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     Volume 4 Issue 55 | July 22 , 2005 |

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Hydrogen Energy
A Stanford researcher urges an Apollo-style program for hydrogen energy with an eye toward a new fuel source for the nation's cars and trucks. The journal, Science, Stanford scientists say conversion of American vehicles to hydrogen fuel cells would improve air quality, health and climate, especially if wind were used to generate the electricity needed to make hydrogen a pollutionless process. Similarly to how gas is pumped into tanks, hydrogen would be pumped into fuel cells, which rely on chemistry, not combustion, to power vehi-cles. Converting all the current vehicles to fuel cell vehicles powered by wind would save 3,000 to 6,000 lives in the United States annually, Associate Professor Mark Z. Jacobson said. "It could be done at a fuel cost that's comparable to the cost of gasoline and less than the cost of gasoline when you consider the health effects of gasoline.

Curry spice found to fight cancer
Turmeric, a spice that is a key ingredient in Indian curry dishes, contains a potent cancer-fighting agent. A recent study related that curcumin, a chemical pigment in turmeric, helped stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice. Now doctors have launched clinical tests to see if it works on humans, said Bharat Aggarwal of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas. Earlier studies suggest that people who eat diets rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. He noted that many cancers are 10 times rarer on the Indian subcontinent than in the West. The breakthrough came as no surprise to the owner of an Indian restaurant in downtown Manhattan. Abu Syed, the owner says, "We already knew that Indian food tastes good. But it is good to hear it can help with cancer, too. It is one more reason to eat plenty of it."

Oxygen might do more harm than good
A Canadian study indicates doctors and paramedics who give their patients pure oxygen may be doing more harm than good. Queen's University's Dr. Steve Iscoe contends a simple solution -- adding carbon dioxide to the oxygen -- isn't being used by most Canadian hospitals and emergency services networks. Iscoe, a respiratory physiologist, and his colleagues said their research has implications for treating a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, difficult labour and delivery and wound healing. Pure oxygen can reduce blood flow to organs and tissues by increasing ventilation, Iscoe explained. "The increase in ventilation ... 'blows off' carbon dioxide, and this fall constricts blood vessels. When carbon dioxide is added, however, the blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow and causing more oxygen to reach tissues in key areas like the brain and heart, he said.

Scientists study 9,000-year-old bones
Scientists have begun studying human bones more than 9,000 years old after a 9-year legal battle with American Indian tribes in the state of Washington. The so-called Kennewick Man skeleton is yielding even more information than expected, Doug Owsley, a forensic anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution who is leading the research team. Scientists told a weekend Seattle news conference they are planning more carbon dating tests to better determine the skeleton's age. The newspaper said earlier tests yielded a wide range, from about 7,000 years to 9,500 -- with the best guess being about 9,200 years. College students found the bones, including a human skull, along the Columbia River near Seattle in 1996. Several Indian tribes claimed the bones as an ancestor, but anthropologists sued for the right to study the remains. A U.S. magistrate ruled in 2002 the bones should be studied by scientists since it was impossible to establish an ancestry linking the bones with American Indianss. This is a very important skeleton, said Owsley. You can count on one hand the number of skeletons this old.

All Hail the Internet Phone
A Taiwanese woman displays a latest internet phone during a press conference in Taipei. Some 470 booths from 106 companies will take part in the four-day annual Taipei International Telecommunication and Networking Show starting from July 15.

Myths Might be Related to Earthquakes
Researchers say northwestern Native American myths of two-headed serpents and epic battles between Thunderbird and Whale are rooted in seismic history. The research by a University of Washington scientist indicates such stories might relate to a large Seattle earthquake around A.D. 900 and specific eyewitness accounts of a mammoth 1700 earthquake and tsunami in the Cascadia subduction zone. Ruth Ludwin, a UW research scientist in Earth and space sciences, was lead author of two recent papers detailing evidence gleaned from native lore. She said the same event might have been depicted differently in varying places, depending on local effects and cultural differences. She noted references to Thunderbird and Whale, or similar figures related in lore to wind or thunder and water, are found in Native American stories of shaking and flooding that were collected all along the coastline. It appears these stories have to do with earthquake, tsunami and landslide like events.

Source: New Scientist, AFP, Wired and Webindia123

Compiled by: Imran H. Khan

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