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Mon, 02 May 2016
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Science & Technology


Scientists Experiment with Vaccinations in GMO Corn

Ames, Iowa - Iowa State University researchers are putting flu vaccines into
the genetic makeup of corn, which may someday allow pigs and humans to get a
flu vaccination simply by eating corn or corn products.

"We're trying to figure out which genes from the swine influenza virus to
incorporate into corn so those genes, when expressed, would produce
protein," said Hank Harris, professor in animal science and one of the
researchers on the project. "When the pig consumes that corn, it would serve
as a vaccine."

Comment: This is yet one more reason to eat organic food. Wouldn't this just serve to increase the rate of virus mutation; especially since people will be eating the pigs who have eaten the corn, besides eating the corn itself? Read more about the controversy surrounding vaccines here, here, here, and here.


World's Largest Tornado Experiment Heads For Great Plains

Boulder, CO - The largest and most ambitious tornado study in history will begin next week, as dozens of scientists deploy radars and other ground-based instruments across the Great Plains to gain a better understanding of these often-deadly weather events.

The collaborative international project, involving scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and a number of other organizations, will examine in detail how tornadoes form and the patterns of damage they cause. The findings are expected to improve tornado warnings and short-term severe weather forecasts.


Soft Ground Puts Mars Rover Spirit In Danger

© Mars Daily
The five wheels that still rotate on NASA's Mars Exploration
Rover Spirit have been slipping severely in soft soil during recent attempts to drive, sinking the wheels about halfway into the ground.

The rover team of engineers and scientists has suspended driving Spirit temporarily while studying the ground around the rover and planning simulation tests of driving options with a test rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


Prehistoric fishing tackle found in Egypt

Cairo - An Egyptian archaeological team has found prehistoric fishing gear, sewing equipment and jewellery all made from animal bones, as well as pottery and coins, near an oasis south of Cairo, officials said on Tuesday.

Culture Minister Faruk Hosni said in a statement: "An Egyptian archaeological mission working near El-Karn island on Lake Qarun in Fayoum has found a large amount of fishing tackle, sewing equipment and jewellery made from animal bone dating back to prehistoric time."


Race to preserve the world's oldest submerged town

The oldest submerged town in the world is about to give up its secrets - with the help of equipment that could revolutionise underwater archaeology.

The ancient town of Pavlopetri lies in three to four metres of water just off the coast of southern Laconia in Greece. The ruins date from at least 2800 BC through to intact buildings, courtyards, streets, chamber tombs and some thirty-seven cist graves which are thought to belong to the Mycenaean period (c.1680-1180 BC). This Bronze Age phase of Greece provides the historical setting for much Ancient Greek literature and myth, including Homer's Age of Heroes.


NASA finds minor scratch damage to shuttle shield

Cape Canaveral, Florida - The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis apparently was hit by a piece of debris that nicked part of its heat shield but the damage appeared very minor, NASA said on Tuesday.

Atlantis and its seven-member crew blasted off from Florida on Monday on an 11-day mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

It will be the U.S. space agency's last chance to tinker with the telescope -- which has vastly expanded scientists' knowledge of the universe -- before NASA ends the shuttle program in 2010.


Enemies of creationism may be hindering science teachers

A US judge's ruling is a warning to those who want to teach real science in schools that they need to change their tactics

Adistrict court judge in southern California has ruled that a teacher who described creationism as "superstitious nonsense" was making a religious statement, which is impermissible in US public schools. On the face of it, this is completely absurd, even for southern California. Creationism is superstitious nonsense, and teachers should be able to say so. But when you look at the background, the case becomes in some respects less absurd, but also more threatening - especially for hardline rationalists such as Richard Dawkins, who would like to dismiss creationism as beneath contempt.


Physicists make smallest incandescent lamp

Los Angeles, -- U.S. scientists say they have created the world's smallest incandescent lamp to explore the boundary between thermodynamics and quantum mechanics.

The UCLA researchers said thermodynamics concerns systems with many particles while quantum mechanics works best when applied to just a few. The team is using its tiny lamp to study physicist Max Planck's black-body radiation law, which was derived in 1900 using principles now understood to be native to both theories.


Phair, woman who named Pluto, dead at 90

© UPI Photo/NASA
Astronomers declared that Pluto is no longer a planet at an International Astronomical Union meeting in Prague, Czech Republic on August 24, 2006. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005 shows Pluto, its moon Charon (below and right of center) and two newly discovered moons to the right.
Banstead, England -- Venetia Phair, who earned scientific notoriety at the age of 11 by suggesting the name Pluto for a newly discovered planet, has died in Britain, her son says.

Phair's son, Patrick, confirmed his mother, who was born Venetia Burney, died of unspecified causes April 30 at the age of 90 in the British town of Banstead, The New York Times said Monday.


Scientists create liquid lens on a chip

State College, Pa. -- U.S. scientists say they've created tunable fluidic micro lenses that can focus light at will while remaining stationary and can be fabricated on a chip.

The Pennsylvania State University research engineers said such fluidic lenses can be used for many applications, such as counting cells, evaluating molecules or creating on-chip optical tweezers. The lenses might also provide imaging in medical devices, eliminating the necessity of moving the tip of a probe, they added.