Scitech Briefs

Science groups deny material to Kansas schools

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association denied the Kansas school board the use of unspecified copyrighted materials as part of their new standards because of the state?s ongoing challenge to the teaching of evolution. The proposed new standards directly affect statewide tests and therefore affect what is taught in schools. Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy, and Michael J. Padilla, president of the teachers? group, believe that the curriculum changes will not properly equip students from Kansas to deal with an increasingly technological world and will put them at a severe disadvantage.

Source: The New York Times

Stem cell bank opens in Seoul

Cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk will lead the opening of a new bank in Seoul, South Korea, that will create and supply stem cell lines to researchers all over the world. Stem cells, the ?master cells? from which all other tissue cells are derived, are hot tools for research, but culling them requires destroying days-old embryos. The bank could accelerate research by providing stem cells to researchers who have no funding due to current laws. The first branches are expected to open in the U.S. and the UK.


Oxygen-bearing ore found on the Moon

Using the Hubble Space Telescope to image the moon, scientists discovered areas where the mineral ilmenite was located. Ilmenite is composed of iron, titanium and oxygen, and may be a source of breathable oxygen for future moon expeditions. Extracting oxygen from ilmenite can also produce water, a potential source of hydrogen rocket fuel. The telescope returned high-resolution ultraviolet images of the moon, which, after spectroscopic analysis, should prove valuable in the search for oxygen-bearing ore, said Bruce Hapke, a University of Pittsburgh planetary scientist.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

New regulations in Rome keep goldfish out of goldfish bowls

The city of Rome has taken action against citizens who neglect their pets. A new law has banned people from keeping goldfish in spherical glass bowls. The daily Il Messaggero reported that round bowls cause fish to go blind, while fish experts say the round bowls do not provide enough oxygen for the fish. This law is part of a whole set of pet-friendly regulations that allow for punishments as severe as jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs. It also requires dog owners to walk their dogs once a day.

Source: Yahoo News

Tiny robot doctors to conduct remote surgeries in future

Researchers at the University of Nebraska have developed tiny machines, 7.6 centimeters across, that can be inserted into a patient to carry out surgery non-invasively. These robots can be controlled by surgeons in remote locations. Though not yet federally approved, the robots have great potential for treatments on the battlefield, in space, and in the hospital.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal