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November 28, 2006, 4:54 AM CT

Biocontrol of wavyleaf thistle being studied in Texas

Biocontrol of wavyleaf thistle being studied in Texas
Wavy leaf thistle was difficult to find along Panhandle highways five years ago. But now the noxious weed can be found moving into pastures, said a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher.

Dr. Jerry Michels, Experiment Station entomologist at Bushland, along with Nagendra Earle, a West Texas A&M University graduate student, began looking at controlling the intruding noxious weed with natural controls about two years ago.

Michels' entomology team travels the highways to Colorado frequently each year to monitor biocontrol work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. At first, they noticed wavyleaf thistle growing in small clumps along roadsides, Michels said, but in the past few years it seemed to be spreading.

Deciding they wanted to look at possible control measures, he submitted a proposal for a grant to the Joe Skeen Institute for Rangeland Restoration. His team received funding for two years.

In spring 2005, Earle began mapping the infestations across the Panhandle. The highest concentrations were found in the northern Panhandle down to U.S. Interstate 40, he said. Wavyleaf thistle has been found along I-40 from New Mexico to Colorado, but not much to the south.

"Our idea was that it was coming in through vehicle traffic, because it is common in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming," Michels said. "Also, thistles love disturbed areas, so any road work could have increased the infestation".........

Posted by: Nora      Permalink         Source


November 28, 2006, 4:31 AM CT

Brains Respond Better To Name Brands

Brains Respond Better To Name Brands
Your brain may be determining what car you buy before you've even taken a test drive. A new study gauging the brain's response to product branding has observed that strong brands elicit strong activity in our brains. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"This is the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) test examining the power of brands," said Christine Born, M.D., radiologist at University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Gera number of. "We observed that strong brands activate certain areas of the brain independent of product categories".

"Brain branding" is a novel, interdisciplinary approach to improve the understanding of how the mind perceives and processes brands. Using modern imaging methods, scientists are now able to go beyond marketing surveys and gather information on how the brain responds to a particular brand at the most basic level.

"Brain imaging technologies may complement methods normally used in the developing area of neuroeconomics," Dr. Born said.

Dr. Born and his colleagues used fMRI to study 20 adult men and women. The volunteers were all right-handed, had a mean age of 28 years and possessed a high level of education.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 26, 2006, 7:29 AM CT

First Look At Seafloor Formation

First Look At Seafloor Formation OBS Array
Ordinarily, losing almost all of one's instruments would be considered a severe setback to any scientist. But when Maya Tolstoy, a marine geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a member of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, recently learned that two-thirds of the seismometers she placed on the floor of the Pacific Ocean were trapped more than 8,000 feet (2500 meters) underwater, it turned out to be an extremely good sign.

Tolstoy and Lamont-Doherty colleague Felix Waldhauser set an array of ocean bottom seismometers along a section of the East Pacific Rise off the coast of Mexico in 2003 to study the little-understood process of seafloor spreading--a process that is responsible for the formation of nearly three-quarters of the Earth's crust. When a team went back in April 2006 to retrieve the instruments, however, only four out of 12 responded to the coded release signal and bobbed to the surface; three more responded to the signal, but did not come up. The rest remained silent.

Tests of the water temperature and light-scattering near the sea floor revealed signs of a recent volcanic eruption. A second expedition led by James Cowen of the University of Hawaii on the research vessel R/V New Horizon in early May lowered a camera that confirmed what the scientists suspected: Their instruments had been directly on top of a section of the East Pacific Rise that erupted and were trapped in fresh lava flows.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 26, 2006, 7:03 AM CT

Unique View Of Underwater Eruption

Unique View Of Underwater Eruption
A combination of luck and being in the right place at the right time allowed a University of Florida geologist and other scientists to capture and record an undersea volcanic eruption for the first time ever.

The eruption, which took place early this spring thousands of feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, is described in a paper set for release Thursday in Science Express, the journal Sciences online magazine.

Never before have we had instruments in place like this that recorded an eruptive event on the seafloor, said Mike Perfit, a UF professor of geology.

Perfit was among the scientists who visited the eruption shortly after it took place aboard the deep-sea submersible Alvin. The project was headed by Maya Tolstoy, a seismologist with Columbia Universitys Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and the lead author of the Science paper.

Perfit said the eruption occurred about 400 miles west of Mexico along a massive volcanic mountain range called the East Pacific Rise. Fortuitously, it was one of three active undersea volcanic areas that were selected for high-intensity research in the late 1990s as part of the National Science Foundations RIDGE research program. As a result, geologists, biologists, geophysicists and other specialists had gathered a storehouse of samples, data and photos from the site.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 26, 2006, 6:41 AM CT

Women Preists To 'Save Church From Sinking'

Women Preists To 'Save Church From Sinking'
Whether or not ordained women have had a significant impact over the past decade, they will save the Church from sinking in the future, according to ESRC-sponsored research at the University of Manchester.

Dr David Voas, a senior researcher at the universitys School of Social Sciences said: Nearly half of all priests ordained in recent years have been women. Close to a quarter of male parish priests are 60 or older, and their average age is 54. Without women, the pulpits would become as de-populated as the pews in the years to come.

His comments are based on analysis of new statistics on women ministers from two sources: the Church of England itself, and the English Church Census 2005, conducted by the independent charity Christian Research, and substantially funded by the ESRC.

In a recent interview in the Catholic Herald, the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, whilst emphasising that he still believed the Church of England had been right to create women priests, was quoted as saying: I dont think it has transformed or renewed the Church of England in spectacular ways. Equally, I dont think it has corrupted or ruined the Church of England in spectacular ways.

But according to Dr Voas, this apparent failure on the part of women clergy is not surprising. He said: The Church is far from being an equal opportunity employer. The glass ceiling is shatterproof: women are not yet allowed to become bishops, and they are far more likely to be second class clergy.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 22, 2006, 4:55 AM CT

FTC Halts Unlawful Spyware Operations

FTC Halts Unlawful Spyware Operations
Defendants involved with operations that secretly downloaded spyware that changed settings on consumers' computers, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that their practices violated federal law. The settlements bar secret software downloads in the future, bar the operators from exploiting security vulnerabilities to download software, and bar misrepresentations. In addition, the operators will give up a total of $50,000 in ill-gotten gains.

In October 2005, the FTC charged that Odysseus Marketing, Inc. and its principal, Walter Rines, lured consumers to their Web sites by advertising bogus free software, including a program called Kazanon that purportedly allowed consumers to engage in anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing. As per the FTC, the bogus software was bundled with spyware and other unwanted software. The agency alleged that the defendants also distributed their spyware by exploiting security vulnerabilities in the Internet Explorer Web browser. The FTC charged that the defendants' spyware intercepted and replaced search results provided to users who queried popular Internet search engines, and barraged consumers with pop-up and other Internet ads. The FTC also charged that the defendants' software captured consumers' personal information such as their first and last names, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and Internet browsing and shopping histories, and transmitted that information to the defendants' Internet servers. Consumers were unable to locate or uninstall the defendants' spyware through reasonable means, as per the FTC.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 9:05 PM CT

Safer Ways To Detect Uranium Minerals

Safer Ways To Detect Uranium Minerals QUT Professor Ray Frost
The threat of 'dirty' bombs and plans to use nuclear power as an energy source have driven Queensland University of Technology researchers to discover a new, safer way of detecting radioative contamination in the ground.

Professor Ray Frost, from QUT's School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, has found a way of identifying, from a remote location, uranium deposits that have leached into the soil and water.

"The ability to be able to easily and readily detect uranium minerals, particularly secondary minerals, is of great importance particularly in today's current climate of terrorism and increased uranium mining," Professor Frost said.

"What is not usually known is that a number of uranium minerals, particularly the secondary minerals, are soluble and can translocate or move in water to areas far away from where uranium sites are found.

"This means that uranium minerals could arise in soils and sediments from unknown origins and in locations far from their origins".

Professor Frost said using a technique known as near infrared spectroscopy, radioactive minerals could be detected by researchers located far away from a contaminated site.

"Using a fibre optic probe and the near infrared spectroscopy technique, we have observed that we can detect whether uranium minerals are present in soil.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 8:48 PM CT

Watching TV can improve parenting and child behavior

Watching TV can improve parenting and child behavior
Watching television parenting programmes like ITV's Driving Mum and Dad Mad really can help improve parenting skills and modify children's behavioural problems, according to a study at The University of Manchester.

The six-part series followed the progress of five families whose children showed clear behavioural problems through Professor Matt Sanders' 'Triple P-Positive Parenting Programme,' which provides guidance on parenting skills which promote good behavioural and emotional adjustment.

In 'The Great Parenting Experiment: The role of the mass media in preventing anti-social behaviour in children,' clinical psychologists Dr Rachel Calam and Professor Sanders himself studied a sample of the 4.2 million parents tuning into the first series in Spring 2005. Funded by the Home Office's Respect Task Force, the team assessed how much watching the programmes actually helped parents at home.

Dr Calam said: "This is the first national experiment to monitor parents working alongside a 'TV info-tainment' series and trying out the techniques shown. We wanted to assess whether, by adopting the ideas suggested, mums and dads were able to improve their children's behaviour and reduce their own stress levels.

"465 parents completed an assessment of their children's behaviour, parenting practices, confidence as a parent, stress levels and family circumstances before the series, which was repeated 12 weeks after the series started and again six months later. Parents who just watched the series and those given additional 'enhanced support' reported significantly fewer problems with both their children's conduct and their parenting practices after 12 weeks.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 8:32 PM CT

The Smell Of Money

The Smell Of Money
It's not hard to recall the pungent scent of a handful of pocket change. Similar smells emanate from a sweat-covered dumbbell or the water emerging from an old metal pipe. Yet no one has been able to identify the exact chemical cause of these familiar odors.

Now, researchers supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) MUSES award and the UFZ Environmental Research Center in Germany have shown that these odor molecules come not from the penny or the pipes, but from metal-free chemicals erupting into the air when organic substances like sweat interact with the metallic objects.

The researchers--Andrea Dietrich, Dietmar Glindemann, Hans-Joachim Staerk and Peter Kuschk, all from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg--published their findings in the Oct. 20, 2006, Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

"We are the first to demonstrate that when humans describe the 'metallic' odor of iron metal, there are no iron atoms in the odors," said Dietrich. "The odors humans perceive as metallic are really a body odor produced by metals reacting with skin".

Because the makeup of byproduct molecules depends on which organic substances are reacting, the researchers believe the findings could help identify problem odors in potable water or aid doctors searching for disease markers in sweat or other body fluids.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 5:22 AM CT

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster For Undiagnosed Diabetics

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster For Undiagnosed Diabetics
Hearty feasts and couch-potato marathons are holiday traditions, but UT Southwestern Medical Center experts warn that packing on pounds and not exercising could be deadly for the 6 million Americans who have diabetes and don't even know it.

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder linked with obesity, can be a silent killer because its symptoms aren't sudden, but build up over time and lead to heart disease or other maladies.

That's bad news for those with undiagnosed diabetes.

"The obesity epidemic is surging and people don't realize they're setting themselves up to develop diabetes. They're like ticking time bombs," said Dr. Manisha Chandalia, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern. "Without treatment, high levels of blood sugars in the body can damage blood vessels and nerves over time, leading to high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and amputations".

If you are age 40 or older, obese, lack physical activity or have a family history of diabetes, Dr. Chandalia recommends making time during the holidays to visit a doctor for a diabetes test. Symptoms include excessive thirst or hunger, dramatic weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination or blurry vision.

The holidays also are a perfect time to start getting healthy, she said, offering these tips:........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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