Morphine-like painkiller appears to be less addictive

Move over, morphine: Researchers at the University of Arizona and the University of New England have developed a new narcotic based on a natural painkiller found in the body that appears in animal studies to be more potent but less addictive. Although researchers have developed many narcotic-type painkillers that rival morphine in strength, few have had the ability to avoid its potential side effects, until now. These side effects include severe constipation, reduced blood pressure and breathing, and addiction.

Researcher Uses Forensic Seismology to ‘Fingerprint’ Mystery Explosions

If you think seismology concerns only earthquakes and plate tectonics, think again.
Terry Wallace represents a different breed of seismologist, that of forensic seismologist. By using seismic stations as “little ears to the ground,” Wallace continues to push the forefront of forensic seismology by studying the sinking of submarines, industrial explosions, nuclear weapons testing, landslides, and other unidentified phenomena that leave their mark by shaking the ground. Wallace, a geosciences professor at the University of Arizona, says that seismographic records can provide the tools necessary to reconstruct a sequence of events on land or in the ocean. “Seismological tools and theory can be used as constraints to tell when an accident occurs or something that’s not accidental, like a nuclear explosion. We can then put behind that some ideas of how big an explosion might be, or if it’s a landslide, how big the landslide might have been, or how far the rocks have fallen, for example,” he explains.

Dark Streaks on Martian Slopes May Signal Active Water

Salty water driven by hot magma from Mars’ deep interior may be forming some of the mysterious dark slope streaks visible near the Red Planet’s equator, according to researchers in Arizona. They have determined the dark slope streaks generally occur in areas of long-lived hydrothermal activity, magma-ground-ice interactions, and volcanic activity. Some of the dark slope streaks are brand new?they have formed after the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft began detailed mapping of the planet in April 1999. Others have been observed to fade away on decadal time scales. Their findings support the hypothesis that Mars remains hydrologically active and that water could be shaping the planet’s landscape today.

Biologist Offers a Solution to the ‘Freeloaders Paradox’

Freeloaders ?? individuals eager to join social groups, but who once in, tend to avoid pulling their fair share of the chores ?? have long posed something of a problem for evolutionary biologists. In theory, because freeloaders don?t expend the efforts and energy of their more civic-minded neighbors, they should be able to translate that energy into more offspring, spreading their “slacker genes” and overrunning the world with offspring of similar ilk. But that doesn’t happen, and an Arizona researcher thinks she knows why.

Organic semiconductors speed shopping

So there you are, zipping around the Qwik-E-Mart, picking up a dozen eggs, some beer, a carton of Abba Zabba and some smokes. You pull up to the checkout stand and your bill is already waiting for you. While you’ve been shopping, tags on your goods have been chatting with the store’s cash register, tallying your total. That’s the scenario in play with a new RF (radio frequency) technology being developed at the University of Arizona Optical Sciences Centre, which uses organic semiconductors that live on thin plastic films. As reported by Beyond2000, the centre recently acquired a deposition machine that can make such films, depositing layers of organic molecules 10 to 100 nanometers thick onto a plastic substrate. Look for real world uses in the next couple years. And leave the cigarettes behind; they’re bad for you.