December 5th, 2007

Forbidden Territory

The Arctic
In 2005, the canadian military launched Exercise Frozen Beaver…
Eleven soldiers flew in helicopters to HansIsland, a hunk of rock off the coast of Greenland that's long been claimed by both Denmark and Canada. When they landed on the half-square-mile outcropping, the troops planted a Canadian flag, ripping down the Danish colors that had been flying there since 1984.
Once they got home they mailed the confiscated flag to the Danish ambassador in Ottawa. It was the opening shot in what has become a fusillade of bizarre military posturing over the Arctic.
Among the most recent — and weirdest — incidents: Russian scientist Artur Chilingarov used a small submersible to plant a Russian flag encased in a titanium capsule on the Arctic seafloor some 13,000 feet under the North Pole.
Collapse )

Mental Disorders

Best Treatment Option May Come Down to Genes
A dopamine-receptor gene variation is linked to changes in brain function, possibly neurotransmitter signaling.
Alterations in the genetic coding for a nerve cell receptor, which detects a chemical signal that is key to behavioral change, could point the way to designing therapies most effective for patients suffering from schizophrenia, drug addiction and other mental illnesses.
"I don't know if what we just published is a viable biomarker," says Wolfgang Sadee, chair of the Department of Pharmacology at The Ohio State University (O.S.U.) College of Medicine.

"But, I think there's a good chance that this is a biomarker that we will at least test and we will know soon if there is something worthwhile."
A team of scientists from O.S.U. examined 68 samples of postmortem tissue from the brains of people without a history of mental illness in search of the profile of messenger RNA (mRNA) transcribed from a particular gene.
Collapse )

Dinosaur Mummy

Scientists announced monday the discovery of an extraordinarily preserved "dinosaur mummy" with much of its tissues and bones still encased in an uncollapsed envelope of skin.

Preliminary studies of the 67-million-year-old hadrosaur, named Dakota, are already altering theories of what the ancient creatures' skin looked like and how quickly they moved, project researchers say. Further investigations may reveal detailed information about soft tissues, which could help unlock secrets about the evolution of dinosaurs and their descendents, the scientists added.
Collapse )

Quote of the Day

“It's amazing how quickly nature consumes human places after we turn our backs on them. Life is a hungry thing.”
-Scott Westerfeld-

Image of the Day

YosemiteNational Park
Glaciers carved this steep-walled valley, now occupied by the Merced River, in California's YosemiteNational Park. Waterfalls cascade down the valley's steep walls, carved away by the massive, slow-moving blocks of snow and ice.