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Planet Found Circling Dying Star

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC Science Editor

San Francisco January 10, 2002 (BBC) - Astronomers have made the first discovery of a planet orbiting a giant star. Unlike our Sun, this giant, called iota Draconis, is an old star that has already burned its hydrogen fuel at its core.

Such stars grow much bigger towards the end of their lives and this one has reached a radius 13 times that of the Sun.

What is interesting, however, is that iota Draconis has not devoured the planet during its expansion - a fate that may befall the Earth when our star dies in a few billion years' time.

"Until now, it was not known if planets existed around giant stars," says Sabine Frink of the University of California, US.

"This provides the first evidence that planets at Earth-like distances can survive the evolution of their host star into a giant."

Iota Draconis, also known as Edasich, is located at a distance of 100 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Draco. It is currently visible with the unaided eye in the morning sky, just east of the Plough.

Like all of the extrasolar planets that have been discovered orbiting Sun-like stars, the one around iota Draconis was detected using the Doppler technique - where the gravitational pull of the planet causes a wobble in the measured velocity of the parent star.

The planet completes one orbit every 1.5 years and the shape of its orbit is elliptical rather than circular. Its mass is 8.7 times the mass of Jupiter.

Because the Doppler technique determines the minimum mass, the astronomers say, it is possible that the true mass of this companion is a brown dwarf - a "failed star" that lacks enough mass to start nuclear fusion.

However, even if this companion is a brown dwarf, the researchers say its detection around an evolved star represents a first.

Astronomers say it is more difficult to detect the signature of a planet orbiting a giant star because they often pulsate, producing wobbling effects that could give the illusion they had planetary companions.

It is believed that our Sun will eventually undergo a similar fate to iota Draconis. Several billion years from now, when the Sun evolves into a giant star, the Earth's temperature will rise to several hundred degrees Celsius.

"The oceans will evaporate, and the water vapour will escape the Earth's atmosphere because of the high temperature," says Andreas Quirrenbach of the University of California.

"Observing the fate of this companion to a dying star is a reminder of the ultimate fate of our own Earth," says Debra Fischer of the University of San Francisco.

Earth Granted Reprieve

By Helen Briggs
BBC News

Sussex January 9, 2002 (BBC) - The Earth has been granted a reprieve. Astronomers believe the planet may now escape being swallowed up when the Sun dies in about 7.5 billion years' time.

The new calculations actually extend the length of time the Earth will be habitable by 200 million years. But, in the end, the surface of the planet will simply become too hot for life to survive. Earth-dwellers will have to find alternative homes in space, say astrophysicists in the UK.

Dr Robert Smith, Reader in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, said: "We had better get used to the idea that we shall need to build our own survival capsules - the planets are simply too far apart for planet-hopping to be a viable solution.

"Perhaps this is the ultimate justification for developing an International Space Station."

Solar evolution theory predicts that our star will eventually run out of fuel. As it does so, it will expand to an enormous size, becoming what is known as a red giant. It will then swallow the closest planets, including Mercury and Venus. Until now, astronomers had always thought that the Earth would be engulfed too.

But the Sussex team thinks the figures are wrong. According to new calculations, the orbit of the Earth will increase slightly beyond the outer atmosphere of the red giant, as its gravitational pull weakens. If this is the case, the Earth will escape destruction - although its surface will be charred.

"Previous calculations suggested that the Earth will be vaporized by being swallowed up by the Sun," Dr Smith told BBC News Online. "Our calculations show that the Earth will survive as a body but it will still be lifeless because it will get so hot that nothing will be able to survive on its surface."

The new figures are based on theoretical calculations checked against data from real stars. They predict that it will be 5.7 billion years before the planet becomes too hot to sustain life.

Dr Smith told BBC News Online: "One effect of the calculations is that we may have 200 million years longer than previous people have thought."

Other scientists are less optimistic. Professor James Kasting, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University, US, believes water on Earth will boil away in about one billion years' time, spelling doom for the planet.

He told BBC News Online: "The story for life on Earth is long over by the time the Sun becomes a red giant. The question of what happens 6-7 billion years from now is interesting from an academic point of view but that's not when life will end."

The new calculations raise another concern, albeit more mundane.

"The text books will have to be slightly changed because we no longer think that the Earth will be swallowed up by the Sun but it will be frazzled to a cinder," said Dr Smith.

Our Sun Is Made of Iron!

Washington January 10, 2002 (UofM) - For years, scientists have assumed that the sun is an enormous mass of hydrogen. But in a paper to be presented today at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Washington, D.C., Dr. Oliver Manuel says iron, not hydrogen, is the sun's most abundant element.

Manuel, a professor of nuclear chemistry at the University of Missouri- Rolla, claims that hydrogen fusion creates some of the sun's heat, as hydrogen -- the lightest of all elements -- moves to the sun's surface. But most of the heat comes from the core of an exploded supernova that continues to generate energy within the iron-rich interior of the sun, Manuel says.

"We think that the solar system came from a single star, and the sun formed on a collapsed supernova core," Manuel says. "The inner planets are made mostly of matter produced in the inner part of that star, and the outer planets of material form the outer layers of that star."

Manuel will present his the evidence for his assertion in his paper, "The Origin of the Solar System with an Iron-rich Sun," at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the AAS' 199th annual meeting at the Hilton Washington and Towers in Washington, D.C. In addition, Cynthia Bolon, a UMR graduate student in chemistry who has studied with Manuel, will present related research in her paper, "Repulsion and Attraction between Nucleons: Sources of Energy for an Iron-rich Sun and for First Generation Stars," following Manuel's presentation.

Manuel says the solar system was born catastrophically out of a supernova -- a theory that goes against the widely-held belief among astrophysicists that the sun and planets were formed 4.5 billion years ago in a relatively ambiguous cloud of interstellar dust.

Iron and the heavy element known as xenon are at the center of Manuel's efforts to change the way people think about the solar system's origins.

Manuel believes a supernova rocked our area of the Milky Way galaxy some five billion years ago, giving birth to all the heavenly bodies that populate the solar system. Analyses of meteorites reveal that all primordial helium is accompanied by "strange xenon," he says, adding that both helium and strange xenon came from the outer layer of the supernova that created the solar system. Helium and strange xenon are also seen together in Jupiter.

Manuel has spent the better part of his 40-year scientific career trying to convince others of his hypothesis. Back in 1975, Manuel and another UMR researcher, Dr. Dwarka Das Sabu, first proposed that the solar system formed from the debris of a spinning star that exploded as a supernova. They based their claim on studies of meteorites and moon samples which showed traces of strange xenon.

Data from NASA's Galileo probe of Jupiter's helium-rich atmosphere in 1996 reveals traces of strange xenon gases -- solid evidence against the conventional model of the solar system's creation, Manuel says.

Manuel first began to develop the iron-rich sun theory in 1972. That year, Manual and his colleagues reported in the British journal Nature that the xenon found in primitive meteorites was a mixture of strange and normal xenon (Nature 240, 99-101).

The strange xenon is enriched in isotopes that are made when a supernova explodes, the researchers reported, and could not be produced within meteorites.

Three years later, Manuel and Sabu found that all of the primordial helium in meteorites is trapped in the same sites that trapped strange xenon. Based on these findings, they concluded that the solar system formed directly from the debris of a single supernova, and the sun formed on the supernova's collapsed core. Giant planets like Jupiter grew from material in the outer part of the supernova, while Earth and the inner planets formed out of material form the supernova's interior.

This is why the outer planets consist mostly of hydrogen, helium and other light elements, and the inner planets are made of heavier elements like iron, sulfur and silicon, Manuel says.

Strange xenon came from the helium-rich outer layers of the supernova, while normal xenon came from its interior. There was no helium in the interior because nuclear fusion reactions there changed the helium into the heavier elements, Manuel says.

Milky Way's Bright Lights Big City

NASA January 9, 2002 - NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has made a stunning, high-energy panorama of the central regions of our Milky Way galaxy. The findings are an important step toward understanding the most active area of the Milky Way as well as other galaxies throughout the universe.

Like a sprawling megalopolis, the new Chandra images show hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas around a supermassive black hole.

"The center of the galaxy is where the action is," said Q. Daniel Wang of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "With these images, we get a new perspective of the interplay between stars, gas and dust, as well as the magnetic fields and gravity in the region. We can see how such forces affect the immediate vicinity and may influence other aspects of the galaxy."

Wang presented the montage of 30 separate Chandra images today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, and in a paper published in the Jan. 10, 2002, issue of the journal Nature. The images, made with the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) July 16-21, 2001, covered a 400- by 900-light-year swath of the center of the galaxy.

One immediate result was that the team could separate out the individual X-ray sources from the diffuse glow produced by hot gas. "We can now see that the sources are responsible for most of the X-rays from highly ionized iron previously attributed to the diffuse glow," said Eric Gotthelf, of Columbia University in New York, a co-author. "So we must now revise our notion of the hot gas, which appears to be about 10 times cooler than previously thought. It's only a relatively mild 10 million degrees!"

The diffuse X-ray emission seems to be related to the turmoil and density of matter in the inner Milky Way. Stars are forming there at a much more rapid rate than in the galactic "suburbs." Many of the most massive stars in the galaxy are located in the galactic center and are furiously boiling off their outer layers in searing stellar winds. Supernova explosions are far more common in the region and send shock waves booming through the inner galaxy.

And then there is the three-million-solar-mass black hole at the epicenter. Although Chandra recently observed a small flare from the vicinity of the central supermassive black hole, the power output near the black hole remains relatively low.

However, an unexplained fluorescence of iron atoms, observed by the team to be associated with molecular clouds a few hundred light-years away, may indicate that the supermassive black hole was hundreds of times brighter in the past. Alternatively, the fluorescence could be due to high-energy particles called cosmic rays produced by supernovae or bygone eruptions from the supermassive black hole.

"The galactic center is dominated by very high pressures due to the hot gas component and the strong magnetic fields," said Cordelia Lang, also of the University of Massachusetts, and a co-author. "It's a nice place to visit with a telescope but I wouldn't want to live there.

"The Chandra map shows that the high-pressure and high-temperature gas is apparently escaping from the center into the halo of the galaxy. "A galaxy is a sort of ecosystem, and the activity in the center can seriously affect the evolution of the galaxy as a whole," said Wang. "Astronomically, the center of the Milky Way is really in our backyard, and, therefore, provides an excellent laboratory to learn about the cores of other galaxies."

The ACIS instrument was developed for NASA by Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program, and TRW, Inc., Redondo Beach, Calif., is the prime contractor. The Smithsonian's Chandra X-ray Center controls science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

More information on Chandra and full-sized images [Too big to show here! - ed.] associated with this release are available on the World Wide Web at:  and

Immense Asteroid Buzzes Earth!

LOS ANGELES January 8, 2002 (AP) - An asteroid large enough to demolish France hurtled past the Earth at a distance of a half-million miles just days after scientists spotted it.

The asteroid, dubbed 2001 YB5, came within 520,000 miles of Earth on Monday, approximately twice the distance to the moon.

Dozens of asteroids pass close by the Earth each year, though 2001 YB5 was closer than most. On Friday, for instance, an asteroid known as 2001 UU92 will pass with 11 million miles of Earth.

Asteroid 2001 YB5, estimated to be 1,000 feet across, was traveling about 68,000 mph relative to the Earth when it zipped past.

"It's a fairly substantial rock. If it had hit us at that sort of speed, you would be taking out a medium-size country, France, I suppose, or Texas, or something of that order," said Jay Tate, director of the Spaceguard Centre in Wales.

Astronomers with the NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking program discovered 2001 YB5 on Dec. 26. Soon after, astronomers calculated the asteroid's orbit and determined there was no danger it would strike Earth.

As astronomers discover more and more near-Earth asteroids, they seek a standardized way of alerting the public to the hazard they might pose. Among programs already in place is the Spaceguard Centre's Comet and Asteroid Information Network, which began work Jan. 1.

New Halo for Milky Way

By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON January 08, 2002 (Reuters) - A newly discovered hot halo, a cosmic fountain and ghostly bubbles produced by an ancient explosion could change the way scientists look at galaxies, including our own Milky Way, astronomers reported on Tuesday.

All three findings pointed to dynamic movement in galaxies and in monstrous galactic clusters, the largest stable structures in the universe. The discovery should enable astronomers to better identify phenomena as they look at new galaxies or take a new look at already known ones.

In the case of the Milky Way, astronomers detected a huge, hot gas halo, or corona, that could be as much as 100,000 light-years across, much bigger than earlier scientists theorized. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles, the distance light travels in a year.

This halo could extend all the way to the Milky Way's nearest neighboring galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, scientists said.

Astronomers found the halo using NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite to peer beyond the edges of our home galaxy. Above and below the galactic plain, in which Earth and our solar system reside, they detected an extremely thin, hot gas corona, or halo.

Invisible to optical devices, the halo can be seen by FUSE as a blue, football-shaped envelope around the galaxy. Its edges were detected by astronomers who watched hydrogen clouds falling into it from outside the halo.

When these clouds fell in, their edges -- composed of ionized oxygen -- lit up, much as meteors streak across the sky when they enter Earth's atmosphere, said Kenneth Sembach of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

The halo is thin -- perhaps 10 billion times less dense than air -- and hot, possibly 1 million degrees Fahrenheit, Sembach told reporters at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington.

"We believe we've found evidence for a very hot halo of extended gas around the Milky Way galaxy," Sembach said. "It's going to help astronomers understand better how galaxies are assembled and hopefully how they evolved over time."

Because astronomers are still detecting the in-falling clouds, they believe the Milky Way is still pulling in material, even though it is billions of years old.

Other findings presented at the astronomy meeting make galaxies sound more like pleasure gardens than giant astronomical features.

Astronomer Edward Murphy of the University of Virginia also used FUSE to discover a possible galactic fountain in a nearby galaxy, formally named NGC 4631 but also known as the Whale because that is what it looks like when viewed from Earth with an optical telescope.

However, when Murphy and his colleges examined the Whale with FUSE, they found an area of furious star formation, where extremely hot young stars lived fast and died young in the same clusters where they were born.

So many of these hot stars exploded as supernovas that the remnants of these blasts overlapped with each other, creating hot bubbles that rose up out of the galactic plain and eventually burst, releasing hot gas into the Whale's galactic halo, Murphy said.

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory, also a project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, managed to spy ghostly relics of an ancient explosion in a massive cluster of galaxies.

Chandra detected vast regions in the galaxy cluster Abell 2597 that had almost no X-ray or radio emission, and scientists Brian McNamara of Ohio University called these "ghost cavities."

"They appear to be remnants of an old explosion where the radio emission has faded away over millions of years," McNamara said.

First Stars Were A Blaze of Glory

Stony Brook NY January 9, 2002 (NASA) - The deepest views of the cosmos from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope yield clues that the very first stars may have burst into the universe as brilliantly and spectacularly as a fireworks finale. In this case though the finale came first, long before Earth, the Sun and the Milky Way Galaxy formed.

If this interpretation is correct, it offers a tantalizing possibility that astronomers may behold this stellar blaze of glory when they use NASA's Next Generation Space Telescope and other future space telescopes to probe even farther into the very early universe.

Studies of Hubble's deepest views of the heavens by Kenneth M. Lanzetta of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and colleagues lead to the preliminary conclusion that the universe made a significant portion of its stars in a torrential firestorm of star birth, which abruptly lit up the pitch-dark heavens just a few hundred million years after the big bang. Though stars continue to be born today in galaxies, the star birthrate could be a trickle compared to the predicted gusher of stars in those opulent early years.

This new idea of a continually escalating rate of star birth the farther Hubble looks back in time offers a dramatic revision of previous Hubble Deep Field studies that proposed that the star birthrate in the early universe ramped up to a "baby boom" about halfway back to the beginning of the universe.

"If this can be verified it will dramatically change our understanding of the universe," said Dr. Anne Kinney, director of the Astronomy and Physics division at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "Because stars are the building blocks of galaxies and the birthplace of solar systems, proving that countless numbers of stars began forming so early after the birth of the universe could cause us to rethink a lot of our theories."

Lanzetta bases his conclusion on a new analysis of galaxies in the Hubble deep fields taken near the north and south celestial poles (in 1995 and 1998 respectively). He reports in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal that the farthest objects in the deep fields are only the "tip of the iceberg" of an effervescent period of star birth that is unlike anything the universe will ever see again. Lanzetta concludes that 90 percent of the light from the early universe is missing in the Hubble deep fields. "The previous census of the deep fields missed most of the ultraviolet light in the universe; most of it is invisible," he says.

Based on an analysis of galaxy colors, Lanzetta concludes that the farthest objects in the deep fields must be extremely intense, unexpectedly bright knots of blue-white, hot newborn stars embedded in primordial galaxies that are too faint to be seen even by Hubble's far vision. It's like seeing only the lights on a distant Christmas tree and inferring the presence of the whole tree.

Likewise, Lanzetta deduced the total population of stars in the early universe based on observing only the brightest stars with the Hubble telescope. Because such far extrapolations are built on certain assumptions, this conclusion will require further analysis and observation.

Lanzetta next plans to use Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, to be installed in early 2002, to look even deeper into the universe to try to directly verify some portion of the missing light. He will also look for very distant supernovae as an alternate measure of star formation. "Because they are point sources of light, supernovae are not subject to the same cosmological brightness-dimming effects like galaxies (which are extended sources of light)," says Lanzetta.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. operates the Space Telescope Science Institute for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international co-operation between NASA and the European Space Agency.

Texas-Sized Space Rock!

Pasadena January 7, 2002 (JPL) - For two centuries it was the largest known rock in the solar system. The Texas-sized asteroid Ceres, about 930 kilometers (580 miles) across, was the first asteroid ever detected. The space rock was identified in 1801 by astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, a monk in Sicily and the founding director of the Palermo Astronomical Observatory. He noted over a few nights a shifting point in the sky that wasn't one of the planets, their moons or a star. Thus, he discovered the rock.

After discovering the asteroid, Piazzi was invited to join the Celestial Police, a group of 24 international astronomers looking for what they called "guest planets" between Mars and Jupiter. The Celestial Police noted that the spacing between planets was fairly regular, but that there was a large gap between Mars and Jupiter.

Soon other small bodies were discovered in that region (Pallas in 1802, Juno in 1804 and Vesta in 1807), so the Celestial Police concluded that not just one, but many minor planets had to exist in a main asteroid belt. The asteroid belt probably represents primitive pieces of the solar system that never managed to accumulate into a genuine planet.
German mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss calculated from Piazzi's few observations that Ceres circled around the Sun once every 4.6 years or about 4 years, 220 days.

The asteroid has a very primitive surface, say scientists on NASA's Dawn mission, which will launch in 2006 and examine Ceres in 2014. The asteroid, like a young planet, contains water-bearing minerals, and possibly a very weak atmosphere and frost. Infrared observations show that the surface is warm.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observed last year that Ceres' surface has a large spot, which could be a crater formed when another asteroid struck Ceres. A second explanation may be that the spot is a darker substance in the asteroid's soil.

Recently, Ceres lost its claim to the title of biggest rock in the solar system. In July 2001, a larger object was found in the vast Kuiper belt of asteroids, stretching from 30 to 100 AU (2.8 to 9.3 billion miles away from the Sun.) This brightest and therefore biggest non-planet space rock, 2001 KX76, could be anywhere from 960 to 1270 kilometers (600 to 790 miles) across.

Right now, Ceres is less than three degrees away from the Sun, making it hard to see. In October, the asteroid will be bright enough to see with a little help from binoculars.

Man Gets 5 Years for Ramming Mosque With Car

CLEVELAND January 9, 2002 (AP) - A man was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday for ramming his car into Ohio's largest mosque six days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula sentenced Eric M. Richley, 29, of suburban Middleburg Heights, on burglary, ethnic intimidation and vandalism charges. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

He admitted driving a car up three steps and through two sets of doors of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, in nearby Parma. He smashed through a 3-foot wall, knocked over three pillars and landed on a fountain.

Prosecutors said Richley had told police that he was upset about the attacks and that his brother was in the military. Richley was in court in a wheelchair because of injuries suffered in the crash. He broke bones in his back and both feet. He has denied the ramming was a case of ethnic or religious bigotry. He said he had been drinking at the time.

"I never meant to hurt them or anybody except myself," he told the judge.

The Case of the Three Stooges

Associated Press

WASHINGTON January 7, 2002 (AP) - Heirs of the Three Stooges will get profits from posthumous depictions of Moe, Larry and Curly, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court bypassed a chance to give First Amendment protection to photographers and artists who specialize in celebrities, turning back an appeal from Los Angeles artist Gary Saderup. The justices did not comment in refusing to review the case that pitted freedom of expression against property rights.

Saderup also lost in the California Supreme Court, which ruled last spring that he violated a state law by not getting consent before putting a picture of the slapstick comedians on shirts and lithographs.

Now Saderup must pay the $75,000 he made from the products to the heirs and cover their legal fees.

Saderup's attorney, Stephen R. Barnett, in urging justices to accept the appeal, said the California ruling "offends not only the proverb that 'one picture is worth a thousand words,' but also the First Amendment's prohibition on legal monopolies over facts."

The heirs' attorney, Robert N. Benjamin, said the artist was trying to "twist the facts and the law in an attempt to make a constitutional issue where none exists."

California is one of 17 states that give heirs some right to control publicity. In California, heirs have rights to the likenesses, names, voices, signatures and photographs for 70 years after the death.

Larry Fine and Moe Howard died in 1975 and the third stooge, Curly Joe DeRita, died in 1993.

Saderup did a charcoal drawing of the trio and sold lithographs for from $20 to $250 and shirts for about $20. The state court said Saderup's renditions of three unsmiling stooges, including two with their eyes open wide, were merchandise, not art.

Using that decision, "Judges become art critics," Barnett told the Supreme Court.

The case had been closely followed by the licensing industry. The case is Gary Saderup v. Comedy III Productions Inc., 01-368.

6-Year Old Makes Archeological Discovery

Bend OR January 2, 2002 (AP) - Marcus McGovern of Bend recently made the archaeological discovery of a lifetime, and he's just six years old. Digging at his friend Levi Witt's house, McGovern came across a chunk of black rock. He lifted the piece, which resembled a giant arrowhead, and dusted it off.

"I thought it was a real cool-shaped rock at first," McGovern recalled.

What McGovern unearthed was a 5,000- to 7,000-year-old obsidian spear point or knife, probably used by resident Paiute, Shoshone or Warm Springs Indians, according to archaeologist Margy Brooks of The High Desert Museum. If it's older, it might have been used to butcher the bison that roamed the Deschutes River Basin 10,000 years ago.

Newberry Crater and Glass Butte were major sources of the hard, black volcanic glass, Brooks said, and what is now the Highway 97 corridor was then a major trade route used by American Indians from throughout the West.

"People came from all over and traded for that obsidian," she said.

The fill dirt that yielded the artifact came from a residential job site near Drake Park in Bend where Levi Witt's dad was working. It ended up in Deschutes River Woods, where the Witts are building an addition to their home.

"I brought this to school and everyone thought it was pretty cool," McGovern said. "Want to see? It cuts," McGovern added, as he picked up the scraper and sliced a thin sliver into his parents' coffee table.

While there are laws prohibiting the collection of artifacts on federal or Indian land or from known sites on private land without a permit, discoveries like McGovern's are innocent, said archaeologist Paul Claeyssens, a Deschutes National Forest archaeologist.

"If you don't know a site's there, how can you violate the law?" Claeyssens said.

Even so, the boys plan to give their discovery to the Deschutes County Historical Society in Bend, where they hope it will go on display.

Money Can Buy Happiness

LONDON January 09, 2002 (Reuters) - The adage that "money can't buy happiness" is quite wrong, with even quite small lottery wins or inheritances able to produce lasting contentment, new research published in Britain has shown.

Professors Andrew Oswald and Jonathan Gardner of Warwick University in central England tracked 9,000 families over the past decade to study whether there was a link between cash windfalls and contentment.

"We find a very strong link between cash falling on you and higher contentment and better mental health in the following year," said Oswald, who is a leading researcher in the area of happiness and economic performance.

"We have found effects from even tiny windfalls of 1,000 pounds ($1,400). And the more you get, the better you feel," he told BBC radio.

A windfall of a million pounds, the research showed, would be enough to transform even the most miserable person into a picture of joy.

The study, which the authors say is the best scientific evidence yet on the link between cash windfalls such as lottery wins or an inheritance and happiness, goes some way to proving the central tenet of economics that money makes people happy.

But Oswald stressed that the research looked at the average person, and could not account for everyone.

The Sun newspaper, for example, carried a story on Wednesday about a tramp who won nearly two million pounds on Britain's National Lottery two years ago but ended up drinking himself to death.

Man Jumps 5000 Feet - No Chute
UK January 9, 2002 (Daily Record) - A man plunged 5000 feet to his death yesterday after leaping from a plane without a parachute. He plummeted from the light aircraft into a football pitch a few hundred yards from rows of houses. His body was found in the village of Fifield, Oxfordshire. The female pilot of the Cessna 172 twin-seater was last night "extremely shocked".

The plane was travelling from France to Hinton-in-the-Hedges, Northamptonshire, when the pilot got permission to divert to RAF Brize Norton because its wings were icing. A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said: "About 10 nautical miles from its destination, the passenger opened the door and jumped out."

Police, MoD police and the CAA are conducting inquiries into the incident. Police said they were "keeping an open mind" until their probe was complete.
Beatles Number One on Spin's List
NEW YORK January 9, 2002 (PRNewswire) - They sold their soul and trashed their dressing rooms for rock 'n' roll. From the Beatles to the Beasties, these are the people who taught everyone else how it's done. The band is back.
13. U2
14. RUN-D.M.C.
18. AC/DC
23. N.W.A.
28. R.E.M.
32. KISS
48. KORN

During the past year or so, the pop world has completed a cycle that began in the mid 1990s. Back then, with grunge flannel on Macy's mannequins, the band model seemed a bit tired. Rappers, dancing teens, and DJs took over the dance charts, MTV, and magazines. Then, gradually, bands crept back. Groups like Creed, Incubus, System of a Down, and, most notably, Staind and Linkin Park have spent serious time in the Top 10.

Once again, the band dynamic -- people interacting as musicians, friends, enemies, or fellow drug-addled lunatics -- is capturing our imagination.

This is "Spin's" definitive look at 50 great bands from the 1960s forward. To qualify the editors at "Spin" set out clear criteria, these groups had to have a roof-raising, history-changing sound, presence, or hairstyle. They also had to clearly influence today's music in undeniable ways.

Finally, they had to be bands that spawned a special emotional attachment to their fans. No other band epitomizes these criteria better than "Spin's" No. 1 band, the Beatles. More than 30 years after their last proper album, the Beatles remain the band that revolutionized the world of pop culture and basically created the rock-band statutes that all musical youth end up following, sooner or later.

Other bands that made "Spin's" list include: Led Zeppelin (No. 3), Nirvana (No. 5) Public Enemy (No. 8), U2 (No. 13), and Spin's February cover band Kiss (No. 32)!

[What, no Doors?? We suspect that the age of Spin's staff has a lot more to do with their choices than they'd care to admit. Not a blues band in the lot! Come on! Ed.]

Genre News: Witchblade, Angel, Dan Aykroyd, Sarah Michelle and Freddie

Witchblade Starts Up

Toronto January 9, 2002 (Sci-Fi) - Production starts up this month on the second season of TNT's supernatural series Witchblade, which is shot in Toronto, the Comics2Film Web site reported. Spike Seldin, president of production at Top Cow, which makes the series, told the site, "The entire cast is back. It all looks good. TNT is behind it with all its support. We think it's going to be bigger this year than it was last year."

The series, starring Yancy Butler as New York cop Sara Pezzini, is based on a Top Cow comic series. Will the show gradually change to reflect the at-times lurid look of the comics?

"I think you'll see gradual adjustments or change as the series grows, but it will stay organic to the story plot as that develops as well," Seldin said. TNT will begin rerunning first-season episodes Mondays at 9 p.m. and Tuesdays at 11 p.m., starting Jan. 28.

The two-hour pilot movie will air Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. The second season will begin in the summer.

Angel To Try Thursdays

Hollywood January 8, 2001 (Sci-Fi) - The WB will test its vampire series Angel on Thursdays by airing repeats from last season at 8 p.m. ET/PT, starting Jan. 10 and continuing through February, the network announced.

Original episodes will continue to air on the frog network on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The first episodes to air on Thursdays will be the four-episode arc that concluded the series' second season, in which Angel (David Boreanaz) and his crew travel to the demon dimension of Pylea, The WB announced.

Aykroyd To Explore Paranormal

Hollywood January 7, 2002 (Sci-Fi) - Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters) will take an entertaining look at the paranormal as host of Dan Aykroyd's Out There, The SCI FI Channel's upcoming late-night interactive talk show.

Aykroyd, a self-described "believer" and lifelong paranormal enthusiast, will host the half-hour five-day-a-week series that just began production in New York City. Out There is scheduled to launch during the second quarter of 2002.

The Channel described the show as a cross between CNN's Larry King and PBS' Charlie Rose. It will act as a companion series to SCI FI's popular Crossing Over With John Edward.

Guests will include Aykroyd's celebrity friends, professionals and members of the public who will discuss unexplainable phenomena.

The series will also invite viewers to weigh in on the show's topics through SCIFI.COM, via e-mail and by phone.

Robert K. Weiss (Sliders), Aykroyd and his brother, Peter Aykroyd, will executive produce the series.

Gellar and Prinze Voice N'Ever

Hollywood January 1, 2002 (Sci-Fi) - Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sigourney Weaver will voice the animated comedy movie Happily N'Ever After for Vanguard Films' John H. Williams (Shrek) and Berlin-based Greenlight Media, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie is being shopped to studios for a summer 2003 release.

N'Ever is inspired by classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales and is based on Greenlight's European animated television series SimsalaGrimm. Set in the fairy-tale land of Simsala, the project explores what happens when the balance of good and evil is out of whack, the trade paper reported.

Gellar will voice the character of Ella, who is part of a love triangle that includes a prince and her unknown true love, the palace dishwasher (Prinze). Weaver plays the evil stepmother Frida.

Gerhard Hahn will direct from a script by Rob Moreland. Gellar, best known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is engaged in real life to Prinze; the two recently completed a live-action version of Scooby-Doo.

Secret Santa Backfired!
KANSAS CITY, Mo. January 9, 2002 (AP) - Secret Santa's gift appears to have backfired. A security guard at Macy's flagship store at New York City's 34th Street lost his job shortly after receiving $100 from "Secret Santa," a Kansas City-area businessman who hands out cash anonymously at Christmas.

James Frazier, 19, was working when Secret Santa approached him and asked whether he had a family. Frazier said yes, he had a new baby at home. Secret Santa handed Frazier the money, which he used to buy clothes for his infant son.

But Macy's officials read about the encounter in USA Today, and Frazier soon lost his job. Macy's spokesman Ronnie Taffet said Frazier wasn't let go because of the gift. Frazier was hired as a temporary seasonal employee, and his term of employment had expired, Taffet said.

However, Frazier did violate company policies by accepting a gratuity while on the job and by speaking to the media, Taffet said. Taffet said Frazier's personnel file shows he filled out an application for a seasonal job and that he signed the store's employment policies.

"For whatever reason, he was a bit confused," about why he lost his job, Taffet said. Newsday, a New York newspaper, reported about the firing on Saturday. Word of Frazier's situation reached Secret Santa, who told The Kansas City Star he spoke to Frazier by telephone Monday. The newspaper did not identify the Secret Santa.

"I'm not sure what to think," Secret Santa said. "He understood he was on a 90-day probation to be a permanent security guard."

Frazier's home telephone number could not be verified Wednesday. Secret Santa intends to give Frazier $1,000 to help with bills but wants to remain anonymous.

"I've got to figure this out," he told the Star. "I can't send him a check."
Nuke News:
US Buys Radiation Drug As Safeguard

WASHINGTON January 3, 2002 (AP) - The federal government has purchased 1.6 million doses of potassium iodide, preparing for the possible release of radioactive material should an attack or accident occur at a nuclear power plant.

It plans to buy another 5 million to 10 million doses this year, officials said.

Potassium iodide can protect against thyroid cancer in case someone is exposed to radioactive iodine, either by inhaling it or through contaminated food or milk.

In December, the Department of Health and Human Services purchased 1 million adult-strength tablets and 600,000 children's doses for $180,000, HHS spokesman Bill Pierce said Thursday.

They are being stored at undisclosed locations around the country, he said.

In the coming year, Pierce said, HHS plans to spend $1 million allocated in an emergency spending measure for another 5 million to 10 million doses.

"It's just more broadly part of our strategy to be as ready as possible for contingencies that might occur,'' he said.

Strontium-90 Panic In Georgian Village!

Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia January 5, 2002 (AP) - Three lumberjacks who discovered containers with highly radioactive material in a forest were hospitalized in serious condition, panicking hundreds of villagers living nearby, officials said Saturday.

The two containers with strontium-90, believed to have been used in signal beacons during the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant 30 years ago, were found sometime last month near the village of Dzhvare, about 135 miles southwest of the capital Tbilisi.

Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tbilisi on Saturday to visit the site, said Soso Kukushadze, head of the radiation and nuclear security department of the Environment Ministry. The area, about 550 yards in diameter, has been fenced off, Kukushadze said. A special task force was being assembled, but he warned that receiving the equipment to remove the strontium is a question of financing.

"We hope the government allocates the necessary money," Kukushadze said.

The containers are emitting radiation at a rate of 15 roentgens an hour from a distance of 5 feet - thousands of times higher than normal background radiation. About 3,000 villagers live in the area, and many have started to report headaches and other symptoms, but Kukushadze dismissed the cases as "radiation phobia."

"There is absolutely no threat to the health of the residents of Dzhvare," Kukushadze said.

Judge Voids a Union Rule Issued by Bush


Washington January 8, 2002 (NY Times) - A federal judge has overturned one of President Bush's earliest executive orders, which required federal contractors to post notices telling workers they did not have to join unions.

The order also required the notices to inform workers that they do not have to pay that part of their union fees used for politics. When President Bush issued the order last February, unions feared it would weaken them and reduce the amount of money going into their campaign coffers.

In a decision dated Jan. 2, Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. of Federal District Court in Washington ruled that Mr. Bush had illegally used federal procurement regulations to supersede federal labor laws.

Previous court decisions, Judge Kennedy wrote, made clear that federal and state regulators were prohibited from setting their own standards for conduct that is regulated by the National Labor Relations Act, the 1935 law that oversees the nation's system of labor relations.

Federal contractors were just starting to follow the order because the Labor Department was only now setting rules about it. Bush administration officials said they would appeal Judge Kennedy's decision.

"We're disappointed with the ruling," said Sue Hensley, communications director at the Labor Department. "We plan to appeal on behalf of employees, who deserve to know their rights."

Mr. Bush's father had issued a similar order during his term as president, but President Bill Clinton scrapped it as one of his first acts in office. After organized labor campaigned vigorously for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential campaign, many Republicans urged President Bush to issue the executive order.

John J. Sweeney, the A.F.L.- C.I.O.'s president, applauded Judge Kennedy's ruling. The executive order, he said, was "sought by Bush's corporate contributors and right- wing ideologues" and was "an early salvo in a continuing campaign of over-reaching initiatives that have undermined workers' rights."

The executive order sought to build on a 1988 Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed workers the right not to pay any union dues that go to political activities.

Workers who choose to belong to a union must pay their full dues, but workers who decide not to join often must pay a fee that is typically equal to their union dues. The money goes for collective bargaining, grievance procedures and other activities.

Only by choosing not to join the union can a worker invoke the right to withhold the part of the union fee that would finance political activity.

Unions were quick to attack Mr. Bush's executive order, insisting that posting such notices would encourage workers to quit their unions. Unions and affiliated groups, including the United Auto Workers and the Office and Professional Employees International, brought the suit.

Jon Hiatt, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s general counsel, said unions would not have opposed the requirement to post the rules so long as federal contractors were also required to post notices about the many other rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act, including the right not to face retaliation by employers for supporting a union.

In his decision, Judge Kennedy relied on a 1959 Supreme Court ruling that the labor relations act pre-empted other laws that regulate any activity that is arguably protected or prohibited under the labor act.

Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, attacked Judge Kennedy's ruling, saying, "The White House must appeal the court's decision without delay to slow union officials' systematic shakedown of working Americans for hundreds of millions of dollars for politics."

California Restrictions on Junk E-mail Upheld
SAN FRANCISCO January 5, 2002 (AP) - A California appellate court has upheld a state law regulating unsolicited commercial messages in a victory for e-mail users annoyed by "spam" clogging their inboxes.

The court ruled that California can require "spammers" to identify their e-mail messages as advertisements. The court also said they must provide ways for recipients to get off mailing lists.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco reversed a lower court's ruling that the 1998 law unconstitutionally interfered with interstate commerce.

The appellate panel said Wednesday that California was not trying to regulate the Internet, just the content of commercial messages that reached the state. The justices said the law served important public purposes.

Similar laws regulating Internet junk mail are in effect in 18 states, and federal laws have been proposed in Congress since 1994.
Neanderthals Were Smarter Than They Looked

By Roger Dobson

London January 6, 2002 (Independent UK) - Neanderthals were not dumb, lumbering idiots after all. New evidence suggests that they had considerable technical and intellectual skills, as well as ingenuity, to put them on a par with modern humans.

A team of archaeologists and scientists has discovered that Neanderthals, thought to have first appeared around 230,000 to 300,000 years ago, were capable of a sophisticated tool manufacturing process using prehistoric superglue that had to be made at a precise temperature.

"This finding demonstrates that the Neanderthals must have possessed a high degree of technical and manual abilities, comparable to those of modern Homo sapiens," says a report of the new research.

Professor Chris Stringer, head of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London, says the discovery is potentially very important: "It would further show that the behaviour gap between us and Neanderthals is narrower than we thought. Some may say there isn't a gap."

The new finding, by a team of German researchers, also puts a question mark over theories that Neanderthals disappeared because they were no intellectual match for humankind's ancestors.

The research centres on a new analysis of two samples of blackish-brown pitch discovered in a lignite open-mining pit in the foothills of the Harz mountains in Germany. Their geological location suggests they are more than 80,000 years old.

One of the pitch pieces bears the print of a finger and there are also imprints of a flint stone tool and wood, suggesting that the pitch had served as a sort of glue to secure a wooden shaft to a flint stone blade.

In the research, carried out at the Doerner-Institut in Munich, the scientists set out to discover the chemical composition of the pitch, its biological origins, and the amount of skill and ability needed to make it.

It had been thought that the pitch was made from melted pine resin. But although such resins could work as putty, they are not strong enough to work as glue.

When the researchers broke down the samples, they found that it was a birch pitch, which is far more difficult to make. Birch pitches can be produced only at temperatures of 300-400C (570-750F). At lower temperatures, no tar is produced, while higher temperatures destroy any tar that has formed.

"Today, comparable pitches can easily be produced with modern technical methods, like airtight laboratory flasks and temperature control facilities," says a report of the research in the European Journal of Archaeology. "However, any attempt at simulating the conditions of the Neanderthal period and at producing these birch pitches without any of these modern facilities will soon be met with many difficulties.

"This implies that the Neanderthals did not come across these pitches by accident but must have produced them with intent. Conscious action is, however, always a clear sign of considerable technical capabilities,'' says the team, led by Professor Dietrich Mania of Freidrich-Schiller University in Jena.

"The pitch finds demonstrate that the Neanderthals must have possessed a high degree of technical and manual abilities, comparable to those of modern Homo sapiens.''

Professor Stringer says views are changing about Neanderthals: "They are not the shambling half-wits they were sometimes portrayed as," he said.

"It is potentially a very important find. It implies quite high technical ability. They also buried their dead. All this does make it more of a problem to explain why we are here and not them."

Feds Pursue Exotic Animal Dealers

Associated Press

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. January 2, 2002 (AP) - By the government's account, the four tigers brought to Missouri's 5-H Ranch exotic animal preserve were shot before they ever had a chance to enjoy the rolling countryside.

The big cats were trucked in from Arkansas and shot the next day without ever being freed from their trailer, authorities said. While other exotic animals roamed the open-to-the-public preserve, the tigers were gutted and their carcasses shipped off to a black market, more valuable dead than alive.

Late last year, federal authorities secured indictments against a local couple and an Arkansas man in the tigers' deaths, part of an investigation that is more than four years old and also has snared people from Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma. More charges are expected next month.

Hides, meat, skulls and teeth of tigers, leopards and other big cats can fetch $5,000 to $20,000 from collectors, wildlife officials say.

Tiger bones, worth up to $250 a pound, primarily go to people who practice traditional Chinese medicine, both overseas and in major U.S. cities with large Asian populations, said Craig Hoover, deputy director of TRAFFIC, the World Wildlife Fund's wildlife trade-monitoring arm. Some Asians hold that tiger bone is good for arthritis, rheumatism and other ailments. There is also demand for tiger penises, which are used to make a soup that some believe is an aphrodisiac.

"Any time you're talking about endangered species, you've got a certain value attached to that. It's simply a matter of profit and greed," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Scott Flaherty said.

Over the past century, the world's tiger population has plunged from about 100,000 to as few as 5,000 today, monitors say. A quarter of the world's wild tigers have been killed over roughly the past decade for the trade in tiger products, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Because big cats breed well in captivity but are expensive to keep - and because many zoos and sanctuaries are short of space - the animals are often unloaded on brokers. Owning live big cats violates no federal law, but selling them or their hides, parts or meat in interstate commerce is barred under the federal Lacey Act. And when zoos transfer a big cat to another institution, it must be done as a donation rather than a sale.

No one knows for sure the extent of illegal dealing in wild animals, but the World Wildlife Fund ranks it globally behind only drug and arms trafficking.

In the Missouri case, authorities say, Todd Lantz drove to Gentry, Ark., in 1998 and bought the four adult tigers from Freddy Wilmoth, 44, operator of Wild Wilderness Safari. Lantz, 39, hauled the tigers to the 5-H Ranch - owned by his father-in-law - "with the knowledge the tigers were to be killed," the indictment alleges. The father-in-law has not been charged.

The indictment says Vicki Lantz, 40, accepted $4,000 for the domestically bred tigers, then prepared a federal form falsely indicating the animals were being donated. Prosecutors and the defendants declined to comment. The Lantzes and Wilmoth are free on $25,000 bail, awaiting trial in February. Each could get up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

They were among five people charged in November. Other indictments accused the operator of Power House Wildlife Sanctuary in Fort Gibson, Okla., and the owner of Animals in Motion in Citra, Fla. In Michigan, three men have been charged with buying tiger and leopard hides.

Last January, the Michigan owner of a sportsmen's club pleaded guilty to brokering the sale of three tiger skins and was given six months of home detention, fined $2,000 and ordered to pay $28,000 to an education fund. The charges all stem from a federal investigation launched by what Flaherty called a simple tip in the Midwest.

"It was a case of following a rabbit down a hole," he said. "As you followed the trail, other individuals popped up."

While cheering the crackdown as a first step, Hoover said: "I can only conclude that there are enough people out there still willing to make a buck." He added: "Whenever that's the case, law enforcement folks need to be vigilant."

Bush Slur Unintentional

By Moni Basu

Atlanta January 9, 2002 (Atlanta Journal Constitution) - Pakistanis in Atlanta said Tuesday they are sure President Bush did not intentionally use a derogatory term for Pakistanis, but are still troubled by its use in the Oval Office.

The White House issued a statement of clarification Monday, saying Bush meant no disrespect to the Pakistani people when he referred to them as "Pakis." The term is not widely known in the United States but is considered a pejorative in the United Kingdom and former British colonies.

"It most definitely is a racial slur and shows insensitivity toward the community here," said Waqas Khwaja, a native of Pakistan who teaches English at Agnes Scott College.

Bush used the term while talking to reporters Monday about the tense situation between India and Pakistan. "We are working hard to convince both the Indians and the Pakis there's a way to deal with their problems without going to war," he said.

The stylebook compiled by the South Asian Journalists Association defines "Paki" as "a derogatory slang word" that is "often used as a racial epithet against South Asians [especially by skinheads]."

"Obviously, if the president used it intentionally, it is of tremendous concern to us," said Khalid Siddiq, a Pakistani physician and director of the Al-Farooq Masjid mosque in Midtown. "My gut feeling is that he probably did not realize what he was saying or the implication of his remark."

Riaz Shirazi, a past president of the Pakistan American Society of Atlanta, agreed that Bush made his remarks unwittingly.

"If it means offending someone, he would not have used the term. I am [a] hundred percent sure of that," he said.

The term became a part of British slang when South Asian immigrants entered Britain in the 1960s and '70s, forming their own communities and often displacing white workers. Khwaja said the term refers to people from the Indian subcontinent --- not only Pakistanis but also Indians and Bangladeshis --- living under indigent conditions.

"It really brings up the most squalid aspects of life of people from the subcontinent," Khwaja said.

Cancer-Related Proteins Identified

Washington January 7, 2002 (DOE) — Scientists have identified the biochemical and signaling properties of two cancer-related proteins using a process called X-ray crystallography. The technique yielded the first-ever detailed pictures of the proteins interacting with each other, indicating which areas are most essential for the development of cancer.

The X-ray crystallography of the proteins was conducted at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and at the Cornell University High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). The light sources generate powerful X-rays, key to capturing the first detailed images of the proteins.

The characterization of the structure may eventually be used to design novel drugs that interfere with the normal function of these proteins and prevent cancer growth. The work is the result of a scientific collaboration led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Tyrosine kinases are key enzymes responsible for communication between receptors on the cell's surface and pathways within the cell. Researchers determined the structure of an Eph receptor tyrosine kinase bound to its corresponding ligand molecule called ephrin. Interactions between Eph receptors and their specific ephrins lead to an array of cellular processes, including those that regulate cell proliferation, survival, adhesion, and movement. They are especially important in angiogenesis—the development of new blood vessels essential for the progression of cancer.

According to the authors, the structural detail of the complex provides a framework for the development of potential drugs that could block Eph signaling. "Given the importance of Eph receptor kinases and ephrins in cardiovascular function, nerve regeneration, and cancer, the results could be the first step towards the future development of novel therapeutic strategies," said Dimitar Nikolov, PhD, head of the Structural Biology and Neuroscience Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and senior author of the study.

The research team cloned the Eph and ephrin mouse genes, expressed the corresponding proteins in bacteria, and then purified them into miniscule crystals that diffract when bombarded with high energy X-rays. Researchers recorded the diffraction spots on a sophisticated camera and used a powerful computer to analyze the way in which the atoms scattered the X-rays. The resulting data were used to produce a three-dimensional picture of the proteins.

"The sample is continuously rotated to get a series of diffraction patterns. Mathematical analysis of these patterns provided details that help explain the development of cancer," said Brookhaven crystallographer and study co-author Kanagalaghatta Rajashankar.

The image clearly shows a channel in a specific surface area of the receptor. The channel has a high affinity towards the ligand, which contains a loop that penetrates deep into the channel causing slight structural changes and initiating processes that determine the fate of the cells, including the formation of blood vessels.

"Our results may be used to discover and develop small molecules resembling the natural ligand, competing with the binding process and ultimately preventing the growth of cancer," said Juha-Pekka Himanen, PhD, research associate at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and lead author of the paper.

Scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia also contributed to the research.

First Leni Riefenstahl Film in 50 Years

BERLIN January 7, 2002 (AP) - Leni Riefenstahl, who produced masterful propaganda films for the Nazis, is planning her first movie release in nearly 50 years to coincide with her 100th birthday this summer.

"Impressions Under Water," a 45-minute film about the underwater world of the Indian Ocean, is the result of dives between 1974 and 2000, Riefenstahl told Germany's Die Welt newspaper in a rare interview published Monday.

"As soon as (composer) Giorgio Moroder has finished writing the soundtrack, we'll have the premiere ... right on time for my 100th birthday in August," Riefenstahl said, speaking at her home near the Bavarian Alps. She said she made more than 2,000 dives for the film.

The filmmaker's last release was the 1954 feature film "Tiefland."

Riefenstahl began her career in the arts as a dancer in the 1920s, then went into the movies, appearing in several films. Soon she was making her own films, including "The Blue Light" celebrating Germany's Alpine mystique, in which she was star, screenwriter and director.

After hearing Hitler speak in 1932 at a Berlin rally - the year before he took power in Germany - Riefenstahl offered her services as a filmmaker.

"It was stunning to experience the kind of hypnotic might Hitler had on the spectators," Riefenstahl said in the interview. "He had everyone under a spell. It was uncanny, and the spark jumped over to me."

She made three films during the Third Reich, the most notorious being "Triumph of the Will," a documentary of the 1934 Nazi rally at Nuremberg.

Critically acclaimed as the best propaganda film ever made, it features a godlike Hitler and seemingly endless parades of smartly dressed Nazi soldiers.

Though her films won international awards before World War II, her close ties to Hitler made her a pariah after the Third Reich collapsed.

"I was suddenly defamed, being called a top Nazi ... I was portrayed as a monster," Riefenstahl said.

In the interview, she said she was "naive" when she first met Hitler.

She distanced herself from Nazi ideology and war crimes, saying she knew nothing of the concentration camps and rejected requests from Hitler to do feature films on themes such as the Hitler Youth.

In the decades since the war, Riefenstahl has regained international respect with her still photography. She said she cherished the memories of her early days in the arts.

"With body and soul I wish I had remained a dancer," she told Die Welt. "Of all the things I have done in my life as an artist, it was dancing that fascinated me and made me happy."

Fate of Grateful Dead Guitars Resolved

SAN FRANCISCO January 09, 2002 (Reuters) - A long-running dispute over four famous guitars which once belonged to the late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia has been resolved, with the instruments to be divided between remaining band members and the man who crafted them, lawyers say.

Under the agreement, guitar maker Doug Irwin will get custody of guitars dubbed "Wolf" and "Tiger" for their decorative inlays, while the Grateful Dead will keep two other instruments

"It's all signed and inked. It hasn't yet been approved by the court, but we don't see any problems," Douglas Long, an attorney representing Irwin, said Tuesday.

Long said that Irwin planned to keep Wolf, at least for the moment. But he said the guitar maker, who has been nearly destitute in recent years, planned to auction off Tiger -- which potentially could net hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Tiger will be put up for auction soon," Long said.

The struggle over Garcia's guitars has been one of the nastier legal episodes following his death in 1995.

Irwin built the guitars for Garcia between 1981 and 1989, and in his will Garcia left them to the guitar maker.

However, several other band members refused to part with the guitars, saying that Grateful Dead Productions bought and maintained instruments as a group and the guitars were never Garcia's to give away.

The band has plans to open a museum in San Francisco with Garcia's guitars as a cornerstone exhibit.

Last month the two sides neared agreement, but Irwin backed off at the last minute, objecting to a clause which would have required him to give the right of first refusal to the remaining bandmates before selling any of the guitars -- a move his lawyers said might scare off potential buyers.

Long said that the question of the guitars' value has been one of the big stumbling blocks to reaching a deal.

"There is only one way to figure out what something is worth, and that is at public auction," Long said. "You've got to give the world a chance to buy it."

Sales of guitars owned by rock legends including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon have fetched between $200,000 and $300,000 dollars, while the guitar Eric Clapton used to record the anthem "Layla" was sold in 1999 for a record $450,000.

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