Thursday, June 7, 2007

March 24, 2007 Science News

[Earth Science]
Young and Restless: Ancient Earth shows moving crust
The oldest rocks in the world show that Earth's shifting crust began its tectonic movements almost 4 billion years ago.

Closer to Vanishing: Bending light as a step toward invisibility cloaks
Invisibility cloaks may be a long shot, but new optical tricks could help in the design of future computers.

Ticket to Ride? Astrophysicists mull a return to the moon
Astronomers are investigating how they might jump on NASA's lunar bandwagon, using the moon or its environs to study distant stars and galaxies.

Computing Photographic Forgeries
Scientists are using mathematical tools to sniff out faked photographs.

Planting the Seeds for Folate Enrichment
Florida scientists have engineered tomatoes with 20 times the ordinary amount of folate, making them the most concentrated source of this important vitamin ever measured.

From the March 20, 1937, issue
The real Groundhog Day, microfilm book storage, and turning farm waste into chemical products.

Waistline Worry: Common chemicals might boost obesity
A family of chemicals implicated in testosterone declines may also be contributing to recent spikes in obesity and diabetes.

Risky Flames: Firefighter coronaries spike during blazes
A disproportionate number of heart disease deaths among firefighters occur during blazes.

Balancing Act: Excess steroids during pregnancy may pose risks for offspring
Heavy amounts of steroids taken during pregnancy can have long-term deleterious effects on offspring, a study of monkeys shows.

[Planetary Science]
Solar-staring spacecraft shows its flare
A new image of the sun's chromosphere, a layer sandwiched between the sun's visible surface and its outer atmosphere, shows a surprisingly complex structure of filaments of roiling gas that promises to shed new light on why the sun erupts.

Not So Wimpy: Antimalarial mosquito has an edge in tests
For the first time, mosquitoes engineered to resist malaria have shed their underbug image and outperformed regular mosquitoes in a lab test.

Feeling Right from Wrong: Brain's social emotions steer moral judgments
A new study of people who suffered damage to a brain area involved in social sentiments supports the notion that emotional, intuitive reactions typically guide decisions about moral dilemmas.

Mysterious Migrations: Our prehistoric ancestors journeyed out of Africa on contested roads
New studies report that modern humans from Africa launched cultural advances in Europe at least 36,000 years ago and reached what's now western Russia more than 40,000 years ago, although those conclusions generate much scientific controversy.

[Planetary Science]
Radar reveals signs of seas on Titan
The northernmost reaches of Saturn's moon Titan appear to be covered with hydrocarbon lakes or seas that are at least 10 times as large as those predicted by earlier studies.

Mental fallout among recent-war veterans
Almost one in three veterans of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq receiving medical care at Veterans Affairs facilities displays mental disorders or less-severe problems that still require mental-health treatment.

Novel DNA changes linked to autism
Genetic alterations that occur in children without being inherited from the parents contribute to certain cases of autism and related developmental disorders.

Preemies respond to immunizations
Babies born prematurely rev up an immune response to two routine childhood vaccines as well as babies who are born full-term.

Catching evolution in the act
Paleontologists have unearthed fossils that provide direct evidence of something scientists had long suspected: The tiny bones in the middle ears of modern-day mammals evolved from bones located at the rear of their reptilian ancestors' jaws.

Hepatitis B found in wrestlers' sweat
Traces of hepatitis B have turned up in the perspiration of wrestlers, suggesting that the virus could spread to their opponents and teammates.

[Earth Science]
World's climate map gets an update
A century-old system of categorizing the world's climates has been updated to include modern weather data, thereby providing researchers with a tool to better verify results of their computer simulations.

Gene predicts sleepy performance
Variants in a circadian-rhythm gene predict how well people perform mental tasks when sleep deprived.

[Science & Society]
Letters from the March 24, 2007, issue of Science News

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