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     Volume 4 Issue 71 | November 18, 2005 |

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Chimps More males means boundary fights
University of Michigan scientists say the biggest predictor of territorial boundary patrols among wild chimpanzees is the number of males in the group. Chimpanzees will sometimes attack and kill their neighbours during rarely observed boundary patrols, said John Mitani, professor of anthropology and co-author of the study with David Watts of Yale University. Scientists have known for about 25 years that boundary patrol fatal attacks occur, the question has been what accounts for the varying number and frequency of such patrols and attacks. During boundary patrols, a group of males will rise without warning, form a single file line and silently depart the group, Mitani said. What they are doing is actually seeking signs, if not contact, with members of other groups. If the patrollers outnumber them, then they will launch an attack. During the attacks, the chimps beat and often kill their neighbours, but the patrols are apparently an important part of chimp society.

Disaster? It's Hummer Time
And they said Felix and Oscar were an odd couple. The Red Cross, symbol of compassion, caring, and altruism, is teaming up to promote the Hummer, the symbol of capitalism, environmental insensitivity and ostentation. Hummer is giving the agency 72 of the monster vehicles to use in relief efforts during times of fire, flood, or famine. Okay, it makes sense to have extra sturdy vehicles in areas where safety is a concern. But sending Hummers into Gulf Coast areas, many of which are low income, is very Nixon-to-China-esque. It's a nice PR move and tax write-off for GM, but the company is giving away one of their few models that is actually selling well, doubling in volume despite the rising price of gas. Surely the Red Cross could have sent some of the GMC trucks that are lingering in warehouses. It's a good thing GM is throwing in $100K per year as part of the $4 million package to offset some of the cost of the gasoline.

New Input Device Option Found
An employee of Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology displays the world's first LCD panel with light pen input capability in Yokohama. The device enables users to hand-write freely on the 3.5-inch sized QVGA (320 x 240-pixel) LCD surface.

The Most Expensive Mobile
Aluxury accessories maker in Austria is designing the most expensive mobile phone that will cost more than 500,000 pounds. Designed by Peter Aloisson, it will have sections of pure gold as well as 2,950 blue diamonds embedded on to its cover. The new phone is being designed on a special order from a German manufacturer. For the past few years, Aloisson has been customising existing mobiles with jewels and precious metals. The manufacturer currently produces about three phones per year, depending on orders from his celebrity clients, mostly retailing for about 20,000 pounds. Although the phone is being made for marketing purposes, it will eventually be sold off. "I knew that mobile phones would become part of daily life and as with all things that are part of daily life, such as watches or tie pins, there should be luxury versions of them," a company official quoted as saying.

Europe is warmed by water vapor feedback
Swiss scientists say Europe's recent rapid temperature increase is likely due to an unexpected greenhouse gas: water vapour. Researchers at the World Radiation Centre in Davos, Switzerland, say elevated surface temperatures caused by other greenhouse gases have enhanced water evaporation and contributed to a cycle that stimulates further surface temperature increases. The scientists say their findings might help answer a long-debated Earth science question about whether the water cycle could strongly enhance greenhouse warming. The Swiss researchers examined surface radiation measurements from 1995 to 2002 over the Alps in Central Europe and found strongly increasing total surface absorbed radiation, concurrent with rapidly increasing temperatures. The authors, led by Rolf Philipona of the World Radiation Centre, show experimentally that 70 percent of the rapid temperature increase is very likely caused by water vapour feedback. They indicate the remaining 30 percent is likely due to increasing manmade greenhouse gases. They suggest their observations indicate Europe is experiencing an increasing greenhouse effect and the dominant part of the rising heat emitted from the Earth's atmosphere (longwave radiation) is due to water vapour increase.

Chariots of Hire
The Intelligent Transport Systems conference is underway in San Francisco, featuring the latest in personal transporters. The American Chariot looks very Ben Hur and is being pitched to the military and law enforcement. With a top speed of 12 to 20 mph, let's hope the bad guys don't have anything faster (like a Schwinn) at their disposal. The electric vehicle supports even the largest doughnut-loving officer, as the max weight is 450 pounds. According to a company press release "The chariot has been around since 2,500 B.C., so it's a proven commodity..." I can't wait for their next high-tech family vehicle, the Flintstone Ped-a-Matic.

Wide Angle Vision
A model displays the new line up of digital high-definition TV sets "beautiful face", produced by Japan's electronics giant Toshiba at a Tokyo hotel. Toshiba will put the 32-inch to 37-inch model on the market next month with price ranging USD 3,275 to USD 6,195.

IBM Joins in Cancer Research
The IBM Corp. is joining forces with several research centres to help accelerate cancer research, diagnosis and treatment. IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y., said it will collaborate with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, the Molecular Profiling Institute and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre under separate agreements. IBM and Sloan-Kettering will build a state-of-the-art integrated information management system to improve the ability of clinicians and researchers to study long-term cancer-related illnesses, identify disease trends and determine success rates. This is an excellent multi-sector model that can drive integration of molecular medicine into areas where it's truly needed, including cancer detection, treatment, and ultimately prevention, said Dr. Anna Barker, deputy director of the National Cancer Institute. The convergence of advanced technologies and post-genomics science will change cancer medicine in ways we cannot yet envision.

Source: AFP, Wired and Webindia123

Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN


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