Scitech Briefs

Researchers confirm the science of love

Science has found the answer to the question that troubles the heart of romantics everywhere: can true love last forever? New research in the field of brain chemistry has shown that the “truly, madly, deeply” feeling of falling in love doesn’t last more than a year. According to an article published by a group of Italian scientists in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, the euphoric feeling we experience in the early stages of a romantic relationship seems to have a biological basis. New couples have above-average levels of nerve growth factor (NGF) proteins, which are believed to correlate directly to feelings of euphoria and emotional dependency associated with falling in love. A year later, levels of NGF return to normal.

Knight Ridder Newspapers

Scientists discover a red dwarf exoplanet

A team of French and Swiss astronomers working in an observatory in northern Chile announced that they have discovered one of the smallest planets ever found outside the solar system. The exoplanet orbits the red dwarf star G1 581 in the Libra constellation, some 20.5 light-years from Earth. The planet takes only 5.4 days to complete each orbit, significantly fewer than the 365 days the Earth takes to travel around the sun. The exoplanet has roughly the mass of Neptune, or 17 times the mass of Earth. Red dwarves may become hot areas to look for exoplanets. Of the 100 stars closest to the Earth, around 80 are red dwarves.


Mozilla’s Firefox 1.5 released

Who says free software is worthless? Last year, developers at Mozilla competed against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and had an instant hit on their hands with Firefox 1.0, largely due to the implementation of tabbed browsing. Now, Firefox 1.5 has been released. New features include increased speed, an improved Automatic Update feature, and additions to the built-in pop-up blocker. Besides these “under the hood” changes, the new version offers drag-and-drop tab rearrangement, keyboard shortcuts for DHTML content, and migration of Safari preferences. Especially useful is the new Clear Private Data tool. With a single click, you can delete all personal data, including browsing history, cookies, Web form entries and passwords. Firefox 1.5 is available for free download at and

Source: United Press International

European spacecraft finds ice on Mars

A European spacecraft has detected deposits of water ice beneath Mars’ surface near the planet’s north pole. Radar images reveal almost pure water ice deposits layered between the surface and a lower, sandy layer. The water ice deposits support earlier findings by NASA that suggest water flowed freely in the Red Planet’s early days when it was warmer and wetter. Analysis by infrared light emissions shows several clay deposits and hydrated sulfates, products of salt water deposits. Taken together, these findings support theories that Mars once had surface water that could have supported primitive forms of life.

Source: Voice of America