|Day After Reality! |
Life on Venus? Memories Stink!
Mini Microbes, Mr. Moonlight,
Meet Comet Linear & More!
|Day After Reality!|
|Day After Tomorrow - The Reality |
Michigan State University News Release
May 27, 2004 - Instantaneous ice ages, grapefruit-size hail and tidal waves – all courtesy of global warming – are being served up as Memorial Day weekend entertainment in movie theaters.
The side order: A little scientific food for thought.
"The Day After Tomorrow," a star-studded movie that paints a vivid picture of global climatic catastrophe, is a simplistic look at the complex and real issue of a potential outcome of global warming, said David Skole, professor and director of MSU’s Center for Global Change and Earth Observations.
"This is a complicated problem – it’s not like a movie where it’s catastrophic overnight, but there is some science behind it," Skole said. "It stems from abrupt climate change. Changes in storm frequency and intensity; changes in water availability; changes of pests and related disease – that’s the story."
Scientists across the globe, including Skole, struggle to better quantify and understand local impacts of changes in global climate patterns. Skole has been a member of the Academies of Science committee to review the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. www.nap.edu/books/0309088658/html
"We must not forget the literary license which Hollywood takes in making such films," Skole said. "While they do a lot to enhance viewer appeal, I think there is some scientific basis in the topic, even if the details are sometimes way wrong. It’s important to note that a movie can get away with these wild depictions precisely because the science of abrupt climate change is only in its infancy."
Growing evidence suggests that climate change will increase malnutrition and outbreaks of infectious diseases in the 21st century.
The Day After Tomorrow Official site - http://www.thedayaftertomorrow.com
|Life on Venus?|
|By Martin Redfern |
Venus May 25, 2004 (BBC) - There could be life on the planet Venus, US scientists have concluded in a report in the journal Astrobiology.
But microbes could survive and reproduce, experts say, floating in the thick, cloudy atmosphere, protected by a sunscreen of sulphur compounds.
The Venusian clouds are high in the atmosphere, where the temperature and pressure are quite Earth-like. There is even water present, though it is in the form of concentrated sulphuric acid.
[Earth observers can watch Venus pass across the face of our sun on June 8, 2004. The last time was in 1882 and the next will be in 2012. Ed.]
|University College London News Release |
May 26, 2004 - Smells trigger memories but can memories trigger smell, and what does this imply for the way memories are stored?
A UCL study of the smell gateway in the brain has found that the memory of an event is scattered across sensory parts of the brain, suggesting that advertising aimed at triggering memories of golden beaches and soft sand could well enhance your desire to book a seaside holiday.
|Grizzly Bears Threatened|
|University of Alberta News Release |
May 25, 2004 - A deadly combination of industry and human activity may soon wipe out Alberta's grizzly bear population, but new University of Alberta research identifies the province's highest mortality spots.
Scott Nielsen, from the Department of Biological Sciences, has isolated specific spots where the bears are dying at the highest rates, all sites where grizzly habitats overlap areas that humans frequent regularly. Nielsen's paper, published in the journal "Biological Conservation" is one of the first to map out these dangerous locations.
Until now, research has concentrated on mapping habitat alone.
The biggest culprit, said Nielsen, is when industry--forestry, oil and gas, and mining--extract resources, since each activity develops a new network of roads to access this property. Grizzly bears already are low in number and have very low productive rates, so even when a small number of bears are killed, it can have significant consequences on the species. "Mortality rates in many sites are simply way too high to expect long-term persistence of grizzly bears," said Nielsen, the lead author on the paper. "Methods that identify mortality sites in most need of management or restoration are needed."
Over the past century, human encroachment has destroyed their existence in much of North America and Alberta isn't far behind that practice, said Nielsen. The bears existence is so serious that the province is considering labeling the grizzy's status as "threatened."
Nielsen's recommendations include limiting human access to highly quality habitat sites and increasing education programs that facilitate a greater understanding of grizzly bears in the province.
"Until poaching and translocation actions are reduced, the limited entry spring hunt--a controllable source of mortality--should be closed," he said.
University of Alberta - http://www.ualberta.ca
|Giant Mushroom Baffles Experts!|
|BRAZZAVILLE May 28, 2004 (Reuters) — A giant three-tiered mushroom, which measures a yard across and was found in the tropical forests of the Republic of Congo, has left experts in the capital Brazzaville scratching their heads. |
"It's the first time we've ever seen a mushroom like this, so it's difficult for us to classify. But we are going to determine what it is scientifically," said Pierre Botaba, head of Congo's veterinary and zoology center.
The giant fungi stands 18 inches high and has three tiered caps on top of a broad stem.
The bottom cap measures a yard across, the second one two feet, and the top one just under a foot wide, Botaba said.
|Frozen Mini-Microbes 120,000 Years Old!|
|American Society for Microbiology New Release |
May 26, 2004 - The discovery of millions of micro-microbes surviving in a 120,000-year-old ice sample taken from 3,000 meters below the surface of the Greenland glacier will be announced by Penn State University scientists on 26 May 2004 at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans, Louisiana. The discovery is significant because it may help to define the limits for life on Earth as well as elsewhere in the universe, such as on cold planets like Mars.
The scientists are interested in understanding how microbial life can be preserved in polar ie sheets for hundreds of thousands of years under stresses that include subzero temperatures, desiccation, high pressures, and low oxygen and nutrient concentrations. Because the ice was mixed with the ancient permafrost at the bottom of the glacier, the microbes could have been trapped there for perhaps millions of years.
Scientists believe these dwarf cells belong to the "uncultured majority" because they are among the 99 percent of all microbes on Earth that never have been isolated and cultured for study.
Obtaining such "isolates" is necessary in order to describe a new organism, study its cell size, examine its physiology, and assess its ecological role.
"We now know just the tip of the iceberg of all the microbes that exist on Earth, and it generally is believed that a large portion of these unknown microbes are very small in size," Miteva says.
Some of the cells that Miteva and Brenchley were successful in cultivating required special conditions and up to six months to form initial colonies.
The researchers discovered that these colonies grew more rapidly during further cultivation and that most continued to form predominantly small cells.
"This study is part of the continuing quest by microbiologists to overcome the current limitations of our methods and to answer the big question, 'What new microbes are out there and what are they doing?'"
|Maya Microbes Deteriorate Ruins|
|American Society for Microbiology News Release |
NEW ORLEANS May 27, 2004 – Researchers from Harvard University have discovered the presence of a previously unidentified microbial community inside the porous stone of the Maya ruins in Mexico that may be capable of causing rapid deterioration of these sites. They present their findings at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
"The presence of a previously undescribed endolithic microbial community that is different than the surface community has important implications for the conservation of Maya ruins as well as other stone objects and structures," says Christopher McNamara, a researcher on the study.
McNamara and his colleagues collected stone samples from a Maya archaeological site and separated it into surface and interior portions, which were then broken down into tiny particles. They extracted DNA from the samples and identified and compared bacterial communities on the inside and outside surfaces of the stone. Photosynthetic microorganisms, mainly proteobacteria, were found to populate the surface whereas Actinobacteria was the dominate population on the interior where no photosynthetic organisms were detected. Additional tests on the interior bacterial communities suggest that they break down limestone as they grow.
"Surface analysis of microbial growth and disinfection of stone objects and buildings can no longer be considered sufficient," says McNamara. "Furthermore, treatments designed to penetrate stone objects must consider the presence of a microbial community that may be substantially different than that visible on the surface."
American Society for Microbiology - http://www.asmusa.org
|NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office News Release |
May 27, 2004 - According to a new NASA-funded study, insights into Earth's climate may come from an unlikely place: the moon.
Scientists looked at the ghostly glow of light reflected from Earth onto the moon's dark side. During the 1980s and 1990s, Earth bounced less sunlight out to space. The trend reversed during the past three years, as the Earth appears to reflect more light toward space.
Though not fully understood, the shifts may indicate a natural variability of clouds, which can reflect the sun's heat and light away from Earth.
The apparent change in the amount of sunlight reaching Earth in the 1980s and 1990s is comparable to taking the effects of greenhouse gas warming since 1850 and doubling them.
Increased reflectance since 2001 suggests change of a similar magnitude in the opposite direction.
The study, funded by NASA's Living With a Star Program, appears May 28 in the journal Science.
|Maya's Mystery Knock Up|
|JERUSALEM May 25, 2004 (Reuters) - Israeli zookeepers suspected some monkey business only after Maya, a 24-year-old chimpanzee, suddenly gave birth to twins despite an apparent lack of virile mates. |
The happy event at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo caught everyone by surprise: nobody had noticed Maya was pregnant.
Og and Gremlin, the only adult males among 11 chimps at the facility, were sterilized years ago, a zoo official said Tuesday.
|Meet Comet Linear!|
|European Space Agency Press Release |
May 26, 2004 - ESA's comet-chaser Rosetta, whose 10-year journey to its final target Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko started on 2 March, is well on its way.
The first phase of commissioning is close to completion and Rosetta has successfully performed its first scientific activity - observation of Comet Linear.
This first check-out worked flawlessly and showed that the spacecraft and all instruments are functioning well and in excellent shape.
The four instruments took images and spectra of Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) to study its coma and tail in different wavelengths, from ultraviolet to microwave. Rosetta successfully measured the presence of water molecules in the tenuous atmosphere around the comet. Detailed analysis of the data will require the complete calibration of the instruments, which will take place in the coming months.
The OSIRIS camera produced high-resolution images of Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) from a distance of about 95 million kilometers. The image showing a pronounced nucleus and a section of the tenuous tail extending over about 2 million kilometers was obtained by OSIRIS in blue light.
In particular, the Philae lander, developed by a European consortium under the leadership of the German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR), will analyze the composition and structure of the comet's surface.
Rosetta will then go into a quiet ‘cruise mode’ until September, when the second phase of commissioning is scheduled to start. These activities, including the interference and pointing campaign, will last until December.
|Genre News: Enterprise, Dead Zone, Nico, Marlene, Medium, Jack Black, Bandstand & More!|
|Correction and apologies: in our review of Star Trek: New Voyages, we incorrectly stated that James Marshall starred as Captain Kirk. In fact, Jack Marshall, who authored, wrote and directed the first episode, played Mr. Scott. Kirk was played by James Cawley - and a fine job he did too. Thanks to Linda of New Voyages for this data. Ed.|
|Enterprise Finale - Porthos as a Metaphor |
Earth May 27, 2004 (eXoNews) - And so, after a full season chasing galactic terrorists around the quadrant - bullying confessions, putting innocents at risk and generally scowling a lot - Star Trek: Enterprise's Captain Archer blows up the death star and quantum leaps into an alternate universe where World War II is populated by alien Nazis.
Yep. Executive Producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga wrote the script, valiantly kept secret by cast and crew until last night's Enterprise finale. Possibly so fans wouldn't say the hell with it and watch something else? [The Trekkers stayed loyal, giving Enterprise a 3.7/6 overnight. No Smallville to fight but a respectable showing against American Idol and all the rest of the usual mundane stuff. Ed.]
It is appropriate to once again invoke the Great Bird. When Gene Roddenberry was the executive in charge of Star Trek, the Enterprise went where no man had gone before. The Original Series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine followed that tradition, usually flying inside the Star Trek universe.
We watched the various other cultures of our galaxy - the Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, Ferengi, etc. - grow and feud. We got involved, taking up our phasers when necessary but always within the bounds of The Prime Directive.
Cut to the day after tomorrow. A veteran Star Trek watcher sitting at his keyboard trying to come up with something nice to say about Star Trek Enterprise, despite a downbeat Captain Archer blowing up the death star and leaping into an alternate universe where World War II is populated by alien Nazis.
Mr. Shatner, who I recall claiming more than once that he never watched post-TOS Trek shows, was using a metaphor. I figure he meant Rick Berman was past it and Star Trek had lost its edge.
Mr. Shatner was saying the Franchise needed younger writers and (presumably) producers.
Look at Don Bellisario, the former producer of Magnum and the aforementioned Quantum Leap. His script for the first year finale of Navy NCIS rocked, man! Ably directed by genre vet Thomas J. Wright (X-Files, MillenniuM, etc.), Bellisario absolutely freaked us with an ending mutated from the famous "Ivan" episode of Magnum.
(Look it up! I'm a critic, not an encyclopedia!)
Enterprise Official - http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/ENT/index.html
The Dead Zone Returns
"And I think that's a lot to latch onto as a group of actors. It's helpful for us, too. It's much easier to make something like that plausible and believable, to kind of latch onto that."
"We're in our third season and what matters to me is the evolution itself," Hall said. "Just making it more cinematic, making it more intense and more visually dynamic, everything we can. And that includes, with the support of the network, bringing in name actors."
LOS ANGELES May 27, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - German model/actress Nico, who was part of the Andy Warhol scene in the 1960s, will get an extra 15 minutes of posthumous fame courtesy of a movie about her colorful life.
Hollywood May 25, 2004 (Variety) - DreamWorks will turn Marlene Dietrich's story into a star vehicle for Gwyneth Paltrow.
John Guare, who scripted "Atlantic City" for Malle, was to have adapted the project for United Artists.
"She would fall in love with a song, with Paris, or a beautiful woman or a powerful man, and she would pour all her passion in that direction for as long as she wanted to."
Dietrich openly stumped for war bonds and secretly helped the OSS by making personal recruitment calls to Germans who were persuaded to become turncoat spies. Then, she actually joined the troops near the front lines all over Europe -- she arrived in France three days after the invasion of Normandy. She didn't leave until the Allies reached Berlin. After WWII Dietrich grew bored with the frivolous films being made. She carved out a singing career before taking radical retirement.
LOS ANGELES May 26, 2004 (Zap2it.com) - Writer-producer Rene Echevarria is joining the staff of NBC's new drama "Medium," reuniting him with the show's creator, Glenn Gordon Caron.
NEW YORK May 25, 2004 (AP) - Marvel Enterprises Inc. is teaming with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to enter the direct-to-DVD video cartoon market.
Hollywood May 24, 2004 (Variety) - Michel Gondry is directing an adaptation of the sci-fi thriller "Master of Space and Time" by Rudy Rucker.
LOS ANGELES May 24, 2004 (Zap2it.com) - Ryan Seacrest's agent is probably already on the phone. The "American Idol" geniuses at 19 Entertainment and the eternally youthful Dick Clark are joining forces for a new generation of "American Bandstand" and the show is sure to need a host.
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