Science & Technology


Iran: Archeologists excavate Sialk Mound

A team of Iranian and European archeologists has started their first phase of Sialk Mound excavations in the central city of Kashan.

Sialk Mound
Sialk Mound, Kashan, Iran
Evil Rays

Europe clears mobiles on aircraft

Mobile phone calls will be allowed on planes flying in European airspace under new European Commission rules. The decision means that mobiles could be used once a plane has reached an altitude of 3,000m or more.
Better Earth

Solar System's 'look-alike' found

Astronomers have discovered a planetary system orbiting a distant star which looks much like our own.

They found two planets that were close matches for Jupiter and Saturn orbiting a star about half the size of our Sun.

Martin Dominik, from St Andrews University in the UK, said the finding suggested systems like our own could be much more common than we thought.

Adultress, trollop and liar: meet the real Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was an "adultress and liar" who plotted to kill her husband in order to marry her lover, a study by modern gynaecologists has suggested.

An intriguing new medical analysis claims that Mary, the cousin of Elizabeth I, concocted a story of kidnap and alleged rape to justify her marriage to her third husband - potentially shedding light on a 400-year-old royal murder mystery.

Far from being the saintly and wronged Roman Catholic monarch portrayed in portraits and films, Mary was actually a "moral loose cannon", whose striking beauty and sex appeal gave Elizabeth other reasons to imprison and execute her, the researchers suggest.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was a captivating beauty and seen as a threat by Elizabeth 1. Mary was executed for treason after a 19 year stay in the Tower

Out of the Blue - Group Searches for Evidence of Recurring Cometary Impacts

Magnified 25,000 times under Drexel University's scanning electron microscope, a couple of flecks of dirt offer up a landscape full of crags, valleys, ridges - and, to Dee Breger's eyes, a window back in time.

©Dee Breger
Colorized scanning electron micrograph shows a tiny spherule that is believed to have formed from a vaporized or melted fragment when a piece of a comet slammed into the Indian Ocean an estimated 4,800 years ago. Marine geophysicist Dallas Abbott hypothesizes that such an impact was the source of deluge legends like Noah's ark and Gilgamesh.
Better Earth

Matrix-style virtual worlds 'a few years away'

Are supercomputers on the verge of creating Matrix-style simulated realities? Michael McGuigan at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, thinks so. He says that virtual worlds realistic enough to be mistaken for the real thing are just a few years away.

Could a Wolf-Rayet Star Generate a Gamma Ray Burst?

Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are the most energetic events to be seen in the observable universe.

Wolf-Rayet star

Nuclear scientists eye future landfall on a second 'island of stability'

Modern-day scientific Magellans and Columbus's, exploring the uncharted seas at the fringes of the Periodic Table of the Elements, have landed on one long-sought island - the fabled Island of Stability, home of a new genre of superheavy chemical elements sought for more than three decades.

DNA Building Block Creation Seen In Living Cells: Could Be Key To New Cancer Treatments

Penn State scientists are the first to observe in living cells a key step in the creation of adenine and guanine, two of the four building blocks that comprise DNA. Also called purines, the two building blocks are essential for cell replication. The findings, which will be published in the 4 April 2008 issue of the journal Science, could lead to new cancer treatments that prevent cancer cells from replicating by interfering with their abilities to make purines.

DNA Building block
©Erin Sheets, Penn State
These cells, which were grown in the absence of purines, contain enzymes that are labeled with fluorescent proteins. The bright areas represent enzyme clusters.

Astronomers View Distant Galaxies Evolving One Billion Years After The Big Bang

UK astronomers have produced the most sensitive infrared map of the distant Universe ever undertaken. Combining data over a period of three years, they have produced an image containing over 100,000 galaxies over an area four times the size of the full Moon. Some of the first results from this project will be presented by Dr. Sebastien Foucaud from the University of Nottingham on 4th April at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast.

©UDS, University of Nottingham
Zooming into a small fraction of the UKIDSS UDS field, the deepest infrared image ever obtained over such a large area. The zoom shows a relatively nearby spiral galaxy. Many of the faint red objects in the background are massive galaxies at distances of over 10 billion light years