Could Hit the Earth by 2029
massive asteroid heading for Earth has a 1-in-300 chance of
smashing into the planet in 2029, according to researchers.
The space rock is believed to be more than 1,300ft long and
was only rediscovered recently by astronomers who first spotted
it in June. However, the threat is likely to be eliminated
once astronomers work out its orbit. "In the unlikely
event that it did hit, it would be quite serious. We're talking
either a Tsunami if it hit in the ocean, which would be likely,
or significant ground damage," said NASA chief Donald
Transistors to make Gizmos Cheap
at Oregon State University and Hewlett Packard have reported
their first example of an entirely new class of materials,
which could be used to make transparent transistors that are
inexpensive, stable and environmentally benign. The new transistors
are not only transparent but they work extremely well and
could have other advantages that will help them transcend
carbon-based transistor materials, such as organic and polymers,
that have been the focus of hundreds of millions of dollars
of research around the world. "Compared to organic or
polymer transistor materials, these new inorganic oxides have
higher mobility, better chemical stability, ease of manufacture
and are physically more robust," said John Wager, a professor
of electrical and computer engineering at OSU. The newest
devices are amorphous, meaning they have no long-range crystalline
order, which helps to keep processing costs a great deal lower.
They are also physically robust - hard to scratch, chemically
stable, resist etching, and have a very smooth surface. They
are made from low cost, readily available elements such as
zinc and tin, which raise no environmental concerns.
Porn Under Control
Down Under may have to look elsewhere if they want to have
access to porn or any other kind of sleaze on the mobile.
They will now be required to first show a photographed identification
and give a request access in writing. The Australian Communications
Authority has drafted a bill according to which MA or R content
will be limited to phone numbers prefixed with 195 and 196
and available only to users aged over 18. The authority has
said that 16 companies, including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone
and Legion Interactive, have already reserved adult numbers
and these services cannot be activated until regulation of
the area is formalised next year. Mobile-phone companies will
also be required to hire moderators who have undergone a police
check and have been trained to spot paedophiles attempting
to groom children in unrestricted mobile chat rooms. "We
have seen the dangers of using chatrooms on the Internet and
we feel the risk will be carried over to the mobile world.
The computer at least is in a public space and gives parents
a chance to supervise. The mobile is a personal device, so
the risk is higher," said Vince Humphries, the authority's
manager of mobile content and credit management.
through which Bacteria Produce Toxins
a breakthrough study, scientists have found that bacteria
can use a Sonar-like system to spot other cells (either normal
body cells or other bacteria) and target them for destruction.
This finding explains how some bacteria know when to produce
a toxin that makes infection more severe. The study may lead
to the design of new toxin inhibitors. "Blocking or interfering
with a bacterium's "detection" mechanism, should
prevent toxin production and limit the severity of infection,"
says Michael Gilmore, PhD, lead author of the study. Gilmore
and his team have spent years studying the bacterium known
as Enterococcus faecalis, one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired
infections, to find new ways to treat them. These infections
are frequently resistant to many and sometimes all, antibiotics.
Gilmore says this discovery has several significant implications
for the future. "This is a new mechanism that nature
devised to 'see' the environment, and based on that information,
respond accordingly. We may be able to learn from nature and
adapt a similar strategy to help the aging population cope
with loss of vision," he adds.
to Theory of Evolution
the well established theory of evolution of mankind from ape-like
creatures to modern humans via knuckle-grazing cave-dwellers,
scientists have made a comprehensive study of all the fossils,
which has revealed that they are probably all variants of
Homo sapiens. The discovery comes as fossil-hunters in Indonesia
continue to defend claims to have found yet another new species
of human, dubbed "Hobbit Man". The findings have
significant implications for the often bitter debates between
fossil-hunters about the significance of their finds. The
number of human species claimed by fossil-hunters now stands
at around 10, while the total number of human-like species
exceeds 50. Such claims have long been based on supposedly
significant differences in sizes and shapes of fossil bones.
Now they have all been thrown into doubt by research showing
that the differences lie within the range expected for just
a single species. Professor Maciej Henneberg, of the University
of Adelaide, made the discovery after analysing the skull
sizes and estimated body weights for all of the 200 identified
specimens of human-like fossils known as hominims. He said:
"The argument they are a different species is, of course,
only a hypothesis but comparisons of skull shape published
recently certainly show they are as different from us as monkeys
and apes are different from each other".
Webindia123.com / Google / Sciencenews.org
by: Imran H. Khan
(R) thedailystar.net 2004