King Tut Mystery!
Tsunami Conspiracy Theories?
Space News! Nanobombs!
NBH-1, The Nose & More!
King Tut Mystery!

Tutankhamun ruled about 3,300 years ago

Associated Press Writer

LUXOR Egypt January 6, 2005 (AP) - A team of researchers briefly removed King Tut's mummy from its tomb Wednesday and laid bare his bones for a CT scan that could solve an enduring mystery: Was it murder or natural causes that killed Egypt's boy pharaoh 3,000 years ago?

Tut's toes and fingers and an eerie outline of his face could be seen as the mummy, resting in a box to protect it, was placed inside the machine in a specially equipped van parked near his underground tomb in the famed Valley of the Kings.

The 1,700 images taken during the 15-minute CT scan could answer many of the mysteries that shroud King Tutankhamun's life and death — including his royal lineage, his exact age at the time of his death — now estimated at 17 — and the reason he died.

A simpler X-ray done 36 years ago showed bone fragments inside the skull of Tut — who was buried in a "hurried" fashion in a glitter of gold treasures, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist. But that previous test wasn't sophisticated enough to determine if the bone fragments signified a blow to the head.

The CT scan, in contrast, will provide a far more detailed, three-dimensional view of the scattered bones and coverings that make up Tut's mummy.

CT imaging has been used for numerous Egyptian mummies in the past, including one of famed 17 Ramses I. It also was used on the 5,200-year-old remains of a Copper Age man found frozen in 1991 in a glacier in the northern Italian Alps. In that case, CT imaging picked up what simpler X-rays had failed to identify — an arrowhead in the iceman's body that possibly killed him.

Hawass, part of the 10-man team that conducted Wednesday's tests, said the results of the Tut scan will be announced later this month in Cairo.

A computer tomography of the head of
the legendary Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

"There are so many stories about his death and his age," Hawass said. "Today we will determine what really happened."

The removal of the mummy from its tomb — the first time in 82 years — also showed that it's in bad condition, Hawass said, adding that Egyptian officials will begin a "process of restoration to protect and preserve it."

After the scan the mummy was returned to the tomb, where all restoration will be done, he said.

The short life of Tutankhamun has fascinated people since his tomb was discovered in 1922 by a British archaeologist, revealing a trove of fabulous treasures in gold and precious stones that showed the wealth and craftsmanship of the Pharaonic court.

A U.S. museum tour a quarter-century ago of Tut's treasures drew more than 8 million people. A smaller number of treasures — minus Tut's famous gold mask — will again go on display in the United States starting June 16 in Los Angeles, after touring Germany and Switzerland.

The decision to allow the exhibit was a reversal of an Egyptian policy set in the 1980s that confined most of the objects to Egypt, after several pieces were damaged on international tour.

Archaeologists have long wondered if Tut was murdered. Hawass said one factor was that the conditions of his burial in the tomb seemed "hurried."

Tutankhamun ruled about 3,300 years ago and is believed to have been the 12th ruler of ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He ascended to the throne at about the age of 8 and died around 1323 B.C.

Digital reconstruction of Tut's head (BBC)

Tut's lineage also has long been in question. It's unclear if he is the son or a half-brother of Akhenaten, the "heretic" pharaoh who introduced a revolutionary form of monotheism to ancient Egypt and who was the son of Amenhotep III.

The CT scan, conducted under rare cloudy skies in the valley on the Nile's west bank, began with the removal of the wooden box that holds Tut's mummy from underneath a stone sarcophagus in the underground tomb. Tourists to the tomb see only that stone covering.

The box holding the mummy was then carried up stone steps out of the vault. Coverings, which appeared to be insulation-like material, were then pulled back. The blackened mummy, still resting in the box to protect it, was then inserted into the CT machine.

The familiar Tut burial mask

The machine, brought from Germany, was donated by Siemens and National Geographic, Hawass said.

Egyptian officials had previously announced they were planning the tests, but did not give a date or inform most media ahead of time. Hawass has given exclusive rights to film archaeological events to certain media in the past in return for financial assistance or research help.

The mummy had not left the tomb since the British archaeologist Howard Carter excavated the tomb 82 years ago.

Hawass said Carter's team damaged the mummy when they used sharp tools to prize off the famous gold and blue mask.

The team of examiners included medical doctors who operated the machine, senior antiquities officials and restoration experts.

Plans for the examination had raised a row among archaeologists and officials in Egypt, who insisted the mummy not be taken from Luxor, and that the research be done by Egyptians. The researchers originally planned to move the mummy to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for examination, but altered that after the outcry.

Associated Press reporter Haggag Salama in Luxor, Egypt, contributed to this report.

eXoNews Pix of the Week Dept.
Fixing A Hole

A Sri Lankan villager repairs the roof of a damaged hose in Pandiruppu Sri Lanka, January 7, 2005. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan toured tsunami-ravaged areas of Sri Lanka on Saturday, where lives are in ruins but where hard work and outside help have started to make a difference. (REUTERS/ Kieran Doherty)

Donate Frequent Flyer Miles to Tsunami Relief
United Charity Miles Tsunami Relief Donations

January 6, 2004 (eXoNews) - United Airlines Mileage Plus members can contribute their Mileage Plus miles to charities participating in Asian tsunami relief efforts through United's Charity Miles program. Members can contribute from a minimum of 1,000 miles via United's website.

United relief partners are Airline Ambassadors International, American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Operation USA, Save The Children and Sarvodaya USA.

United will donate 2 million miles as a direct contribution to be divided equally among these charities.

The Charity Miles web page -

[If you fly and accrue miles via other airlines, check their websites for similar miles for tsunami relief efforts. Ed.]
Tsunami Conspiracy Theories?

One guy suggested that aliens caused the earthquake to try and
correct the "wobbly rotation of the Earth." The epicenter of
the undersea earthquake is shown on this map. (Reuters)

HONG KONG January 6, 2005 (AFP) - Just 11 days after Asia's tsunami catastrophe, conspiracy theorists are out in force, accusing governments of a cover-up, blaming the military for testing top-secret eco-weapons or aliens trying to correct the Earth's "wobbly" rotation.

In bars and Internet chatrooms around the world questions are being asked, with knowing nods and winks, about who caused the submarine earthquake off Sumatra on December 26, and why governments were so slow to act in the minutes and hours before tsunamis slammed into their shores, killing almost 150,000.

"There's a lot more to this. Why is the US sending a warship? Why is a senior commander who was in Iraq going there?" whispered designer Mark Tyler, drinking a pint of beer at a bar in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district.

"This happened exactly a year after Bam," said Tyler, referring to the earthquake in Iran which killed 30,000 on December 26 last year. "Is that a coincidence? And there was no previous seismic activity recorded in Sumatra before the quake, which is very strange," he said, nodding somberly.

After every globally shocking event -- from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the assassination of John F Kennedy, the death of Princess Diana and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States -- conspiracy theorists emerge with their own sinister take on events.

Banda Aceh before (top) and after the
tsunami hit.  (AFP/ Digitalglobe)

This time the Indian and US military are in the frame, while the governments of countries from Australia to Thailand stand accused of deliberately failing to act on warnings of the impending earthquake or the tsunamis it unleashed around Asia.

Among the more common suggestions is that eco-weapons which can trigger earthquakes and volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves were being tested. More outlandish theories include one that aliens caused the earthquake to try and correct the "wobbly rotation of the Earth".

Scientists give such theories short shrift.

"This was a natural disaster," said Dr Bart Bautisda, chief science research specialist at Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, debunking the idea that an "eco-weapon" could be used to cause an earthquake or such large-scale tsunamis.

"You would need a very huge amount of energy. It's impossible. A billion tons could not do it," Bautisda said.

He said wave activity might be able to be triggered very close to the scene of a giant explosion, but the effect would be a tiny fraction of the tsunamis which traveled thousands of kilometers (miles) at the speed of a jet after tectonic plates shifted off Sumatra.

A seismic graph. The undersea earthquake and the
tsunamis it triggered killed more than 165,000
people as the massive waves slammed across the
Indian Ocean. (AFP/ Sam Yeh)

"It's possible to cause vibration, but not sufficient to cause disruption," he said.

"We can tell the difference between an artificial explosion and an earthquake," Bautisda said. "The mechanisms are different."

Scientific evidence, however, cuts little ice with many conspiracy theorists.

The Internet -- which has proved invaluable in dealing with the disaster by aiding rescues, providing witness accounts from bloggers and allowing grieving relatives to comfort each other through chatrooms -- is abuzz with more sinister explanations.

The Free Internet Press, which claims to offer "uncensored news for real people", has an article saying the US military and the State Department received advanced warning of the tsunami, but did little to warn Asian countries.

America's Navy base on the Indian Ocean jungle atoll of Diego Garcia was notified and escaped unscathed, it said, asking "why were fishermen in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand not provided with the same warnings?.

Tsunami reality: young Indonesians carry
plastic containers filled with motor oil
collected from a oil facility on the sea side
of Banda Aceh. (AFP/ Choo Youn-Kong)

"Why did the US State Department remain mum on the existence of an impending catastrophe?," author Michel Chossudovsky pondered.

"Probably because fishermen in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand don't have multimillion dollar communications equipment handy," said one respondent as readers posted angry replies.

"Maybe rescuers will find Elvis and the gunman from the grassy knoll," jibed another, referring to those who believe Elvis Presley is still alive and that former US president Kennedy was shot by someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald.

The India Daily's website joined the conspiracy theorists noting, "it seems the whole world decided to fail to do anything together at the same time. Are we missing something?

"Can it be that all the government agencies knew what was happening but were told not to do anything? Who told them? Or is this just a tragic coincidence?" wrote Sudhir Chadda, a correspondent.

"Recent alien contacts have been reported with the South Asian Governments especially India. UFO sightings have been rampant over the region affected," Chadda wrote.

"Some in Nicobar Island say that it was an experiment conducted by the alien extra-terrestrial entities to correct the wobbly rotation of the earth. And some of the Indian scientists are actually seeing that wobbly rotation of the earth has been corrected since the massive underwater earthquake and Tsunami."

In Hong Kong, Tyler laughed at the alien idea, but remained convinced humans had a hand in this disaster. "Wait and see. There will be a lot more to come out," he said.

Icebergs in New Zealand

Iceberg B-15A was the largest iceberg in the world
(measuring about 11,000 square kilometers) when
it broke away from Western Antarctica's Ross Ice
Shelf in March 2000. It held that distinction for over
three years until splitting into two pieces in early
October, 2003. New Zealanders sighted icebergs in
local waters for the first time since 1948. (NASA)

WELLINGTON January 5, 2005 (AFP) - New Zealanders complaining about unseasonable summer rain in recent weeks have received proof of changing climatic conditions after icebergs were sighted in local waters for the first time since 1948.

The icebergs were see in the Southern Ocean, about 700 kilometers (420 miles) southeast of the South Island, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said Thursday.

They were a hazard to all shipping, including yachts participating in the Vendeeglobe solo round-the-world race, officials said.

The Vendeeglobe website has issued a warning to competitors after one sailor sustained minor damage to his boat when he hit an iceberg just before Christmas.

NIWA scientist Lionel Carter said 15 icebergs, some up to three kilometers wide, have been recorded.

"In 30 years of working for NIWA, this is the first time I have recorded sightings of icebergs in New Zealand waters," Carter said.

Previous reports were in the 1890s, early 1920s, 1930s and in 1948.

In 1931 icebergs were seen as far north as near Dunedin in the South Island.

He said it was too soon to blame this flotilla of ice on global warming, although the coincidence of large collapses of the Antarctic ice shelves with a rapidly changing climate could not be dismissed.

The icebergs are expected to drift towards South America.

Space News!

This Chandra image shows two vast cavities - each 600,000 light
years in diameter - in the hot, X-ray emitting gas that pervades
the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 or MS 0735 for short. (NASA)

Biggest Explosion in the Universe!
Chandra X-ray Center News Release

January 5, 2005 - Astronomers have found the most powerful eruption in the universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate. This discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the profound impact they have on their surroundings.

The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X-ray emitting gas of a galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6+7421. Two vast cavities extend away from the super massive black hole in the cluster's central galaxy. The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has generated the energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts.

This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts of matter fell toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but some of it was violently ejected before being captured by the black hole. "I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens. "This is as large as another super massive black hole." He is lead author of the study about the discovery, which is in the January 6, 2005, issue of Nature.

Astronomers are not sure where such large amounts of matter came from. One theory is gas from the host galaxy catastrophically cooled and was swallowed by the black hole. The energy released shows the black hole in MS 0735 has grown dramatically during this eruption. Previous studies suggest other large black holes have grown very little in the recent past, and that only smaller black holes are still growing quickly.

"This new result is as surprising as it is exciting," said co-author Paul Nulsen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "This black hole is feasting, when it should be fasting."

Radio emission within the cavities shows jets from the black hole erupted to create the cavities. Gas is being pushed away from the black hole at supersonic speeds over a distance of about a million light years. The mass of the displaced gas equals about a trillion suns, more than the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way.

The rapid growth of super massive black holes is usually detected by observing very bright radiation from the centers of galaxies in the optical and X-ray wavebands, or luminous radio jets. In MS 0735 no bright central radiation is found, and the radio jets are faint. The true nature of MS 0735 is only revealed through X-ray observations of the hot cluster gas.

"Until now we had no idea this black hole was gorging itself," said co-author Michael Wise of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. "The discovery of this eruption shows X-ray telescopes are necessary to understand some of the most violent events in the universe."

The astronomers estimated how much energy was needed to create the cavities by calculating the density, temperature and pressure of the hot gas. By making a standard assumption that 10 percent of the gravitational energy goes into launching the jets, they estimated how much material the black hole swallowed.

Besides generating the cavities, some of the energy from this eruption should keep the hot gas around the black hole from cooling, and some of it may also generate large-scale magnetic fields in the galaxy cluster. Chandra observers have discovered other cavities in galaxy clusters, but this one is easily the largest and the most powerful.

Chandra X-ray Center -

Dark Matter Clumps in Galaxies
Yale University News Release

Gravitational lensing image of galaxies (yellow to red) and haloes
from clumped dark matter (blue). (Yale)

New Haven January 6, 2005 - Hubble Space Telescope data, analyzed by a Yale astronomer using gravitational lensing techniques, has generated a spatial map demonstrating the clumped substructure of dark matter inside clusters of galaxies.

Clusters of galaxies (about a million, million times the mass of our sun), are typically made up of hundreds of galaxies bound together by gravity. About 90 percent of their mass is dark matter. The rest is ordinary atoms in the form of hot gas and stars.

Although little is known about it, cold dark matter is thought to have structure at all magnitudes. Theoretical models of the clumping properties were derived from detailed, high resolution simulations of the growth of structure in the Universe. Although previous evidence supported the "concordance model" of a Universe mostly composed of cold, dark matter, the predicted substructure had never been detected.

In this study, Yale assistant professor of astronomy and physics Priyamvada Natarajan and her colleagues demonstrate that, at least in the mass range of typical galaxies in clusters, there is an excellent agreement between the observations and theoretical predictions of the concordance model.

Using gravitational lensing made it possible for the observers to visualize light from distant galaxies as it bent around mass in its way. This allowed the researchers to measure light deflections that indicated structural clumps in the dark matter.

"We used an innovative technique to pick up the effect of precisely the clumps which might otherwise be obscured by the presence of more massive structures," said Natarajan. "When we compared our results with theoretical expectations of the concordance model, we found extremely good agreement, suggesting that the model passes the substructure test for the mass range we are sensitive to with this technique."

"We think the properties of these clumps hold a key to the nature of dark matter -- which is presently unknown," said Natarajan. "The question remains whether these predictions and observations agree for smaller mass clumps that are as yet undetected."

Co-author on the study, funded by Yale University, is Volker Springel, MPA, Garching, Germany. Other collaborators include Jean-Paul Kneib, LAM - OAMP, Marseille, France, Ian Smail, University of Durham, U.K., and Richard Ellis of Caltech.

Priyamvada Natarajan:




Nanoscale polymer capsules carrying
an anti-cancer drug home in on a tumor
and a laser ruptures the capsules to
release the drug. (New Scientist)

New Scientist News Release

January 5, 2005 - Nanoscale polymer capsules could one day be used to deliver chemotherapy direct to tumors, leaving adjacent tissue unscathed. The capsules would be designed to rupture when heated by a low-energy laser pulse, delivering their payload right where it is needed.

Anti-cancer drugs would be more effective, and the side effects less severe, if they could home in on a tumor and be delivered in a single burst.

This would allow the drug to reach the concentrations needed to kill cancer cells, while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

So Frank Caruso and his team at the University of Melbourne, Australia, are developing an ingenious way of doing this. Their trick is to enclose the drug in polymer capsules that are peppered with gold nanoparticles and attached to tumor-seeking antibodies.

When injected into the bloodstream, the capsules will concentrate inside tumors.

When enough capsules have gathered there, a pulse from a near-infrared laser will melt the gold, which strongly absorbs near-infrared wavelengths. This will rupture the plastic capsules and release their contents.

Near-infrared laser

To make the capsules, the researchers repeatedly add the polymer to a suspension of drug particles around 1 micrometer wide until the polymer forms multi-layered spheres containing the drug payload. They then add gold particles around 6 nanometers in diameter to the mix, which become embedded in the polymer. Finally they add a lipid, which forms an outer layer, and the antibodies that will target tumor cells (see graphic).

In lab tests, the capsules were ruptured by a 10-nanosecond pulse from a near-infrared laser. While bulk gold has a melting point of 1064°C, gold nanoparticles melt at far lower temperatures - between 600°C and 800°C. The brief pulse was enough to melt the nanoparticles, which could be seen under an electron microscope to swell to up to 50 nanometers in diameter as they coalesced.

The pulse was too short to damage the contents of the capsule. Caruso showed that a lysozyme enzyme did not lose its activity after being released from the capsules in this way.

Safety limits

In clinical use, the laser would be able to penetrate a few millimeters of tissue. It could be shone through the skin, or be beamed inside the body via an endoscope. The 100 millijoules per square centimeter of infrared energy that would be needed to rupture the capsules is well within safety limits. "It's way below that used to remove tattoos," Caruso says.

Clinical use is still some way off, however, and even animal tests are several years away. The next refinement will be to make the capsules a lot smaller. Caruso plans to shrink them from around 1 micrometer in diameter to a couple of hundred nanometers by starting with smaller drug particles.

Caruso thinks his team's key innovation has been in making the capsules react to a laser that is harmless to the body. Gold usually absorbs light from the visible to ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which can burn tissue. But electromagnetic interactions between the gold nanoparticles in the capsules change the properties of the metal, making it absorb light from the near infrared instead. This light is the most transparent to tissue.

Observers are impressed. "This work is tremendously cool," says Matt Trau of the Nanotechnology and Biomaterials Centre at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Photo-activating the capsules without damaging surrounding tissue is the particularly innovative part, he says.

New Scientist -

Farming Underground
TOKYO January 9, 2005 (Reuters) - Tokyo residents are used to going underground to find food at basement supermarkets and restaurants -- now one firm is taking the process a step further by planning a subterranean farm.

A 1,000 sq meter former bank vault under an office building in Otemachi, a central Tokyo business district, has been chosen as the site for a high-tech farm growing lettuce, tomatoes, herbs strawberries and rice, the national daily Asahi said on Sunday.

The project is aimed at helping the Japanese capital's jobless to train for careers in agriculture, the paper said.

The underground location will allow complete electronic control of the environment with artificial lighting and heating. Plants at the "vegetable factory" will be grown hydroponically, or in a solution of nutrients, rather than soil, the Asahi said.

If the farm is a success after its first harvest in the spring, Kanto Employment Creation Organization together with recruitment agency Pasona plan to open more basement farms, the Asahi said.
NBH-1 Korean Robot Claims Human Thought

The NBH-1 robot is linked with an outside computer
through a high-speed wireless telecom network. (AFP)

SEOUL January 6, 2005 (AFP) - South Korean scientists said they had developed the world's smartest robot able to think and learn like a human.

Unveiling their creation, they said the robot that looks like a small teenager wearing a blue and grey space suit was the first wireless network-based human-like robot. It can become wiser through learning because unlike other robots, the device is linked with an outside computer through a high-speed wireless telecom network, and is able to exchange information with the server and respond quickly to real-life environments.

"This is the first network-based humanoid in the world," said You Bum-Jae of the state-financed Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), introducing the 150-centimeter (60 inches)-high robot weighing 67 kilograms (147 pounds).

"We developed this humanoid focusing on intelligence capability by taking advantage of networking technology in which South Korea is strong," he said.

Unlike already-developed humanoids whose intelligence capabilities are largely fixed with built-in circuits, the network-based humanoid relies on its outside server whose capacity can be expanded easily. Equipped with visual and force sensors, the new robot detects movements and speech, then sends the data to the server for processing and receives directions allowing it to interact with people and the environment.

At the unveiling here, the robot replied to New Year greetings from a TV commentator and shook hands with him.

It can recognize its master, detect and analyze visual and audio signals, and people's movements.

Competitor Toyota's robot (AFP)

When showed a 10,000 won (10 dollars) bank note, it said: "That's a 10,000 bank note that people would like to have."

When asked about its name, it said: "I am sorry. I don't have a name yet. Please give me one."

Then it waved its hands, saying: "I will see you again next time when I will have become wiser."

Its creators say the new robot's ability to move and walk lags behind that of the ASIMO developed by Honda of Japan. It can walk to and fro and diagonally at a maximum speed of 0.9 kilometers (0.56 miles) per hour while ASIMO is capable of running at a speed of three kilometers per hour.

The new robot is an amalgam of various technologies including those for real-time data transmission, visual, audio and force sensors as well as high-speed processing.

"Aside from enhancing its intelligence, we will make efforts to develop its capability of recognizing objects and handling them," said You of KIST.

"This robot could be used in the future as an assistant at home and offices who is highly intelligent and always ready to serve you."

Afghanistan Children at Risk from Unexploded Military Material
British Medical Journal News Report

January 6, 2005 - Unexploded military material in Afghanistan cause more injuries and deaths than landmines especially among children, according to research published on today.

Over 6,000 injuries were attributed to landmines and unexploded ordnance - which includes weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and equipment - from January 1997 to September 2002. Of these, 57% of injuries in 2002 were caused by unexploded ordnance compared to 36% by landmines - an exact reverse of statistics from 1997.

In 1997, 57% of injuries were due to landmines. In 2002 this decreased to 36%.

Children aged 5-14 years are the most at risk group, according to the researchers. Almost half (42%) of injuries caused by unexploded ordnance in children were due to the tampering or playing with explosives. Among landmine injuries in children, the proportion due to tampering or playing was three times lower (14%).

The researchers analyzed data from the surveillance database on injuries due to unexploded ordnance and landmines, maintained by the United Nations Mine Action Center for Afghanistan.

They point out that in 2000-2, Afghanistan had the highest number of reported casualties due to landmines and unexploded munitions in the world.

The researchers suggest that factors such as high visibility may contribute significantly to the numbers of deaths and injuries in children by unexploded ordnance.

Munitions should therefore be designed to be less attractive and visible to children and the debate on landmines should be widened to include threats posed by other military material.

British Medical Journal -
Nose More Complicated Than Jumbo Jet

The complicated nose - Jimmy Durante

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council News Release

January 6, 2005 - Winter colds can give you a blocked up nose that stops you smelling chimney smoke, roasting chestnuts, warming winter puddings and the other seasonal scents.

Now researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have not only discovered how air moves through the nose bringing you those smells but their work may lead to new ways of unblocking it and helping you to breathe more easily.

They have even found that the airflow through the human nose is more complicated than that over a jumbo jet's wing.

The scientists at Imperial College London have combined biological mechanics and aeronautical engineering to construct transparent 3D models of the nose. By running water or a special refractive-index-matched fluid through the models they have been able to map the flow pattern through the nasal cavity to work out where air goes when you breathe in. Tiny colored beads circulate through the model nose to simulate airflow and this is captured on fast digital cameras. Professor Bob Schroter who jointly leads the research said, "From quiet breathing to rapid sniffing, we want to know exactly what is happening."

The fluid dynamics of the nose is one of the most complex in the body, even more so than the flow of blood through the heart, with anatomical structures that cause eddies, whirls and recirculation.

Dr Denis Doorly, the other principal researcher, said, "People are used to the flows around an airplane being complicated but that is in some ways simpler than understanding the flows inside the nose. The geometry of the nose is highly complex, with no straight lines or simple curves like an aircraft wing and the regime of airflow is not simply laminar or turbulent."

The research has mapped the flow of air around anatomical landmarks in the nose, such as the conchae and has discovered why we need to breathe deeply to smell a flower. Our sense of smell relies on a sample of air reaching the olfactory bulb at the top of the nose and that requires a sharp breathe and a high velocity shot of air to reach it. The Imperial scientists have found that the geometry of the nose causes the air to eddy around in the vicinity of the bulb so you can smell the flower.

The research is a significant step forward from what had been learned about the nose from studying cadavers and animals, and may soon be helping surgeons plan their operations and drug companies to develop new ways of delivering drugs through the nose straight into the bloodstream – as well as new products to unblock the nose.


Genre News: Mickey Rooney's Ass, Desperate Housewives, Serenity, Phil Spector, King's Bullet, Incredibles & More!

Mickey's butt versus Janet's tit (AP)
Mickey Rooney's Ass Versus Janet Jackson's Tit
AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (AP) - Mickey Rooney's bare end zone won't be part of the Super Bowl advertising blitz, Fox TV said Friday. The network rejected a cold remedy commercial that includes a brief shot of the 84-year-old actor's behind, said Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermilio.

"Our standards department reviewed the ad, and it was deemed inappropriate for broadcast television," he said.

The commercial for the over-the-counter product Airborne is set in a sauna and depicts Rooney panicking when someone coughs.

His towel drops as he rushes out, revealing his rear.

Janet's tit revealed at half-time

Fox's decision wasn't affected by fallout from last year's Super Bowl halftime show on CBS, which included a flash of Janet Jackson's breast, D'Ermilio said.

"Our standards and practices haven't changed," he said.

The Federal Communications Commission levied a $550,000 fine against CBS parent company Viacom over the Jackson incident. Viacom is contesting the fine.

Rooney, whose films include the Andy Hardy series and "National Velvet," said he was disappointed by Fox's move and hoped the network would reconsider.

"I would never do anything that's in bad taste. ... I've been a family entertainer all my life," Rooney told The Associated Press. "We're not selling sex, we're selling a health product."

"I've been a family entertainer
all my life," Rooney told AP.
Mickey is shown here with Judy
Garland in the 1930s.

Rooney and his wife, Jan, are touring nationally in a stage production, "Let's Put on a Show."

Rider McDowell, co-owner of Carmel-based Airborne Inc., also defended the ad Friday: "There's nothing titillating about this spot, nor was there intended to be a sexual aspect to it."

The company has filed a complaint with the FCC to try to reverse Fox's decision, although McDowell said it was somewhat understandable "given the prevailing climate of censorship about nudity on television shows."

Hey! She's wearing a pasty! Or is
that a Borg nipple implant?

In a Jan. 3 letter to the commission, attorneys for Airborne argued the ad is not indecent and asked the FCC to either order Fox to run the ad during the game or ask Fox to provide more information on why it rejected it.

An FCC spokeswoman told USA Today that the commission, which responds to complaints after a broadcast, would never issue such an order, the newspaper reported Friday.

Given that it would cost $1.2 million to air the 15-second ad during the Feb. 6 football championship game, the company won't spend that kind of money if it can't be assured maximum effect, McDowell said.

"We had to come up something sensational that would leave people with a lingering buzz or chuckle," he said. "To edit that out would be to emasculate the ad somewhat."

Desperate Housewives UK Triumph
By Jeffrey Goldfarb

LONDON January 7, 2005 (Reuters) - The darkly comic "Desperate Housewives" has become a quick favorite in Britain, where it debuted as one of the most popular U.S. imports in UK television history. With 24 percent of TV viewers tuning in to watch the program on Channel 4 Wednesday night, the hourlong soap about the secret lives of suburbanites scored a higher share of TV watchers than such favorites in Britain as "Friends," "Law & Order," "The Simpsons" and "Sex and the City."

"Band of Brothers," the 10-part military drama from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, drew a bigger audience share than "Housewives" upon its BBC2 premiere in October 2001.

Then, 25 percent of UK viewers, who are keen watchers of World War II programs, tuned in.

"Band of Brothers" was broadcast on Time Warner Inc.'s HBO cable channel in the United States.

While 4.6 million viewers watched the first episode of "Desperate Housewives" and 5.6 million watched "Band of Brothers," fewer people were watching television on the more recent night, handing Channel 4 the relatively large market share.

In a very different era of television watching, the debut of the soap opera "Dallas," which portrayed the backstabbing ways of oil magnate J.R. Ewing and his family, lured 12.2 million viewers to the BBC in 1982. The market share was not available.

For Channel 4, which has been seeking more ratings hits to compete with the publicly funded BBC and to keep audiences from migrating to digital channels, "Desperate Housewives" surpassed its imports of "ER" and "Friends." Both eventually found large and loyal audiences.

The company spent a large sum to acquire "Desperate Housewives," according to TV industry executives, but Channel 4 has not said how much. It also had a big marketing budget for the program.

"We are delighted to start the year on such a high note," a Channel 4 spokesman said.

"ER" debuted in 1995 with a 22 percent audience share and about 5 million viewers and "Friends" the same year had an 8 percent share and 1.7 million viewers for its first episode.

"Desperate Housewives" also has served as a tonic in the United States for the ailing ABC network, owned by Disney. It was the network's most watched series debut in eight years with 21.3 million viewers.

An ITV spokeswoman said that "L.A. Dragnet" has had the strongest debut of its U.S. acquisitions, while Channel Five pointed to U.S. crime shows "CSI" and "Law & Order" as consistent favorites that also began well.

BSkyB's Sky One scored a ratings hit with the debut of the Miami-set plastic surgery drama "Nip/Tuck" last year and it was the first to bring "The Simpsons" to the UK, but did so about a decade ago when only a small percentage of households had satellite television.

None of those programs, however, had a higher market share than "Housewives" when they were first shown.

Summer Glau (right) as River in Joss Whedon's
space western (Mutant Enemy)

Serenity's Secrets

Hollywood January 7, 2005 (Sci Fi Wire) - Summer Glau, who reprises the role of the mysterious River in the upcoming Firefly movie, Serenity, told SCI FI Wire that fans will finally learn some of the secrets behind her character.

In the short-lived Fox SF show Firefly, on which the movie is based, viewers knew only that River was a genius who had been surgically altered by mysterious forces for unknown reasons.

"We were setting up all the characters," Glau said in an interview. "We were going back into the past and trying to set up each storyline for each character. And my character was just getting started.

Fans will finally learn some of the
secrets behind her character.

"And now, in the film, you're really going to see an explosion of what's really going on with River. It’s going to be exciting."

In one scene shot on a Universal Studios soundstage last August, Glau and her stunt double filmed a sequence in which her character fights a bar full of bad guys—and more than holds her own.
During a break, Glau said that she's pleased that her character figures prominently in the film.

"I'm very happy," she said. "I'm in a lot of it."

Even so, Glau admitted that it took a moment to reacquaint herself with River and the Firefly universe, which is set 400 years in the future.

"I was very nervous," she said.
"I hadn't played River for a year and a half."

"I was so close to her in the beginning and through the whole series, and then when I came in for my first read-through with the entire cast, I was shaking and sweating and I was really scared. And then after the first few days, it felt like I'd never left."

Serenity, written and directed by Joss Whedon for Universal, opens September 30th.

Lois and Lex - Kevin Spacey
and Kate Bosworth (Chip East)

Superman Movie Casts Lois and Lex
By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (Hollywood Reporter) - Superman has found his Lois Lane and his Lex Luthor.

Kate Bosworth is in negotiations to play the Man of Steel's plucky fellow reporter, and Kevin Spacey is set to play the superhero's nemesis in Bryan Singer's Superman movie for Warner Bros. Pictures.

The comic book movie would reunite the two actors, who currently appear in Spacey's "Beyond the Sea" as Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin.

The casting of Lane was a long process that ultimately rested on a chemistry test between the actress and Brandon Routh, who is playing Superman, sources said. Bosworth reportedly beat out the likes of Claire Danes, Linda Cardellini and Michelle Monaghan.

Sources said Singer wanted Spacey early on but that the Oscar-winning actor's commitment to London's Old Vic Theatre, where he is artistic director, caused scheduling snafus on the road to making a deal. Spacey, who is in rehearsals for "National Anthems" at the Old Vic, will do a limited run of "The Philadelphia Story" at the theater before moving to the Superman movie, which has a March start date.

Johnny Ramone's Statue

Johnny Ramone (AP)

LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (AP) - Late punk guitarist Johnny Ramone is being immortalized with a bronze statue at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Ramone, co-founder and guitarist of The Ramones, was 55 when he died of prostate cancer on Sept. 15, 2004, at his Los Angeles home. The statue is near the grave of bandmate Dee Dee Ramone, who died of a drug overdose in 2002.

The Johnny Ramone monument, created by artist Wayne Toth, shows Ramone playing his Mosrite guitar and it features the words, "If a man can judge success by how many great friends he has, then I have been very successful — Johnny Ramone."

Ramone's widow Linda will unveil the statue Jan. 14 during a two-hour afternoon public ceremony featuring testimonials from friends. Johnny Ramone was cremated and his wife has the ashes, spokesman Jason Padgitt said Thursday.

Hollywood Forever is the final resting place for hundreds of Hollywood icons, including Rudolph Valentino, "Ten Commandments" producer Cecil B. DeMille and Bugs Bunny voice Mel Blanc.

The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Joan's Clones On The March

Hollywood January 3, 2005 (Sci Fi Wire) - NBC has picked up Book of Daniel, a one-hour religious-themed pilot from Titus creator Jack Kenny, contingent on casting, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Joan and God (CBS)

The darkly comedic drama, which Kenny wrote on spec, centers on an Episcopalian minister and father who finds himself conversing with a hip, modern Jesus who helps navigate family problems, church politics and even his nagging reliance on prescription painkillers, the trade paper reported.

Kenny is executive producing Book of Daniel, along with Flody Suarez (8 Simple Rules). Kenny's spec script impressed NBC to take the rare step of buying a finished script not developed through the network's traditional process.

Book of Daniel will be produced through the peacock's studio sibling, NBC Universal Television Studio, the trade paper reported.

[So it begins. Soon there will be TV characters talking to God, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and Buddha - all on opposing networks. Bah! Humbug! Ed.]

Phil Spector's Transcript "One-sided"?
AP Special Correspondent

Clarkson and Spector

LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (AP) - Phil Spector's defense attorneys Friday denounced the release of grand jury transcripts in which witnesses quoted the record producer as saying he accidentally shot actress Lana Clarkson to death in his mansion and then changed his story to suggest she committed suicide. Attorney Bruce Cutler said the transcripts offered a one-sided view of evidence in the murder case.

"Much of it contains lies, half-truths and slanted testimony and is biased, prejudicial and unfair," Cutler said in a telephone interview from New York.

The transcripts portray an apparently inebriated Spector out on the town with two other women before he took Clarkson home. They also show his mansion had an arsenal of 11 guns, all registered to him and many of them fully loaded, but that the .38-caliber revolver that killed Clarkson was not registered to him or to anyone else.

Cutler said the lack of gun registration is important to Spector's defense, as is the absence of motive for the shooting.

"Does it make any sense?" Cutler said. "She was a stranger to him."

Details of Spector's gun collection and of his activities in the hours before Clarkson's death emerged in the transcripts released at the request of The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times after a legal battle in which the defense sought to keep them sealed.

Testimony by homicide detective Mark Lillienfeld contained the information about 11 guns found in the master bedroom and in Spector's office.

Under questioning by a prosecutor, the detective said Clarkson was killed by a shot from a Colt Cobra .38-caliber revolver. Lillienfeld said he ran a check on the gun and found no record of a registered owner and that he was unable to trace the weapon to any owner.

Most of Spector's guns were in holsters, the transcripts showed, and the detective testified that a blood-smeared holster found in a bureau drawer next to Clarkson's body would have fit the gun that killed her.

Phil had an arsenal of 11 guns, all registered
to him and many of them fully loaded, but
the .38-caliber revolver that killed Clarkson
was not registered to him or to anyone else.

Cutler said the defense investigation found that Clarkson was a member of the Beverly Hills Gun Club and an expert markswoman.

Spector, 64, who created rock 'n' roll's "wall of sound" recording technique, is charged with murdering Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion known as "the castle" in 2003. He is free on $1 million bail.

Alhambra police Officer Beatrice Rodriguez testified that right after Spector was handcuffed he said, "What's wrong with you guys? What are you doing? I didn't mean to shoot her. It was an accident."

That statement was not tape-recorded by detectives who later taped everything Spector said. Prosecutor Douglas Sortino told the grand jurors: "He changed his story and now he claimed to two separate officers at two different times ... that Lana Clarkson had blown her own brains out, that she had committed suicide."

Spector's chauffeur, Adriano De Souza, testified he brought the couple to the producer's mansion and waited outside in the car. At 5 a.m. he heard a sound like a pop, he said, and Spector came outside minutes later holding a gun.

"I think I killed somebody," he quoted Spector as saying.

Westside and Other New ABC Pilots

LOS ANGELES January 6, 2005 ( Pilots from "Lost" creator J.J. Abrams's company and writer-director Rod Lurie ("Line of Fire") are among four projects that ABC ordered Thursday (Jan. 6).

A drama about the salespeople at a high-end real-estate firm and a crime show from one of the authors of the bestseller "The Rule of Four" snagged the other two pilot orders, the showbiz trade papers report. The Lurie project and the cop show, which will be executive produced by John Wells ("The West Wing"), had previously received preliminary approval.

Abrams will serve as an executive producer on "What About Brian?," which sounds like it has more in common with "Felicity" than "Lost" or "Alias." The title character is a guy in his 30s who finds himself the lone remaining single in his circle of friends. Feature writer Dana Stevens ("City of Angels," "Life or Something Like It") is writing the pilot and will also executive produce.

Lurie's "Commander in Chief" is about the first woman to be elected president of the United States. The two-hour pilot will focus on the president's family and her job in equal measure.

The real-estate project, called "Westside," comes from "Jake 2.0" creator Silvio Horta, who's executive producing with Steve Pearlman and Andrew Plotkin. It will aim for a darkly comic tone similar to that of FX's "Nip/Tuck" as it depicts the highly competitive home-selling market in Los Angeles.

The Wells production is called "The Evidence" and offers a twist on the forensics procedural by working backward to deconstruct a crime after all the evidence is in hand. It was written by "Rule of Four" co-author Dustin Thomason and Sam Baum ("Life's Work"), who are executive producing with Wells.

More New Network Pilots
By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES January 6, 2005 (Hollywood Reporter) - In its first collaboration with TV producer David E. Kelley, the WB Network has greenlighted the quirky drama pilot "Halley's Comet."

In the tone of Kelley's "Ally McBeal," the project centers on a young cancer survivor who navigates her way through medical school, friendship and love.

The pilot will be written by Andrew Kreisberg ("The Simpsons"). Kelley will serve as an executive producer with Jonathan Pontell, who will direct the pilot.

In other pilot pickup news, Fox has given a thumbs-up to "House of Payne," from writer-producers Bill Chais ("The Practice") and Jeff Rake ("Boston Legal"), while CBS has given a cast-contingent order to the medical drama "3 Lbs."

"House of Payne" centers on a successful lawyer who has a nervous breakdown and teams up with a mentally disturbed lawyer with an anger problem. Together, the two represent people with all kinds of issues, not just legal ones.

"3 Lbs." revolves around brain surgeons. Peter Ocko, another "Boston Legal" producer, wrote the script.

[Sounds like the same old same old to me. Ed.]

King's Bullet on USA

Jonathan Jackson in Stephen King's Riding the
Bullet - 2004 (Freestyle Releasing)

Hollywood January 5, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - USA Network locked up a six-year exclusive deal for the supernatural film Stephen King's Riding the Bullet, which debuted last year on only 100 screens before being pulled for lack of box office, Variety reported.

For a license fee of about $1 million, USA has blown out any pay TV window so that it can start playing Bullet in a double run Jan. 23, followed by three more plays within the next 10 days, the trade paper reported.

Bullet, based on King's e-book of the same name, stars Jonathan Jackson as a man who's obsessed by the prospect of his own death and that of his mother (Barbara Hershey). It opened in mid-October in a few test markets, averaged only $1,010 a screen and was pulled, the trade paper reported.

A USA spokesman told Variety that the network does not regard the movie's failure in the theaters as a gauge of its eventual cable TV performance.

[Maybe USA should rerun in Kingdom Hospital, another Kingly flop which did better than Bullet. King is OK, but oversaturated. How many King books / movies can you summarize without cheating and looking up the title? Ed.]

Incredibles and Nip/Tuck Nominated by PGA
By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES January 7, 2005 (Reuters) - "The Incredibles," an animated film about a family of superheroes, was a surprise pick on Wednesday when the Producers Guild of America announced its nominations for its best movie of the year award.

Also nominated for the awards presented on Jan. 22 were comedy hit "Sideways," boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby," epic "The Aviator," about eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes," and "Finding Neverland," about the man who created "Peter Pan."

Incredible Best Picture? (Pixar/Disney)

Because animated movies seldom are given the same respect as live-action films, the selection of "The Incredibles," one of the year's big box office draws, was a surprise.

Richard Gladstein, the producer of "Finding Neverland," told Reuters he was also surprised by the inclusion of "Incredibles" because the Producers Guild of America only has one film award for best film production compared with other groups' awards that honor music, special effects or animation.

For example, the Oscars, which are the U.S. film industry's top honors, has a separate category for best animated film.

Gladstein said that his own film "was not a very expensive or elaborate film, so I imagine what got to them was the content and the emotion of the film, as opposed to extravagance."

"The Incredibles" has been a huge hit for Pixar Animation Studios Inc and The Walt Disney Co, raking in more than $250 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices. That trounces the other films against which it competes. "Sideways," for example, has taken in $22 million in the same markets.

Awards and nominations from industry associations like the Producers Guild often help narrow the choices for Oscars, the U.S. film industry's top honors. Many of the group's members also belong to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars.

The Oscars will be given out on Feb. 27, and next on the awards watchlist in Hollywood will be the Directors Guild of American nominations on Jan. 6 and the Screen Actors Guild nominations on Jan. 11. The Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, represents U.S. film and television actors.

The Producers Guild also gives awards to TV shows, and in the category for best drama, long-time hits "The West Wing," Mafia show "The Sopranos," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Six Feet Under," about a family of undertakers, compete with relative newcomer "Nip/Tuck," about two plastic surgeons.

Among the TV comedy nominees was "Arrested Development," about the family of an imprisoned real estate developer which earned U.S. TV's top award, the Emmy, this past September. It will go up against "Will & Grace," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Scrubs," and "Sex and the City."

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