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Current Topic: Science

The Proteus Effect: Stem Cells and Their Promise
Topic: Science 10:31 am EDT, Oct  2, 2004

Stem cells could be the key that unlocks cures to scores of diseases and illnesses. Their story is at once compelling, controversial, and remarkable. Part detective story, part medical history, The Proteus Effect recounts the events leading up to the discovery of stem cells and their incredible potential for the future of medicine.

The Proteus Effect: Stem Cells and Their Promise

Terror attacks influence driving behavior in Israel
Topic: Science 10:27 am EDT, Oct  2, 2004

Terror attacks in Israel produce a temporary lull in light accidents followed by a 35% spike in fatal accidents on Israeli roads 3 days after the attack. Our results are based on time-series analysis of Israeli traffic flows, accidents, and terror attacks from January 2001 through June 2002. Whereas prior studies have focused on subjective reports of posttraumatic stress, our study shows a population-level behavioral response to violent terror attacks.

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Terror attacks influence driving behavior in Israel

Dundee Satellite Receiving Station
Topic: Science 11:52 pm EDT, Sep 16, 2004

Dundee Satellite Receiving Station, Dundee University, UK, maintains an up-to-date archive of images from NOAA, SeaStar, Terra and Aqua polar orbiting satellites. Images from geostationary satellites covering the whole earth are also available.

Dundee Satellite Receiving Station

MODIS Rapid Response System
Topic: Science 11:49 pm EDT, Sep 16, 2004

The MODIS Land Rapid Response system has been developed to provide rapid access to MODIS data globally, with initial emphasis on 250m color composite imagery and active fire data. The experience gained during the Montana fires of 2000, when the MODIS team was asked to provide active fire information to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), has led to the improvement and automation of several of the steps involved in MODIS rapid data provision.

MODIS Rapid Response System

Geostationary Satellite Server
Topic: Science 10:15 pm EDT, Sep 15, 2004

View Real-time images from GOES satellites.

GOES satellites provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis. They circle the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the equatorial plane of the Earth at a speed matching the Earth's rotation. This allows them to hover continuously over one position on the surface. The geosynchronous plane is about 35,800 km (22,300 miles) above the Earth, high enough to allow the satellites a full-disc view of the Earth. Because they stay above a fixed spot on the surface, they provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms, and hurricanes. When these conditions develop the GOES satellites are able to monitor storm development and track their movements.

GOES satellite imagery is also used to estimate rainfall during the thunderstorms and hurricanes for flash flood warnings, as well as estimates snowfall accumulations and overall extent of snow cover. Such data help meteorologists issue winter storm warnings and spring snow melt advisories. Satellite sensors also detect ice fields and map the movements of sea and lake ice.

Geostationary Satellite Server

The Meme Machine
Topic: Science 11:36 pm EDT, Aug  2, 2004

What is a meme? First coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 study The Selfish Gene, a meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation: stories, fashions, inventions, recipes, songs, and ways of plowing a field, throwing a baseball, or making a sculpture. It is also one of the most important--and controversial--concepts to emerge since Darwin's Origin of the Species.

Here, Blackmore boldly asserts: "Just as the design of our bodies can be understood only in terms of natural selection, so the design of our minds can be understood only in terms of memetic selection." Indeed, The Meme Machine shows that once our distant ancestors acquired the crucial ability to imitate, a second kind of natural selection began: a survival of the fittest among competing ideas and behaviors. Those that proved most adaptive--making tools, for example, or using language--survived and flourished, replicating themselves in as many minds as possible. These memes then passed themselves on from generation to generation by helping to ensure that the genes of those who acquired them also survived and reproduced. Applying this theory to many aspects of human life, Blackmore brilliantly explains why we live in cities, why we talk so much, why we can't stop thinking, why we behave altruistically, how we choose our mates, and much more. With controversial implications for our religious beliefs, our free will, and our very sense of "self", this provocative book will be must reading any general reader or student interested in psychology, biology, or anthropology.

The Meme Machine

The Selfish Gene
Topic: Science 11:35 pm EDT, Aug  2, 2004

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.

In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.

The Selfish Gene

Crick Dies
Topic: Science 2:19 pm EDT, Jul 29, 2004

Francis H. C. Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, the genetic blueprint for living things, and the leading molecular biologist of his age, died on Wednesday night in a hospital in San Diego. He was 88.

So central is DNA to biology that the names of Francis H. C. Crick and James D. Watson, his American colleague in the discovery, are thought likely to be remembered as long as those of Darwin and Mendel, the architects of the two pillars of modern biology -- the theory of evolution and the laws of genetics.

Crick Dies

Hawking to Trekkies: Sorry!
Topic: Science 2:05 am EDT, Jul 22, 2004

"There is no baby universe branching off (inside a black hole), as I once thought. The information remains firmly in our universe.

I'm sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes."

Hawking to Trekkies: Sorry!

2,600 Flock to See an Exhibition of 'Real Human Bodies'
Topic: Science 12:37 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2004

One usually shies away from the dead, especially when they've been lying around for a while.

The grim curiosity with which people slow for accidents or sit through horror films does not normally extend to peeking at the innards of corpses, and yet on Friday more than 2,600 visitors flocked to the North American debut of an exhibition of 25 dissected bodies and dozens of human organs in various states of health, preserved by a process that makes them look like plastic.

"It's gross," said Cheyenne Barber, 9, although she was smiling when she said it.

Her cousin Kelsey Lien, 13, was more positive. "It's kind of cool," she said, "because they're, like, dead."

2,600 Flock to See an Exhibition of 'Real Human Bodies'

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