Thursday, February 22, 2007

Science News

Posted by Trent Walters at 4:57 PM
Mag-lev system may assist in lowering costs for future space expeditions:

"The main cost-saving areas would come from reduced fuel consumption and
the reduced mass of the spaceship. "

Weather in Greenland affects the rest of the world:

“If things are happening near Greenland today, probably two days from now that
[air mass] will move down over Europe.... Two or three days after
it’s affected Europe, it affects Asia and then ultimately comes around and
affects North America. So Greenland ultimately affects the whole Northern
Hemisphere … our knowledge will potentially help improve forecasts.”

New understanding of subglacial lakes in the Antarctic (presumably have they not always existed and interfered?):

sudden pulses of fresh water could potentially interfere with nearby ocean
currents that redistribute heat and carbon dioxide around the globe, disrupting
the Earth's finely tuned climate system. "It's almost as if the lakes are
capturing the geothermal energy from the entire basin and releasing it to the
ice stream."

Yet another model proposing the origin of cancer:

[otherwise] harmless.... viruses... fuse cells.... abruptly unit[ing] two or
three cells under the same membrane, a change that triggers massive [chromosomal instability (CIN) and cancer].

Hold on to your lie-detecting hat, bub.

The Atlantic-to-Pacific exchange of water vapor:

might be an important feedback mechanism for abrupt climatic changes.
Researchers say the global ocean circulation during the past 90,000 years has
varied between warm and cold periods, some lasting thousands of years....
during warmer phases, moisture export from the Atlantic increased, which
reinforced the salt buildup in North Atlantic surface waters. The reverse
situation occurred during cooler periods, with decreased fresh water flux across
Panama.

Genetic hearing loss? Connexin26 may help! Troublesome old gene-therapy may not be needed.

Superbot can reconfigure himself for different terrains.

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