Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
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New Mexico, UNITED STATES of AMERICA
By Chris Irvine
Published: 10:51AM GMT 27 Oct 2009
More than a dozen chimps stand in silence watching from behind their wire enclosure as Dorothy, a chimp in her late 40s who died of heart failure, is wheeled past them.
The chimps are from the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon. Locals from the village work as "care-givers" for the orphaned animals whose mothers were all killed for the illegal bushmeat trade.
The photo was taken by Monica Szczupider, who was working at the centre.
Speaking about Dorothy, Miss Szczupider, 30, said the chimp was a "prominent figure" within a group of about 25 chimps.
"Chimps are not silent. They are gregarious, loud, vocal creatures, usually with relatively short attention spans", she said.
"But they could not take their eyes off Dorothy, and their silence, more than anything, spoke volumes."
The scene, which can be seen in November's issue of National Geographic, is reminiscent of the gorilla Gana, who grieved of the loss of her baby in her compound at Muenster zoo in northern Germany. Gana fiercely held on to the corpse of her three-month-old baby Claudio until zoo keepers were eventually able to retrieve his body.
Scientists have previously discounted opinions of those who claim animals feel emotions as overly anthropomorphic. But a number of have also recognised that we must be anthropomorphic when discussing animal emotions.
Dr Marc Bekoff, of the University of Colorado, previously wrote for The Telegraph: "That animals and humans share many traits including emotions is merely an extension of Charles Darwin's accepted ideas about evolutionary continuity, that the differences between species are differences in degree rather than differences in kind. The seemingly natural human urge to impart emotions on to animals, far from obscuring the "true" nature of animals, may actually reflect a very accurate way of knowing."
He has previously published observations of a magpie 'funeral' where a group of four magpies took it turns to approach the corpse of a dead bird, before two flew off to return with a piece of grass and lay it down beside the body. He also claims to have seen emotions in elephants.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
by The Associated Press
The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements. Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall.
Swine flu is more widespread now than it's ever been and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far.
Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity.
The White House said Obama signed the declaration on Friday evening.
Monday, October 19, 2009
19 October 2009 by David Shiga
DO ALIENS pollute their planets? Let's hope they do, as this would give us a promising way of spotting where they live.
Radio noise may be too short-lived to help us find aliens, if our own activity is any guide. During most of the 20th century, our television transmission antennas leaked a lot of their energy into space. More recently, they have begun to be supplanted by satellites that beam their transmissions at the ground, as well as by cable. Inquisitive aliens searching for signs of intelligent life on Earth may soon have to look elsewhere.
Light pollution from cities might still give us away. "Observed over interstellar distances, they would reveal to the observer the presence of a technology," say a team of astronomers led by Jean Schneider of the Paris Observatory at Meudon, France. In a paper to appear in Astrobiology, they suggest we should look for a similar glow on alien planets.
This wouldn't be easy. Even if all the electricity we generate was used to produce light, it would still be thousands of times fainter than the glint of sunlight reflected from Earth's surface. To reliably detect even this massive amount of artificial light on a planet orbiting a relatively nearby star - say 15 light years away - would require an array of telescopes with a combined light-collecting area of 1.5 square kilometres, Schneider's team calculates.
Our presence on Earth also leaves other traces that could be observed from afar. The chemicals known as CFCs strongly absorb infrared light at characteristic wavelengths, making them detectable in the atmosphere even when present at concentrations of only parts per trillion. CFCs do not form naturally, so detecting them on a world orbiting another star would be good evidence of alien technology.
"CFCs are a very interesting idea to look for advanced civilisations," agrees Lisa Kaltenegger of Harvard University. But an exceptionally sensitive telescope would be needed to pick them up - more sensitive even than NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder and the European Space Agency's Darwin mission, the most ambitious space telescopes now being planned. Kaltenegger says it may be feasible "in the far future with a flotilla of infrared telescopes in space".
There is, of course, no guarantee that any alien civilisations will have been spewing CFCs into their planet's atmosphere. The damage CFCs have done to Earth's ozone layer in the few decades they have been used led to a worldwide ban on their manufacture, and they are slowly disappearing from our atmosphere. "Do all intelligent civilisations make the same mistakes?" Kaltenegger wonders.
Looking for CFCs might be a way to look for other civilisations - if aliens make the same mistakes we did
Other artificial compounds, including less damaging substitutes for CFCs, also have characteristic infrared fingerprints, says Jim Kasting of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. "There's a whole host of things we make industrially as solvents, cleaners and refrigerants - they certainly have absorption lines," he says. "If you had a big enough telescope, you could detect them."
Friday, October 16, 2009
ALBANY - As the fight against mandatory flu shots for health care workers gained momentum, it was inevitable the battle would arrive in a court room.
In state Supreme Court in Albany Friday, those opposed to the shots won the first round. Judge Thomas McNamara issued a temporary restraining order against the mandate. That means, for the time being, the state Department of Health regulation is on hold.
"We are very pleased by this decision at this time," Public Employees Federation attorney William Seamon said.
PEF, along with New York State United Teachers and a group of nurses represented by attorney Terry Kindlon argued that New York's health commissioner overstepped his authority by mandating the shots.
"Only the Legislature under its public power, police power, has the authority to enact this type of requirement," Seamon said.
"Our second claim is that this 'emergency regulation' has been in the works for approximately two years and we think that clearly undermines and undercuts any argument that this was needed for an emergency basis," he added.
Nurses rallied twice at the state Capitol in opposition to the mandate. While many agree to have the shot, they vehemently disagree with being forced to have them and have their jobs on the line if they don't comply.
In a statement, the Health Department said the restraining order is only temporary and it's confident their policy will be upheld.
"The Legislature of this state has charged the commissioner of health with the responsibility of making hospitals safe places to get well. These regulations are tailored to accomplish that end," the statement said.
So between now and Oct. 30 both sides will bolster the arguments they bring into court for a formal hearing.
Until then the restraining order will remain in place.
"Absolutely, it is cast in stone," Kindlon said.
Kindlon and Seamon say they feel confident they will win at the Oct. 30 hearing.
In the meantime, hospital officials say they'll continue offering flu shot clinics for staffers who want the shots.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Ben Bernanke's dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency.
Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen -- not the greenbacks -- a nearly complete reversal of the dollar's onetime dominance for reserves, according to Barclays Capital. The dollar's share of new cash in the central banks was down to 37 percent -- compared with two-thirds a decade ago.
Currently, dollars account for about 62 percent of the currency reserve at central banks -- the lowest on record, said the International Monetary Fund.
Bernanke could go down in economic history as the man who killed the greenback on the operating table.
After printing up trillions of new dollars and new bonds to stimulate the US economy, the Federal Reserve chief is now boxed into a corner battling two separate monsters that could devour the economy -- ravenous inflation on one hand, and a perilous recession on the other.
"He's in a crisis worse than the meltdown ever was," said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. "I fear that he could be the Fed chairman who brought down the whole thing."
Investors and central banks are snubbing dollars because the greenback is kept too weak by zero interest rates and a flood of greenbacks in the global economy.
They grumble that they've loaned the US record amounts to cover its mounting debt, but are getting paid back by a currency that's worth 10 percent less in the past three months alone. In a decade, it's down nearly one-third.
Yesterday, the dollar had a mixed performance, falling slightly against the British pound to $1.5801 from $1.5846 Friday, but rising against the euro to $1.4779 from $1.4709 and against the yen to 89.85 yen from 89.78.
Economists believe the market rebellion against the dollar will spread until Bernanke starts raising interest rates from around zero to the high single digits, and pulls back the flood of currency spewed from US printing presses.
"That's a cure, but it's also going to stifle any US economic growth," said Schiff. "The economy is addicted to the cheap interest and liquidity."
Economists warn that a jump in rates will clobber stocks and cripple the already stalled housing market.
"Bernanke's other choice is to keep rates at zero, print even more money and sell more debt, but we'll see triple-digit inflation that could collapse the economy as we know it.
"The stimulus is what's toxic -- we're poisoning ourselves and the global economy with it."
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Australian scientists have found that the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans catalyses the biomineralisation of gold by transforming toxic gold compounds to their metallic form using active cellular mechanism.
According to Frank Reith, leader of the research and working at the University of Adelaide, “A number of years ago we discovered that the metal-resistant bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans occurred on gold grains from two sites in Australia.
“The sites are 3500 km apart, in southern New South Wales and northern Queensland, so when we found the same organism on grains from both sites we thought we were onto something,” he said.
“It made us wonder why these organisms live in this particular environment. The results of this study point to their involvement in the active detoxification of Au complexes leading to formation of gold biominerals,” he added.
The experiments showed that C. metallidurans rapidly accumulates toxic gold complexes from a solution prepared in the lab.
This process promotes gold toxicity, which pushes the bacterium to induce oxidative stress and metal resistance clusters as well as an as yet uncharacterized Au-specific gene cluster in order to defend its cellular integrity.
This leads to active biochemically-mediated reduction of gold complexes to nano-particulate, metallic gold, which may contribute to the growth of gold nuggets.
By determining what elements there are, scientists can see where the gold is located in relation to the cells.
For this study, scientists combined synchrotron techniques at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and molecular microbial techniques to understand the biomineralisation in bacteria.
It is the first time that these techniques have been used in the same study, so Frank Reith brought together a multinational team of experts in both areas for the success of the experiment.
This is the first direct evidence that bacteria are actively involved in the cycling of rare and precious metals, such as gold.
These results open the doors to the production of biosensors.
“The discovery of an Au-specific operon means that we can now start to develop gold-specific biosensors, which will help mineral explorers to find new gold deposits,” said Reith.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Posted by ArsMoriendi on October 6, 2009
George Orwell couldn’t have dreamed this up.
IBM said that experts from nanofabrication, microelectronics, physics and biology are working together to master a technique where a long DNA molecule passes through a three nanometer wide hole (a nanopore).
As the molecule passes through the nanopore one unit of DNA at a time, an electrical sensor can ‘read’ the DNA.
The challenge of the silicon-based ‘DNA Transistor’ would be to slow and control the motion of the DNA through the hole so the reader could decode what is inside it.
IBM claimed that if the project was successful it could make personalized genome analysis as cheap as $100 to $1,000, and compared it to the first ever sequencing done for the Human Genome Project, which cost $3 billion.
For any doubter out there, ‘Big Blue’ has released a video of its own discussing the possible implications, and some of the processes involved:
Interesting, and slightly scary, stuff!Ken Eakins of http://sittingnow.co.uk
Monday, October 5, 2009
In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009