|Cars Cause Cancer! |
Latest UFO Reports!
Species Extinction in 50 Years!
Nude Nefertiti & More!
|Cars Cause Cancer!|
|Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Press Release |
June 9, 2003 - Assessing a community's cancer risk could be as simple as counting the number of trucks and cars that pass through the neighborhood.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have identified a significant association between vehicle traffic and curbside concentrations of carcinogens benzene, 1,3-butadiene and particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
"This study provides a unique, real world assessment of the relationship between traffic volume, vehicle class, the weather and curbside concentration of carcinogens. Our findings give us a basis for assessing the public health gains from alternate fuels, control technologies or, best of all, the removal of traffic emissions from our neighborhoods through non-fossil fuel mass transit."
|Supreme Court Vs. LA Smog|
|By Anne Gearan |
WASHINGTON June 10, 2003 (AP) — The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide if Los Angeles can go beyond the federal Clean Air Act to impose tougher antismog rules for city buses, airport shuttles, taxis, and other vehicles.
The court agreed to hear an appeal from oil companies and diesel engine manufacturers who claim that local pollution rules conflict with national standards. The appeal argued that the national Clean Air Act takes precedence over local rules for new car emissions.
The case could settle an issue that has been most prominent in southern California, with its infamous smog, but which also applies in other polluted areas. California often is in the forefront of antipollution efforts, and other states or cities piggyback on programs or innovations that work in California.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the local rules last year.
"The 9th Circuit's decision allows local governments to impose varying and conflicting emissions standards on the purchase of new vehicles, balkanizing emissions standards across the country, undermining the regulatory authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, and thus negating plainly stated congressional intent," the Engine Manufacturers Association argued in asking the high court to hear the case.
At issue are antipollution rules for public and private fleets of at least 15 vehicles. The rules require fleet operators to buy only low-emission or alternative-fuel vehicles when replacing or expanding their fleets. Alternatives to gasoline or diesel fuel include natural gas, propane, and electricity.
The rules were imposed in 2000 and apply to fleets of vehicles such as buses, airport shuttle vans, taxis, limousines, waste haulers, and other trucks. The rules apply to Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties, which together have the nation's worst air-quality problem.
Cars are the main cause of the problem, and diesel emission "is the most significant individual toxic air pollutant" in the region, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted in upholding the rules.
Car makers filed a friend of the court brief opposing the rules and noting that Los Angeles buyers cannot purchase some vehicles that are legal for sale elsewhere in California.
The case is Engine Manufacturers Association v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, 02-1343.
|New UFO Reports - ARC Conference|
|June 10, 2003 (eXoNews) - Those little green men are still at it! Here are some recent stories of UFO sightings from NUFORC. |
NUFORC investigated the following early June sighting in Miami by a "seemingly exceptionally credible witness."
"Too much coffee kept me tossing all night. My second floor bedroom over looks a 8x16 foot balcony with 2 floor length doors facing north. Lately I can look out these doors and see most of the Big Dipper in full. Last night at a few minutes after 4 am I awoke and I looked out and saw 2 disk shaped objects moving north parallel to each other. I knelt up in bed to see the second one pass the other. Than the first one passed the other and slow down. Both staying on the same plane. This happened 3 times when they both turned right or east.
"The speed was amazing. There was a commercial jet in the background and I noticed it. The 2 objects disappeared. There were no blinking lights on either object. They both had the color of etched glass. A light source that seemed to come from within. I would estimate the distance from me of between 2000-4000 feet away."
So they are still out there, despite cancellation of The X-Files. If you want to learn more, check out the ARC conference in June.
Admission at the door will be $65 donation per adult and $20 per child, 12 and under, limited to seating.
|Mars Bars Zap Trans Fat|
|By Zoe Taylor |
June 6, 2003 (Courier-Mail) - Chocolate experts are rewriting the recipe for the world-famous Mars bar amid safety fears about one of its ingredients. Australian manufacturers of the No.1-selling chocolate bar are working on a new formula, aimed at retaining the texture and taste of the Mars but removing an ingredient known as trans fat which has been linked to heart problems.
The hydrogenated vegetable fat is used in thousands of processed foods, including those marketed as healthy, such as low-fat spreads and breakfast cereals. However, there is growing evidence of a link between the chemical and problems with "bad" cholesterol, associated with clogging of the arteries and heart disease.
The UK manufacturer of Mars has removed trans fat from the bars. A spokesman for Masterfoods Australia New Zealand said that the ingredient would be removed within six to 12 months.
In the US, the concern is so great that government experts have declared there is no safe level for human consumption. The US Food and Drug Administration is considering ordering manufacturers to put a health warning products containing trans fat.
A spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia New Zealand said consumers could check the amount of saturated fat - including trans fat - on nutrition labels on processed foods, which became a requirement last year. But she added: "It is complex, because even healthier foods, like olive oil, will contain saturated fat as well as unsaturated."
The National Health Medical Research Council is due to publish new dietary guidelines within a month. They are expected to advise a reduction in saturated fats, but not outline any specific restrictions on trans fat.
The decision by Mars is likely to put pressure on the manufactures of other processed foods including Cadbury, Kellogg's, Nestle and Kraft. The UK Food Standards Agency warns on its website: "Trans fats raise the type of cholesterol in the blood that increases the risk of coronary heart disease."
A spokesman for the British Mars manufacturer, Masterfoods UK, said: "Although the science on hydrogenated fats is still controversial, it is undeniable that there is a level of public concern on the issue.
"For that reason we have been working on a program to reduce our use of hydrogenated fats without sacrificing the taste our consumers want. We have already succeeded in removing hydrogenated fats from Mars and Snickers bar recipes."
The ingredient is now expected to be removed from other Mars products. A spokeswoman for Cadbury said ingredients were under constant review, but there were no specific plans to remove trans fats.
|Major Species Extinction Threat Within 50 Years!|
|Ohio State Press Release |
COLUMBUS OH June 10, 2003 – If the world’s human population continues to rise at its current rate, the planet will increase the numbers of threatened species at least 7 percent worldwide in the next 20 years and twice that many by the year 2050.
In a recent model of the impact human population growth has on biological diversity, Ohio State University anthropologist Jeffrey McKee and his colleagues warn that the United States alone will add at least 10 additional species to the "threatened" list within 50 years.
The prediction, carried in a paper published in the journal Biological Conservation, arose from an effort by McKee to separate the effects of the numbers of humans from questions about how they use – or abuse – the environment.
McKee, an associate professor of both anthropology and of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at the university, was seeking a direct correlation between population growth and the number of threatened species. To do so, he had to balance the size of each country against the number of people living within its borders in order to develop an accurate population density.
"We knew that there are a number of natural components (that can affect species vulnerability)," he said. "We wanted to put all of the countries in the study on a level playing field in terms of their particular environments and the number of species present."
Once they combined the natural factors together with the human factors and did the tabulations, McKee says the result was an 88 percent predictability of how many species would be threatened if human population continued to grow.
The remaining 12 percent, he says, is explainable using other variables, such as the number of endemic species in a specific country as well as differences in patterns of human behavior. The greater the diversity, he said, the more likely his estimate could be wrong because of the greater number of species still unknown to science.
McKee’s prediction that the United States would face 10 additional threatened species in the next half-century may seem minimal, he said, but it isn’t.
He linked the total numbers of known mammals and birds from international databases with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of Threatened Species. To this he added the U.S. Census Bureau’s current data on human population and its projections for world population growth. Climatic data such as annual precipitation and temperatures were factored in as well.
|Newspaper May Run Ads Listing Suspected Prostitutes|
|By Joe Strupp |
NEW YORK June 9, 2003 (Editor & Publisher) - The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., could become the latest weapon to fight prostitution and other local petty crimes, if Newark city officials have their way.
The Newark City Council is considering a plan to publish the names of all suspected prostitutes, their suspected customers, and those who commit other non-violent offenses in advertisements in the Advance Publications-owned daily.
Asking local media to publicize the names of those arrested has been done in the past in an effort to deter offenders, but this may be the first time law enforcement officials have sought to provide the publicity through an advertisement.
Star-Ledger Publisher Linda Dennery would not say if the newspaper was willing to accept such advertisements, telling E&P, "the newspaper has the right of refusal on all advertisements."
|One Thousand Wonderful Stars Discovered in Centaurus A|
|European Southern Observatory Press Release |
June 10, 2003 - An international team led by ESO astronomer Marina Rejkuba has discovered more than 1000 luminous red variable stars in the nearby elliptical galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128).
Brightness changes and periods of these stars were measured accurately and reveal that they are mostly cool long-period variable stars of the so-called "Mira-type". The observed variability is caused by stellar pulsation.
This is the first time a detailed census of variable stars has been accomplished for a galaxy outside the Local Group of Galaxies (of which the Milky Way galaxy in which we live is a member).
It also opens an entirely new window towards the detailed study of stellar content and evolution of giant elliptical galaxies. These massive objects are presumed to play a major role in the gravitational assembly of galaxy clusters in the Universe (especially during the early phases).
This unprecedented research project is based on near-infrared observations obtained over more than three years with the ISAAC multi-mode instrument at the 8.2-m VLT ANTU telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory.
Among the stars that are visible in the sky to the unaided eye, roughly one out of three hundred (0.3%) displays brightness variations and is referred to by astronomers as a "variable star". The percentage is much higher among large, cool stars ("red giants") - in fact, almost all luminous stars of that type are variable.
Such stars are known as Mira-variables; the name comes from the most prominent member of this class, Omicron Ceti in the constellation Cetus (The Whale), also known as "Stella Mira" (The Wonderful Star).
Its brightness changes with a period of 332 days and it is about 1500 times brighter at maximum (visible magnitude 2 and one of the fifty brightest stars in the sky) than at minimum (magnitude 10 and only visible in small telescopes.)
Stars like Omicron Ceti are nearing the end of their life. They are very large and have sizes from a few hundred to about a thousand times that of the Sun. The brightness variation is due to pulsations during which the star's temperature and size change dramatically.
In the following evolutionary phase, Mira-variables will shed their outer layers into surrounding space and become visible as planetary nebulae with a hot and compact star (a "white dwarf") at the middle of a nebula of gas and dust.
Several thousand Mira-type stars are currently known in the Milky Way galaxy and a few hundred have been found in other nearby galaxies, including the Magellanic Clouds.
See more details and photos at http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2003/pr-13-03.html
ESO Paranal Observatory - http://www.eso.org/paranal
|National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Press Release |
June 10, 2003 - How do you weigh a dust mite? Or determine the force required to pull a molecule apart? Such tasks require a device that measures nanonewtons---forces 1 billion times smaller than the force required to hold an apple against Earth's gravity.
Nanonewton forces are estimated with atomic force microscopes and instruments that measure the properties of ultrathin coatings like those used on computer hard drives or turbine blades. But the accuracy of such estimates is unknown because they haven't been calibrated with force standards based on the kilogram, the internationally accepted unit of mass.
Luckily, there is hope on the horizon. In a paper presented June 4 at the annual conference of the Society of Experimental Mechanics in Charlotte, N.C., National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) engineers describe a prototype instrument that reliably measures forces as small as tens of nanonewtons and simultaneously ties those measurements to forces a thousand times larger based on the kilogram.
The device works by connecting a well-calibrated spring-loaded scale with a set of electrodes that generates an electrostatic force. The instrument balances the downward force produced by a one-milligram mass artifact, by keeping the distance between the electrodes constant but varying the amount of voltage between them. The result is a force determination accurate to a few parts in 10,000 that is measured with voltage, electrical capacitance and distance (the location of the electrodes as measured in wavelengths of laser light). "It is much easier to make small changes in voltages, than to make small mass standards," explains NIST mechanical engineer Jon Pratt.
The NIST researchers hope to extend the instrument's resolution to tens of piconewtons (trillionths of a newton).
|Humans Vs. Hairy Apes|
|London June 9, 2003 (BBC) - There is a new theory to answer the question of why humans are largely hairless, unlike their furry close relatives, the apes. The generally accepted theory until now has been that hairlessness evolved to control body temperature in hot climates. |
But Professor Mark Pagel, of the University of Reading, UK, and Professor Sir Walter Bodmer, of Oxford University, UK, argue that humans became hairless to evade biting flies and parasites and to increase their sexual attractiveness.
The heat control theory runs into problems when scientists look at situations where it is very hot or very cold, they argue.
Professors Pagel and Bodmer write in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters that past humans were able to respond flexibly and effectively to their environment by producing fire, shelter and clothing.
So hairlessness became possible and desirable as clothes and shelter could be cleaned or changed if infected with parasites.
The pair say their theory also has a better answer to why there are differences between hair covering in men and women.
"Hairlessness would have allowed humans to convincingly 'advertise' their reduced susceptibility to parasitic infection and this trait therefore became desirable in a mate and the greater loss of hair in women follows to stronger sexual selection from men to women.
|Nude Nefertiti and Her Mummy|
|EGYPT June 8, 2003 (Agence France-Presse) - Supreme Council of Antiquities has protested to Germany over an "insulting" display at a Berlin museum in which a bust of ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti is mounted onto the statue of a nude woman. |
"The SCA today sent urgent letters to Egypt's ambassador in Berlin, to Germany's ambassador in Cairo and to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation" to remove the exhibit, the council's Secretary-General Zahi Hawas told AFP late yesterday.
Hawas, who deemed the display an "insult to Egypt's history" and a "defacement of Egyptian antiquities", said the statue of the icon pharaonic beauty dated to 1372 BC, during the 18th dynasty.
The government newspaper Al-Akhbar Al-Yom yesterday carried a front-page color photograph of the Berlin display, which depicts a slender body in an upright position.
Inside, the newspaper ran a story with the headline "Queen Nefertiti Naked in a Berlin Museum!" and carried a photograph of two men mounting the bust onto the bronze statue.
Another shows one of them staring at the statue with the caption: "The German bandit looks at his crime."
The bust, discovered in the 19th century in Tell al-Amarna in southern Egypt, had been smuggled out of the country illegally, Hawas said.
But, he added: "Egypt is responsible for its antiquities abroad ... and will not sit idly by in the face of such moves."
Nefertiti was the wife of pharaoh Akhenaton, also known as Amenhotep IV. Akhenaton is remembered in history for having switched his kingdom to monotheism with the worship of the one sun god, Aton. He established his capital in Tell al-Amarna.
The bust belongs to the Egyptian Museum at Berlin-Charlottenburg.
Nefertiti's Mummy Found
By Sue Pleming
Washington June 9, 2003 (Reuters) - A British Egyptologist announced on Monday her team may have identified the mummy of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, the wife and co-ruler with pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to legendary boy King Tutankhamun.
Joann Fletcher, a mummification specialist from the University of York in England who led the expedition, said her team may have unearthed Nefertiti from a secret chamber in tomb KV35 in Egypt's Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Nefertiti, which means "the beautiful woman has come," has long been considered one of the most powerful women of ancient Egypt. Her tomb was found near that of King Tut, the teen-age king who ruled Egypt in the 14th century BC.
"After 12 years of searching for Nefertiti it was probably the most amazing experience of my life," said Fletcher in a statement released by the Washington-based Discovery Channel, which funded the expedition.
Like her husband, Nefertiti's name was erased from historical records and her likeness defaced after her death.
Discovery Channel site - http://www.discovery.com
|Genre News: Spike Vs. Stripperella, J Lo, DS9, Janeane Garofalo, V, Nemo, Chad, Hilary, Angel & More!|
|Spike Lee Vs. Stripperella |
By SAMUEL MAULL
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK June 9, 2003 - Filmmaker Spike Lee admits he is biting a hand that feeds him but he says he is suing Viacom Inc. because its planned Spike TV, with programs like Pamela Anderson's "Stripperella" cartoons, will damage his reputation.
Lee was in court Monday to hear his lawyer Johnnie Cochran argue that the communications giant is changing the TNN network's name to Spike TV in a deliberate attempt to capitalize on Lee's name and prestige.
Cochran asked State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub for an injunction blocking the name change. "They hope to get a boost in the ratings," the lawyer told Tolub. "They don't have a right to misappropriate his name to do that."
Viacom, which owns the CBS network and Showtime movie channel, bought TNN in 2000. It announced in April that it would change TNN's name to Spike TV on June 16 in an attempt to attract more men to an audience that is already about two-thirds male.
Spike TV, billing itself as "the first network for men," shows reruns of "The A-Team," "Baywatch" and "Miami Vice," and sports entertainment such as pro wrestling, "American Gladiators," "Car and Driver Television" and "Trucks!"
The network also carries an animated series featuring Pamela Anderson as the voice of Stan Lee's "Stripperella," an undercover operative who is also a stripper.
"The name is suggestive and evocative of the kind of programming this network will be offering," he added.
J Lo Marries Monster
Goddard's girlfriend discovered his body lying on a bed at about noon on Sunday, Los Angeles County coroner's office spokesman Craig Harvey said. A preliminary investigation indicated his death was a possible suicide by an overdose of as-yet unknown "illicit, illegal" drugs, Harvey said.
He built a career on portraying villains in many of Hollywood's top action movies, including tough-guy Kano in New Line Cinema's "Mortal Kombat."
Complete Deep Space Nine Trading Cards Due
In a column in the Chicago Sun-Times, Bill Zwecker cites an unnamed source close to Garofalo who remains convinced that the show's failure was an example ''of a network bowing to the perceived power of the Bush administration. Janeane is convinced her politics and all the hate mail the right-wing lobby stirred up during the war is what is behind all this.''
This show of political advocacy has earned the actress an unceasing string of taunting from the consistently right-leaning "Page Six" page of the New York Post, and threats and catcalls from other voices on the right. Answering the title of Zwecker's column, "Did liberal-bashers cost Garofalo her sitcom?" a poster on the gopusa.com message board responds simply, "I certainly hope so. If it didn't, we weren't trying hard enough."
British Censors OK The Trip - 40 Years Later
Hollywood June 9, 2003 (Hollywood Reporter) - Twenty years after NBC's hit sci-fi miniseries "V" invaded the small screen, the network is bringing the aliens back with "V: The Second Generation," a three-hour telefilm from the original creator Kenneth Johnson.
It centered on the Visitors, aliens from a distant planet who'd come to Earth with the promise to solve the world's problems through their high technology.
After gaining control of the planet through subterfuge and media manipulation, the Visitors began to methodically kill their enemies.
Visitor Home Page - http://www.enqueue.com/v
Hendrix Guitar Fails to Sell at Auction
Don't Flush Nemo!
Chad Michael Murray is Hilary Duff's Prince
The project is set to go into production June 30 with Mark Rosman at the helm and studio-based Dylan Sellers producing with Clifford Werber and Gaylord's Hunt Lowry. Duff toplines the "Clueless"-meets-"Cinderella" story, a modern-day comedy set in Southern California's San Fernando Valley.
LOS ANGELES June 6, 2003 (Zap2it.com) - One of the worst things about being a TV actor is waiting to hear whether or not the network is going to pick up your show for another season.
Especially anxious are cast members of an "on the bubble" show that could go either way.
Official Angel site - http://www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||139,00.html