Sat, 11/12/2010 - 06:51 by Prince damin
London -- British scientists say they plan to collect wild plant relatives of essential food crops including wheat, rice and potatoes to preserve their genetic traits.
The project, coordinated by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, aims to safeguard valuable genetic traits in wild plants that could be bred into crops to make them more hardy and versatile, the BBC reported Friday.
The plant material collected will be stored in seed banks in the long term, but will also be used in "pre-breeding trials" to find out if the wild varieties could be used to combat diseases already threatening food production.
"There is a real sense of urgency about this," said Paul Smith, head of the Millennium Seed Bank at London's Kew Gardens.
Sat, 11/12/2010 - 06:42 by harsheeb
Cambridge -- Although our brains reach full maturity in our early 20s, face recognition doesn't fully reach its peak until age 30 to 34, U.S. researchers say.
Most researchers think word skills, memory and other mental functions crest in the early 20s, but in a surprising study, scientists found face learning -- the ability to remember new, unfamiliar faces -- takes about a decade longer to fully develop, ScienceNews.org reported Friday.
"Specialized face-processing in the brain may require an extended period of visual tuning during early adulthood to help individuals learn and recognize lots of different faces," psychology graduate student Laura Germine of Harvard University says.
Sat, 11/12/2010 - 06:34 by Prince damin
Moscow -- Russia's loss of three satellites during launch this week was caused by an off-course booster rocket that had been given too much fuel, officials said.
The estimated 1-1/2 to 2 tons of excessive fuel caused the rocket to deviate from its course and the satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean, RIA Novosti reported Friday.
"According to preliminary information, the problem was not with the fuel service unit at the launching site, but with one of the sensors showing the fuel level," Gennady Raikunov, head of the investigation commission, said.
"We do not rule out the factor of human error," he said.
Raikunov said the Russian space rocket corporation Energia may be linked to the incident.
Sat, 11/12/2010 - 06:18 by Prince damin
Pittsburgh -- Thinking in great detail about eating the foods that make you fat could make you want them less, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh asked volunteers to spend a minute and a half imagining methodically chewing and swallowing 30 M&M candies, one after another.
When then presented with a bowl of M&Ms, those volunteers ate about half as many candies as volunteers who imagined eating only three M&Ms, or none at all, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Just thinking about a food can help sate hunger through a process called habituation, the researchers said.
Fri, 10/12/2010 - 11:36 by Rakhi
London -- A United Kingdom expedition to the Antarctic has claimed the record for the fastest land crossing of the ice-covered continent, officials said.
The 10-member team of the Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition completed the crossing in less than 13 days, smashing previous records, the BBC reported Thursday.
The team set off from the Union Glacier airstrip Nov. 25 and arrived Thursday on the Ross Ice Shelf, 1,209 miles away.
The team, composed of explorers, mechanics and scientists, traveled in convoy led by a propeller-driven scout vehicle. Two large trucks followed, carrying most of the crew and equipment.
The expedition used ice-penetrating radar to avoid crevasses.
Fri, 10/12/2010 - 10:57 by Rakhi
Boulder, Colo. -- Gigantic collisions 4.5 billion years ago injected precious elements such as gold and platinum into on Earth, the moon and Mars, a study suggests.
In the final period of planet formation, a body possibly as big as Pluto probably collided with the Earth after the planet had been hit by an even large object, scientists at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., said.
Mars and the moon absorbed smaller but still devastating blows, they said.
Fri, 10/12/2010 - 07:05 by Prince damin
Ithaca, N.Y. -- NASA says its new airborne astronomical observatory has flown its first complete science mission following five months of test flights.
A 17-ton telescope mounted in the fuselage of a modified 747 jumbo jet, the SOFIA observatory, for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, will embark on a 20-year investigation of the infrared spectrum of the universe, an area not yet explored by satellite- or ground-based observatories.
An Ithaca College associate professor of physics on board for last week's science mission says he looks forward to the cosmic insights SOFIA will provide, a university release said.
Fri, 10/12/2010 - 07:00 by Prince damin
Lubbock, Texas -- U.S. researchers say they've found evidence of exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides in Pacific Ocean-dwelling sperm whales.
Researchers from Texas Tech University tested tissues from whales from all five Pacific regions for DDT, the fungicide hexachlorobenzene, and 30 types of polychlorinated biphenyls, known to cause endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity, a university release said Wednesday.
"Our findings provide a unique baseline for global assessment of pollution exposures and sensitivity in the sperm whale, a globally distributed and threatened species," Celine Godard-Codding, an assistant professor at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech, said.
Thu, 09/12/2010 - 11:24 by Prince damin
Washington -- Potentially harmful arsenic levels have been found in private water wells in towns across Maine, a U.S. Geological Survey report says.
Arsenic levels in some private wells exceeded the federal safety standard for public drinking water by 10 to100 times or more, even in areas where elevated arsenic risks were previously suspected, findings released Wednesday by the USGS said.
"We found large differences in concentrations from well to well, even at the town level, so residents need to test their wells to know their arsenic level," USGS scientist Martha Nielsen, who led the study in cooperation with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said.
Thu, 09/12/2010 - 11:22 by Prince damin
Chicago -- A once fertile landmass now submerged under the Persian Gulf may have been home to some of the earliest human populations outside Africa, a U.K. scientist says.
The area in and around this "Persian Gulf Oasis" may have been host to humans for more than 100,000 years before it was swallowed up by the Indian Ocean about 8,000 years ago, archaeologist Jeffrey Rose with the University of Birmingham in England says.
Thu, 09/12/2010 - 11:14 by Prince damin
Pasadena, Calif. -- U.S. astronomers say a huge, searing-hot planet orbiting another star, and loaded with an unusual amount of carbon, is the first such world observed from Earth.
The discovery was made using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in tandem with ground-based observations, a release Wednesday from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said.
"This planet reveals the astounding diversity of worlds out there," Nikku Madhusudhan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says. "Carbon-rich planets would be exotic in every way -- formation, interiors and atmospheres."
The distant planet, dubbed WASP-12b, might harbor graphite, diamond, or even a more exotic form of carbon in its interior, beneath its gaseous atmosphere, researchers say.
Thu, 09/12/2010 - 11:11 by Prince damin
Cancun, Mexico -- A world meeting at the Cancun, Mexico, climate summit searching for ways to mitigate climate-changing gas emissions should consider bamboo, advocates say.
Bamboo grows quickly, needs little water, absorbs carbon dioxide, protects estuaries and can withstand storms, Coosje Hoogendoorn, head of the Beijing-based International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, told the Tierramerica news service.
There are more than 1,000 species of bamboo in the world, including 36 species in Mexico, but they have gone unstudied and underutilized, Inter Press Service reported.
People scorn the plant and consider it a pest, particularly in areas where coffee, banana, tobacco and cocoa are grown, or where there is extensive cattle production, INBAR experts say.