Culture

A plateau on Mars known as Home Plate shows evidence of long-past explosive volcanic activity, say scientists on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission. And data collected during the rover Spirit's initial pass across the 90-meter (295 feet) wide plateau also supports earlier findings indicating that water once existed at or beneath the planet's surface.

In the past, the newborns' umbilical cord was not clamped right after birth, thus allowing the blood flow to stop naturally. This practice, known as "late clamping", was replaced by "early clamping", that is, cutting the cord immediately after the infant is expelled.

However, this new practice lacks studies corroborating its benefits. In fact, recent studies on the importance of when clamping should be done have shown contradictory results.

In suspicious environments, like bars and math study groups, females are at greater risk. Scientists from Seoul National University, in Korea, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama have recently done a study to determine how females avoid the bad males while assessing the good ones.

The long search for Herod the Great's tomb has ended with the exposure of the remains of his grave, sarcophagus and mausoleum on Mount Herodium's northeastern slope, Prof. Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology announced today.

There seems to be something new under the sun -- in the sky, specifically -- that could complicate scientists' efforts to get a fix on how much the world will warm in the future. Greenhouse gases are not the only things in the air that influence the temperature of our atmosphere. Clouds and small airborne particles called aerosols also play an important and complicated role. And now a new ingredient has been discovered: an extensive and previously unseen "twilight zone" of particles that represents a gradual transition from cloud droplets to dry particles.

Save the World Air Inc. makes Zero Emission Fuel Saver (ZEFS) technology that is intended to reduce tailpipe pollutants and increase fuel efficiency in gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

Children's exposure to alcohol advertising during early adolescence appears to influence both beer drinking and their intentions to drink a year later, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

The study of children in the sixth and seventh grades found that those exposed to alcohol advertising at high levels – from television, magazines, in-store displays and promotional items like T-shirts and posters – were 50 percent more likely to drink and 36 percent more likely to intend to drink than children whose exposure to alcohol advertising was very low.

In a special issue, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment explores ecology in an era of globalization, looking at the impacts of human migration, production systems, and invasive species on ecosystems and people throughout North, Central, and South America. Scientists from throughout the Americas gathered last year in Merida Mexico and held a conference on this very topic. The following are highlights from the meeting, including more extensive work done since the event.

A Cornell researcher and his wife have conducted the first comprehensive review of later-life diseases that develop in people who were exposed to environmental toxins or drugs either in the womb or as infants. They have found that most of the diseases have two things in common: They involve an imbalanced immune system and exaggerated inflammatory reactions (at the cellular level).

Combining diamond anvils and powerful lasers, laboratory researchers have developed a technique that should be able to squeeze materials to pressures 100 to 1,000 times greater than possible today, reproducing conditions expected in the cores of supergiant planets.

Until now, these pressures have only been available experimentally next to underground nuclear explosions.

Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a unique photocatlytic cell that splits water to produce hydrogen and oxygen in water using sunlight and the power of a nanostructured catalyst.

Researchers at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus and the Military Amputee Research Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are teaming up to create the next generation of powered prosthetic devices based on lightweight energy storing springs.

The device, nicknamed SPARKy, short for Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics, will be a first-of-its-kind smart, active and energy-storing transtibial (below-the-knee) prosthesis.

One of the most serious and least understood threats to the world's ecosystems is the problem of invasive species-exotic plants, animals and other organisms that are brought into habitats and subsequently spread at a rapid rate, often replacing native species and reducing biodiversity.

A team of biologists at Yale University and the University of Sheffield discovered anatomical details about the female reproductive tract in waterfowl that indicate that male and female anatomy have co-evolved in a "sexual arms race."

Researchers at The University of Warwick and Leicester University have used an artificial snot (nasal mucus) to significantly enhance the performance of electronic noses.

The researchers have coated the sensors used by odour sensing "electronic noses" with a mix of polymers that mimics the action of the mucus in the natural nose. This greatly improves the performance of the electronic devices allowing them to pick out a more diverse range of smells.