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News of the Week:Ancient Skull Fills Big Fossil Gap
The discovery of a 1-million-year-old skull belonging to the same evolutionary lineage as modern humans ranks as a highly significant addition to the hominid fossil record.
Abbate, E., et al. 1998. A one-million-year-old Homo cranium from the Danakil (Afar) Depression of Eritrea. Nature 393(June 4):458.
Bower, B. 1997. Spanish fossils enter human ancestry fray. Science News 151(May 31):333.
Small comet theory melts under scrutiny
Scientists attack the idea that thousands of large snowballs pelt Earth every day.
Conway, R.R. 1998. MAHRSI observations of mesospheric OH: Implications for the distribution of H2O. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston.
Frank, L.A., and J.B. Sigwarth. 1998. Seasonal variations of small comet impacts into Earths atmosphere. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston.
Hannegan, B.J., et al. 1998. The dry stratosphere: A limit on cometary influx. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston
Harris, A.W, and J.V. Scotti. 1998. On the optical detectability of mini-comets. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston.
Knowles, S.H., R.R. Meier, and F.J. Giovane. 1998. A search for water vapor comets with the naval space command radar fence. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston.
Paxton, L.J. 1998. Instrument design issues that effect far ultraviolet observations of the Earth. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston.
Russell, J.M. III, et al. 1998. HALOE high altitude water vapor validity and limitations. Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. May. Boston.
Louis A. Frank's additional information on small comets can be found at: http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/.
Monastersky, R. 1997. Is Earth pelted by space snowballs? Science News 151(May 31):332.
Hubble takes first image of possible planet
A dim white dot on a Hubble Space Telescope image may be the runaway planetary offspring of a pair of youthful stars.
1998. Hubble takes first image of a possible planet around another star and finds a runaway world. NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope News Press Release. May 28.
Boss, A.P. 1998. Astrometric signatures of giant-planet formation. Nature 393(May 14):141.
Atomic faces peek through lead shroud
A scanning tunneling microscope detects steps and crystal patterns in silicon hidden beneath a lead film.
Altfeder, I.B., D.M. Chen, and K.A. Matveev. 1998. Imaging buried interfacial lattices with quantized electrons. Physical Review Letters 80(June 1):4895.
Christensen, D. 1994. Seeing quantum leaps at room temperature. Science News 145(May 21):327.
Lipkin, R. 1993. Ripples in space: Electrons make waves. Science News 144(Oct. 9):228.
Picturing pesticides impacts on kids
Heavy exposure to pesticides subtly hinders preschoolers hand-eye coordination and dramatically diminishes their ability to draw people.
Guillette, E.A., et al. 1998. An anthropological approach to the evaluation of preschool children exposed to pesticides in Mexico. Environmental Health Perspectives 106(June):347.
Raloff, J. 1998. Bug sprays seem to really like toys. Science News 153(Feb. 21):127.
______. 1996. Bug sprays may bug you, toofor a day. Science News 150(Aug. 3):69.
Red-flashing fish have chlorophyll eyes
A fish that uses a form of chlorophyll to see provides the first documented case of that compound's physiological role in an animal.
Douglas, R.H., J.C. Partridge, et al. 1998. Dragon fish see using chlorophyll. Nature 393(June 4):423.
Survey finds wide resistance to TB drugs
Drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis are prevalent in 35 countries studied by the World Health Organization.
Pablos-Méndez, A., et al. 1998. Global surveillance for antituberculosis-drug resistance, 1994-1997. New England Journal of Medicine 338(June 4):1641.
Canetti, G. 1965. Present aspects of bacterial resistance in tuberculosis. American Review of Respiratory Diseases 92:687.
Global Tuberculosis Programme. Global tuberculosis control. WHO report 1998. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1998. (WHO/TB/93.237.)
Raviglione, M.C., D.E. Snider Jr., and A. Kochi. 1995. Global epidemiology of tuberculosis: Morbidity and mortality of a worldwide epidemic. Journal of the American Medical Association 273:220.
Snider Jr, D.E., and K.G. Castro. 1998. The global threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis. New England Journal of Medicine 338(June 4):1689
New spermicides stop cells gently
A vanadium compound inactivates sperm by shutting down the molecular motors that turn their whiplike tails.
DCruz, O.J., P. Ghosh, and F.M. Uckun. 1998. Spermicidal activity of metallocene complexes containing vanadium (IV) in humans. Biology of Reproduction 58(June):1515.
Adler, T. 1994. Family planning gets a shot in the arm. Science News 146(Sept. 3):151.
Glazer, S. 1994. Birth control choices. CQ Researcher 4(July 29):649.
Vergano, D. 1996. The trouble with condoms. Science News 150(Sept. 14):165.
BiologyPlasmas put the hurt on microbes
Gases of electrically charged particles can sterilize surfaces and foods by destroying bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Kelly-Wintenberg, K., et al. 1998. Broad spectrum killing of microorganisms with a one atmosphere uniform glow discharge plasma. Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. May. Atlanta.
Kelly-Wintenberg, K., et al. 1998. Room temperature sterilization of surfaces and fabrics with a one atmosphere uniform glow discharge plasma. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 20:69.
Foxy fungi tarnish old books
Fungi belonging to the genus Aspergillus are responsible for rust-colored splotches on the pages of books from the 19th century and earlier.
Sullivan, R.F., et al. 1998. Fossil DNA? Foxing DNA: Molecular phylogeny of fungi responsible for foxing. Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. May. Atlanta.
Sheep bacteria widen diet of cattle
Inoculating cattle with bacteria that help sheep detoxify alkaloid compounds may allow cows to eat feed containing tansy ragwort and other poisonous plants.
Johnston, W.H. 1998. Use of a ruminal anaerobic mixed culture to protect cattle from pyrrolizidine alkaloid.
Bacterial gene makes the sun fun again
A gene that repairs DNA damage helps bacteria survive on sunlit plant leaves.
Sundin, G.W. 1998. Functional analysis of the Pseudomonas syringae ru1AB determinant in tolerance to ultraviolet B radiation and distribution of ru1AB among P. syringae pathovars. Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. May. Atlanta.
Ahh, the sweet smell of bacteria
Seeding livestock waste lagoons with bacteria that degrade odorants makes the lagoons less smelly.
Do, Y.S., et al. 1998. Odor remediation in anaerobic livestock waste lagoons using phototrophic bacteria. Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. May. Atlanta.
The scientific flap over sunscreens and skin cancer
Epidemiologists are concerned because the rise in sunscreen use has occurred in tandem with an increase in skin cancer.
Scientists are taking a fresh look at how sunscreens block ultraviolet light.
Berwick, Marianne. 1998. Sunscreens and skin cancer: The epidemiologic evidence. Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. February. Philadelphia.
Gallagher, R.P. 1997. Sunscreen may decrease melanoma risk after all. Worldwide Melanoma Update 1:3.
Holly, E.A. . . . R.C. Cress, et al. Cutaneous melanoma in women. American Journal of Epidemiology 141(May 15):923.
1996. Examining skin reduces melanoma deaths. Science News 149(Jan. 20):47.
Cress, R.D., and E.A. Holly. 1997. Reduced risk of cutaneous melanoma among women who use sunscreen. The Melanoma Letter 15:1.
Fackelmann, K.A. 1997. Moles heighten skin cancer risk. Science News 151(June 7):359.
Agin, P., F.A. Anthony, and S. Hermansky. 1998. Oxybenzone in sunscreen products. Lancet 351(Feb. 14):525.
Allen, J.A., C.J. Gossett, and S.K. Allen. 1996. Photochemical formation of singlet molecular oxygen in illuminated aqueous solutions of several commercially available sunscreen active ingredients. Chemistry Research in Toxicology 9(April/May):605.
Hanson, K.M., B. Li, and J.D. Simon. 1997. A spectroscopic study of the epidermal ultraviolet chromosphore trans-urocanic acid. Journal of the American Chemical Society 119(March 19):2715.
Hayden, C.G.J., M.S. Roberts, and H.A.E. Benson. 1997. Systemic absorption of sunscreen after topical application. Lancet 350(Sept. 20):863.
Knowland, J. . . . P.J. McHugh, et al. 1993. Sunlight-induced mutagenicity of a common sunscreen ingredient. FEBS Letters 324:309.
McHugh, P.J., and J. Knowland. 1997. Characterisation of DNA damage inflicted by free radicals from a mutagenic sunscreen ingredient and its location using an in vitro genetic reversion assay. Photochemical Photobiology 66:276.
1996. Here comes the sun . . . and wrinkles. Science News 149(Feb. 10):93.
1994. Into every life some UV must fall. Science News 146(July 23):61.
Adler, T. 1994. Sunscreen cant give blanket protection. Science News 145(Jan. 22):54.
Wu, C. 1997. How UV light causes cancer and wrinkles. Science News 151(April 26):258.
A shockingly unconventional meat tenderizer
A small company has been working with the federal government to determine why explosions work so well at reducing the toughness of meat.
Adler, T. 1995. Tapping government know-how. Science News 148(July 29):72.
Raloff, J. 1978. A shocking approach to tender beef. Science News 114(Dec. 9):409.
Table of Contents - 6/6/98
copyright 1998 Science Service