Woolly mammoth genome comes to life

A Canadian geneticist, in collaboration with genome researchers from Penn State University and the American Museum of Natural History has made history by mapping a portion of the woolly mammoth’s genome. The discovery, which has astounded the scientific world, surpasses a study released Dec. 19 by Nature that also concerns the woolly mammoth.

Global warming to decimate ecosystems, infrastructure

Global warming may decimate the top 10 feet (3 meters) or more of perennially frozen soil across the Northern Hemisphere, altering ecosystems as well as damaging buildings and roads across Canada, Alaska, and Russia. New simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) show that over half of the area covered by this topmost layer of permafrost could thaw by 2050 and as much as 90 percent by 2100. Scientists expect the thawing to increase runoff to the Arctic Ocean and release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

NASA gets in bed with Homeland Security

NASA and the Department of Homeland Security signed a memorandum of understanding today to collaborate and coordinate on appropriate research and development projects. The agreement allows the Science and Technology division and NASA to apply joint expertise and technologies to improve national and homeland security and develop complex systems designed to protect the nation.

Does Ruling in Dover Case Signal New Anti-Evolution Strategy?

Revised due to further news reports. I’m not worried any more. Early version follows:

I’m worried about this from an article in today’s NY Times online:
“Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said. Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.”

First Flight of a Scramjet Powered by Jet Fuel

Alliant Techsystems, DARPA and the Office of Naval Research successfully ground-launched and flew a hypersonic scramjet-powered vehicle from the Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. in a pre-dawn launch on Saturday, Dec. 10. This was the first-ever free flight of a scramjet-powered vehicle using conventional liquid hydrocarbon jet fuel. The jet flew at speeds in excess of mach 5.

Ancient Chinese remedy shows potential in preventing breast cancer

A derivative of the sweet wormwood plant used since ancient times to fight malaria and shown to precisely target and kill cancer cells may someday aid in stopping breast cancer before it gets a toehold. In a new study, two University of Washington bioengineers found that the substance, artemisinin, appeared to prevent the onset of breast cancer in rats that had been given a cancer-causing agent.

File compression can expand mammography’s power

When it comes to the information in a mammogram, Purdue scientists say less is more – and their findings could bring medical care to many far-flung communities. A team of researchers has found that digitized mammograms, the X-ray cross sections of breast tissue that doctors use to search for cancer, are actually interpreted more accurately by radiologists once they have been “compressed” using techniques similar to those used to lessen the memory demand of images in digital cameras.