After the Deluge
October 3, 1998 | Volume 154 | Number 14
Cover: On July 17, one of the most deadly tsunamis of the century swept the north shore of Papua New Guinea, carrying away most all traces of habitation from this beach. The four posts leaning in the foreground are all that remain of a house destroyed by the waves. In the background, a pail hangs in a tree, showing that water reached at least 7 meters above sea level. (Photo: Costas Synolakis)
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News of the Week:
Asian DNA Enters Human Origins Fray
A new genetic analysis of blood samples from half of Chinas 58 official ethnic groups and 11 other groups indicates that East Asian populations derive from a lineage in Southeast Asia that originated in Africa.
Where theres smoke, there are sprites
Smoke from massive forest fires in Mexico this spring altered the polarity of lightning thousands of miles away over the central United States.
Killer toxins punch lies below the belt
The newly determined three-dimensional structure of the toxin that causes botulism reveals a surprising feature that may require new approaches to development of treatments for the deadly, muscle-paralyzing disease.
Exposure to smoke yields fetal mutations
Babies born to mothers who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke have more cancer-related mutations in a key gene than babies born to unexposed mothers.
Amazon forests caught in fiery feedback
A thin ribbon of flame creeping through an Amazon forest can trigger a vicious cycle, in which successive fires cause much greater damage.
Probing the heart of extragalactic jets
By identifying the composition of high-speed jets of material that stream out from quasars and other active galactic nuclei, astronomers are beginning to home in on processes just outside a massive black hole.
Another slinky candidate for galaxy seeds
Supercomputer simulations bolster a theory that writhing strands of magnetic energy called semilocal strings may have helped shape the early universe.
Brain cell death remains unsolved mystery
New data challenges the theory that abnormal clumps of mutant proteins cause the cell death characteristic of neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntingtons disease.
Dryer lint snares more than just fuzz
Analyzing laundry dryer lint appears to be an easy, nonintrusive way to screen homes for elevated lead levels.
All we need now is a nanocable guy
Researchers have made a miniature, mulitlayer wire less than 50 nanometers in diameter.
Silver flashes red, yellow, and green
Tiny grains of silver glow in different colors depending on their size.
Keeping methyl bromide under wraps
Covering soil with tarps doesnt keep methyl bromide, a common pesticide and ozone-depleting gas, from causing an environmental problem.
Chernobyl linked to autoimmune disease
Children exposed to fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident have developed autoimmune thyroid abnormalities at seven times the rate of children living upwind of the reaction.
Chaotic route to computation
A network of chaotic systems can operate as a computer to add numbers or process information.
Factoring reaches new heights
Researchers factored a 186-digit numberthe largest yet crackedusing 88 computers running 42 days and a technique called the special number field sieve.
The Priests Chromosome?
DNA analysis supports the biblical story of the Jewish priesthood
An analysis of Y chromosomes, which pass from father to son, indicates that Jewish priests, or cohanim, may stem from an ancestor who lived several thousands years ago.
Waves of Death
Why the New Guinea tsunami carries bad news for North America
The recent disaster in Papua New Guinea teaches that earthquakes need not be large to produce devastating ocean waves.
Letters: A Selection from Letters to the Editor
|copyright 1998 Science Service|