News of the Week:
Astronomers Aglow About Infrared Maps
A new map that portrays the infrared background radiation of the cosmos suggests that dust plays a major role in obscuring galaxies.
Guiderdoni, B., et al. 1997. The optically dark side of galaxy formation. Nature 390(Nov. 20):257.
Hauser, MG., et al. 1998. Press briefing. Meeting of the American Astronomy Society. Washington, D.C.
Stroh, M. 1992. COBE causes Big Bang in cosmology. Science News 141(May 2):292.
Additional information is available at http://astro.berkeley.edu/davis/dust/.
Science Talent Search future
The Science Talent Search will need to choose a new sponsor after Westinghouse Electric Corp., which for 57 years funded the contest for high school students, was absorbed by CBS Corp. last month.
Future farmers may collect urine, not milk
Researchers have created transgenic mice that produce a pharmaceutical product in their urine.
Kerr, D.E., et al. 1998. The bladder as a bioreactor: Urothelium production and secretion of growth hormone into urine. Nature Biotechnology 16(January):75.
Meade, H., and C. Ziomek. 1998. Urine as a substitute for milk? Nature Biotechnology 16(January):21.
Posture control depends on balancing act
Measuring the subtle movements of a person standing quietly furnishes information about that person's ability to respond to small shoves and other perturbations.
Lauk, M., et al. 1998. Human balance out of equilibrium: Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics in posture control. Physical Review Letters 80(Jan. 12):413.
Nanotubes: Metallic by a twist of fate
The electrical conductivity of carbon nanotubes--formed when an individual layer of graphite rolls into a seamless cylinder--depends on the degree of spiral in the nanotube's lattice structure.
Odom, T.W., et al. 1998. Atomic structure and electronic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Nature 391(Jan. 1):62.
Wildoer, J.W.G., L.C. Venema, A.G. Rinzler, et al. 1998. Electronic structure of atomically resolved carbon nanotubes. Nature 391(Jan. 1):59.
Chimp brains show humanlike tilt to left
A brain structure thought to be involved in human language is larger on the left side of the chimpanzee brain than on the right.
Gannon, P.J., et al. 1998. Asymmetry of chimpanzee planum temporale: Humanlike pattern of Wernicke's brain language area homolog. Science 279(Jan. 9):220.
Semendeferi, K., et al. 1997. The evolution of the frontal lobes: A volumetric analysis based on three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance scans of human and ape brains. Journal of Human Evolution 32(April):375.
Ebola virus vaccine protects guinea pigs
A vaccine for Ebola virus works in guinea pigs; researchers are starting trials in monkeys.
Folks, T. 1998. Ebola takes a punch. Nature Medicine 4(January):16.
Pushko, P. . . . J.F. Smith. 1997. Replicon-helper systems from attenuated Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus: Expression of heterologous genes in vitro and immunization against heterologous pathogens in vivo. Virology 239(Dec.22).
Xu, L., A. Sanchez, et al. 1998. Immunization for Ebola virus infection. Nature Medicine 4(January)37.
Gilligan, K.J., et al. 1997. Assessment of protective immunity conferred by recombinant vaccinia viruses to guinea pigs challenged with Ebola virus. In Vaccines 97. Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Hevey, M., et al. 1997. Antigenicity and vaccine potential of Marburg virus glucoprotein expressed by baculovirus recombinants. Virology 239:206.
Pushko, P. . . . J.F. Smith, and A. Sanchez. 1997. Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon vector: Immunogenicity studies with Ebola NP and GP genes in guinea pigs. In Vaccines 97. Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Sternberg, S. 1996. Deadly Ebola virus seen to thrive in bats. Science News 150(Nov. 9):294.
A meaty answer to a nosy question
Researchers have found the cell surface protein that allows the mammalian nose to smell octanal, a molecule responsible for creating a meat odor.
Zhao, H. . . . S. Firestein. 1998. Functional expression of a mammalian odorant receptor. Science 279(Jan. 9):237.
Wu, C. 1997. Bacterial factories for smell receptors. Science News 151(Jan. 18):40.
Sulfur speeds oil formation in lab
The presence of reactive sulfur compounds could help explain oil deposits that show up in unexpected places.
Lewan, M.D. 1998. Sulphur-radical control on petroleum formation rates. Nature 391(Jan. 8):164.
1995. Good news on U.S. oil and gas reserves. Science News 147(March 18):171.
Lipkin, R. 1994. Using bacteria to get sulfur out of oil. Science News 146(Aug. 27):134.
Pennisi, E. 1993. Water, water everywhere. Science News 143(Feb. 20):121.
Seewald, J.S. 1998. Sulphur greases the wheels. Nature 391(Jan. 8):128.
Take bison risk seriously
Though the chance is small that bison and elk from Yellowstone National Park will spread brucellosis to cattle, the potential threat is worth worrying about, says the National Research Council.
Cheville, N.F., and D.R. McCullough. In press. Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone area. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Available at http://www2.nas.edu/besthome/bisonelk.htm.
The trouble with tenage tadpoles
Tadpoles go temporarily deaf just before they metamorphose into frogs.
Boatright-Horowitz, S.S., and A.M. Simmons. 1997. Transient "deafness" accompanies auditory development during metamorphosis from tadpole to frog. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 94(December):14877.
On the trail of ants' fancy footwork
Ants appear to use hairs on their feet to track a scented trail.
Cohen, N.E., et al. 1997. Newly-discovered tarsal chemosenilla in ants. Annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. Nashville. Abstract available at http://www.sheridan.com/entsoc/abs/pbtmb/E3136.html.
Obese birds make good athletes
Some of the fattest birds to lumber into the sky may achieve their long-distance triumphs by reducing the size of several internal organs.
Piersma, T., and R.E. Gill Jr. 1998. Guts don't fly: Small digestive organs in obese bar-tailed godwits. The Auk 115(January):196.
What if fighting fish cheated?
In the showy battles of Siamese fighting fish, bluffers tend to lose.
Halperin, J.R.P., et al. 1998. Consequences of hyper-aggressiveness in Siamese fighting fish: Cheaters seldom prospered. Animal Behaviour 55(January):87.
Zahavi, A., and A. Zahavi. 1997. The handicap principle: A missing piece of Darwin's puzzle. Oxford University Press.
Flying toward all-electric airplanes
Replacement of the hydraulic system with an electrically controlled counterpart featuring a new type of actuator could help reduce an airplane's weight.
1997. Milestone achieved for all-electric airplane technology. NASA press release(Nov. 20).
Additional information is available at http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Projects/current.html.
Neurons switch when stuck on a chip
A nerve cell attached to a silicon transistor can generate a puzzling dichotomy of signals.
Jenkner, M., and P. Fromherz. 1997. Bistability of membrane conductance in cell adhesion observed in a neuron transistor. Physical Review Letters 79(Dec. 8):4705.
Miller, J.A. 1986. Chips on the old block. Science News 129(June 28):409.
Pennisi, E. 1991. New analog chip acts just like a nerve cell. Science News 140(Dec. 21&28):407.
Inland waters yield a trove of artifacts, history, and mystery
Researchers are beginning to use technology developed for exploring the ocean depths to unlock the secrets of ships and archaeological sites that lie beneath lakes and rivers.
Smith, C.W. 1997. Silicone oil in organic conservation. Conservation Research Laboratory Research Report No. 1. Available at http://nautarch.tamu.edu/crl/silicone.htm.
______. 1997. Conservation of waterlogged leather using polymers. Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory Report No. 1. Available at http://nautarch.tamu.edu/APRL/reports/report1.htm.
Lenihan, D.J. 1996. Underwater archaeology in unexpected places. Common Ground 1(Fall-Winter):43.
EMF's Biological Influences
Electromagnetic fields exert effects on and through hormones
Magnetic fields may be the quintessential endocrine-disrupting pollutants.
1995. Questions and Answers about Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and U.S. Department of Energy.
Afzal, S.M.J., and R.P. Liburdy. 1996. Inhibition of melatonin's action of MCF-7 cell proliferation by magnetic fields associated with video display terminals: A preliminary study. Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society. Victoria, British Columbia.
Cook, M.R., C. Graham, and R. Kavet. 1997. Melatonin and its urinary metabolite: Comparison across age and gender. Second World Congress for Electricity and Magnetism in Biology and Medicine. Bologna, Italy.
Cook, M.R., et al. 1996. Gender differences in heart rate variability in 60-Hz magnetic fields. 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Vancouver, British Columbia.
Harland, J.D., and R.P. Liburdy. 1997. Environmental magnetic fields inhibit the antiproliferative action of tamoxifen and melatonin in a human breast cancer cell line. Bioelectromagnetics 18:555.
Stevens, R.G., B.W. Wilson, and L.E. Anderson. 1997. The Melatonin Hypothesis: Breast cancer and the use of electric power. Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Press.
Stevens, R.G. 1987. Electric power use and breast cancer: A hypothesis. American Journal of Epidemiology 125:556.
1997. Breast cancer activists plan to stir EMF doldrums. EMF Health & Safety Digest 15(November-December):20.
Cook, M.R., et al. 1992. A replication study of human exposure to 60-Hz fields: Effects on neurobehavioral measures. Bioelectromagnetics 13:261.
Ezzell, C. 1991. Power-line angst. Science News 140(Sept. 28):202.
Fackelmann, K.A. 1994. Do EMFs pose breast cancer risk? Science News 145(June 18):388.
Raloff, J. 1997. Magnetic fields can diminish drug action. Science News 152(Nov. 29):342.
_____. 1997. Radical prostates. Science News 151(Feb. 22):126.
_____. 1995. Drug of darkness. Science News 147(May 13):300.
______. 1994. That feminine touch. Science News 145(Jan. 22):51.
_____. 1993. EMFs run aground. Science News 144(Aug. 21):124.
______. 1993. EcoCancers. Science News 144(July 3):10.
______. 1990. EPA suspects ELF fields can cause cancer. Science News 137(June 30):404.
_____. 1979. Electric-power lines linked with cancer. Science News 115(April 21):263.
Sage, C. 1994. Policy and science: A plaintiff's view. Land Use & Environment Forum 3(Fall):234.
Sage, C., and J. McGibbon. 1991. Reduction of magnetic field levels through prudent avoidance strategies involving electrical switching and wiring in the home. Annual meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society. Salt Lake City.
Washburn, E.P., et al. 1994. Residential proximity to electric transmission and distribution equipment and risk of childhood leukemia, childhood lymphoma, and childhood nervous system tumors: Systematic review, evaluation, and meta-analysis. Cancer Causes and Control 5:299.
Table of Contents - 1/10/98