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Hydrogen Car Hype!
Elephant Man, Orphan Star Clusters,
Rosetta Stone, The TRON Guru,
Hubble's Dark Matter
& More!
Hydrogen Car Hype!

University of California - Berkeley Press Release

Berkeley July 17, 2003 - As politicians and the public leap aboard the hydrogen fuel bandwagon, a University of California, Berkeley, energy expert suggests we all step back and take a critical look at the technology and consider simpler, cheaper options.

In a paper appearing in the July 18 issue of Science magazine, Alex Farrell, assistant professor of energy and resources at UC Berkeley, and David Keith, associate professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, present various short- and long-term strategies that they say would achieve the same results as switching from gasoline-powered vehicles to hydrogen cars.

"Hydrogen cars are a poor short-term strategy, and it's not even clear that they are a good idea in the long term," said Farrell. "Because the prospects for hydrogen cars are so uncertain, we need to think carefully before we invest all this money and all this public effort in one area."

Farrell and Keith compared the costs of developing fuel cell vehicles to the costs of other strategies for achieving the same environmental and economic goals.

"There are three reasons you might think hydrogen would be a good thing to use as a transportation fuel - it can reduce air pollution, slow global climate change and reduce dependence on oil imports - but for each one there is something else you could do that would probably work better, work faster and be cheaper," Farrell said.

President George W. Bush has proposed a federally funded, five-year, $1.7 billion FreedomCAR and Fuel Initiative to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells, a hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies.

Several announced candidates for president have also proposed major research efforts to develop hydrogen-fueled vehicles and technologies to produce, transport and store the hydrogen, while many scientists have praised the initiative.

For many people, the attraction of hydrogen is that it produces no pollution or greenhouse gases at the tailpipe. For others, the attraction is that hydrogen is a research program, not a regulation, and that some hydrogen-related research will also help develop better gasoline-powered cars.

One problem, said Farrell, an expert on energy and environment issues, is that this glosses over the issue of where the hydrogen comes from. Current methods of producing hydrogen from oil and coal produce substantial carbon dioxide. Unless and until this carbon can be captured and stored, renewable (wind or solar) and nuclear power, with their attendant problems of supply and waste, are the only means of producing hydrogen without also producing greenhouse gases.

In addition, Farrell points out that setting up a completely new infrastructure to distribute hydrogen would cost at least $5,000 per vehicle. Transporting, storing and distributing a gaseous fuel as opposed to a liquid raises many new problems.

More billions of dollars will be needed to develop hydrogen fuel cells that can match the performance of today's gasoline engines, he said.

The benefits might be worth the costs of fuel-cell development and creating a new infrastructure, however, if air pollution, greenhouse gases and imported petroleum could not be reduced in other ways. But they can, said Farrell.

Improvements to current cars and current environmental rules are more than 100 times cheaper than hydrogen cars at reducing air pollution. And for several decades, the most cost-effective method to reduce oil imports and CO2 emissions from cars will be to increase fuel efficiency, the two scientists found.

"You could get a significant reduction in petroleum consumption pretty inexpensively by raising the fuel economy standard or raising fuel prices, or both, which is probably the cheapest strategy," Farrell said. "This would actually have no net cost or possibly even a negative cost - buying less fuel would save more money than the price of the high-efficiency cars. The vehicles would still be large enough for Americans and they would still be safe."

Technologies are now on the shelf to achieve better fuel efficiency, he said. All that's lacking are economic incentives to encourage auto makers to make and drivers to buy fuel-efficient cars.

"Automobile manufacturers don't need to invest in anything fancy - a wide number of technologies are already on the shelf," he said, quoting, among other studies, a 2002 report by the National Academy of Sciences. "The cost would be trivial compared to the changes needed to go to a hydrogen car."

Petroleum substitutes like ethanol that can be used in today's vehicles also are a possible way to reduce oil imports, the researchers say, but more research is needed to reduce the environmental impact and cost of these options.

If one goal is to reduce greenhouse gases, it would be cheaper, Farrell and Keith argue, to focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants than to focus solely on hydrogen-powered vehicles. But if passenger cars are targeted, fuel economy is still the key.

If it becomes necessary to introduce hydrogen into the transportation sector, the scientists say, a better alternative is to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells for vehicles such as ships, trains and large trucks instead of cars.

Because these heavy freight vehicles have higher emissions, this strategy could provide greater air quality benefits. On-board hydrogen storage would be less of a problem also, and it would require a smaller fuel distribution network.

Farrell and Keith provide figures that support their arguments and conclude that more research needs to be done before committing ourselves to a hydrogen economy, which might begin to make sense 25 years down the road.

"Hydrogen cars are an attractive vision that demands serious investigation, but it's not a sure thing," they wrote.

Farrell speculates that hydrogen has become attractive to people across the political spectrum in part because it doesn't challenge drivers to change their habits. It also doesn't challenge the auto industry to change its behavior, providing, instead, a subsidy for research that will lead to better cars whether they are hydrogen-powered or gasoline-powered.

U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) -

DOE FreedomCAR site -

Elephant Man Mystery Revisited

Discovery Health Channel Press Release

July 21, 2003 - The Discovery Health Channel has united three distinguished medical researchers from three different continents in an attempt to put an end to the mystery of what really afflicted Joseph Merrick, notoriously known as the Elephant Man.

Through the analysis of ancient DNA, scientists will take viewers along on their journey to uncover the truth behind the legend in THE CURSE OF THE ELEPHANT MAN, premiering Wednesday, July 30 at 9 PM ET.

For the first time ever, scientists were incredibly successful in extracting DNA from Joseph Merrick's century-old hair and bone in their investigation of his condition.

In addition, descendants of the Elephant Man's family, many who didn't even know they were related to him, were reunited.

While it was considered that Merrick may have suffered from either type 1 neurofibromatosis (NF 1) or Proteus Syndrome, the DNA evidence did not conclusively prove that Merrick had either on its own or the two together. Based on published clinical features, cancer geneticists and other clinical geneticists believe that Merrick had at least Proteus syndrome.

Moreover, because NF 1 is more common, some in the program suggest another intriguing possibility - that the Elephant Man was tragically cursed with both debilitating diseases. The program gives viewers a sensitive and poignant inside look at these diseases and offers a strand of hope for people today who suffer from similar deformities and debilitations.

Most interestingly, THE CURSE OF THE ELEPHANT MAN will reveal images of what Merrick would have looked like had he not been burdened by his deformities. These images were developed with the use of relatives' facial templates and high-quality imaging equipment.

Merrick, born in 1862 in the English city of Leicester, showed signs of deformity at the early age of five. By the time he reached his teenage years, Merrick was completely deformed and had been rejected by his community and even his own parents. For several years, Merrick joined a traveling circus. He became widely known for his role as a fairground freak until he met a surgeon who arranged his admission in the Royal London Hospital, where he ultimately died at the age of 27.

THE CURSE OF THE ELEPHANT MAN is produced for the Discovery Health Channel by NHNZ. Andrew Waterworth is the executive producer for NHNZ. Executive producer for the Discovery Health Channel is Mark Poertner. Executive in charge of production is Bob Reid.

Curse of The Elephant Man premieres Wednesday, July 30 at 9 PM ET on the Discovery Health Channel.

Discovery Health Channel -

Midget Dinosaur Stolen from Australian Museum

SYDNEY July 21, 2003 (Reuters) - Thieves broke into a museum near Sydney and snatched the fossil of a 110-million-year-old midget dinosaur on loan from China, officials said Monday.

The skeleton of the parrot-beaked dinosaur, one of only six worldwide, was an evolutionary link between modern-day birds and the "typical Tyrannosaurus-type of huge dinosaur," said Gavin Fry, director of the Newcastle Regional Museum, north of Sydney. "It's the size of a dog but the skeleton is more like that of a turkey," he told Reuters.

The specimen of Psittacosaurus mongoliensis, about 24 inches high and 35 inches long, was on loan from the Beijing Natural History Museum as part of an exhibition tracing the evolution of present-day birds from dinosaurs.

Thieves eluded police and guards Sunday and carried off the skeleton within five minutes of breaking through an armored window, having first scaled a spiked, eight-feet fence.

The theft was probably motivated by impulse.

"Apparently there is a market, but in this instance I'd suspect it was more opportunism and bravado than a professional job," Fry said. "There were other things in the exhibition which were more valuable and would excite more scientific interest."

The museum has offered a $3,250 reward for information leading to the return of the dinosaur, but declined to say how much it was worth.

West Nile Virus Found in Birds
Oxford UK July 19, 2003 (BBC) - Evidence of the potentially deadly West Nile virus has been found in a high proportion of British birds, scientists have revealed. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and the researchers have warned that the risk of the virus spreading to humans is increasing with the impact of climate change.

It can cause fatal inflammation of the brain in humans. There have been no cases of the virus in the UK but it killed more than 270 people in the US last year.

Scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford tested birds mainly in Cambridgeshire, but also in Dorset and South Wales. They found evidence of the virus in more than half the birds tested - an "unexpectedly high" proportion, BBC science correspondent Christine McGourty said.

It was found in more than 20 species in all, including crows, magpies, swallows, chickens, turkeys and ducks.


While the birds were healthy and showed no symptoms, scientists did detect antibodies to the virus. This indicated the birds had come into contact with the virus and that their natural defenses had successfully fought it off. It is thought the virus is being brought into the country by migrating birds.

The researchers said there was no immediate threat to humans - but added the warning about climate change increasing the risk. The research, published on Saturday, comes after increased surveillance measures for the virus were introduced in the UK.

The chief medical officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, announced the measures in early July, saying the risk to human health was low, but doctors and health officials had been urged to be on the look-out for symptoms.
Orphan Star Clusters Roam the Universe

IAU Press Release

Sydney July 17, 2003 – US and UK astronomers have discovered a population of previously unknown star clusters in what was thought to be the empty space between galaxies. The research is being presented today at the International Astronomical Union’s 25th General Assembly being held in Sydney, Australia, by Dr. Michael West of the University of Hawaii.

Most galaxies are surrounded by tens, hundreds or even thousands of ancient star clusters, which swarm around them like bees around a hive. Our own Milky Way galaxy has about 150 of these "globular clusters", as they are called. Globular clusters are systems of up to a million stars compacted together by gravity into dense sphere-shaped groupings. Studies of globular clusters have provided many important insights over the years into the formation of their parent galaxies.

The discovery of this new type of star cluster was made using images obtained last year with the Hubble Space Telescope and the giant 10-meter Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. "We found a large number of ‘orphaned’ globular clusters," said Dr West. "These clusters are no longer held within the gravitational grip of galaxies, and seem to be wandering freely through intergalactic space like cosmic vagabonds."

Although the lonely existence of such star clusters had been predicted for half a century, it is only now that astronomers have finally been able to confirm their existence. Dr West’s team published preliminary findings about its discovery in April this year, and is today presenting new results at the International Astronomical Union’s 25th General Assembly, being held in Sydney, Australia.

"The new data from the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Telescope confirm our discovery, and are providing new insights to the origin of these objects," said Dr West.

According to West, these globular star clusters probably once resided in galaxies just like most of the normal globular clusters that we see in nearby galaxies today. However, the pull of gravity from a passing galaxy can rip stars and star clusters loose -- in some cases entire galaxies can be damaged or destroyed by violent collisions or by the collective gravitational pull from their galactic neighbors.

It is thought that the partial or complete destruction of their parent galaxies spilled the globular star clusters into intergalactic space.

Finding these globular clusters hasn’t been easy. With only one exception, all of the intergalactic globular clusters the teams have detected are so far away (millions of light-years) that they just look like tiny points of light in a vast sea of blackness.

"Because they're so far away these objects are very faint, almost a billion times fainter than the unaided human eye can see," said Dr West. "Detecting such faint objects pushes the limits of even what the Hubble Space Telescope can do."

"By studying these intergalactic vagabonds in greater detail we hope to learn more about the numbers and types of galaxies that may have been destroyed so far during the life of the universe," said Dr West. "Some of these star clusters might also eventually be ‘adopted’ by other galaxies if they stray close enough to be captured by their gravity."

The researchers are currently analyzing new Hubble Space Telescope images they recently obtained, and are planning to obtain more at the end of this year.

International Astronomical Union General Assembly -

Klamath Salmon Plan Found Illegal
Oakland CA July 17, 2003 (Earthjustice) - A federal court rejected the Bush administration’s plan to protect threatened Klamath River coho salmon from the harmful effects of the Klamath Irrigation Project. The court ruled that the plan was illegal because it fell well short of meeting the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. Salmon advocates have been pointing to the plan’s inadequacies since it was released in May 2002.

"This decision gives hope to the families that depend on Klamath River salmon," said Glen Spain of PCFFA. "This case was about restoring balance to the basin so that fishermen, Native Americans, and irrigators can all receive a fair share of the water. We will now work on a new vision for the basin, and the legislation recently introduced by Congressman Thompson is the perfect place to start." PCFFA is the west coast’s largest organization of commercial fishing families.

A coalition of commercial fishermen, conservation groups, and Congressman Mike Thompson filed the lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service and Bureau of Reclamation in September 2002 because the agencies’ 10-year plan failed to leave sufficient water in the river for salmon and relied on future, speculative actions from the states of California and Oregon to make up for the missing water. In the first five months of the challenged plan, low flows caused by unbalanced irrigation deliveries killed over 33,000 adult salmon.

Because Klamath River coho are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service must approve any long-term irrigation plan devised by the Bureau of Reclamation. In May 2002, the Fisheries Service held that the Bureau’s plan would jeopardize the continued survival of the Klamath River coho. However, when the Fisheries Service issued its final approval of the Bureau’s plan, it failed to require adequate measures to protect the salmon.

Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice said, "A promise to provide a fraction of the water salmon need, sometime in the future, from somewhere, meets neither the requirements of the law nor of sound science. The fish in the Klamath are in real trouble right now; they need real action, not vague promises."

Inadequate river flows that result when the Bureau of Reclamation diverts water for irrigation in the high desert hurt salmon in a number of ways. Newly hatched salmon, called fry, need safe habitat in and around bank vegetation to hide and feed. Lower river flows force these young fish into the mainstream of the river where they are easy prey. Year-old salmon, called smolts, need adequate river flows in the spring to safely make the journey to the Pacific Ocean. Adult salmon, returning upriver to spawn, are hurt or killed by high water temperatures and poor water quality due to low river flows.

"The Bush Administration has worked hard to maintain the status quo in the Klamath Basin, but last summer the status quo killed 33,000 salmon," said Bob Hunter of WaterWatch of Oregon. "Hopefully this court ruling will end the Administration’s policy of denial and delay and put us on track to actually solve this crisis."

The Klamath was once the third mightiest salmon-producing river in the continental US, behind only the Columbia and Sacramento in productivity. The River has been reduced to a shadow of its former self largely as a result of the Bureau of Reclamations’ re-plumbing of its headwaters to maximize irrigation in the arid upper basin desert. The long-term answer could include buying back some of the agriculture land in the Klamath Basin to reduce water demand.

The lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of PCFFA and Institute for Fisheries Resources, joined by The Wilderness Society, WaterWatch of Oregon, Northcoast Environmental Center, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Klamath Forest Alliance, Headwaters, and Congressman Mike Thompson. Plaintiffs were joined by the Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes, and amicus briefs supporting the plaintiffs were filed by the Cities of Arcata and Eureka, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties, and the Humboldt Bay, Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District.

Klamath Basin Coalition -
Egypt Demands Rosetta Stone!

London July 21 2003 (The Telegraph) - Egypt is demanding that the 2000-year-old Rosetta Stone be returned to Cairo and has threatened to pursue its claim "aggressively" if the British Museum does not agree to give it back.

The stone, which became the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics, was found by Napoleon's army in 1799 in the Nile delta, but has been in Britain for 200 years.

"If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity," said Zahi Hawass, director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo. He has begun negotiations with the museum.

"Otherwise I will have to approach them using a different strategy . . . the artifacts stolen from Egypt must come back."

Dr Hawass said he had been discussing a three-month loan to the Cairo Museum, before the stone's permanent return to Egypt.

The Rosetta Stone, which dates from 196 BC, was discovered in 1799 in the western delta of the Nile. The stone provided a key to understanding hieroglyphic text because it was accompanied by a Greek translation.

The French ceded it to Britain under the Treaty of Alexandria in 1801 and it has been exhibited in the British Museum since 1802.

Vivian Davies, keeper of the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the museum, indicated that a voluntary return was unlikely.

"We are working with our Egyptian colleagues to preserve the heritage of today rather than concentrate on problems - or issues, perhaps I should say - that are very old," he said.

The Egyptian Government has asked for the stone as part of a program to return "stolen" antiquities from all over the world. It also wants to retrieve the bust of Queen Nefertiti from the Berlin Museum, the statues of Hatshepsut in the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, Paris.

The British Museum -

Chocolate Mousetrap

Cheshire UK July 17, 2003 (BBC) - British inventors have come up with a new way to catch mice - by luring them into a chocolate-scented trap.

In tests, the smell of chocolate proved irresistible to rodents, more so than vanilla or even cheese.

Thanks to a little ingenuity, chocolate mousetraps are now on the market.

They don't need bait because they are made of a special plastic enhanced with chocolate extract.

"The uniqueness is that the essence is within the plastic," says Ricky Singh of Innovation-Direct at the University of Warwick, which offers support to small businesses.

Scientists at Warwick helped Sorex Ltd, a Cheshire-based pest control company, design and test the technology.

It is well known in rodent circles that mice are partial to chocolate and the firm had come up with the idea of using a cup of melted chocolate as bait. Subsequent trials by the two teams led to a way to add chocolate essence to plastic and a potential breakthrough in rodent control.

"The partnership has led to the development of a unique product that is baitless, making it very easy to use in just one step," says Martina Flynn, Rodent Control Product Manager with Sorex Ltd.

TRON Guru Ain't Bill Gates

By George Nishiyama

TOKYO July 21, 2003 (Reuters) - He could have been as rich as Bill Gates, but Ken Sakamura says he's fine earning enough to lead an "ordinary life." For in the world of computers the obscure Japanese engineer stands in the top rank along with Gates, having developed an operating system that is more widely used than even Microsoft Corp's Windows.

Sakamura's system, TRON, is used to run items ranging from digital cameras to car engines, just as Windows operates personal computers.

What sets the two systems apart -- and the fortunes of Sakamura and Gates -- is that while Windows must be bought from Microsoft, TRON is distributed free of charge. Had Sakamura decided to charge even one cent to each user of TRON, he would easily be a dollar billionaire by now, possibly even rivaling Gates, reputed to be the world's richest man with a fortune estimated at $43 billion by Forbes magazine.

"I'm the engineer type, not a businessman," says Sakamura, 51, a professor at the University of Tokyo who developed the software nearly 20 years ago.

"I think Mr Gates is more of a businessman," he laughs, adding that he is happy with the salary paid by the school. "As long as I'm leading an ordinary life, I have no problems."

According to a Tokyo University official, the annual salaries of its professors, excluding bonuses and allowances, range from seven to 10 million yen ($59-85,000).

TRON is an "embedded" operating system running inside microprocessors, which control electronic devices ranging from mobile phones to fax machines and even kitchen appliances. Sakamura estimates that it is used in some three to four billion such appliances around the world, far outnumbering Windows, which controls an estimated 150 million computers.


When it was first revealed in 1984, TRON, which can be modified for use on personal computers, was hailed in Japan as a homemade software which could break the dominance of Microsoft and free Japanese computer firms the burden of paying for the basic software.

But the dream was shattered in 1989 when the United States threatened to designate TRON as an unfair trade barrier under the Super 301 trade law when it learned of plans by the Japanese government to use the software for computers in schools.

While Washington in the end did not name TRON as a trade barrier, the Japanese government abandoned the plan and many computer firms severed ties with TRON, fearful of angering the United States, their biggest market.

Sakamura said he was puzzled by the initial U.S. move and disappointed at the ensuing reaction of Japanese firms, but it allowed him to concentrate on the original aim of developing TRON for use on microprocessors rather than on computers.

"I didn't have time to feel angry or sad. I had to get on with working on digital cameras and mobile phones," Sakamura told Reuters in an interview, adding that he was not worried about TRON's future as he was confident of its technological strengths. The reason why it was not used for personal computers was not a technical one, it was a political one."


Computer engineers say TRON, which stands for "the real-time operating system nucleus," excels in quickness, or performing tasks real-time, and is free of the "freezing" that is a bugbear of personal computer users.

"We've become used to our computers freezing maybe once a day, but you can't have a mobile phone freezing in the middle of a conversation," said Masayuki Makino, a manager in charge of developing software for mobile phones at NEC Corp.

Toyota Motor Corp, which uses TRON to control car engines, said the software is also ideal from a cost standpoint because it is an "open source," like Linux. That means the codes making up a program can be obtained free of charge, allowing engineers to modify it according to their needs, like a chef improvising on an original recipe.

"We're fortunate that there was something which met our needs regarding both cost and quality," a Toyota spokeswoman said.

Nearly 15 years after it faded into oblivion in the world of personal computers, TRON now boasts a share of around 60 percent as the operating system for microprocessors.

Holding a TRON microprocessor chip the size of a pinhead between his fingers, Sakamura said the market for such instruments and related businesses will grow to around 80 trillion yen in 10 years. But he insists he has no regrets about not making money from his invention, and has no hard feelings toward Gates.

"It's not good to charge people for using something which is like a social infrastructure. It also inhibits the development of the computer industry. The very basic infrastructure should be free," he said. "But Mr Gates is free to do whatever he wants, as we live in a world of capitalism."

Asked about the operating system inside his own computer, Sakamura smiles broadly. "TRON, of course. I don't use Windows." ($1=117.93 Yen)

A Pizza a Day Could Keep Cancer Away

Rome July 21 2003 (Cape Times) - There is good news for lovers of pizza: a study has found eating the hugely popular meal regularly could help stave off certain forms of cancer.

The eating habits of more than 3 000 Italians who had cancer of the stomach or digestive tract were monitored and compared with a sample of about 5 000 people with other diseases.

The results showed that people who ate pizza once or several times a week were less likely to develop cancer than those who chose not to eat it at all.

According to the study, carried out by the Pharmacology Institute in Milan, the risks of getting mouth cancer plunged by as much as 34 percent, those of oesophagal cancer by 59 percent and those of colon cancer by 26 percent.

The secret according to Silvano Gallus, who led the research, appeared to be connected to the preventive properties of the humble tomato.

But Milan-based epidemiologist Carlo La Vecchia said: "There is nothing to show pizza alone is responsible for these results. Pizza could simply be indicative of a lifestyle and food habits - the Italian version of a Mediterranean diet."

Hubble Maps Dark Matter

IAU Press Release

July 17, 2003 - Using the powerful trick of gravitational lensing, a European and American team of astronomers have constructed an extensive ‘mass map’ of one of the most massive structures in our Universe. They believe that it will lead to a better understanding of how such systems assembled and the key role of dark matter.

Clusters of galaxies are the largest stable systems in the Universe. They are like laboratories for studying the relationship between the distributions of dark and visible matter.

In 1937, Fritz Zwicky realised that the visible component of a cluster (the thousands of millions of stars in each of the thousands of galaxies) represents only a tiny fraction of the total mass.

About 80-85% of the matter is invisible, the so-called 'dark matter'. Although astronomers have known about the presence of dark matter for many decades, finding a technique to view its distribution is a much more recent development.

Led by Drs Jean-Paul Kneib (from the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, France/Caltech, United States), Richard Ellis and Tommaso Treu (both Caltech, United States), the team used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to reconstruct a unique ‘mass map’ of the galaxy cluster CL0024+1654. It enabled them to see for the first time on such large scales how mysterious dark matter is distributed with respect to galaxies. This comparison gives new clues on how such large clusters assemble and which role dark matter plays in cosmic evolution.

Tracing dark matter is not an easy task because it does not shine. To make a map, astronomers must focus on much fainter, more distant galaxies behind the cluster. The shapes of these distant systems are distorted by the gravity of the foreground cluster. This distortion provides a measure of the cluster mass, a phenomenon known as ‘weak gravitational lensing’.

To map the dark matter of CL0024+1654, more than 120 hours observing time was dedicated to the team. This is the largest amount of Hubble time ever devoted to studying a galaxy cluster. Despite its distance of 4.5 thousand million light-years (about one third of the look-back time to the Big Bang) from Earth, this massive cluster is wide enough to equal the angular size of the full Moon. To make a mass map that covers the entire cluster required observations that probed 39 regions of the galaxy cluster.

The investigation has resulted in the most comprehensive study of the distribution of dark matter in a galaxy cluster so far and extends more than 20 million light-years from its centre, much further than previous investigations. Many groups of researchers have tried to perform these types of measurements with ground-based telescopes. However, the technique relies heavily on finding the exact shapes of distant galaxies behind the cluster. The sharp vision of a space telescope such as NASA-ESA's Hubble is superior.

The study reveals that the density of dark matter on large scales drops sharply with distance from the cluster centre. This confirms a picture that has emerged from recent detailed computer simulations. As Richard Ellis says: "Although theorists have predicted the form of dark matter in galaxy clusters from numerical simulations based on the effects of gravity alone, this is the first time we have convincing observations to back them up. Some astronomers had speculated clusters might contain large reservoirs of dark matter in their outermost regions. Assuming our cluster is representative, this is not the case."

The team noticed that dark matter appears to clump together in their map. For example, they found concentrations of dark matter associated with galaxies known to be slowly falling into the system. Generally, the researchers found that the dark matter traces the cluster galaxies remarkably well and over an unprecedented range of physical scales. "When a cluster is being assembled, the dark matter will be smeared out between the galaxies where it acts like a glue," says Jean-Paul Kneib. "The overall association of dark matter and ‘glowing matter’ is very convincing evidence that structures like CL0024+1654 grow by merging of smaller groups of galaxies that were already bound by their own dark matter components."

Future investigations using Hubble's new camera, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), will extend this work when Hubble is trained on a second galaxy cluster later this year. ACS is 10 times more efficient than the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 used for this investigation, making it possible to study finer mass clumps in galaxy clusters and help work out how the clusters are assembled.

International Astronomical Union General Assembly -

Genre News: Stargate, Enterprise, Dead Zone, Spider-man, Angel, MI-5, Tru Calling, Angelina Jolie & More!

Genre Rumors and News
By FLAtRich

Hollywood July 21, 2003 (eXoNews) - Just keep in mind that news and rumors are mostly the same thing in Tinseltown, but according to the Stargate fan site Stargate SG-1 Solutions, TV Guide will announce next week that Sci Fi plans an eighth season for TV's most rerun space travelers.

Stargate gets the front cover of the July 26th issue and Trekers are already crying about the headline:

"Forget Trek! Stargate SG-1 is now sci-fi's biggest hit!"

Talk about backstabbing the Federation when it's down! Ask any Treker and the chances are good you'll get this response: where would Stargate be without all those "sort of like Star Trek" plotlines?

There is another rumor going around that Stargate: Atlantis has been revived. The proposed spin-off was previously pronounced dead by MGM in the spring.

Meanwhile back on the Enterprise, TrekWeb reports that Star Trek Monthly magazine will feature a reader forum called Channel Open to "to stimulate debate on the direction of the franchise." By the bat'leth of Kahless, as if there wasn't enough of this whining already!

TrekWeb says the mag will encourage fans to chime in with suggestions on how to patch the hull and "present these ideas to various members of the Trek production team, ranging from graphic artists to the producers."

Oh, sure! And we all remember how quickly Rick Berman responded to fan outcry at that yuppie-rock Enterprise theme song. (I still turn the sound off over the opening credits.)

Speaking of the Enterprise theme song, DS9's theme song composer Dennis McCarthy racked up an Emmy nomination for his dramatic underscore for "The Expanse" episode of Enterprise. Dennis also wrote the theme to Parker Lewis Can't Lose and other series tunes.

Time to face the music, Mr. Berman, and you've already got the talent onboard.

And speaking of music (say this is fun), Mr. Monk got a Randy Newman tune for his second season theme, but the delightful original theme for season one of Monk wasn't missed by the Academy. Jeff Beal's sweet little jazz ditty was nominated for Outstanding Main Title Theme. I like Newman anytime, but I thought the Beal theme fit Monk better.

And speaking of complaints, apparently I wasn't the only one who got mad as hell about the excessive pop-ups running over The Dead Zone's first summer episode.

In an online letter, DZ producer Lloyd Segan thanked fans for complaining about USA's abusive advertising during "The Storm" episode and said "we want you to know that we heard you loud and clear. As a result of your input, USA has promised that the promos will be less intrusive and less frequent..."

Thank god somebody is listening, although I can't help but wonder if DZ's executive producer Michael Piller wasn't the first to call and complain :o)>

USA has been good to its word so far. The number of intrusive pop-up ads has indeed diminished on USA shows in the last week. FX, on the other hand, seems to have increased the size of theirs. I saw one last night that took a full third of the screen.

For those who missed my previous pop-up rant, I repeat: KILL UGLY POP-UPS! Pop-ups are antagonistic to viewers and therefore negative advertising. Eliminate them all, I sez!

Dark Horizons reports that Bryan Singer has completed his treatment of X3, the second sequel for X-Men, and indicated that he will be back as director.

Not satisfied with the embarrassment (no pun intended) of Stripperella, Stan Lee will be developing "Hef's Superbunnies", an animated show for Playboy Enterprises. The hell with it! I give up, Stan. Do what you want!

Whether this is just for Hef's own private screenings or the rest of us remains to be seen (pun intended), like a lot of Playboy's media projects.

Oh, and don't get taken in by MTV's hype (does anybody anymore?) about the "new" Spider-man cartoon series. If Stan Lee misses with Stripperella, Sony TV really blows it with this all-CGI, yuppie version of Spidey.

I watched two episodes and the entire Spider-man social relevance message thing has been digitized out.

Peter Parker and his friends simply have no teen angst left, which was the point of Spidey, wasn't it? A slickly produced, video-game looking effort minus all of the grit and soul of the movie and original Marvel comics.

Rumors of another Jurassic Park sequel (would be Jurassic IV) are back. Sci Fi Wire says Keira Knightley of Disney's Pirates is being considered to run with the dinosaurs.

Sci Fi Wire also says Joss Whedon has asked Sarah Michelle Gellar about making guest appearances on Angel this season and the beloved ex-Buffy is "very open to the idea." The fanbase seems to prefer the idea of Willow crossing over, though. (See our current eXoNews Buffy Poll results and vote if you haven't.)

Cinescape thinks Warners will soon pull the plug on the Catwoman feature starring Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry. Cinescape also disclaims its claim saying "For now take our scoop as an unconfirmed rumor that comes from good sources." Don't they all?

Stargate SG-1 Solutions -

Stargate SG1 Official site -

Star Trek -

Dead Zone's Lloyd Segan -

Dark Horizons -

Sci Fi Channel -

Angel Official site -,7353,||139,00.html

eXoNews Buffy Poll -

Cinescape -

A&E Launches MI-5
AP Television Writer

New York July 19, 2003 (AP) - MI5, or just plain Five, was founded a century ago to protect England's national security from internal threats.

This London-based agency, whose staff today totals 1,900, is now the subject of a smart new spy drama, "MI-5," which, complete with supplemental hyphen, has been imported for American viewers by A&E.

Undercover work. Slick, high-tech devices. Gritty plot twists. Attractive agents. They're all part of the "MI-5" recipe. Plus the difficulties of protecting day-to-day life in Britain while maintaining one's own personal life. (How is senior case officer Tom Quinn supposed to have a relationship with the women he loves when he can't tell her who he really is?)

"MI-5" premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. EDT with an episode that centers on the search for an anti-abortion terrorist.

A second episode in the series' regular 10 p.m. slot finds Tom and a female colleague posing as a married couple to nail a businessman suspected of planning a race war.

Matthew Macfadyen stars as Quinn, with Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo and Peter Firth ("Equus") among the co-stars of this gripping series, originally seen on BBC television.

[The official MI-5 web site features a contest where viewers can win a "Spy Cruise to London" along with the usual games and desktop backgrounds. Ed.]

MI5 Official site -

Dushku Speaks on Tru Calling
By Daniel Fienberg

LOS ANGELES July 19, 2003 ( - In late February, as the demise of UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" began to loom, the show's passionate fandom speculated eagerly over the possibility of a spin-off starring Eliza Dushku as one-time rogue slayer Faith.

Those hopes were stymied when Dushku signed on to star in the FOX pilot "Tru Calling," opting for a new beginning, rather than reliving a past role.

"I started the character of Faith five years ago and the character kind of traveled with me as I grew up and was me in a lot of ways," Dushku tells reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour.

"And I love that show and that character's been good to me and I love the people involved and there wasn't a doubt in my mind we could have made an interesting show, but I think that you kind of go down the road less traveled sometimes."

Dushku's choice of divergent paths led her to the role of Tru Davies, a recent college graduate coming to terms with a great, if somewhat perplexing power. Working a medical internship in the city morgue, Davies discovers that the corpses are talking to her.

As if that isn't bad enough, she then has to relive the entire day to save the life of the body on the slab, prevent a murder.

Equal parts "Run, Lola, Run," "Groundhog Day" and "Early Edition," "Tru Calling" finds Dushku again playing a young woman chosen by unseen forces to save lives. Once again, Dushku's character faces her newfound skills with incredulity and once again, the character is driven by unresolved psychological issues (this time from dealing with her mother's murder).

"She's strong, but she's not psychotic," Dushku says, comparing the characters. "I mean, let's be real, Faith was a little over-the-top sometimes, you know."

"A lot of the characters that I've played have been given this opportunity to do something where it's overwhelming and there's enough to worry about as a 22-year-old or as a teenager in your normal life without all the drama and chaos and this whole fantasy aspect," she continues.

For Tru, the dilemmas of ordinary life include a high-strung sister with a drug problem (played by Jessica Collins) and a brother who can't seem to stay out of trouble (Shawn Reaves). Saving lives and trying to keep your family together doesn't leave much time for dating or work, but Tru's biggest challenge may be protecting herself from a gang of starving, scruffy castaways and a certain sextet of buddies from Manhattan.

FOX has scheduled "Tru Calling" for 8:00 p.m., opposite the battling behemoths of "Survivor" and the final season of "Friends."

"We have a young star in a young show and what we like to believe is a really fresh concept," says the show's creator Jon Harmon Feldman. "We really think that there's an available audience of teens out there who have loved Eliza on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel' and in her movies and will come and find us."
[You bet we will! Ed.]

"I think that there is room for the show on that night," Dushku adds confidently. "So, I am not intimidated. Thank you very much."

Fox 2003 Fall Schedule -

Quinn, Fenn, Sedgwick and Bacon Aboard Showtime's 'Cavedweller'
By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES July 19, 2003 (Hollywood Reporter) - Aidan Quinn, singer Jill Scott and Sherilyn Fenn have joined Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon in Showtime's original movie "Cavedweller."

"Cavedweller," an adaptation of Dorothy Allison's novel of the same name, centers on Delia (Sedgwick), who leaves her abusive husband (Quinn) and their two young daughters to join a rock group as a singer-songwriter and starts a new life, giving birth to a third daughter with the band's lead singer (Bacon).

After the lead singer's death, Delia returns to her hometown to try to reconnect with the daughters she abandoned, and has to confront her ex-husband.

Grammy-nominated Scott will play another member of the rock group and a close friend of Delia's. Fenn will play Delia's hometown friend.

Lisa Cholodenko is set to direct "Cavedweller" from a script by Anne Meredith. Sedgwick is executive producing the film with Orly Adelson and David Yudain.

Quinn most recently played the title role in A&E's "Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor." Fenn, of "Twin Peaks" fame, toplined the Showtime series "Rude Awakening."

Showtime -

Cameron Diaz Will Repay Illicit Funds

NEW YORK July 18, 2003 (AP) - Cameron Diaz, Alanis Morissette and other former celebrity clients of convicted Wall Street fund manager Dana Giacchetto have agreed to repay the money he illegally diverted to them, Web site says.

Diaz has repaid $100,000 after being sued for $208,600. Richard Lovett, president of Creative Artists Agency, returned $75,000 after being sued for $150,000; Tim Roth returned $60,000; screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, $90,000; Morissette, $1,800.

Leonardo DiCaprio's father, George repaid $2,000  and composer Philip Glass repaid $2,500, the crime Web site said.

Giacchetto, 40, was convicted in 2001 of improperly diverting funds to his Hollywood clientele from the accounts of ordinary clients, claiming they represented investment gains.

He had pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges accusing him of squandering nearly $10 million of his Hollywood clients' funds on a lavish, drug-abusing lifestyle.

As a result of "fraudulent conveyance" lawsuits filed last year by the court-appointed trustee handling the Cassandra Group's bankruptcy, Diaz, Morissette and others recently agreed to return funds that will be used to repay Cassandra's creditors, said the Web site, which displayed documents from the Manhattan Bankruptcy Court.

The Web site said some of the largest sums still remain unpaid, including Tobey Maguire, $350,000; Courteney Cox, $228,727; Ben Stiller, $96,094; Jon Favreau, $19,027; Dan Cortese, $53,125; and Steven Van Zandt, $150,000.

Giacchetto, who was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, entered a Bronx halfway house earlier this year; he is scheduled to leave July 28.

The Smoking Gun site -

Angelina Jolie Says UN Changed Her life

NEW YORK July 18, 2003 (AP) - Angelina Jolie says being a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations has changed her life.

"I used to lie there at night and wonder what it was that I needed to do," she tells Cosmopolitan magazine in its August issue. "That's how I stumbled on going to Washington and learning about the U.N. and traveling around the world. It completely changed me."

Jolie, 28, who stars in the upcoming "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life," says her 2-year-old son, Maddox, is the most important thing in her life.

She adopted Maddox from Cambodia last year as her marriage to Billy Bob Thornton was collapsing. The couple divorced in May.

"Before Maddox, when things would go bad, I had a tendency to be depressed or self-destructive or lost, and I can't afford to be any of that now," the Oscar-winning actress tells the magazine.

"He has given me strength. I've never known this kind of relationship or love before."

One challenge facing Jolie is figuring out how to tell Maddox about Santa Claus "because I don't want to tell him he exists when he doesn't," she says.

"I don't know about the Easter Bunny either. Maybe I'll have to lighten up."

Jolie won a supporting-actress Oscar for 1999's "Girl, Interrupted."

Her upcoming films also include "Beyond Borders" and "Sharkslayer." The new Lara Croft adventure opens July 25th.

Official Cradle of Life site -

Martin & Lewis - The Sequel?

BUFFALO NY July 20, 2003 (Herald Sun) - The first time a Martin and a Lewis got together, they became the most famous comedy act of the post-World War II era.

Now, the sons of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are wondering whether lightning could strike twice.

Ricci Martin and Gary Lewis performed together for the first time at the Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo, New York, in a hastily arranged pairing that both say appealed to them right away.

"I just want to have fun with the whole thing," said Lewis, on tour with his 1960s band the Playboys.

"I'm proud of my dad, and I'm sure he's proud of his dad, so why not?"

The two sang a song together and talked about their fathers after Martin finished his stage tribute to Dean Martin.

Lewis then took the stage with his band.

Not only was the weekend show the first time the two performed together, it was the first time they had ever met.

They set up the joint appearance by phone last week.

Charmed Producer Spelling Blasts Reality TV

LOS ANGELES July 16, 2003 ( - When the producer of "The Heights" "Models, Inc." and "Queens Supreme" wants to rant about bad television, it's only fair to listen and nothing sets Aaron Spelling off like asking his opinion about the ongoing popularity of reality shows.

"I have to be very careful about answering that," Spelling warns reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour.

"But I've got to tell you, the reality trend makes me puke."

[I never thought I say this, but bless you, Aaron Spelling! Bravo to you, sir, and I hereby officially forgive you for The Mod Squad! Ed.]

"I hate it when you mince words," says E. Duke Vincent, Spelling's longtime partner on timeless productions like "90210" and "Dynasty."

"We have been approached many times about doing it," Spelling explains. "We're not going to do it, at least not as long as I'm alive."

While waiting for Spelling's posthumous dating show, viewers can tune in to any of of the duo's three fall shows (which makes them "failures"), "Charmed" and "7th Heaven" on The WB and the new cop drama "10-8" on ABC.

Spelling instantly fell for the Danny Nucci/Ernie Hudson drama, which is about a veteran in the L.A. County Sheriffs Dept. training a wiseacre younger partner, but which the producer describes as focusing on a love affair between two men.

The partners' only hesitation concerned the show's somewhat obscure title.

"'10-8' is the radio call sign for 'in-service' and I was banking on curiosity out of the confusion of what the title meant to bring us into it to figure out what it meant," the show's creator Jorge Zamacona circuitously explains. "I believe after the first couple episodes it will be clear."

"Aaron said, 'The name of the show we're going to do, read the script. It's called '10-8,''" Vincent recalls. "I said, 'What?' He said, ''10-8.'' I said, 'How are they going to advertise this? How are they going to promote it? Are they going to say, ''10-8,' watch '10-8' at nine, eight o'clock Central, seven o'clock on the West Coast. '10-8' a 9:00, 7:00, 8:00. Watch '10-8.'"

"I says, 'It's not going to make any sense. They'll never see it. They'll never find it.' Now I think they're going to find it pretty good."

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