Science & Technology
Wed, 23 Dec 2009 00:00 UTC
This discovery fills a major gap in the scientific understanding of pox diseases and lays the foundation for the development of antiviral treatments, should smallpox or related viruses re-emerge through accident, viral evolution, or terrorist action.
"These studies demonstrate the production of an interferon binding protein by variola virus and monkeypox virus, and point at this viral anti-interferon protein as a target to develop new therapeutics and protect people from smallpox and related viruses," said Antonio Alcami, Ph.D., a collaborator on the study from Madrid, Spain. "A better understanding of how variola virus, one of the most virulent viruses known to humans, evades host defenses will help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause disease in other viral infections."
American Chemical Society
Tue, 22 Dec 2009 19:56 UTC
"We have found two brown dwarf-sized masses around an ordinary star, which is very rare," said Alex Wolszczan, Evan Pugh professor of astronomy and astrophysics, Penn State and lead scientist on the project.
The star, BD +20 2457, is a K2 giant -- an old bloated star nearing the end of its life. Seeing a pair of brown dwarfs around a K-type giant is a first for astronomers and offers a unique window into how they can be produced. The researchers from the Torun Center for Astronomy, Poland and the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, Penn State report their findings in the current issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
In ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down Microsoft's appeal of a lower court's finding that Word 2007, the most current version of the product, infringes on a patent held by Toronto-based i4i Inc.
I4i originally sued Microsoft in 2007, claiming that an XML editor built into Word steps on its patent. In August, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas found in favor of i4i, prompting Microsoft's appeal. The appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Texas decision.
National Public Radio
Mon, 21 Dec 2009 00:00 UTC
Sinornithosaurus was petite as dinosaurs go - think of a turkey with teeth. It ran with a tough crowd, though; it was cousin to the oh-so-scary velociraptor of Jurassic Park fame.
Paleontologist David Burnham from the University of Kansas and a Chinese colleague were puzzled by a 125-million-year-old Sinornithosaurus fossil in a museum - specifically, by its upper teeth.
"We finally realized that we're looking at the outside of these teeth and they're grooved," Burnham recalls. "And we both looked at each other and thought,
'What? Why would an animal have grooved teeth?' "
Physicist Dr Francesca Di Lodovico said: "Trillions of neutrinos pass through our bodies every second, but you don't notice; they pass through space and the Earth with almost no effect. This makes neutrinos very difficult to study and yet they are thought to play a fundamental role in the formation of the Universe and understanding where we came from."
Neutrinos come from outer space, either shot out from the Sun, or left over from the Big Bang. But despite their abundance, techniques to understand their nature have only been developed in the last few decades, giving surprising results.
The study, which involved collaboration between researchers from the University of Oslo, the University of California, San Diego and Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, will be published online the week of December 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
In relation to body size, brain size has expanded dramatically throughout primate and human evolution. In fact, in proportion to body size, the brain of modern humans is three times larger than that of non-human primates. The cerebral cortex in particular has undergone a dramatic increase in surface area during the course of primate evolution.
The discovery sheds light on how people lived 2,000 years ago, when Christians believe Jesus was growing up there, Israel's Antiquities Authority said.
A spokeswoman said Jesus and his childhood friends likely knew the home.
It was found near the place where angel Gabriel is believed to have told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus.
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Mon, 21 Dec 2009 20:43 UTC
The research that brought to light the fossils of Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia, has topped Science's list of this year's most significant scientific breakthroughs. The monumental find predates "Lucy," - previously the most ancient partial skeleton of a hominid on record - by more than one million years, and it inches researchers ever-closer to the last common ancestor shared by humans and chimpanzees.