SciTech Briefs

Scientists find gene for fear in the brain

Scientists have found a fear gene in the brain that could lead to new treatments for mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress and anxiety. The gene, known as stathmin or oncoprotein 18, is highly concentrated in the amygdala, the region of the brain linked with fear and anxiety. ?This is a major advance in the field of learning and memory that will allow for a better understanding of post- traumatic stress disorder, phobias, borderline personality disorder, and other human anxiety diseases,? said Gleb Shumyatsky of Rutgers University in New Jersey, who worked on the study.

Source: The Epoch Times

$100 laptop to help third-world children

Most schools in third-world countries cannot afford textbooks, but they might get laptops instead. The laptop, developed by tech evangelist Nicholas Negroponte, consists of simple elements. It has a seven-inch screen and an AMD processor that runs at 500 megahertz, and is powered by an electrical crank. The laptop provides basic word-processing and can be hooked up to the Internet. Each crank provides about ten minutes of power for each turn. This laptop is intended to help millions of students around the world.

Source: CNN

Frozen body of WWII pilot found

At the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, forensic scientists are trying to identify a World War II airman whose body was found last month in a California glacier. Over the past few weeks, scientists have examined his bones, taken DNA samples, and studied his teeth to find out who he was and how he died. The airman was believed to have been one of the four men who died during a navigational training flight on November 18, 1942. Although the military knows the names of the men killed in the crash, the forensic team refuses to jump to conclusions and continues the investigation to identify the airman scientifically.

Source: ABC News

Climate threatens fish survival

Decreasing fish populations are related to climate changes warming bodies of water: high temperatures reduce oxygen levels and decrease food supplies. Fish are forced to leave their habitats and seek new ones. This could have a negative impact on human populations, especially those that rely on fish for protein. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is trying to reduce pollution emitted by power plants, factories, and cars. WWF estimated that 76 percent of the world?s fisheries cannot be used anymore.

Source: CBS News

Hot Dry Rocks a new source of energy

Australian companies are looking to use ?hot dry rocks,? which can reach temperatures above 300 degrees Celsius, as a source of green energy. Hot-rock energy can supply more power at a cheaper price than wind or solar energy. Five kilometers below the earth, a layer of granite creates an insulating layer that traps heat from the earth?s core. To convert the heat to electrical energy, highly pressurized water is pumped down through the rocks to widen existing fractures; then the heated water is transferred to a geothermal power station where it produces steam and electricity.

Source: The Epoch Times

Compiled By
Kathy Chiapaikeo