
Universe's stellar baby boom around 6 billion years ago, when our
Sun was created. It is so slow that more stars are fizzling out
than are being born. "Within 5 or 10 billion years the Universe
will be a pretty dark place," says Heavens.
A research jet
with a curious link to the Wright Flyer flew to Oshkosh, Wis.,
July 28 to join the world's largest aviation event. The people
and aircraft gathered at the Experimental Aircraft Association's
AirVenture 2003 this week to celebrate a century of flight include
a special NASA F/A-18 with the ability to twist its wings to cause
the airplane to roll. That's a new twist on a very old theme --
wing warping -- exploited by Wilbur and Orville Wright.
researchers at Rice University have developed a new method of testing
whole blood that could allow emergency room doctors and other point-of-care
health professionals to rapidly diagnose a variety of ailments,
including hemorrhagic stroke, heart attack, and various infectious
Wrap an apple
in Yasa-sheet and it will stay fresh for weeks. So says Semei Shiratori
of Keio University in Yokahama, Japan, who makes this high-tech
plastic for preserving fruits and vegetables. To be sure, it's
a humble product. But it may be a harbinger of an enormous new
class of materials and products created in a startlingly simple
process: Thin liquid layers applied one at a time create solid,
multilayered coatings that mix and match a wide variety of technologically
On Aug. 27, 2003,
Mars will be less than 34.65 million miles (55.76 million kilometers)
away -- closer to our planet than it’s been in nearly 60,000
years. Mars is now easy to find. The planet usually appears red
or orangish, though sometimes -- depending conditions in Earth's
atmosphere -- it can look yellowish. Whatever, it is the unmistakable
beacon of the pre-dawn southern sky and is now visible before midnight,
too, for observers with a clear view of the horizon.
eat during pregancy could have a fundamental and lifelong
effect on the genes of their children, suggests an intriguing
new study in mice. Researchers found they could change the
coat colour of baby mice by feeding their mothers different
levels of four common nutrients during pregnancy. These altered
how the pups' cells read their genes. As a result the mice
were also less prone to obesity and diabetes than genetically
identical mice whose mothers received no supplement.
A narrow but
intense wind may be the mechanism responsible for the existence
of a newly discovered ocean convection site east of Greenland,
says a University of Toronto scientist. In earlier research, oceanographers
discovered that deep water in the Irminger Sea (east of Greenland)
was of similar temperature and salinity to that in the Labrador