Science & Technology


Two Proteins, Called BERT And ERNI, Control Brain Development

Scientists at University College London have discovered how two proteins ­called BERT and ERNI interact in embryos to control when different organ systems in the body start to form, deepening our understanding of the development of the brain and nervous system and expanding our knowledge of stem cell behavior.

Vast Cloud Of Antimatter Traced To Binary Stars

Four years of observations from the European Space Agency's Integral (INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory) satellite may have cleared up one of the most vexing mysteries in our Milky Way: the origin of a giant cloud of antimatter surrounding the galactic center.

Planets form twice for old stars

Two old stars may be undergoing a second episode of planet formation, long after their initial window of opportunity.

Data Centers on Cargo Ships?

A Bay Area startup is planning to build data centers on cargo container ships, according to Kenneth Jamaca at Silverback Migration Solutions. Jamaca said the company, known as IDS (International Data Security), is planning to build up to 50 data centers on de-commissioned cargo ships, including 22 in North America.

Comment: This is rather interesting, especially in light of the recent UFO sighting in UK where a strange object was photographed hovering over two cargo ships.


Astronomers Rule Out Possibility of Asteroid Impact on Mars

This artist rendering uses an arrow to show the predicted path of the asteroid on Jan. 30, 2008, and the orange swath indicates the area it is expected to pass through. Mars may or may not be in its path.
Evil Rays

Colossal Black Hole Shatters the Scales

©HO/AFP/Getty Images

Electric Comet Theory: The Enduring - Yet Downplayed - Mysteries of Comets

"Mysteries are due to secrecy."
-Francis Bacon

On December 24, 2007, the website published a report entitled, "The Enduring Mysteries of Comets." The premise is intriguing, since it is rare for science media to acknowledge that "mysteries" of any real significance exist for conventional theories. Unfortunately, the report mentions few of the recent discoveries that have thrown the popular "dirty snowball" model of comets into disarray.

"We have now had four close encounters with comets, and every one of them has thrown astronomers onto their back foot." -Stuart Clark, New Scientist, September 09, 2005.

US physics suffers budget setbacks

The US has slashed funding for the International Linear Collider (ILC) by 75 % as the budget for 2008 has been finally agreed between the Republican Bush Administration and Democratic Congress. The new budget legislation, which US president George W Bush is expected to sign by 31 December, will see up to 200 scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) lose their jobs. Funding for the international ITER fusion experiment, which is about to be built in France, has also been cut.

Old Comets for a New Year

As we kick off the year 2008, Comet Tuttle is putting on a nice show for backyard skywatchers. It had not been seen since 1994, but you'll have an excellent opportunity to pick it up with binoculars or small telescopes during the next two weeks.

Tuttle can even be glimpsed by sharp-eyed observers under pristine skies without any optical aids, for it is one of the brightest of the short-period comets, those that orbit the sun often enough to be seen again and again from Earth and identified as such.

New route for heredity bypasses DNA

A group of scientists in Princeton's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology has uncovered a new biological mechanism that could provide a clearer window into a cell's inner workings.

What's more, this mechanism could represent an "epigenetic" pathway -- a route that bypasses an organism's normal DNA genetic program -- for so-called Lamarckian evolution, enabling an organism to pass on to its offspring characteristics acquired during its lifetime to improve their chances for survival. Lamarckian evolution is the notion, for example, that the giraffe's long neck evolved by its continually stretching higher and higher in order to munch on the more plentiful top tree leaves and gain a better shot at surviving.